Sunday, May 31, 2009

Foggy day, froggy day....


First off, I just need to say that the weather has been so weird......tomorrow is the first day of June and for the past few days the sky has been cloudy and the temperature chilly. I'm not saying I don't like it, but I like sunlight in the summer. It's cheerful. I don't like the heat though. Hopefully Thursday will be sunny, since that is the day my love should be coming to visit me! Ooooooh, what to cook, what to cook! ;)
Sorry that I haven't been posting lately, so lets get started! :)

This was lunch at Takara, a Japanese restaurant in Japantown, on Thursday. There was a little bowl of miso soup, green tea, a bowl of kitsune soba, and a bowl of Tanindon. It was a lunch combination set that was only $10. Very delicious as usual; I usually always order this when I go there. It's my two favorite Japanese foods together: noodles and donburi! I highly reccomend Takara, as it is an inexpensive but high quality restaurant in Japantown. :) My family loves this place too!

Then, I wanted to get a hazelnut gelato from Tango Gelato on Fillmore St so I walked over there before I left for home. I was kind of lonely though.......I miss eating gelato with my love.

I sat outside at a little table to take a picture, and a lady passing by saw and said something like: "And it'll taste great too!" I love how friendly some San Franciscans are. :)

On Friday I went out to Vietnamese food downtown with one of my oldest friends. We went to a little hole in the wall called Da Lat.

I, of course, ordered the Beef Pho with meatballs. The rice noodles were much thinner than what I am used to, but it was good. The broth was pretty flavorful, but I wish there had been more pieces of beef. The meatballs were okay. It was smaller than the bowls at Le Kims in Stockton, but I still got full.

My friend ordered a rice plate with barbecued pork and said they were tender, but that they were lying in a pool of oil/grease.....ewww. So, perhaps stay away from some of the rice plates. It's also pretty cheap; my bowl of pho was $6.95. But, Le Kims is still cheaper. ;)

Last Tuesday, when I came back from my love's house, my dad made pizza for dinner, which is my favorite. He probably knew I was sad at leaving A, so he wanted to cheer me up. :)

Here is the salami, cheese, and olive pizza.

And here is the Pizza Margherita. I didn't try this one because I got too full from eating from the other pizza! Soooo yummmy~~~~ Everything is homemade! I hope my dad makes this on Thursday! :D

At A's old house, there are quite a few fruit trees, such as an apricot tree, a cherry tree, a lemon tree, and a pear tree. We even discovered a berry bush last Monday. Here is a picture I took of the ripening cherries:

Such a beautiful house! I hope to try the cherries and apricots when they are ready someday!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To Stockton and back!

On Friday, I took the train back down to Stockton to spend the holiday weekend with my boyfriend. It was the first time we had seen each other since school ended and I was soooooo happy to see him! It felt so wonderful to be with him again! <3

There were family parties all weekend! My boyfriend (who I will refer to as A) and his family are Chinese, but his parents are from the Philipines. Thus, a lot of Philipino food is prepared. It's fun for me because I have never been exposed to that sort of food before. I always try everything, and food I don't like I give to A to finish for me. :D I didn't take a picture of the food because I was too shy; I am not altogther always comfortable around some of his family because I am the only non-Asian/Philipino person at the parties. But, I can describe it and I'll probably end up spelling everything wrong. :)

First of all, shrimp seens to be very much loved. It was in a vegetable dish with bitter melon, tiny green beans, a squash/pumpkin thing, and other veggies. I tried it, but didn't care for it. There was a dish with thick clear noodles, shrimp, sliced hard-boiled eggs, and other things that tasted too fishy for me. I think that dish is called Pancit, but I could be wrong. I also didn't like a vegetable dish where carrots, onions, tofu, ground beef, and other things are ground up very thin. It tastes somewhat sweet, and you can make put seaweed salt or peanut butter salt on it. I tried it with peanut butter salt and ate about half of the little roll of it I made.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed a sort of beef stew called Maki. It reminded me of egg drop soup, and there were tender beef pieces in it. The soup was poured onto thin egg noodles, and it was really yummy.......the broth was extremely gooey and thick though. I would love to learn how to make it! Of course, rice is always there, as is fried chicken, fish (salmon), beef (steak), and pork. Lots of meat, but not as many vegetables. Fresh fruit such as strawberries, grapes, and watermelon is always offered and I eat a lot of fruit. Going to those family parties helped me like fruit again. :)

Then, on Tuesday, A's mom made fried rice with Chinese sausage and bits of what tasted like hot dogs. It was delicious as usual. I love his mom's fried rice! I always end up eating a lot of it!

I had three bowls of this stuff before I came back home. Soooo goooooood.
So, I took the train back home late Tuesday afternoon. It was hard to leave. It was so much fun spending time with A again and just being with him makes me feel so fulfilled and happy. We spent so much time together just talking, watching movies, playing in the pool, playing basketball, eating, making music together, and so much more. Ahhhhh I can't wait to see my love again!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hisashiburi Japantown!

