As you guys already know, I like to take my camera around everywhere I go and capture the moment. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve found that I’m falling out of the habit and it’s just so much easier to live in the moment. I’ve always battled between whether or not I should bother taking time out of enjoying myself to capture the moment.
Pictures are nice, but videos capture the mood so well and can really allow people to relive the moment. This is more so for myself than for anyone else, but I’m trying to get into the habit of vlogging on my traveling adventures. Vlogging really isn’t easy though – from capturing content during the time of the trip, rewatching your clips and awkward self (xD) a million times, deciding what content is quality and sharable content, and putting it all together in one clip. The most satisfying though, is when the video is compiled all together – and rewatching the entire length of the video is like being in the moment all over again.
Since there are so many things that I like doing on my spare time (of course, blogging as one of them). I thought it was still slightly relevant since there are lots of clips of eating involved with the vlog. So without any further ado, I would like to share my first (and very late) ever vlog of my friends and I traveling around Japan! This includes – Tokyo, Sapporo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Please enjoy our adventure in 2015 and let me know if you would like any detail reviews on any area specifically! We ate and tried a lot of cool stuff. Here’s just a little sneak peak of some good food that I would really recommend you hit up if you ever have a chance!
I’ve finally got some time around to stick around home, back in NorCal. Over the weekend, we decided to take advantage of this weekend and head over to the beautiful city of SF.
The original intent was to go visit the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, but it was too gloomy and cold that we decided to keep the activities more indoor. For those of you who don’t know, the event runs this week as well, until tomorrow 4/17 5pm in Japantown! Make your way if you have time and are in the area, it is a beautiful and lively festival!
Back to business…food! Like I mentioned, it was cold and gloomy, and was getting late, so we were hopping around the main Market/Westfield area trying to find some food. Which is where we stumbled across a “secret” inside street (not exposed to any street roads) Yerba Buena Lane. This street hosts a couple of restaurants, Delarosa being one of them.
The nice thing about it was that there was no wait to be seated during the peak hours of a weekend. The restaurant is a casual, lively restaurant with a nice ambiance. I would recommend this restaurant for an occasion with friends. Another note about this restaurant is that although it is an Italian restaurant, all if not most of the items are portioned smaller, similar to tapas.
Upon looking at the different food rating apps, it seems that everyone was raving about the honey bruschetta. So, we did! And boy, was it a good decision! This is the true definition where sweet meets savory. With a load of olive oil smothered on the sourdough bread (which was the only thing which I was meh about), there was a slab of mozzarella (YUMM) drizzled with some hazelnuts and pepper. This was where complimentary things really came together!
We ordered a couple of pastas after, my choice was the crab linguine. However, I think I end up preferring the pappardelle and chicken parmesan dish better. The linguine dish is light in flavour and mildly bland for me, since it was mostly spices and no sauce. But, I did enjoy each bite of meaty crab! All the pastas were well made, cooked to al dente. The red sauce in the other two dishes were really tasty and bold in flavour.
The last thing we got was a simple magherita pizza. Ingredients are quality and simple. To be frank, I think this is the aspect of food enjoyment that I still need to learn to enjoy. Although a classic, I couldn’t really find justice for the plate I was paying for. However, the pizza was made with care, basil evenly placed, olive oil carefully outlining the tomato sauce. The dough was also very thin, but I found the crust a bit big. Nonetheless, it’s very photogenic🙂.
I think this restaurant has a lot of vibrance and is a great selection for people to try different foods, but I would say proportion for price is a little unbalanced. However, I’ve always got to keep in mind that I am eating in a restaurant in San Francisco, where standard of living is generally higher than other places. All in all, it was a good experience and I enjoyed my meal fed by Delarosa.
As a sucker for dumplings, I was super stoked to make my trip to Din Tai Fung.
Din Tai Fung is a very renowned restaurant most well known for their soup dumplings, aka. xiao long bao, originally located in Taiwan. Today, we can find several branches of this restaurant all over the world. If you’re local to the Bay Area and haven’t heard already, they’re opening a branch in Santa Clara inside Westfield Valley Fair very soon. And as for me, as I’m on another work excursion, I’ve found myself in OC in close proximity to a Din Tai Fung. How can I turn down such an opportunity?
