Thursday, December 25, 2014


Southern food is not really my favorite food.  The food is just too heavy and low on the vegetable/high fiber component.  I'm not a healthnut really, but I prefer balance in my diet and Southern food represents everything wrong with the American diet in this country.  So you'll rarely see my seek out Southern food, which might explain why Screendoor was never high on my priority list in Portland.  It also did not help that the wait for weekend brunch can easily exceed an hour.  Big Spoon joined The Gunner and I for a delightful brunch on an unsurprisingly grey Saturday morning when the wait was less than 30 minutes.  Score!

Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich house smoked pork shoulder, creamy coleslaw, toasted bun
People go crazy for pulled pork, and now I know why.  This sh*t was BOMB.  The coleslaw and pork were a perfect combination of sweet, salt, tang, crunch.  Our waiter said he's worked at the restaurant for 8 years and he ate this everyday for the first couple years.  It was that good.  Between the 3 of us, I ate half.  My only ding was that the bottom bun got soaked with grease pretty fast.

Does anybody notice anything wrong with this picture??
If you guessed that half the diners in the party were busy on their phones or taking pics, then you have valid point.  But the common denominator is this bad boy.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014


The Gunner and Perpetually Underwhelmed spoke very highly of Holdfast, a pop up dining experience to recently enter the culinary scene in Portland.  Pop ups are fun, but they can be unpredictable.  There's a lot of experimentation that goes into any given night's menu.  Sometimes items are being served for the first time, which can result in something spectacular or something poorly executed.  Holdfast has been holding steady in KitchenCru, which is a rentable kitchen space near the Pearl District.  It does not make for the best dining ambiance, but the pop up is more about the food than service or experience.  For $90 we had a 9 course meal with 5 wines. 

Crab beet, horseradish, dill
We started off the meal nice and light, a little crab salad topped with thinly shaved beets, drizzled with beet sauce.  I don't believe I've had beets and crabs paired together.  More dill would have elevated the dish.  
Razor Clam fennel, apple, sauerkraut
Another refreshing combination of flavors with ingredients never tried together by myself.  Some parts of the poached razor clams were off-puttingly fishy.  Apples and fennel are always good together.  All together, I'm not sure if these ingredients really sung.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lauretta Jean's

I love me some pie, but only the fruity ones.  I never ate pecan pie, pumpkin pie, or banana cream pie, just to name a few, growing up.  It's a strange concept to pair a flakey pie crust with the aforementioned ingredients.  I love the contrast of a tart tangy fruit with a slightly sweet buttery pie crust.  It's a match made in heaven when in my mouth and tummy.  I never got to check out Lauretta Jean's when I lived in Portland.  After a comforting lunch at Sen Yai where I was sufficiently satisfied, though not horribly stuffed, The Gunner informed me Lauretta Jean's was but a hop skip and a jump away.  Even though I knew I only wanted a few bites of anything and the rest would be boxed up, I just had to go and order more than I could eat alone.  The Gunner didn't plan on partaking too much.

They have a varied selection of baked goods beyond pie.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sen Yai

Andy Ricker's fame has spread beyond the confines of grey-ass, gloomy-ass Portland.  Who would have ever thought a white man could create this burgeoning Thai food empire from one of the less Asian influenced cities in this country?  If you won't take my word for it, believe me when I say even Thai people (Verde and Perpetually Underwhelmed included) love his food and give it their seal of authenticity.  He started off with a window that sold chicken wings, to a restaurant (Pok Pok), bar (Whiskey Soda Lounge), and offshoots in NYC and soon-to-be in LA's Chinatown.  In the past year or so, Andy Ricker opened up his noodle focused venture, Sen Yai in Portland.  Perpetually Underwhelmed actually seemed unsurprisingly underwhelmed with the place calling it's dishes "too salty."  Lucky for me, The Gunner is always game for noodles.  

Singapore Curry Laksa Noodles
I had just a bite of this.  Hard to gauge flavor and quality here since I've never eaten laksa before.  I would say it was a tad underseasoned, but I think it's because you're supposed to go to town on the condiments.