Yesterday, I was off to Japantown again to meet with a Japanese tutor for conversation. He was very nice and I think I am going to learn a lot from him! He was intent on helping me with grammar and made me repeat sentences, make new ones, and such. Hopefully that goes well. :)

When I finished meeting with him, I was startving. I wasn't sure where to eat, but I was in the mood for noodles. Walking down Kintetsu Mall through what I like to call the restaurant district, I looked in all the windows displaying the plastic food. One plastic bowl of noodles caught my eye at Mifune; it was called Toritoji, and was the chicken/egg/onion donburi mix on top of soba noodles. All of a sudden I knew I had to try it!

So I went in and was seated promptly, near one of the front windows where I could watch the passerby. Mifune is pretty popular and many people were dining happily in there, so there was a nice atmosphere. I was given an extremely hot cup of tea, and the waitress was very matter-of-fact and not too friendly. After looking through the money for the Toritoji soup, I found it and noticed that there was a beef version called Tanin. In the mood for the thin, delicious slices of beef used in Tanin, I ordered that. It didn't take too long to arrive, and when it did, it was very hot!

Complete with a little tray of oshinko (pickled vegetables), my meal looked so inviting! The soup was steaming and smelled so tasty! I had the option of ordering udon noodles, but I have been on a soba kick lately. Yumm~~~
Right when my soup came, I saw a friend from college! She came in to say hi to me, and we chatted a bit! It was so nice to see a familiar face! I miss everyone from college so much!

Here is a close-up of my soup:

So delicious! A wonderful blending of two of my favorite foods: noodles and donburi! I scarfed it down and went to pay. This was only $8.20, not too bad eh? I felt stuffed and happy afterwards, so it was worth it! ;)

Then, I went and grabbed a little European almond cupcake from Andersen Bakery, a delightful bakery located in Kintetsu mall right before you walk on the bridge if you enter from the front of the mall. I ended up eating it at home later because I went to Crossroads clothing store in the Fillmore after and bought some cute clothes!

I also took some pictures since it was such a lovely day. I love taking pictures of flowers and pretty places, such as Cottage Row. :)


1737 Post St

(between Buchanan St & Webster St)

San Francisco, CA 94115

Rating: 4 out of 5

Price range: $$

Tippies: Large menu and a nice little selection of lunch specials.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chick Chick Curry, Bicycles, and more

Aaaahhhh, yesterday was a rather busy Monday, but the temperature went down! I rode my bike down to my old high school to go talk with my Japanese teacher there. He invited me to lunch with him and wanted to talk to one of his classes about college and taking Japanese.

I wasn't too sure about what to expect, but I hoped it would go well. He and I have always gotten along well together and his Japanese classes were my favorite when I was in high school. I hated all my other classes.......high school was really lame. End of story. College is infinitely better!

Riding down to the school on my bike felt so exhilarating! I could smell the fresh scent of the trees and grass as I rode down the trail behind where I live. It's so convenient living right on a trail! I breathed it all in and realized that I've been smelling that scent all my life, even since I'd been going to parks and trails in the Bay Area. So nice and nostalgic~~

Of course, as I reached downtown and rode behind Safeway, that scent was replaced by the stench of heated garbage from dumpsters and car exhaust. Welcome to modernity.

Lunch was fun; my teacher and I talked about college and what's been going on in my life. It's amazing though; I could really tell how much I have changed! I even had fun speaking to his 5th period class. They asked a lot of questions and were polite and friendly.

My teacher had gotten me a sandwich from Whole Foods, which is a rather upscale, healthy grocery store. I don't think there is one in Stockton. Anyway, the sandwich tasted really fresh and yummy! I wasn't aware of all the cool things you can choose to be put in your sandwich at Whole Foods though, so this sandwich only has turkey, spinach, lettuce, onions, and cheddar cheese on sourdough bread. Apparently, you can choose from spreads like garlic aioli, hummus, basil pesto, and more! I really want to go to Whole Foods and try some of those spreads someday......

I left the school around 1 and went to my Grandma's house to help her out with some cleaning. Then, I went back home and relaxed.

For dinner, my father made chicken curry with carrots and chickpeas. He said it was his own invention and we now call it Chick Chick Curry!

However, it was too spicy for me. :( My dad accidentally poured in too much curry, so it was stronger than I am used to. It was tasty though, and the chickpeas added a nice texture and smooth flavor to it.

So, that was my day yesterday! Today has been chill; I got back from work not too long ago and I am tired! I wasn't feeling too good from the curry, so I didn't sleep very well. Ah well, it's summertime....time for relaxing!

Also, here is a cute picture I wanted to post because it makes me smile. Here it is, especially for my love! ;)

Tofu, showing off her tres cool nerd glasses! xD

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Om Nom Nom Saturday!

This morning, my father made me breakfast in bed! It was really delicious! My sister brought it out to me and I gazed on it with happiness in my heart and hunger in my eyes.

Breakfast consisted of a croissant filled with sharp white cheddar cheese and sliced deli ham that had been broiled in the oven. The cheese had melted and the croissant was faintly crispy. Accompanying this delightful meal was a mug of orange and mango juice. So good and refreshing! I was joined by my cute friends Ume (the turtle) and Tofu (the square sunflower tofu thing). It was a lovely morning, even though later I finished Donald Richie's latest (and perhaps last) book, which was a bittersweet feeling. I love reading, and finishing good books is a little sad.

