Farewell And Kudos

I finished Game Of Thrones last week. Can we please talk about the Red Wedding? I’ll stop there because it was too much for me to handle!

This weekend has been non-stop, I’m happy I finally have a chance to just relax and do nothing all day. In fact, I just woke up from a nap that gave me a migraine; perhaps, this was a trade off for trying to sleep during the day. Silly me.

My roommate and friend of over two years is leaving San Francisco next week to start law school in DC. Saying all of us will miss him will be an understatement. To celebrate, we threw him a farewell party at the Cigar Bar and Grill in the Financial District. I didn’t feel like bringing the old ball and chain (my camera), which I immediately regretted. It would of been awesome to be able to document our night, especially our cool private room that had a pool table just for us. Instead, my memories were left with a few iPhone pictures.

The only one that didn’t become an Instagram video or embarrassingly blurry and dark was one of my two friends and I.

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Yep, I have gorgeous friends!

We stayed until the late hours of the night and a few cigars might of been rotated between everyone. They don’t call it the cigar bar for nothing.

Saturday, after an early and long day of work, Chi and I drove out to Los Gatos, CA to meet everyone to celebrate our friend D completing her masters!

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There were close to 100 people in attendance! To feed all these people, they hired a taco guy to help out with the hungry stomachs.

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I got there around three, and had not ate the whole day, so he was the first guy I paid a trip to when we got there. I ordered two tacos and a side salad to pull me over until dinner time. I’m so spoiled by Toma tacos, because these bad boys just weren’t cutting it for me.

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The girls and boys split up. When we were walking to get something from the car, we came across a gaggle of geese blocking our road. It was a pretty intense few minutes as we figured out a way to maneuver the animals to get to the other side. We have heard rumors that these geese were really vicious and would not hesitate to chase you if you came to close to the babies. Let’s give thanks that I made it out alive from that situation.

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On our way back to the area, we found all the boys playing horseshoe. Chi looks like a professional, no? Look at that angle and look of determination. He ended up winning by one point, sorry Abs!

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Brenda, from Bravo Image, took a group picture of our little group. Our graduate, D, is the beauty in the green dress.

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It also felt nice to see so many familiar faces!

On our way to her grandma’s house to hang by the pool, Chi pulled over so fast and scared me. I asked him what the hell he was doing and he pointed to this sign.

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There are no DQs in/near San Francisco and both of us never tried it before. I actually walked in with no expectations and was surprised by the vastness of their menu. We asked the cashier what to get and she basically made us get a Blizzard.

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I’m not a fan of those kind of drinks, but Chi finished it before we even got to our destination.

Sunday, I spent the morning volunteering and came home to watch American Psycho. I think I confused it with plain ol’ Psycho, because it was not exactly what I expected. The weather dropped from 80s to low 50s in less then 24 hours. It even started sprinkling at some point during the day.

My work schedule is also a lot lighter this week, so I think I’ll have plenty of time to cook.

Some ideas for the week-

Breakfast

Lunch

  • Flatbread Pizza
  • Caprese Salad
  • Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
  • Chorizo Lentil Soup (recipe coming Wed!)

Dinner

Of course, sprinkle a few snacks in between. I have been obsessed with my garlic parmesan dip with Social Snackers from TJs!

What’s on your agenda this week? Do you prefer warmer or cooler days?

The American Riviera

Can’t believe it’s Friday already! We’re going to drive home tonight because Chi and I have to work on Saturday. This week has passed by so fast and slow at the same time. Let’s just say that so far I’ve been in the car for 12 hours on and off. Yikes.

In my last post, I wrote about us driving down to Santa Barbara on Tuesday night. Somewhere around hour 3.5, Chi’s back started to hurt and it was already 2 AM, so we pulled over in Pismo Beach and rented a hotel room for the night.

I’ll keep today’s post short so I can get every last minute in with the family, so I’ll leave you with today’s Friday Five!

Five of My Favorite Times From So-Cal

1. Pismo Beach

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I’ve been really determined to maintain my Couch-to-5k plan, so I’m still doing my morning runs even though I’m not home. (I’m on W4D2 if anyone is interested). Fortunately for me, I actually lucked out and got a really great beach run in. The weather was perfect, the sun was out but wasn’t on full blast and I got a little wind from the ocean. I felt so good after the run, even though we ate junky road trip food down to Santa Barbara after.