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Monday, December 15, 2014


Dear Readers,
I want to thank you for following along with me all these years.  I started off with some shitty pictures and photography skills, but I have tried to hone my craft over the years.  As you may know, I earn absolutely no money from this endeavor.  In fact, I lose a lot.  But I gain so much in the name of gastronomical fun, adventure, and happiness.  So in staying consistent with that, I am pleased to announce that this blog's getting an upgrade!  Behold!

Sony A5100 with E 35mm F1.8 OSS E mount prime lens  
It ain't the best or fanciest fanciest camera out there, but it really suits my needs and I'm loving the relatively compact size and picture quality so far.  Thanks to Grumpy Bear and Stubborn & Pushy for being my camera gurus through this whole process.

It's safe to say Black Friday was good to me. 

Who knows what Christmas and New Year's will bring!  =)

Overworked Underfed

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sushi Tsujita

It's so awesome how Little Osaka, or the area on the Westside I'm used to referring to as "Sawtelle," has totally exploded into this mecca of delicious Japanese-centric dining destinations.  I'm actually envious and wish I could turn back the clock to be a UCLA student now.  Back in the day, the only thing I really went there for was Hurry Curry.  Volcano House was also a popular hang out for their ultra milky milk teas.  There was Sawtelle Kitchen, which has since closed.  Asahi Ramen, which has been able to stay open all these years to my shock, served a totally mediocre bowl of ramen.  Everything else was either too pricey for the poor college student that I was back then, or just meh.  Now there's all these new and hot places like Tsujita Ramen, and its new high end sister sushi restaurant Sushi Tsujita.  The place is omakase only with a choice between $120, $150, and $180 menus.  Triple T, Smooth Obturator, Quadruple T, and I went for the mid range option.  Obviously, this place ain't cheap.  

Agedashi Tofu sesame tofue, bonito, ginger
While usually a huge fan of agedashi tofu, I found their take on this with a heavy hand on sesame to be a bit odd.  I guess I'm a traditionalist here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Da Poke Shack

I was super excited to try the #1 rated place on Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the US.  We were lucky since Da Poke Shack was only a 5 minute walk from our condo.  We showed up right when it opened, but a crowd quickly amassed.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tex Drive In

I've never had a malasada before.  They're sorta of like Portuguese donuts.  Yummy, sweety, yeasty, fried dough balls.  Hard to go wrong.  At Tex Drive In, they serve a whole host of Hawaiian classics, but the place is mostly known for the variety of malasadas.  You can choose malasadas with different fillings.  We opted for mango and strawberry.  The mango was the winner here.

I really liked the malasadas here.  I don't have much of a basis for comparison.  I think there are multiple locations on the island, so be sure to stop by for a quick snack.  It's best eaten fresh out of the fryer.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Pine Tree Cafe

After a grey morning in the mountains touring the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, sampling fresh Kona coffee, we Yelped our way to this nearby Hawaiian cafe.  It's a really casual joint.  Order, take a number, and pick up your food on a tray.  The menu is quite extensive and it was hard to widdle down our choices.  Like the fat asses we were, we over ordered as per usual.  

Fried Poke furikake rice, pickled cucumbers
Ho Bag, The Cat Whisperer, and I joined our forces to tackle some heavy options.  I'm not sure why people ordered this so much from the Yelp reviews.  Poke is meant to be raw, and then when you fry it, what makes it poke?  It wasn't very fresh tasting. 
Spicy Garlic Chicken
Very delicious.  Hard to go wrong with fried chicken bits slathered in sinful sauce.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Factory Kitchen

I think I'm ready to admit to myself that I like Italian more than French food.  Growing up, I had more French influences in my life than Italian.  Baguette and pate were common things in my household.  Escargot and poulet roti were foods that I ate without a second thought.  To love French food is to be refined and sophisticated.  But when it comes down to it, French food is boring.  I need some zing in my life and Italian food really brings it.