This particular branch is located in Costa Mesa, inside the South Coast Plaza shopping mall. As for today’s review, it’ll be a bit different than usual because I ordered takeout as opposed to eating in. I decided to dodge the lines, as I’ve heard every branch has approximately an hour wait . I’m also not too keen on eating alone in restaurants (not that there is problem with that though…props to you if you do it!!). One quick tip if you decide to follow my route and do takeout, they do take orders over the phone. They don’t take reservations, though. So what I did was call in with my order and then drop by 20 minutes later to pick it up.
What I found amusing inside the restaurant was the area where you see the chefs make the soup dumplings. The process of creating the dumplings is very precise, from dumpling dough wrapper to the filling! Everything was measured on a scale to ensure consistent weight before proceeding.
Now, onto the food! I ordered a number of things. Let me start with the most anticipated item. The truffle and pork xiao long bao’s. I was most curious about this item, seeing that it was the most expensive ($22.5) item for the least amount (5 pc) of food. I guess, I am not too familiar with fancy ingredients, and truffle is definitely up there on the list. The dumpling remained soupy, enclosed by the thin and sturdy dumpling wrapper. The truffle was infused into the pork meat, with an occasional crunch from a large piece of truffle. The flavour was light yet the aroma was strong. I wouldn’t recommend dipping this in vinegar in order to taste the truffle flavour. The verdict for this is that it was interesting to try. However, if you’re here to be full and stay in budget, I would refrain from ordering this. I probably would NOT order this again if I were to come back.
Since this is known for their soup dumplings, of course one plate is not enough. I also ordered a serving of crab and pork xiao long bao’s. This one was a lot reasonable in price, 10pc for $11.5. The divvy of ingredients for each dumpling was 1/3 crab and 2/3 pork. The flavour was light with a hint of seafood flavour. Unlike the truffle dumpling, I recommend dipping this in vinegar. To me, it was so light it was almost borderline bland. Another critical point is that wrapper is so thin on the sides, I found the center which holds the wrapper together was hard and extremely doughy, which I didn’t really like (although this may have been because I did takeout and didn’t eat this immediately which resulted it to be cold).
On the side, I ordered some spinach to keep some green in my life. Kids, don’t forget to eat your greens! Haha. This was a typical Chinese dish, spinach and garlic. I originally tried to order the spinach with bean curd & wine, but this location was no longer making that dish😦.
And to top off this enormous order for one, I present the most delicious item! Wontons in spicy sauce! A Taiwanese friend told me this was actually his favourite dish from the whole restaurant and I completely agree. I was originally debating if I should order it since I can’t handle spicy food, but after telling waitress to put in a note to try to lighten up on the spicy oil, I sure am glad I ordered it. The wontons had that fresh-shrimp-bounchy-crunchy texture, if you know what I’m talking about. The sauce was a pow in the face, flavourful, sweet and spicy sauce. I chowed this down so quick I didn’t even realize I finished it!
All in all, it was a fun experience, and the soup dumplings were not a letdown seeing that the wrappers were thin and there was lots of soup inside. If any improvements, I just wish there was a bit more flavour in the soup. The wontons in spicy sauce are also a MUST GET.
I’m be looking forward to the opening in the Santa Clara branch! Maybe there will be a comparison in food between the difference locations🙂.
It’s been a while since I’ve last posted (eek, in 2015!), but life has been very busy and I’ve been doing a lot of traveling for work. But by all means, that means…more opportunities to try out some fancy food spots!
This time, I’ve made my way all the way to Seattle, with the greatest anticipation of making a visit to Chef Shiro, the disciple of well known Chef Jiro of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. If you guys haven’t had a chance to check out the movie, it’s a must watch! It demonstrates the beauty of sushi-making and emphasizes the complexities and aspects of sushi that are not often acknowledged. Haha, I mean, let’s be real, sometimes it’s hard to see beyond a piece of raw fish slabbed over a small rice ball.
