||Saturday, August 8, 2009
The caterer’s theme at M&J’s engagement party was “Asian picnic”:
...summer rolls, poached salmon with mango, soy sauce chicken, Asian slaw and peanut noodles in little takeaway boxes kept guests well fueled to toast the happy couple.
||Friday, August 7, 2009
The waiter’s pronunciation of “sakie” and “shaush-shimi” weakened our confidence as we sat down in Mill Valley’s Tsukiji Sushi Restaurant:
... but to be fair, in ‘Merica we shouldn’t get hung up about what rolls off (not down) the tongue.
We relaxed with a couple beers as we ordered some sashimi, nigiri and a maki and were surprised by the order of delivery. The first down was the 49er roll ($13.50):
... with salmon, avocado, tobiko and lemon. The rice was slightly mushy, but it was still okay.
The nigiri arrived with hirame instead of the hotate that we requested. We pointed out the switch and it was quickly corrected.
The hamachi ($5.95), hotate ($5.95) and unagi ($5.50):
... were all fine but the assortment of sashimi (by special request) was an impressive tray of aji, waru, tai, red snapper and albacore ($20.00):
This ‘shimi shaushayed into our stomachs (even without the “sakie”) and made us think that we should secure a seat at the sushi bar on our next visit so that nothing is lost in translation.
24 Sunnyside Ave.
Mill Valley, CA
||Thursday, August 6, 2009
Gavin Newsom governed a group interested in the marriage of food and drink:
... at this evening’s kick off event for SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Ribbons were cut:
... champagne was sabred:
... and Union Square was made into a cube with a huge tent:
... housing a party to celebrate the talent behind this city’s amazing chow.
Chef Corey Lee’s potage with black truffle puree and uni foam was a rich, creamy, uni-mami potion which had to be our favorite swig of the soiree. This luxurious liquid made us anxious for the opening of Chef Lee’s upcoming restaurant (he is still searching for a building to provide the right environment for his cuisine.)
We also savored Chef Louis Maldonado’s cured sardines on brioche toasts with tomato jam, capers and lemon:
These palate-dromes from Aziza had flavors reading as deliciously backwards as forwards. Aziza Pastry Chef Melissa Chou:
... closed the circuit with raspberry financiers with rosemary, goat cheese bavarian, hazelnut praline and balsamic vinegar:
Circa Chef Erik Hopfinger’s rack of lamb chops:
... were slapped with mint which kept the crowd circa-lating towards these meat-pops.
We got a glimpse into the future with Chef Melissa Perello’s:
... duck liver mousse with pickled onion. Her restaurant, Frances (named for her grandmother) will open this October at 3870 17th St.
...(shown here with Palio D'Asti Executive Chef Daniel Scherotter) is confident about his December opening of Wayfare Tavern (in the former Rubicon spot) and has plans brewing for a Marin restaurant.
The bar was raised to highlight not only wines, but cocktails. Brooke Arthur’s:
... “Smoke and Mirrors” with bourbon, St. Germain elderflower, lemon, marmalade and Scotch had a nice balance of tangy and sweet mingling with Kentucky whiskey in a cooling and clever concoction.
While the bartenders were measuring in jiggers, Los Compas:
... was measuring in jigglers:
... as they kept the beets rooted at this excellent event.
SF Chefs. Food. Wine. continues through Sunday with dinners, seminars and grand tastings. Check the schedule for deets.
SF Chefs. Food. Wine.
San Francisco, CA
||Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Carte415 had sold out of both of their sandwiches when we arrived at 1:30.
They said that there was a chance that more would arrive later so we decided to order what they had on hand and hope for a delivery.
The gazpacho ($5.00):
... came with cubedcumbers and crisp croutons that we stirred into this cool, herb-infused, Early Girl tomato tonic.
Tubs of citronette spiked with vadouvan and crumbled ricotta salata with pistachios adorned a salad with gemlike chunks of Yellow Doll melons ($7.00):
This clean, rich and spicy combo would lift any melon-dolly mood.