Pomodori heirloom tomatoes, red onion, radish, shallot vinaigrette, basil
Me and tomatoes are best friends.  Or maybe it's actually a one sided relationship because tomatoes don't have feelings and could not possibly love me back.  Either way, I love me a good heirloom tomato.  Considering it's not actually tomato season, these guys were juicy and sweet.  I really loved the vinaigrette which had a tomato sauce quality to it.  It was just more tomatoes on top of tomatoes.

Prosciutto parma prosciutto aged 24 months, lightly fried sage dough, stracciatella

This had some much promise.  You can't go wrong with fried dough and prosciutto.  Everything was really nice except that fried dough part.  It had a strange slightly sweet donut quality to it that was distracting.  I'm sure that's how it's supposed to taste but I guess I wasn't expecting it.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lemongrass Express

So I'm finally getting around to my Big Island vacation eats from the summer.  I didn't really plan on any specific places to hit up.  In fact, I did very little planning for the whole trip.  Thanks to Fat-Skinny-Fat-Less Fat and Dairy Queen, I just hopped along for the ride and kinda played the fooding by ear.  It's a pleasant surprise when you just stumble upon delicious gems.  I really feel Lemongrass Express was a fortuitous find.  It was close by.  It was well rated.  It was reasonably priced.  There was no wait.  I guess it helps when you eat at 3pm.  Maybe it was so delicious because we were all so frickin' hungry.  A day at the beach, snorkeling and boogie boarding can do that to you.  Of course, everyone (The Mexican Manchild, FxGf/FW, Fat-Skinny-Fat-Less Fat, Sleepy Snoozer, The Cat Whisperer, and Ho-Bag) kicked back and let me do the ordering.  The waiter was really helpful in guiding me to their most popular specialties.

Papaya Salad chili, garlic, lime
Ho-Bag and I were really starving for some fiber during our Hawaii trip.  I learned that Hawaiian food is rather unhealthy and unbalanced, heavy on the starch, protein, and oil.  This was bright and refreshing, just what I craved.  Not particularly special but necessary to balance out the lunch.
Thai Beef Salad sweet onion, pepper, cucumber, fresh herbs, lemongrass citrus vinaigrette
I just had to throw in another salad.  More brightness and crunch.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014


Who doesn't love lobster anything?  Slapfish serves up lobster rolls and other seafood themed eats just steps away from the beach in the heart of Laguna Beach.  The original location is in Huntington Beach, which, for people like LoMa-Linda and BigHead Talks-A-Lot, would be like hiking it to Mongolia on a camel.  Since moving to OC, the driveable radius for these guys has like shrunk to 5-10 miles.  Laguna Beach is actually outside of their limits, but the temptation of lobster outweighed the inconvenient drive. 

Chowder Fries house cut fries, chowder, bacon
No surprises here.  It's fries with chowder and bacon.  I think they need to work on their fries, which were a little lackluster, the same way In 'N Out fries leave me wanting more.
Traditional Lobster Roll 100% real lobster meat, warm butter, lemon, mayo

So much potential!  Alas, their "100% real lobster meat" was 100% crappy legs and claws.  If you've ever broken down a lobster, you'd know how difficult it is to extract any meat from those 8 scrawny legs.  In the end, that meat is not worth your time and effort.  At Slapfish, it's very much worth their time and effort to charge you almost $20 for meat that would normally get tossed in the garbage bin.  I'll give it up to them for keeping the dressing pretty light and not dousing the whole thing in mayo.  The roll was soft and buttered to a crisp.  It was my favorite part.  I really wanted to know where I could get some for myself.  I tried making lobster rolls once, but the hot dog buns really killed any potential my 100% tail meat lobster roll was going to have.  The side slaw was quit enjoyable and brought a little bit of crunch and some nice acid to the plate.  Those chips coulda been crispier.