To provide a little bit of background, this restaurant is in Seattle. In fact, the original restaurant was called “Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant”. This was where I had originally planned to go to. Fortunately, a local told me that Chef Shiro doesn’t actually serve sushi at that restaurant anymore! Ironic, given it’s name, right?! After some further investigation, I found that he recently opened a new restaurant, which is *drum roll please*….Sushi Kashiba! And if you are interested in SEEING Chef Shiro, he has Tuesday’s off..so don’t go on a Tuesday if you care to see him!
The atmosphere was surprisingly Americanized, I found. There were also a ton of people, which was a lot noisier than what I had expected. In terms of dress code, I would recommend looking you know, presentable. There were quite a number of business casual dressed people. And for you people going on dates, this the perfect place😉.
Ok, time to cut the chit chat, let’s get into the actual meal. We all ordered the Seattle Sushi dinner each, which comprises of 11 different nigiri’s along with daily rolls and some chef selected appetizers and dessert.
The appetizer consisted of two different dishes. First came a sampler dish, comprising of a compilation of conch & broccolini and a the other being a bite of red snapper gelatin fat jello served over a slice of cucumber. I’m not such a big fan of conch to begin with, but that bite definitely had a punch of several textures. The snapper gelatin, on the other hand, was super delish! If I had to describe it as another food, it’s almost similar to the Chinese cold cut turkey gelatin, but with red snapper! I love fish, and the gelatin melted in my mouth with the soft perfectly cooked texture of fish. I wish I had more than just one of those on my plate😥.
Following the sampler plate came the salad which was what the chef named “New York Chowder Salad”. The base of the salad was made of prosciutto. The clams were topped over the salad with some braised leeks, fried onion rings drizzled with a creamy sauce and accompanied with some tomato jam. I found this very light and delicious! I’m not a big fan of salads but I managed to finish this no problem. Though, the fact that I loooooove prosciutto helped a lot, hehe.
And the long awaited! Main course! We were all so stoked for these to come! For those who don’t know, nigiri is style of preparation of sushi with, usually, a slice of fish over a ball of sushi rice. If served properly and traditionally, nigiri should contain a small slab of wasabi between the fish and rice, glazed with a brush of soy sauce. With that said, it should not require any additional dipping of wasabi/soy sauce. We were served two rounds of nigiri’s.
For the first plate, the fish was mostly comprised of the tuna selection with a few additional fish. We were told to eat them from left to right, top to bottom. Throughout our journey of this dish, we found that the fish textures went from left to right, soft to bold/thicker/meatier. My favourite, no question, was the fattiest tuna, toro. It was so creamy and buttery, it literally melted once it entered my mouth!
The second dish, comprised of a larger variety of fish. The server also introduced us to where the seafood was originally from – ranging from the Americas, to Europe, to Japan itself. Salmon, which is always my go-to sushi, and never a letdown. I also loved the fresh water eel. The daily rolls, though, were kinda meh. I’m not that big of maki rolls, especially “spicy”anything roll. I guess it just doesn’t come off as very classic to me.
A lot was going on, because even after, we were served dessert! So many mini courses, right? Haha, well, dessert was quite simple, ending with a warm toasty miso soup and a sweet tamagoyaki. It’s hard to make a standout miso soup, but this was good thanks to the tofu. It was extremely smooth. The tamagoyaki, also the last thing I ate, was so satisfying! What a great finale to a memorable meal. The presentation of the egg was so cute, cut in half, in a very clean brick shape. The texture of the egg was also very dense but fluffy, if that even makes sense. Aside from the texture, the flavour was also a lot sweeter than usual tamagoyaki. This really was a good cherry on top of a sundae.
And that ends the entire meal! This tallied up to a total of $75 USD + tax, which I find it really reasonable given that it is sushi served by a renowned chef. One last tip, I strongly recommend making reservations. It was extremely crowded even on a weekday night, even at 8:30pm. You don’t need to make reservations a lot in advance, I changed mine a couple of times even the day before my reservation. As busy as the restaurant is, I was surprised to see that they even take reservations! So make them to guarantee your spot!
Hope you guys had as much fun as me during your visit!
