Arepas Para Mi

I originally wrote about The Palace when I tried their “baller on a budget” tasting menu. Um, five courses for $50? Sign me up.

A few weeks ago, I heard through the grapevines that they were opening for brunch and I wanted to check it out. I am a fan of Chef Manny and was interested in what he was going to bring to the table.

You should already know that I had to bring my tasting team with me.

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I gave away what we ate in the above picture, but the first dish to come out was an eggs benedict with pork (I cannot remember which cut for the life of me) and arugula. No brunch is complete without a runny yolk somewhere in the mix.

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See? How magical does that yolk look? The best part of eating runny eggs is cutting into the albumen and having the yolk flow all over your plate like hot lava.

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The menu leaned very Argentinian and their focus are arepas. We ordered two, one steak with avocado and the other one chicken. I never had an arepa before so I could not compare it to anything but I thought they had good flavor. It hurts me to say but I think it could have been executed a little better.

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I read somewhere that they were offering steak tartare but did not see it on the menu. Katerina, the wife of Chef Manny, took care of our table and I asked her if they would be offering it soon. I was so happy when she informed our table that the chef might be able to accommodate my request.

Chances are that it is going to be a good day when I get tartare before noon.

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The Palace has an open kitchen and I love watching the talent behind the counter. Here is a picture of the owner/chef Manny and a member of his support staff.

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Us girls spent the rest of the day BBQing and I could not help but show off my godson. I really do not care about dogs at all (especially little dogs) but he is just so sassy.

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How do you feel about runny yolks? Could not live without them.

Have you been barbecuing lately? I would normally answer no because my hair smells like meat after but we actually have been taking advantage of the grill in the backyard lately.

Confessions

I have a confession to make.

I am not proud of it, nor do I condone any of the behavior…but I really like watching Maury.

It is rare that I am home and have time to watch daytime TV, but once in a while I do and I take full advantage. For example, yesterday after nannying, I got in bed and cuddled myself for a few hours while watching Maury. And it was the best feeling ever. I did not have to worry about anything besides wondering who the baby daddy was or if X cheated on Y with X’s brother and the kids might not be his but it turns out that none of the kids are his OR his brothers and they have to pull the third cousin on the show. I am getting a little adrenaline just thinking about it.

The guy on the show yesterday did a backflip when finding out he was not the father and I even found the GIF to show you.

Only a few people know my secret because I know how unbelievably trashy it is.

What’s not a secret is how much I loving eating out. Once upon a time (last year), there was a restaurant in the Mission called Mr. Pollo that was the talk of the town. It was a little mysterious, no menu and looked closed down from the outside. However, it had rave reviews and I really wanted to try it out. I never got around to it and was sad to find out that the Chef left due to rent problems and was being replaced by someone else.

Chef Manny, the original chef moved a few doors down to do a pop-up at Roxy’s Cafe and finally opened his own, larger restaurant at The Palace Steakhouse. After hearing this news, I put it on the back of my mind and tried to make reservations, only to find out that you basically have to text his wife (FOH) and wait for her to get back to you. It took me a little bit of time to correlate times that worked for the both of us, but I finally got a table last week and I was so excited to finally try Chef Manny’s food.

The best way to describe the way his menu is “Baller On A Budget”. I read this on Yelp and agreed 100%. $50 for a six course tasting? Sign me up!

Something I thought that was really fun about this restaurant was that it was completely BYOB. He was in a rush to open and San Francisco permitting takes longer than eternity, so he opened up the drink option for his guests to decide.

I am no wine connoisseur, so don’t judge this bottle of wine I bought at the liquor store right around the corner from the restaurant. I secretly wanted to pick up a tall boy of Modelo but felt that it would not of been the most classy thing to do.

PS: Please don’t think of me as this white-trash mammal. I just happen to like Maury and drinking beer, but I promise I don’t do it at the same time. I like to think I am pretty well put-together in person. 🙂

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The restaurant was pretty bare-bones and left many remnants of the old place that belonged there before. It added to the cool, hipster feels of dining there. You might notice that there is no one around because we had the first reservation at 6:00p.