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Monday, November 17, 2014


I'm coming realize that Orange Country has some pretty darn good sushi at an amazing price point.  While I've never been to LA's high end sushi places like Sushi Zo or the bang-for-your-buck joints like Hama Sushi, I have been to the ever popular Sushi Gen.  I was quite impressed with the omakase at Sushi Gen, but I was a bit miffed by the price tag.  I was kinda hungry after $75 worth of sushi.  So I've been pretty happy to find a place like Ohshima, where $50 gets you about 8 pieces of high quality sushi.  It's key to sit at the bar to enjoy the best fish because I was unimpressed with my dining room experience.  This applies to ALL sushi restaurants.  If you haven't been sitting at the bar when you eat sushi, you are doing it all wrong.  I liked that Ohshima serves many of their pieces as-is meaning, no extra soy sauce for dipping is needed.   Some people might find the put off by the nazi-like style, but I don't mind being told how to eat my food.  I guess they embody the true meaning of omakase, "to entrust."  Keep in mind, the following is a mix of 2 separate meals at Ohshima so it's more pieces than $50 will buy you.

Sea Bream
Light.  Clean.  Always a good way to start.

Blue Fin Tuna chu toro
Particularly delicious without being overly fatty and lingering on the tastebuds.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014


My experience with Szechuan cuisine is pretty limited.  I've probably eaten it only a handful of times and I was never impressed or filled with a desire to go back for more.  I think people always mistake Szechuan food for being particularly spicy, which it's really not.  Though, my spice-O-meter may not be representative for the average person.  I can handle the heat.  Szechuan food is spicy in that numbing tingling Szechuan peppercorn spice.  It's a very specific kick to your tastebuds.  And it's hard to avoid it when your food is swimming in these peppercorns.

After Ho Bag and company (Crack, CrackBaby, Crack Baby Daddy, Bang Bang, Ever-Knee, Tall Steven, Short Steve, Always-Makes-Me-Laugh)  were sufficiently "pumpkin wasted" from pumpkin carving and noshing on awesome spiced pumpkin muffins, we chowed down like royalty at Chuan's.  We bypassed the crowd, waved to the manager like we were old friends, and ordered almost everything on the menu like we were starving Africans.  And when were still hungry after round 1, we ordered more.  It's like we owned the place, but really we were just a bunch of nobodies tagging along with a somebody, Tall Steven who had the hookups for this place.  

I actually didn't get to try it.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014


The April birthday dinners in my family were pretty good with Orsa & Winston and Sushi Sushi.  September rolled around (yes I'm behind on the blogging!), and it was time to treat Smooth Obturator to something tasty.  Triple T, being the thoughtful wife that she is, made reservations at chi SPACCA knowing the carnivorous glutton in my brother would appreciate the offerings here.  She isn't a fan of fatty meats or the odd bits of animals, but knew I would like this place too so majority rules I guess.  Chi SPACCA has been on my to-try list for a while but I never got around to it because the menu seemed so unbalanced.  I like meat but I don't want to eat JUST meat.  To my surprise, 3 other LA based chefs were dining there that night: Jet Tila, Govind Armstrong, and Susan Goin.  My lingering reservations morphed into excitement because I knew a restaurant had to be pretty good if other chefs were eating there.

Culatello lambrusco washed, aged 15 months
The waitress did a good job selling this.  Made in house, cured by the chef himself, blah blah blah.  Smooth Obturator and I are suckers for cured meats.  I can't say this was all that amazing given the price tag.  I'd rather have some Iberico ham.

Roasted Squash Blossoms ricotta, tomato vinaigrette
I don't think I've ever had a bad squash blossom.  I loved the little vinaigrette, which felt like a looser tomato sauce.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jöel Robuchon

A new era in my life has started.  I no longer look forward to the wild partying, excessive drinking, and artery clogging buffet eating in Vegas.  Now when I think about Vegas, I get excited by the thought of eating something fancy and delicious.  Welcome to old age, right?  So the real reason behind my summer Vegas trip, aside from enjoying the company of my wonderful friends The Pouter, Teety, and Soprano Man, who shall now be renamed Yums (because that's what he always says when he eats something tasty), was to finally eat at the world famous Jöel Robuchon.  We planned our trip around this very meal.  Yums was such a good sport because he actually ate there a few weeks ago, but knew all of us wanted to go there so just shelled out another $$$$ to eat there again with us.  We love you Yums!  Jöel Robuchon is actually the only 3 star Michelin restaurant in the Los Angeles area.  However, the Michelin guide has not revisited Los Angeles since 2009 so how relevant are those 3 stars now 5 years later?