2. Lilly’s Tacos

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I know I wax poetic justice about everything that goes into my mouth, but Lilly’s seriously takes the cake. Best tacos ever. Ever since I was introduced two years ago, I’ve been hooked. The tacos are Mexico street style and the great thing is Lilly’s only serves tacos, nothing else. I’ve waited in 20+ people lines for these tacos and never regretted it. This is a Santa Barbara must.

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3. Santa Barbara’s famous views

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Santa Barbara is California’s best and favorite beach town and is one of the few places I would consider moving to in California. The city is surrounded by mountains, which keeps the heat in, but also has a whole side of water which cools it down, which makes the city have perfect weather. Everyone is really calm and it’s such a great place to raise a family. The housing isn’t as crazy as SF, but it’s not like you can live here on minimum wage. Every time I come I fall more and more in love with it; I wish I had more days to explore and show you guys how beautiful it is.

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It’s pretty hard to not feel great when you’re surrounded by palm trees and sun, no?

4. High School Graduation

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We went to one of Chi’s cousin’s high school graduation on Thursday. The photo above is Chi’s little brother’s girlfriend.

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Of course I didn’t take any pictures with the graduate, whoops!

5. Playing With The Babies

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These Skiphop Zoopacks are so popular in San Francisco and I thought they’d look so cute on Chi’s little cousins. I got the two boys a giraffe and dinosaur.

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All of his kids gets so excited when Chi comes to town because he plays with them until he’s wiped out. Call me biased, but these kids are pretty much the cutest kids in the universe.

Last week’s Friday Five: The 5 Places To Bring Out-Of-Town Guests In San Francisco

What was the last trip you’ve been on? Beach run or trail run?

Out-Of-Towners

I’ve been feeling like the days are getting shorter since my summer started. The days quickly come into a end before I feel like I’ve done anything productive. It might be the new Arrested Development episodes that I have been sneaking in throughout the day, or the catch-up naps from the extremely long days from last semester.

This week zoomed by, I couldn’t believe that it was already time to write my Friday post when I opened up Ecto this morning. Chi and I had friends visiting from Alaska (no, not these Alaskans), so it’s been fun taking them around San Francisco and catching up with them. Every time we have guests in town and show them around, I feel so humble to live in SF and try not to take it for granted. It is truly a beautiful place to live and I’m so lucky I got the opportunity to grow up and do so.

Last night, a group of us went to Cha Cha Chas and had the ultimate feast. So much delicious sauce and bread, even though there was so much food I was still hungry when we left!

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It inspired me to write today’s Friday Five: The 5 Places To Bring Out-Of-Town Guests In San Francisco.

With over 5,000+ places to eat in San Francisco, it’s really hard to pick one restaurant to bring your guests when you come to this little city. I even have trouble picking somewhere to eat for brunch because I have so many options. I read an article in Huffington Post that explains why San Francisco is the best place to live; also how SF blows any city out the ballpark regarding restaurants per capita!

1. Cha Cha Cha

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Cha Cha Cha is a tapas bar that is great for medium to big groups. I have brought so many people here and nobody has ever complained, no matter how picky or food critic-y they are! The Sangria is some of the best and I could honestly eat here once a week. It never gets old!

Make sure to get the: Cajun Shrimp, Sauteed Mushrooms, Mussels and Chicken Paillard

My post about Cha Cha Chas here.

2. Beretta

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Beretta is a contemporary Italian restaurant that serves some of the best thin crust SF pizza. They also have many fun and original cocktails and great appetizers.

Make sure to get the: Gnocchi, Beef Carpaccio, Broccolini and Hot Salami Pizza

My post about Beretta here.

3. Patxi’s Pizza

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If thin crust is not your thing, then Patxi’s deep dish might just do it for you! I’ve never been a fan of thick crusts but Patxis is my exception. They have a few locations across the city for easy access and a great selection of specials if you’re feeling stuck on how to order!

Make sure to get the: Meatballs, Chopped Salad and Special/Spinach Pesto Pizza

My post about Patxi’s here.

4. Toma

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Shameless plug, but what would a San Francisco visitors guide be without a Mexican restaurant? Stop by Toma in the Marina before or after hitting the bar scene for fresh, authentic Mexican food.

Make sure to get the: Steak and Mushroom Tacos, Fajita Burrito or the Tara Burrito (not really on the menu, but chicken and steak with avocado, pinto beans, rice, cilantro and onion with Rico’s sauce on the side)

My post about Toma here.

