Time For Tapas

So big things are happening in California…it rained last weekend. I know that I am late to the party considering today is Friday, but we are just going to ride this out.

Last Saturday, I was in that in-between stage of being sick where I was displaying symptoms but not quite bedridden yet. Staying home all day made me feel bad for myself, so I decided to go out and support Loló’s opening weekend at their brand spankin’ new location on Valencia St. (their original location was only a few blocks away, but bigger is always better and this place could fit at least double the crowd)

Take a second and see how depressing it is outside. Boo umbrellas and bokeh.

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Then welcome yourself inside and feel an instant mood-changer. Boom, just like that. What kind of human does not like palm trees and sunsets? (+ bartenders and a whole page of mescal cocktails)

Also, their wall of vintage car doors? Stop it.

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Their decorations were so tacky and bright that I fell in love instantly. Props to their interior designer, every wall was so different but worked so well.

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We started with a plate of guac + chips w/ cotija cheese and pomegranate seeds! ($6.5)

There is always a first time for everything and I loved the pom seeds, I might have to make it this way next time I have friends over.

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If there is a food trend in San Francisco right now, it is definitely fried Brussels sprouts (sister, you called it). Every restaurant I have eaten at lately has it on their menu and I always get sucked into ordering them. No regrets, as they are perfect every time.

Loló makes theirs with shallots, hazelnuts and late harvest zinfandel vinaigrette. ($6)

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Funny story, it was a tie between Brussels sprouts or the Mexiterranean Cheese Fondue ($9) w/ oaxaca cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, oregano and organic corn chips.

After a few minutes of deliberation, we realized that we are adults and can order whatever the hell we want for dinner. Both it is!

PS: That is a piece of bread that is holding the fire, putting the literal meaning of working with whatever is in your kitchen.

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Grecia is going to be my stand in for this post because I looked horrible (think sick nose, beanie and oversized sweater). Also notice the coats sewed into the chairs, I love it.

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She ordered a Michelada first and it did not take me long to realize that I really wanted one too. ($ no idea)

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After eating the crab salad at Tosca Cafe, I have been craving more of this local crab since it is in-season and was happy to see it on the menu here as well.

Introducing the Dungeness crab croquetas con garlic aioli and mirasol pepper reduction. ($8.5) I love bite sized food when eating tapas, so these were fun to just pop in my mouth.

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Grecia’s favorite of the night was the shrimp and rock fish ceviche, w/ a citrus roasted pepper sauce, avocado and salted peppercorns. ($11)

I am not a huge fan of seafood as you know, but I did try a bite and thought it was a good tasting ceviche (from the few other times I tried). I also wanted to take the spoon home with me.

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My favorite was a tie between these chicken confit ‘tinga’ tostadas with bacon, chipotle peppers and roasted tomatoes (8) and the pibil roasted pork shoulder gorditas ($8) (no picture because I ate them faster then my brain could think about pulling out my camera)

I think I should be an honorary Mexican because:

1a.) I look like I am one (under the right settings, Chinese and European genes will cross and tangle into one Latina looking baby)

1b.) Patients come up to me and speak in Spanish

3.) I love everything Mexican food

4.) Not to toot my own horn but my Spanish accent is spot-on…now all I have to do is catch-up on vocab.

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The penultimate tapa was the lamb sliders on a brioche bun and porcini mushroom sauce ($10)

I really wish I liked lamb because these looked so amazing in every way. Damn you, gamey meat.

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And finally, the vibrant ‘diabla shrimp’ with a creamy and spicy cascabel and chipotle pepper sauce, white mushrooms and white rice. ($15)

You really cannot go wrong with shrimp and cream sauce.

Especially not with white rice, I have been eating so much healthy rice (brown, wild, black) and quinoa lately that I almost considered just eating a whole bowl of regular rice and skipping the shrimp. (do not fret, I had Chinese food for dinner last night and had my fill of white rice for the week)

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Last year if you asked me if we should share a desert, I would have been fine either way. Now I feel like my meal is incomplete without finishing on a sweet note.

I do not remember exactly what this is, but I know it is a berry truffle with hints of basil.

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PS: Happy Birthday Ciafa!