Bread Cart
The French people love their bread.  While a selection like this is almost like an adult version of a "kid in a candy store," I would opt for fewer breads that are warm.  Nothing beats warm bread.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bistrot L'Ancienne Auberge 1900

After some heavy hitting (stomach and wallet wise), meals in France, it was nice to have something casual.  It seems like every country has their special prized chickens.  Jidori chickens of Japan, and Bresse chickens of France, or "poulet de Bresse."  The high quality reputation of "poulet de Bresse" has been longstanding, maybe as far back as 1800s.  A chicken can only earn the labeling of "poulet de Bresse" if it is from the Bresse breed of chickens and if it has been bred in the Bresse region of eastern France.  "Poulet de Bresse" is actually an AOC designation, similar to how a Bordeux wine can only be called Bordeux if it meets certain quality measures.  Lucky for us, Vonnas, was sort of on the way back from the south of France back to Paris.

Crème Brûlée de Foie Gras
We had really great whether on our vacation.  The sun was shining, but it was RAINING foie gras.  I loved the salty sweetness here.  It tasted desserty but it had a familiar and savory essence.  Yums!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Paul Bocuse, L'Auberge du Pont de Collognes

There are certain names in the food world that set off bells in one's head, James Beard, Julia Child.  Some names are certainly more main stream than others.  Paul Bocuse is probably a bit less mainstream.  He's no Wolfgang Puck, who has his name on frozen pizza boxes and his mug on iced coffee drinks.  I first heard the name in relation to the international cooking contest, Bocuse d'Or, a competition akin to the Olympics for the culinary world.  But I eventually learned that Paul Bocuse is a famous and legendary French chef with a long list of culinary achievements.  I don't want to bore you with his resume, but for the purposes of this entry, he is the mastermind behind this 3 star Michelin restaurant in Lyon, France.  Anthony Bourdain called Paul Bocuse "the great chef, a public figure, a hero, an institution."  Dining with Paul Bocuse at his own restaurant was "the meal of [his] lifetime."  I, of course, watched that episode of No Reservations, so I was totally excited to be eating here.

There is only one word to describe the food and the restaurant.  Classic and old school.  The food here is prepared and served the same way it has been for decades.  Many chefs, who have gone on to run their own celebrated kitchens, have spent time in Bocuse's kitchen.  The restaurant is bright, colorful, and bordering on gaudy.  It harks back to an era in time when gold equated to opulence.  Everything just seemed to shine.  You have your choice of menus: grand traditional (6 courses, 250), bourgeois (5 courses, 210€), traditional (4 courses, 160€).  Keep in mind these are not tasting menus, but rather multi course dinners.  The portions are quite large and we were all overwhelming stuffed at the end.  

Potato Leek Soup
Celery Cream with Shrimp
Roquefort with Apple Gelee
The amuse bouche trio was a delightful little start to the evening.  It always seems you can never go wrong with a small bite of anything.

Lobster Bisque
Very likely the best lobster bisque I have tasted.  Seriously the French make everything taste magical when cream is added to anything.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lèon de Bruxelles

Moule-frites is a very simple and classic Belgian dish that's popular throughout France.  In fact, Leon de Bruxelles is actually a large chain restaurant in France.  Your thinking, "Overworked Underfed, how could you dine at a chain restaurant??"  Dear readers, some chain restaurants are awesome!  First off, everything at Lèon de Bruxelles is fresh, never frozen and always made to order.  That is saying a lot for affordable seafood.  Their menu is quite extensive.  Who knew you could make mussels so many different way.