5. Mamas

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Mamas is thee absolute must place you have to take your guests, or even yourself for brunch. There is a reason this small, cozy restaurant tops almost every must-eat list in San Francisco. The only thing I have to say besides try it is to be prepared to wait 2 hours+ during peak hours (read: almost every hour that it’s open). The line is crazy, but there must be a reason people will stand for this food. I haven’t been here for over a year, but I always keep a sweet memory in the back of my mind for this place. Maybe I will go back soon, since I have so much time on my hands now.

Make sure to get the: Prosciutto and Grilled Tomato Benedict, Northern Italian Omelette and Kugelhopf

Photo credit here.

There you have it! All these restaurants are awesome and great to bring guests to share and experiment. There’s tons of other restaurants in SF that are just as great, but you’ll need to live here for a few months to get a real taste of our food scene!

If you have any particular cuisine you would like to try, please e-mail me or leave a comment and I will give you a few recommendations.

Last weeks Friday Five: 5 Things To Get At Toma Restaurant

Where would you bring guests in your city? Is anyone else craving french toast after seeing that picture?

Toma Toma Toma

I was looking back on my old posts yesterday and realized that I talk about Toma in almost every post but I never really explained what it is!

In mid-December, my boyfriend opened a restaurant in San Francisco in the coveted Marina district. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have went into the place and I’m so proud every time I drive by it. This picture is before it even opened; I tried to find a more recent one (there’s chairs and dividers that spruce up the place now) but I guess I haven’t taken one lately.

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The food is considered modern mexican, all the recipes are family recipes from Durango and Obregon in Mexico. The difference is that all the meats are premium and grass fed and they buy all the produce locally as well. The tortillas for the tacos are house-made every morning, which is something that is practically unheard of!

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Toma has multiple meanings in Spanish, essentially it means to drink, to consume or to take. It can be used as a verb (ella toma, she takes) or as an expression (¡Toma!, take that!).

He recently started introducing specials, which are made in a limited quantity every morning and sells out usually by the afternoon.

Monday- Chile Colorado

Tuesday- Chicken Mole

Wednesday- Camarones de Ajo

Thursday- Chile Verde

Friday- Barbacoa

Sat/Sun- Pozole

The specials are some of my favorite things there, you can put them in tacos, burritos, or in a bowl. Sometimes I will be bummed to find out that they sold out before I can get there.

Since I want to continue with the Friday Five, I’ll post my five favorite things from his restaurant!

1. Torta

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A torta is a Mexican sandwich, the bread is usually a sandwich roll (which they call bolillo) with your choice of meat. I really like it with carne asada (steak) and a guacamole spread in it.

2. Salsa

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One of my favorite things about Toma are their salsa, each one is a family recipe that’s been perfected over time. My favorite one is the back right hand side that we call Rico’s. It’s a subtle but after-spicy habanero flavor. It goes on perfectly with cilantro and onion (mandatory at a Taqueria!) and a dash of lime.

3. Burritos

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The one pictured above is actually a wet burrito, which is topped with enchilada sauce. My favorite burrito, which I named myself as the Tara special (Chi refuses to acknowledge it), is a half steak half chicken burrito with beans, rice, cilantro, onion, avocado and sautéed mushrooms. I don’t get it every time because it’s a handful to make, but when I do, I turn into the happiest girl ever!

4. Guacamole

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Sometimes you have to look back and enjoy the smaller things in life, such as plain ol’ guacamole and chips. If you have noticed, I kind of have an obsession with avocados. If it fits, it sits on top of my food and it honestly goes with everything.

5. Tacos

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(Shrimp)

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(Steak, Mushroom, Chile Verde)

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(Chicken)

There’s a reason tacos are at the end of my list. You always save the best for last, right? Growing up in California, I can say I have eaten my fair share of tacos. Without sounding biased, I honestly (swear on my life) think that these are one of the best tacos I have ever had in my life. I can seriously eat these tacos every day without any regret. The tortillas are hand made, so they taste really fresh and fluffy. What’s really good is to put one of the specials I was talking about earlier in here, and top it off with cilantro, onion, lime and Rico’s.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, let me know and try to stop by! I’m sure we can do you a favor. 🙂

This weekend Chi is going to Vegas, so I’ll be spending Memorial Day a little low key and hanging out with friends I’ve been putting off until school was done.

What’s your favorite Mexican food? Any fun plans for Memorial Day?