Hey munchkins! Today is another episode of fooding in the brunch genre, in San Francisco. On a weekend where I went to the city to visit my friend in the city, we decided to stop for brunch at such a place. It’s in a super convenient location in the suburbs of Outer Sunset district which makes it super convenient to get to if you’re from there locally. It’s also right by the cost of the Pacific Ocean, so it’s a pretty sweet combo to hit up the beach to relax and catch the waves after such a meal, haha, then again I guess hence the name “Beachside”.
The interior of the cafe is actually really small. The way it works is similar to just take out where you order first, pay, and get a number stand. After, you can look, depending on your preference, for a table indoor or outdoor. It’s all up free for grabs!
One thing that you may want to bare in mind is NOT to secure a table before ordering. A and I tried doing that and the people ahead of us were not very happy, expressing that it is a bit inconsiderate for people who are ahead waiting and did not have a table…and suggesting the table would have been theirs. Regardless, it’s really not that big of a deal, the tables free up fairly quickly, so the system works out well.
We are benedict junkies so for a heads up, the menu is not restricted to benedicts, but ohhhh trust me, they are gooooood. A ordered the classic Beachside benedict along with a iced coffee to freshen up the morning. I, on the other hand, opted for the more vegetarian option, florentine benedict.
The coffee wasn’t the star, of course…it was just a nice way to freshen up a gloomy day and get motivated. Here’s me just trying to be artsy fartsy with my camera.
I’m always a sucker for benedicts, and I really enjoyed my choice. The yogurt sauce along with the fried spinach was a good combination of flavours that went well with english muffin and poached eggs. The tomatoes also add a touch of freshness to the entire meal which makes me feel like I had too clear of a meal, prepping me for the entire day.
The beachside benedict came with english muffin and bacon, drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Although I’m not too big of a bacon fan I found the flavour light and a good combination of all the ingredients. A is a pepper and salt addict, which after trying it with and without it I found it necessary with just a light touch of pepper and no salt since the bacon itself is salty to begin with.
One great thing that came with both our dishes that we didn’t expect to be so great were the hashcakes. A mix combination between hash browns and tater tots, the hashcakes were so dense and moist on the inside while maintaining a crusty exterior. The potatoes were very rich in flavour and a bite of the hashcakes was different than any other another hashbrown texture that I’ve ever had in the past. A and I both enjoyed eating them a lot🙂.
The restaurant in general was very homey and small but cute. One downside I would say about the little restaurants that are around is that although it’s super convenient to get to, it can get quite crowded pretty easily. Although it gets quite busy, tables become available for seating at a reasonable amount of time. Our meal was around $30 in total, which I think is decent for eating in the city.
I would definitely recommend coming here if you are looking for some breakfasty food in a local suburban area! Don’t forget to visit the beach that faces the Pacific ocean after! The beach is calming and beautiful!
After moving to California, I’ve always been amazed by how great the weather is (despite being in a drought), and sunny weather really is great because it motivates me to get off my butt and go somewhere more “adventurous”…which leads to the purpose of today’s post.
A couple of friends and I decided to be a little more active and we spent the train in the city to bike across the staple icon of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, if you are a tourist or live in NorCal, I highly recommend it! The weather is always extremely co-operative and the agenda for biking works so well for an entire day activity, with lots of photo spots, stopping by to capture the beautiful weather and scenery, and of course, hitting up the good food spots.
Upon biking across the bridge into the city of Sausilito in the blazing afternoon, the workout was really calling for some refueling of food. The bike between after the bridge and into the city was the most tiring..my legs felt like they were jello! I decided I wanted me some good food as a reward, which brought us to Fast Food Francais.
I guess one thing that hinders people from finding this place is that most people are here for the view rather than the food, so they hit up spots with a great view of the water. Not to say that the vibe at Fast Food Francais wasn’t good though, it was really nice to just sit outside, relax in the quiet chill neighbourhood with some good food.
To start things off, we ordered some appetizers, which really set the bar quite high, specifically those potato totes (or pommes dauphines if we’re being french..haha). I wish I had a picture of them after they’re split in half, but the crunchy outer appearance really fools you…GOOD! The insides are filled with creamy mashed goodness that makes you wonder how they got the outside so crunchy and light to begin with. The combination of light slightly bitter brussel sprout chips with the fries/potato totes really kicked it off to a good start.