La Plancha de Moules aux Gambas et Calamars des moules, des gambas sauvages, des anneaux de calamar, de la tomate, de l'ail, des herbes de provence
Being grilled as opposed to steamed made the flavors much more concentrated and punchy. One might criticize this as being salty but I liked it. The calamari was extremely tender, while the shrimp was sweet and juicy. They don't lie about the freshness here. 
Les Moules à la Provençale la tomate, l'ail, les herbes de provence, les olives noires, l'huile d'olive, vin blanc, crème fraîche
I opted for this version because I love tomatoes and herbs de Provence. The crème fraîche actually did not overwhelm the dish with creaminess. It was just right.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Auberge Etchegorry

Etchegorry is quaint little local restaurant specializing in Basque cuisine.  Mama H.o.P's Parisian friend, who I guess I'll call Parisian Friend, has been a patron of this restaurant for years and years and she had nothing but high praise for this place.  The restaurant itself felt pretty homey, no frills.  I can't say our welcome was as warm.  I think we sat at our table for a good 10 minutes before anybody decided to give us menus or drinks.  It's not like the place was busy.  We were the first ones to show up for our reservations.  Slowly the restaurant become packed.  Parisian Friend says it is always like that, and you have to have a reservation or it's a no go.

Terrine de Foie Gras Parfumée au Jurançon toast de pain au mais maison
This is probably the cleanest tasting foie gras I've had.  It's not that I mind the livery-ness of foie, but the smooth buttery light offal taste to this very notable.  Jurançon is a type of wine which lightly scented the foie adding to delicate fragrance.  And of course, they never serve enough house toast to eat with with foie.  Why is it like that everywhere??

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Michel Rostang

I had a whole list of restaurants I wanted to try while in Paris.  I tend to lean toward the new and contemporary.  But while in Paris, Mama H.o.P. and I were the guests of her Parisian friend who had her own restaurant recommendations.  Who am I to tell a Parisian where to eat in her own city?  So I basically tossed my list out the window and just came along for the ride.  It seems like Michel Rostang is one of those restaurants that have been around for awhile.  It has 2 Michelin stars, and lucky for us they had a tasting menu for 175 euros, inconclusive of tax and wine.  In France, you are not required to tip.  That's kind of a bargain when you think how wine pairings can run as much as the price of your meal.  

Amuse Bouche
foam pigeon, beet, parmesan chip
smoked white fish, goat cheese, macaron
wasabi, peas
It was a nice start with this little trio of bites.  My favorite was the peas and wasabi.  A smooth delicate vegetal sweet with a little bit of kick.  I think the smoked white fish was a bit strong on its own, and the goat cheese just took it over the top.

Roasted Baby Squid mango, galangal
The flavors here were surprising.  I pegged Rostang as a classically French, but the wasabi from the prior dish and galangal here really brought the East to the West.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Fauchon is an international food company that dabbles in everything from pastries, confections, artisanal meats and cheeses.  At this outpost in Paris, they operated a small restaurant, bakery, and deli with some quick to-go items like sandwiches and salads.  Everything was soooo pretty and cute and of course cost an arm and a leg.  It made for a nice small meal/snack.  We were trying to hold out for dinner which was gonna be a big one.  Let's just say eating less so you can eat more isn't really my thing.  I need at least 2 square meals a day and if its happens to be 1 normal meal and 1 ginormo meal, I'm OK with that.  But don't give me 1 measly meal and 1 ginormo meal.  I was famished when we arrived.

I wanted to eat this whole leg of ham.

As delicious as it was pretty.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014


It's time to skip a few backlogged posts to blog about my recent trip to France.  I've been to France a few times in the past.  It's the city where my father spent his formative years from childhood to adulthood, pretty much growing up and finding his way all on his own.  There seemed some darkness in his past, being bullied by the French kids, being poor and lonely, but somehow there was always a great amount of nostalgia for that city.  He would drag my siblings and me all over the city, showing us his former haunts, his schools, everything he could remember about Paris.  At that time, I never thought much of it, but looking back, I have so many memories of family vacations there.  I met family I never knew I had. I had an embarassing encounter with a bidet, which was a foreign porcelain god to this American kid at the time.  We rented a car and trekked all the way to Italy.  My mom expertly crafted sandwiches from baguette, headcheese, jambon, and pate from the local boucherie.  My dad would snore away, while my sister drove and got pissed at my lazy brother for being such a sorry excuse for a navigator.  Paris is a city that holds a special place in my heart, and because of all the many memories there, will probably be my favorite city in the world.

