Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tip of the Day

The other night I made "kitchen cupboard" pasta. Aka, I boiled some linguine and tossed it with some of the cooking liquid, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, parmesan, gruyere, and a chiffonade of basil. I took a bite and it seemed a bit bland. I thought, oh, crushed red pepper, that will add the necessary kick! So, I added some, crushed it between my fingers, rinsed my hands, and set down my steaming bowl. I was going to relax into whatever was on my DVR at the moment when I realized my eyes were feeling a bit dry. So I ran into the bathroom to take out my contacts and put on my glasses before I began dinner. I reached into my eye ball with my fingers and... OW! Water does NOT rinse the hot pepper oils of your finger tips, let me tell you. (My eyes are actually watering as I write this). I instantly started rinsing my eye under cold water and had a lovely pink eye for the rest of the night (I used my other hand to take out my other contact. At least I catch on quickly).
Oh, and throw that contact out. A night of marinating in saline solution and pepper oils does nothing to ease the pain.
There is my tip of the day. More like a tip for a lifetime.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bloggers Unite at Blue Jay Cafe

So, there I was on Saturday morning (alright, it was past noon) at the Blue Jay cafe on Divisadero, eating a chicken sandwich and gossiping with my two girlfriends, both named Nicole, about the events from the night before, and lo and behold. The woman at the table next to us takes out an ENORMOUS camera and starts photographing the crab benedict and biscuits and gravy that have been set down on her table. The Nicoles made strange faces and said, um, that is very odd. I on the other hand knew exactly what she was doing! She was taking photographic evidence for her food blog (mind you, these are all assumptions). So, we are taking over the world, one restaurant, one dish, and one photo at a time. Mystery blogger/photographer, who are you? And why didn't I strike up a neighborly, bloggerly conversation? (I just made up that word, what do we think??)
Anyway, I was shy, and should have said hi. (Oh, now the writing skills are really coming out!) But I was too immersed in my chicken salad sandwich with cheddar cheese (minus the bacon) to really figure it out. Now, I love Blue Jay. They have great omelets and eggs, amazing biscuits, and good salads. I wouldn't order the chicken salad sandwich. It's just sort of... odd. I think that there is curry on it. And the toast didn't match up. I have no idea where the matching tops to my sandwich went, but the pieces of toast that were atop my sandwich were in no way the same shape as those that were on the underside of sandwich. Hmmmm. Strange things going on at Blue Jay. Anyway, run in there on the weekend or any night of the week. Enjoy your eggs. Caution the chicken salad...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fillmore 1300, mmmmm

Walking into Fillmore 1300 is always a welcoming experience for me. The restaurant is so warmly decorated and I like all the different rooms. Plus my friend Dave is the general manager and therefore I get treated probably a little better than the average customer. Well, one of my best friends broke up with her boyfriend so my roommate and I decided that we could either have her come over and we could all sit on the couch and moan, or we could get dressed up and go out to a nice meal (actually, after a can of Tecate, I think this was my suggestion). So the three of us waltzed down the street and into the lovely arms of Dave and his Fillmore 1300 staff.

The evening began with an amuse bouche. This was a small piece of polenta with a roasted red pepper, etc. It was delicious, and quite a musing for my bouche. It was washed down with a lovely pinot noir that Tony, the sommelier, helped us choose. I didn't order a main course this particular evening, I had already eaten quite a lot that day and was not starving. But I did partake in the brussel sprouts that we ordered for the table, as well as the yummy cornbread with pepper jam and butter. I also had a salad of arugula, fennel, endive, apples, walnuts and a champagne viniagrette which I did not submit to photographic memory for some reason.
Now, the best part of this meal was the dessert, which was a surprise and gift from Dave. He sent us four desserts, each one better than the next. We had the sorbet and petite fours, the Bananas Foster Fillmore, the Chocolate Beignets, and one more that I cannot remember. What I do remember is that they were all amazing. And I am not a huge sweets person, as I have said in the past, but I tasted and enjoyed every single dessert. (My lack of memory comes from the fact that this meal was now 10 days ago, a little late on the post, my bad).
I really like this restaurant every time I go. Katie's fried chicken was delicious, the bite I had, and I really like the homage to the jazz age of the Fillmore district and its respect of history. My only complaint would be that every time I walked out of the bathroom I slipped on the hard wood in the hallway, but it is quite possible that is my fault, as I am known for my klutziness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Introduction to Korean Food

Recently I was out visiting my roommate at the restaurant where she works, the new Yoshi's on Fillmore Street (don't worry, I will discuss this soon...). So when Alyssa finished her shift, we decided to head down the street to a Korean restaurant that stays open very late. How late, I have no idea what the actual hours are, but I know we were there past 1am, and yes, it was a Thursday. Now, I will say this, I do not actually know what I ate this evening. I do not believe that I have ever eaten Korean food before, and although one would assume I would know what I was eating because I ordered it, when Alyssa and I arrived at the restaurant the food was already set out on the table (that's a story that I won't include in this forum).
What I do know was that there was a bowl of this sauce that was very very salty and peppery but I actually cannot say if it was oil, or butter or what material it was whatsoever. Terrible I know. It was delicious to dip rice into, though. The favorite of the evening was the cellophane noodles. This is to be expected from me as I am a carbohydrate junkie and I pretty much like any noodle dish.

There were also crescent moons filled with chicken (? I hope) that were lovely to dip into the mystery sauce. I am not much of a meat eater. Understatement, I don't eat red meat or pork (yes, some may decry my authenticity as someone who loves food, but give me a break, we can go into that later). But these crunchy bites were also delicious, but I must say that if you deep fry some sort of dough with a savory filling and then dip it into a salty sauce, it is bound to taste good!

But the gizzards, the gizzards, oh my! I recently saw a show on the Food Network, Diners Drive-Ins, and Dives, where Guy went to a restaurant that specialized in chicken gizzards. So I had been recently well versed in a) what the heck a gizzard is and b) how one prepares said gizzards. I know that there is a lot of boiling, etc involved so as to soften the gizzard and make it edible. Now, I know that I have never lived in a society where we must utilize every aspect of each animal we kill. In fact, if I had never been to a petting zoo, I may have never even seen a live chicken before and would have no idea that the pink, shiny, slippery things that I pick up from my butcher have anything to do with an animal with feathers. (Correction- do they have chickens at petting zoos?? As soon as I wrote it it occurred to me that they do not. So, I remember as a child a girl I was friends with lived in Berkeley and they had chickens in the back yard. So I do have a live chicken memory, as dusty as it may be.) Anyway, I am not sure if I need to eat every part of every animal. There are plenty of people out there who like liver and tripe and sweetbreads (it has always seemed like such a contradictory term for what they are. When I was little I used to think, ooh, sweetbreads. I like sweet, I like bread, what could be wrong there? Well, a lot!) (Also, see- )

All that said, I shoved a gizzard in my mouth with the surrounding green peppers and onions, quite possibly my two least favorite vegetables. Um... it was chewy. Not chewy bad, but I have to admit, not chewy good either. Well, it was my only bite. I am proud that I tasted it and was more of a food adventurer, but I cannot say I will order the dish on my own volition.
The plum wine was good though!!

I am not a specialist in the world of Korean food after my singular experience, but I will say I want to return to the restaurant and try different dishes. And as it is close to home and open late, I am sure that I will soon. More pictures and thoughts to come on this cuisine in the future...