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The first taste to come out was a charlene melon with baked Pacific salmon, served on a bed of onion, sprouts, salsa de ajo and a seaweed salad. It was garnished with Calinjula flowers and wheat berries.

My favorite thing at Japanese restaurants is the seaweed salad, so this was a wonderful course for me. I really enjoyed the crunchiness of the salad in relation to the other fresh flavors on the plate.

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Next to come out were the oysters, which I was really worried about.

If you have been reading for long enough, you know that seafood is basically my worst nightmare. My mom tried to feed me a tiny piece of fish when I was 6 months old and I just tongued it out. I have tried it a few times throughout my life and can not get rid of the psychological hatred of the water-dwellers.

Eating the swordfish and lobster at the Grand Chef Rendezvous made me open to try new things. I didn’t mind the salmon in the first course, but oysters are a different story. They are one big piece of slime and I was going to pass but I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and give it a try.

I even softly told my waiter that he was going to take my oyster virginity.

These fancy mollusks were Glacial oysters served with a Wasakaka sauce, house-pickled shallots, smoked chili, salt and black pepper. Garnish was a yellow marigold.

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It was….interesting. Okay, I might of not had the prettiest face while eating it but it was not Chef Manny’s fault, I just am not a huge fan of oysters.

One of my favorite things about the meal was being able to see him create his dishes right in front of us. It was like he was putting on an unintentional show for us.


The third dish to come out was Maine lobsters prepared three ways.

First on the left is a lobster bisque with sea beans and corn, finished with fresh chervil.

The middle concoction is lobster tail sitting on a house aji sauce with green onion, avocado and habanero water.

Last on the right (my favorite) was a lobster claw ceviche on a platacones (similar to my recipe!)

*If I get any of these ingredients wrong and you know it, please e-mail me because there was no written menu and this is all from memorization and a few notes I jotted down

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For our intermission, I wanted to show you this little pumpkin on our table! The blogging world has been going crazy over pumpkins, so I felt it was fitting.

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Forth to come out was an amazing quail breast and leg with a lavender jus. It was recommended to eat with your hands because there was not much meat on the bones, but it was perfect with the right amount of spice. It came with a quick poached egg and broccoli/cauliflower florets.

The Pedron peppers are grown exclusively for the restaurant from Happy Quail Farms and the green one reminded me of the numbing spicy hua-jiao peppers from Sichuan in China.

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The penultimate course was a medley of pork cooked three different ways. The meatball was braised with the wild Lithuanian porcini mushrooms, coconut and tomato sauce (which had me still thinking about it the next day). Also included was pork belly and cap.

The Chef’s wife’s mom actually handpicked the mushrooms in her backyard and mailed them over for the restaurant! I like to call it international foraging. 🙂

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Finally, for the last dish was a steak that was cooked in a water bath at a constant temperature for two hours. Other things on the plate includes a deconstructed salad, beef jus, golden and red beef puree and bleu cheese.

I’m not the biggest fan of bleu cheese but think it went really well with the lettuce and beets.

Sorry for the steak lighting, the sun was already down and I know it does not look that appetizing but it was so good.

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Desert wasn’t included in the tasting, but sometimes you have to just go for it and I am so happy I did.

I think it was my favorite thing the whole night and I was happy with all of the courses.

Again, the pictures doesn’t do it justice at all but I think the dulce de leche and queso fresco soufflé really put me into a new magical safe zone. It was one of the best deserts I have eaten in a long time. The house-made Maracuaya passion fruit ice cream and berry trio really pulled all the flavors together. Who doesn’t love hot and cold deserts.

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Hopefully you read through everything because I included some commentary, life lessons and stories to tell your future kids scattered throughout all the pictures. Maybe not so extreme but I was happy to share my meal with you. 🙂

Happy Friday!

What’s your guilty pleasure? And be honest so I don’t feel bad about mine.