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PPS: Happy Valentines Day! If you want to be my Valentine, listen to the new Frank Sinatra compilation all day today like I have been doing this whole week. Then, feel free to e-mail me and let me know how much you enjoyed it and what your favorite song was. Also, mail me a rhubarb pie. That would be the most ultimate Valentines day ever. 🙂

(it’s called Sinatra, With Love)

PPPS: A reader e-mailed me and asked if I could start including the price of the dishes I order. I thought about it and did not want to be embarrassed (no shame) on how much I spend on food, but we will try this out for a few weeks and see if I like it.

PPPPS: (last one, I promise) Do not forget to enter the Zabada Clean giveaway!

What are your Valentines day plans?

Do you like eating tapas? If so, what is normally your favorite dish? I always get one shrimp dish and chorizo if they have it.

Jamon Y Queso

Hi friends! I just wanted to pop in and tell you about a great time I had on Saturday. Before we get into the nitty gritty, I wanted to ask if anyone played Candy Crush? My co-workers recently turned me on to it and it’s seriously all that has been on my mind.

All of our friends were coincidentally free at night, so we all gathered up like old times for a fun night out. We left our house around 6:30p to try to catch a cab, which is a little hard on my side of town (mostly residential, etc). The sunset was looking a little crazy, so I had to capture a picture.

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When we finally gave up and starting walking toward the BART, a empty cab stopped right in front of us. Isn’t it funny how those things always happen? We payed our $20 dollar fare to the heart of downtown, where our friends recently moved too. I was the only one to have seen their place before, so it was nice to get everyone on the same page.

Let’s keep in mind that it was the night before St. Patrick’s Day, so it was crazy downtown. There was even an alleyway rave that we considered attending, but we all agreed to eat; so we were on the hunt for an affordable, yet tasty dinner. When passing Claude Ln, we noticed that there was a stretch of a weird backyard-alley dining. Each restaurant put up these pop up tents and it looked so fun! The first restaurant was French, which we couldn’t all agree on so we walked down further and seen a cute Spanish restaurant. Yes, please! This next picture doesn’t quite show the vibe of this hidden alley, but this was the popup tent of the restaurant we went to. (Imagine about a row of 4-5 of these.)

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If there is a perfect example of a hidden gem, Gitane would be it!

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We walked inside to put our name on the menu (do you see that perfect table open for the seven of us? I do!) and was introduced to the most bizarre, Moulin Rouge-esque decorations.

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I’ve never been to a 50s French nightclub, but this is how I imagine it. The bartender told us that it use to be a French restaurant, but they didn’t change the decor when they changed owners.

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While waiting for our table to be cleared, we tried some of their fancy cocktails at the bar. I had the Los Muertos, which is a tequila, sweet vermouth, grapefruit marmalade and lime concoction. These cocktails were really tasty, I can say they rivaled the drinks at Beretta.

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Boys will be boys. These guys have been friends since kindergarden, can you tell? I’d say they’re more like brothers.

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And an instagrammed picture of the girls. If you ask me, I’d say we’re a pretty good looking group!

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Since we were eating Spanish food, it’d be wrong to do anything but tapas, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers to share. Although, I’m not sure how much the waitress liked that.

First to come out was a pretty sad looking (but delicious) taster of cheese. We couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision of our favorites, each one had a special characteristic. In case you were wondering, the dressing on the side is fig. It was definitely a group effort to figure out what fruit it was, I’m sure the patrons next to us had a good laugh.

L-R: La Peral, Murcia De Vino, y La Serena.

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Obligatory bread picture, to use a base for the cheese and jamon.

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They gave us a double serving of proscuitto, which was really nice of them and much appreciated. The Iberico was truly divine, it just melts in your mouth. I think that one was the group favorite.

L-R: Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Lardo Iberico, y Jamon Serrano.

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We also ordered the Alcahofas, which is artichokes roasted & crisped, sun chokes, manchego cheese and olive oil. I really enjoyed this dish, as did the rest of the people.

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Missing was a plate of asparagus, so I will set you up with a grand finale of Albondigas, which was made with braised rabbit meatballs, spicy sofrito, and oregano. This dish was definitely the star of the show, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not a big fan of gamey meat, but if I was, this would of definitely of been my favorite dish.

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I had a blast hanging out with everyone, since we haven’t all went out as a group in a long time. After dinner, Chi and I went home early because he had to work the next day. We may or may not of ordered a pizza when we got home, don’t judge us! 🙂

Now off to play Candy Crush!

How was your Saint Patrick’s Day? Do you enjoy eating gamey meats?