The carefully selected carrots, beans, celery, jicama and radish which comprised the crudites ($6.00):
... went for a dip in a lemon creme fraiche-ened bagna cauda:
Anchovies went swimmingly with these fresh, crisp, bites.
When we finished our appetizers, we went to check the sandwich status and found a fashionable food enthusiast:
...doing the same.
A round up of Cowgirl Cheeses lassoed together this rapini panini ($8.00):
... with tomato confit and herbs on Acme bread while a classic combo of prosciutto and Gruyere ($8.00):
... was given a kick of chili and a hint of sweetness from quince jam. Both of these hot sandwiches were worth carting ourselves over to enjoy.
They pack everything in enviro-packaging for takeaway, but there are also tables and benches scattered sparsely around this pleasant atrium.
Chef Joshua Skenes has rolled out some seriously salivatory sustenance with top notch ingredients and easily digestible pricing.
M-F 11:30a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
101 2nd St.
San Francisco, CA
||Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Evergreen Oak-town Hotspot
Some of our favorite meals in Tokyo were grilled skewers eaten (crammed shoulder to shoulder with businessmen at quitting time) in little nooks below the train tracks. We had a less rushed (and less cramped) version of this cuisine as we sat down with a glass of Wakatake Daiginjo sake:
... at Ozumo’s Robata counter.
Executive Chef Yo Matsuzaki:
... imports Evergreen Oak charcoal from Japan:
These compacted carbon rods cook at a ultra high heat with less smoke - sort of like a super Mesquite.
An amuse of cherry tomatoes stuffed with shitake and shishito:
... were served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to show off these seasonal, lightly grilled, bites.
Slices of torched grouper with a dot of peppery sauce and cilantro was firm and fresh. Sharing the plate was their signature Sake Zan Mai ($15.00):
... which combined salmon sashimi, roe and crispy skin in this rad-dish bordered with daikon and carrot strands.
Tender and flavorful Snake River Kobe beef ($13.00):
... sandwiched sauteed spinach with sweet miso and Japanese eggplant alongside light and crisp miso-marinated calamari tempura ($9.00):
We nibbled on nigiri ($6.00 - $10.00 per 2 pcs.):
... including maguro, hamachi, hotate and anago which were all fresh and delicious. The arare roll:
...concealed a panko coated fried shrimp in a maki dotted with crunchy rice cracker balls and served with a curry sauce.
Skewers of perfectly grilled chicken with green onion ($6.00) and tender filet mignon with shishito pepper ($7.00):
... came fresh off the Robata followed by gently grilled, pristine blue prawns, ($8.00):
... meltingly luxurious black pork belly with spicy miso ($7.00):
... and incredible corn ($5.00):
These ears were so sweet and tender that the guy sitting next to me at the counter exclaimed, “this is the best corn I’ve ever tasted, you’ve got to try this!” We assured him that we enjoyed ours and advised him to order the pork belly to complete the loop.
A hazelnut coated chocolate cake with bruléed bananas, blackberries and a banana shot:
... was a rich and fruity finale to Chef Yo’s oishi eats.
The friendly and efficient staff, serious sake selection and conversational Japanese Berlitz recordings which play in the bathroom (making me have a flushback to Postrio) added to our night of grill-lectable grub.
They also have a prix fixe, 5 course Robata dinner for $49.00 (which includes a glass of sake or wine) in which the chef tailors the menu to each diner (I would drop hints about the pork belly and the corn when discussing options.)
||Monday, August 3, 2009
Yeast of Eatin’
Due to time zones, we landed in San Francisco before we took off from Australia (making a schedule entry impossible in iCal). We also got a 41 hour day out of the deal which we began with what had become our daily breakfast during our visit - toast with Vegemite.
Our standard breakfast at the cyberhutch is toast and Marmite and the substitution of Vegemite:
... takes a little adjustment. We made the faux pas of admitting to B. that we weren’t complete convict condiment converts (which, in retrospect, is sort of like insulting their spreadable National treasure.)
We continued to diplomatically immunize our toast with the local goods:
... while vowing to carefully consider our crusty critiques to prove that we are not poorly bread batards.
We also enjoyed the widespread espresso drinks only status (that’s Australian for coffee, mate):
... but missed that reassuring, bottomless mug of coffee that is poured in American breakfast restaurants.