Scooter, my tortoise, also had a treat this morning! My father gave her an old tomato he found in the fridge, and she happily started munching away. That's my girl! :)

Lunch was good; I had leftovers from Wednesday night's dinner, which was an Ethiopian chicken stew called Doro Wat. I should have taken pictures on Wednesday, but I had just gotten back home and was feeling tired. Instead of traditionally eating Doro Wat with a sort of flatbread called Injera, we improvise and eat it with rice, which compliments it very well since it soaks up the sauce. Also, hard-boiled eggs are thrown into the stew while it cooks, but there weren't any leftover for me. :(

Doro Wat is full of spices, onions, eggs, and chicken (usually legs and thighs, though I like it with breast meat as well). In Ethiopian cooking, there is a spice mixture used for practically everything known as Berbere. I am not sure what exactly is in it, but it's very strong and can be too spicy if a lot is used. My dad doesn't use very much when cooking because I am sensitive to spicy foods.

Thus, that was part of my food-filled Saturday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Quest to Make the Best Ramen Begins!

I still can't really believe I am home from college right now; I am trying to get used to having nothing to do! :D
So, for lunch today my father wanted me to make Miso Ramen. It was rather simple to make, since we are still trying to figure out the best recipe for it. All we did was boil chicken broth and the noodles. Then, I added two heaping spoonfuls of Shiro Miso paste (white miso), which is a mild miso paste. There is also Aka Miso (red miso) which is a lot stronger and I personally don't like it. I diluted the paste in a bowl with some chicken broth and then added it to the other chicken broth on the stove.

I cut up some tofu since we didn't have any other meats ready, and I sliced green onions, which adds a fresh, oniony flavor to the soup. I was dissappointed that we were out of eggs though......the hard-boiled egg is my favorite part of the soup!

So this is what it came out to look like. Not perfectly Ramen-esque, but I'm trying! Next i am going to add more ingredients, but this was just a quick summer lunch. My dad was disappointed with the broth and kept adding Soba-tsuyu sauce and Soy sause to it! It helped a bit, but the flavor of the broth wasn't bad, it just wasn't explode-in-your-mouth flavorful. I think my dad wanted the broth to taste like dashi, which is kind of fishy......not my thing.....

This bowl is full of more broth, with added shoyu and a tiny bit of dashi (at the urging of my father). It tasted sharper, but my dad poured so much soba-tsuyu in his bowl that it was overwhelming!

Thus, there is my first attempt. My dad declared that this summer will be the quest for the best homemade ramen! So I need to start cracking! Any tips?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Suzu Noodle House

Wanting to get away from the cluttered confines of my room on my first day of summer vacation, I got a ride from my father to Japantown in San Francisco! Japantown has been one of my favorite places to go since I was a child, and to spend my morning there today was rather relaxing, even though I kept thinking of all the people I left behind......

Since I haven't started working yet and don't have too much money, I walked around the Kintetsu and Miyako malls and looked into my favorite stores. I think I've really learned how to manage my money. I did buy a few things, but I didn't spend an extravagant amount like I used to. Eager to try a new restaurant, I peered at some menus and decided to eat at Suzu Noodle House. I'd eaten there once before about a year and a half ago, and thought their ramen was pretty tasty.

I was alone for lunch, and was seated outside at a little wooden table. The view was interesting; Suzu Noodle House is downstairs and has a perfect view of people coming down the stairs and meandering around. Perfect for people-watching. The service was rather prompt and nice; I received a free cup of tea as I sat down that was refilled a few times. The tea was deep brown and tasted like mugi-cha, which is barley tea. It was hot and refreshing! I was worried the waitresses would forget about me since I was outside, but they never did.

I was in the mood for a lunch combination, which is always a good deal in Japantown. I ordered the Tonkatsu Noodle combination, which consisted of a little bowl of tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) over rice and a bowl of noodles. I had three options: udon (thick white noodles), soba (thin buckwheat noodles), or ramen (thin Chinese noodles). The noodles could be served either hot or cold. I chose hot soba noodles.

The noodles and tonkatsu came quickly! The noodles were steaming hot; they tasted soft but fresh. Green onion and little clumps of tempura batter floated around. The little bowl of tonkatsu hit the spot; it was light, tasty, and fresh. I was very satisfied with my meal, and the fact that there are many options to choose from makes it a restaurant I would want to visit again. The prices aren't too high; my meal was $9.95, yet for a dollar more I could have had chicken katsu, which I find strange....why charge an extra dollar for chicken?

However, I understand why this place is crowded on the weekends for lunch. Luckily, today is Thursday and it wasn't crowded at all. Be sure to get there early if you do go on the weekend!

Suzu Noodle House
1825 Post Street
(between Fillmore St & Webster St)
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-5083

Rating: 4 out of 5
Prices: $$
Tippies: Go for the lunch combinations! :) And check out all the different kinds of Ramen they serve!