My mom and I took a vacation to visit her friend in Paris.  Since I've seen all the major sites in Paris, I basically wanted to take a gastronomic tour of the country.  Having a local take us around was a major plus.  It didn't hurt that we never had to pay for a hotel either.  I would have liked to pick all our eating spots, but who am I to tell a Parisian where to eat in France?  Our first stop was rather coincidental because Ladurée just happened to be on the way to our shopping destination.  You can imagine how ecstatic I was to be able to sample the much-talked-about highly lauded macarons here.

At Ladurée, they don't just offer macarons...

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Monday, October 6, 2014


There are 2 off strip restaurants that people always talk about in the Sin City, Lotus of Siam and Raku.  While the former fell just a bit short of expectations, the latter was well worth the cab fare.  Some people say Raku is one of the best izakaya restaurants they've been to.  Smooth Obturator and The Boss Man really raved about this place.  So I dragged Teety, Soprano Man, and The Pouter to this distant dining destination to start off our Vegas weekend.

Yellow Tail least I think that's what it was.  In any case, it was wonderful.  Fatty with just a hint of flavor from the yuzukosho and soy sauce in the little spoon.  That's one of the most umami packed soy sauces I've ever tasted.  Soprano Man, who doesn't partake in raw delicacies, really missed out here.

Fried Shrimp
Here was another special of the night.  I LOVE shrimp, so I liked this preparation, but my dining companions probably didn't like having to gnaw through all the shrimp skins.  If you're not a giant shrimp fan, you probably can do better.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Reservations are hard to come by at many of the hot & happening SF eateries.  The Pouter and I really wanted to eat at the ever popular Statebird Provisions, but couldn't get a reservation and planned to try for walk in.  After much discussion with previous diners, we decided that would be a poor decision, and went plan B, which was a fairly late 945pm? reservation at NOPA.  Don't get me wrong, NOPA is another bumpin' joint with excellent reviews, so we were still quite happy.

Amuse Bouche
A really simple slightly pickled/salted cucumber.  They kind of look like lime wedges and definitely had some lime flavor.

Piggy Platter headcheese, crispy trotter, country paté
I rarely meet a charcuterie platter I don't like, but aside from the crispy trotter which was like a meat tater tot, everything else was meh.  In fact, the headcheese had a terrible formaldehyde smell/taste to it.  It was soooo unappetizing.  The Pouter didn't agree with me, but I felt it wasn't even subtle.  It was like here are some pig parts that taste like cadavers.  Gross.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

San Tung

People RAVE about San Tung.  "Best wings ever!" "Crack wings" "Hour long wait for the best meal of my life" blah blah blah.  You know this is just a set up for disappointment right?  I've had some mighty tasty wings in my life, Crisp in Chicago and Pok Pok in Portland.  The latter, being my favorite of the two places.  But Running Man and Triple F looooove San Tung and they are some heavy hitting foodies.  They catered the Twin Tornadoes one year birthday party with food from San Tung.  So the wings weren't piping fresh when I tried them, but I believe the flavor was still there and I was unimpressed.  Korean Chinese food is usually a cuisine I have difficulty appreciating.  It comes off as bad Chinese food, almost Americanized in its overly saccharine sweetness.  I'm sure its not meant to come off this way, I'm just not accustomed to its taste.

Dry Black Bean Sauce Noodles
This is actually one of the few dishes at Korean Chinese restaurants that I really like...when its done well.  Here it was just ok.  You'd imagine that a sauce so black and thick would be loaded with flavor, buuuut its really not, at least not this one.  The noodles could have been chewier, more al dente.  I really like the version at Dragon in LA.
Dry Sauteed String Beans
The beans were not good that night.  Save for that, it would have been your standard fare.

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