It’s been a fun trip, but we’re ready to resume driving on the right side of the road, visiting taquerias and drinking California wine...once we regain consciousness...
||Sunday, August 2, 2009
Although it’s technically winter, the weather in Sydney was sunny and mild allowing us to wander all over town.
We were disappointed by the Sydney Fish Market:
... which we visited before breakfast. It was unfair of us to expect anything approaching Japan’s Tsukiji, but we hoped it there would be some fresh sashimi and beer shoulder to shoulder with auction personnel during their early morning quitting time. We discovered that this ain’t Tokyo.
Our default snack was the hand held makis ($2.00 - $4.00 AUD):
... which were of varying quality and commonly sold from counters bordering the street.
We quickly learned that the fillings in the cheaper versions didn’t make it too far past the presentation end of the roll.
$55.00 AUD for a restrained dinner at a divey Chinese Restaurant:
... may sound steep, but all of the Australians we’ve spoken to think everything in America is dirt cheap.
Roast duck and BBQ pork ($32.80 AUD):
... were on par (if not slightly below) with what you would find in most SF Chinatown takeaway windows. The steamed broccoli with oyster sauce ($12.80 AUD):
... and rice ($6.00 AUD) were also standard issue.
Perhaps locals have an easier time dishing out the duck-ats since Australia upped the ante by getting rid of their one and two cent coins (since the cost of their manufacture exceeded their face value - something I wish the US would do.)
I asked S. what voter turn out was like and he said it was excellent since you get fined $50 AUS if you don’t participate - almost enough to cover a duck dinner.
18-20 Goulburn St.
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9267 2586
From today’s Bunrab email, Toni writes about our ill-fated fiascos:
It seems rather fitting to me that you had such an awful meal at a restaurant called Bill and Toni's. You see, my ex-husband's name is Bill and mine, obviously, is Toni. Your meal and my marriage have much in common. The kindest thing that can be said about the both is that they are now over.
We’re sorry to hear that your former dining companion was a dud, but we hope you have moved on to a palate cleanser before proceeding to something tastier.
Mark your Calendar
The San Francisco Baking Institute is making a Golden Gate Bridge bread sculpture with a 20 foot span as a centerpiece for the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event. But this shouldn’t give rise to your own kneadyness since you can roll out some of your own dough to attend the tasting events, screenings, seminars and parties that span August 6th - 9th.
Check out the schedule of events here and for further proof that the Institute is engaging in this suspension of dis-belly-ief fastrack to their blog.
SF Chefs. Food. Wine.
August 6-9, 2009
San Francisco, CA
||Saturday, August 1, 2009
We enjoyed our koalaty time in Melbourne and were surprised that security for our short flight to Sydney required zero identification and that we didn’t have to remove our shoes for x-raying.
Obsolete information led us to the location of a defunct Sydney restaurant where we fell into a conversation with a local who recommended one of his favorite everyday spots - we decided to go native and check out Bill and Toni’s.
There wasn’t a tourist in sight as we were led through a bustling dining room to our table:
A carafe of a watery, Tang-like beverage:
... and a basket of fresh, crust-subdued bread were placed before us. We examined these items and had a whispered discussion of whether we should bolt for the door or embrace the experience - we chose to stay for a meal which was presented without (but received with) irony.
Encountering this iceberg salad with Italian dressing:
... was like trekking through a mountainous region to be welcomed by a bellbottomed tribe untouched by modern influences.
Lasagna ($12.00 AUD):
... had an aggressively sweetened sauce and uniform texture that was beefaroni-esque. While the John Dory fish filets ($16.00 AUD):
... were unseasoned and cooked through. The scent betrayed their age in this carrot and chard trimmed platter.
This exercise in historical ingestion may not have pleased our palates, but we were distracted by the bizarre bites and friendly staff at this popular pasta preservation portal and we were reminded why we don’t talk to strangers.
This dinner was in keeping with today’s sightings of other popular portals with odd ingestion themes.
Bill and Toni’s
72-74 Stanley St.
East Sydney, AUS