The charcuterie platter was pretty good too! I would say it’s a pretty good portion size for it’s money’s worth and although pate isn’t really my thing, I managed to appreciate it balanced as a spread on the bread. The other sausage (which is out of focus ._.), which I’m guessing is the chorizo was a bit spicy, so not for my palette, but I really enjoyed the other sausage slices.
Not sure if it was only me, but I found it a bit funky that this place served burgers. My friends and I all agreed that we weren’t really in the mood for burgers but at the end of our meal, we all changed men – we loved them! We ordered different burgers, each of which we said were all good. Juicy (and I mean JUICY), soft, cooked to order, and high in quality, these burgers were some gourmet! The most “french” resembling burger that I would say is the French Onion burger, which was also my favourite. The beef patty was made to perfection, medium rare in our case, and all burgers were not overwhelmed in sauce but managed to ‘sauced’ to perfection.
Although I didn’t really try this burger, T said that he really felt that this burger really brought out the bacon flavour in the burger, which isn’t common. There was a good balance of flavour between all the different ingredients.
I had the quack burger. The duck confit was really soft and tender, which I enjoyed a lot, seeing that it’s not conventional to have a duck confit burger. One thing I would have wished wasn’t so overpowering was the goat cheese, I think it was, which I found overpowered the flavour of duck.
My personal favourite was the french onion burger, which I also found was a good representation of France and their french onion soup. I looooved the gooey cheese that accompanied every bite of the burger, saucy burgers are always a plus for me.
All in all, we were all stuffed at the end of the meal, and satisfied. It was a delightful surprise and hidden behind the tourist area, in a quiet but hip street. I would definitely recommend if food > view if you’re ever in Sausilito!
Where do I begin with brunches in the city? During our weekend in the city, I just craved some warm and wakening food to make up for the cloudy chilly morning. And being in Mission really doesn’t make it hard to find a good place that hits the spot.
Not too far from where we were staying we found an awesome brunch location, Mission Beach Cafe! It’s not in a busy intersection, more within the suburbs of the city (if that counts…), and this place is really popping with a huge line and a fun atmosphere of friends and families, if ya know what I mean.
We probably waited around 30 minutes for a table of two, but I wouldn’t mind doing it again (that’s how worth it it was😀). Although the seating arrangement is quite tight, I wouldn’t blame them – they just want to keep customers happy and service as many as they could. I wouldn’t say you are in the most spacious place when you’re seated, and everyone is chittery chattery, which I myself didn’t mind, but if you’re looking for a calm quiet place then you may want to pay this place a visit when you’re more accepting haha.
We started off with a very necessary cup of coffee, hot and toasty, followed with our two entrees, eggs benedicts and huevos with tortilla chips.
I loooove runny eggs, so obviously those egg benedict were mine. The truffle sauce was so flavourful yet not overpowering, and it was really a good combination with the egg yolk. Mmm, just thinking about makes me want to go back already. A mouthful of that along with the mushroom and spinach was really the cherry on top. And, honestly, how could I leave out the potatoes. These home-cut potatoes were seasoned so well and baked so well it was almost as good as the main item on the plate. N definitely enjoyed those a lot…he kept stealing them off my place…haha.
To be honest though, N’s dish was just neutral to me. I think I just thought it was strange to be eating tortilla for brunch. I may be completely wrong though, tell me otherwise if you guys have had tortilla chips for brunch! This dish was a lot more bold than the dish I had ordered, with very vibrant flavours, and I really loved the salsa and guac. I guess this wasn’t as attractive to me as my own because the egg in this dish was cooked quite thoroughly and my poor tolerance in spiciness made me quite biased. Regardless, if you are a bold flavour type-a-person I’m sure you’ll dig this😉.
I really enjoyed being here, and I really felt like I was in the whole San Francisco laid back afternoon grabbing a brunch type of mood, which was really nice! Haha, not sure if that really meant anything…but what I’m trying to say is that I enjoyed my experience here and I would definitely recommend you all to try it if you have a chance!!