Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CAFE DE LA PRESSE...I'M JUST HERE FOR THIS ONE DISH

Next to the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39, the gates of Chinatown are one of the most tourist visited (clogged) places in San Francisco. Thus, what better place to open a French themed bistro! No seriously, this placed opened 10 years ago just across the street to offer up "old world charm with modern flair." Of course I'm talking about Cafe de la Presse, a French bistro and bar trying to bring a little Europe to visitors and locals alike.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....AND THAT "NEW" DIET PEPSI

Seems Diet Pepsi wanted to get on the no unhealthy chemicals bandwagon and changed out their aspartame to sucralose. It's debut, however, seems to have gotten off to a rocky start as you can see here, here, here, here and well, pretty much anywhere you look. I was pretty much raised on diet soda. My mother was in perpetual diet mode and we always had Tab around the house (sparkly bottle and pink cans and all) then Diet Coke and so on. I've been an avid drinker for decades now (and no, I do not want to hear any debates about healthy/unhealthy, this is my one vice I ain't giving up). I usually vacillate between Diet Mt. Dew (again no judging!), Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi and such. Usually, it's a what's on sale thing. Anyway, I was intrigued to try this new version to see what my taste buds did or did not enjoy about this new iteration. Sucralose is basically Splenda, a sweetner I've used regular in tea over the years. I think it works better than Sweet-n-Low, that saccharine is just a bit too much for me these days (my Tab years notwithstanding). As for this "new" Diet Pepsi, I don't hate it like those other folks, but it does taste different. To me it tastes less sweet than the previous version and for the most part I'm okay with that. Some folks have said there is a chemically aftertaste and I just sort of roll my eyes as that since all diet soda sort of has an aftertaste, it's unavoidable. The trick is to find the one you'll get used to and I think folks will get used to this after awhile. This version is closer to just cola flavored soda water as opposed to the regular version of a non-diet Pepsi, and that is kind of the issue I think for people, they want a diet version that tastes exactly like the real sugar thing and sadly, you are never going to get it. Fake sweetners will never taste just like sugar no matter how many agave plant derivatives they find. It will always be kind of off and a tad chemically. I mean come on, they were created in labs, what were you expecting? In the long run, I think this will be fine, I'm not going to rank this up there with say New Coke or Crystal Pepsi and say it's a disaster. Is it different, yes, but not so much that it tastes like a new drink altogether. I mean, when you get right down to it, it is just a glass of liquid chemicals and if that doesn't make you stop drinking it then I think you can get beyond the new sucralose addition. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL...STILL CONTINUING TO EAT

The festival ran for 2 days but, like the troopers we are, me and the SO plowed through this in 4 hours. Yes, we tried to pace ourselves and since some of the spots we hit had lines, that helped slow things down. And as the day wore on, more people came and many hung out inside the giant warehouse, where a bunch of the vendors were located, in order to escape the heat. Sometimes maneuvering around folks (and their dogs, kids, strollers, etc.) could be a challenge. But we soldiered on and I bring part two of all the things we ate on that fateful day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL...YES WE ATE A LOT

The San Francisco Street Food Festival was this past weekend in their new digs at Pier 70. It's a fundraiser for La Cocina, an incubator kitchen for low income entrepreneurs to help them cultivate new food start-ups. They've done the festival for a number of years now and eventually outgrew their Mission location and managed to snag the much larger are in Dogpatch. I'd not been before because, well, honestly, I don't know why. This year I made up my mind to just go and even bought two tickets for me and the SO, which turned out to be an excellent idea. Having the tix let us get in earlier AND we didn't have to stand in the general-get in free-line. A real boon on this particularly hot day. Of course, it also meant we had $100 worth of food to eat, so challenge accepted! Beyond the heat, we were jazzed up to eat up and boy did we. I will say I was surprised at how many of the booths and trucks I was not only familiar with, but had also eaten at. Funny how that happens. Needless to say, even with all the been there eaten that places, there were still plenty to go around and because of that, this is just one of two wrap ups I'm doing to cover all the dishes. And yes, we ate (and drank) a lot. Whatever, don't judge. I'm not gonna do deep reviews of what we got, just little bites of the bits we had.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...WITH A CRUMBLY MUFFIN THING

Last week I was unimpressed with my chocolate croissant stack from Craftsman and Wolves and said I'd have a better one this week and here it is--a strawberry rhubarb crumble muffin with cream cheese filling. This did not suffer the dryness of the croissant. It was a nicely dense and moist muffin with a lovely toasted oatmeal like crumble on top. There were notes of the strawberry throughout without being overly sweet and the cream cheese filling was also on the less sweet side, which was nice for a change. It was almost like this was a mini breakfast with fruit, oatmeal and dollop of cream cheese. Just a few bites to get through the whole thing, but filling and satisfying for both a hint of sweet and little bit of fiber to get your day started. I know filling is all the rage in muffins, cruffins, cronuts and whatever else comes down pike, but here it's not an overkill, more of a creamy addition to an already tasty little cake muffin thingy. Think of it as a sweet compliment to their famous "rebel within"--which is basically their version of a scotch egg. Or just think of it as a breakfast cupcake (seriously--has anybody in town done that? Oh wait, yes they have, sort of, at La Luna. I think they call the San Francisco Bay-con.), either way, you can't go wrong. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FLOUR + WATER IN THE MISSION....THE NAME SORT OF MEANS SOMETHING?

Flour + Water is one of those places that burst onto the scene in 2009 with some great notices in a neighborhood that wasn't necessarily the best place to go and dine at a fancy restaurant. Five years and that restaurant is still doing well (it's hard to sometimes get a reservations) and the neighborhood is pretty much ground zero for the locals versus techies gentrification wars that permeate San Francisco. (That's my political coverage for today--so now back to the food) I hadn't had a chance, a desire, a thought to get all the war over to that hood and try them out but they had been on my radar as a place to try eventually. Opportunity knocked one day as my friend Ms. K snagged some seats on a weeknight and was looking for some dinner chatter so I took her up on her offer and hopped on the #12 Folsom to get over there. (Ugh, a long bus ride and story for another time!)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....AND CHOCOLATE CROISSANT STACK!

I recently had relatives in town for a visit and took down the Valencia Street stroll, and Mission, to get a taste of the old and new that was going on in the neighborhood. While on the walk we hit up a few food places to snack along the way and keep our energy up. They wanted something sweet so Craftsman and Wolves came to mind as a little different variation on a bakery to try. I hadn't been here in awhile and was interested to see what's new since they had seemingly taken off since my initial review of them back in 2012! First up was something of the relatives choosing that looked unique--the chocolate croissant stack. Flaky layers of buttery dough with intermittent layers of chocolate. Yes, basically a square chocolate croissant. The got the chocolatey flavor going on quite well and you do get it in pretty much every bite. It's not too sweet either, even with that dusting of powdered sugar. I think the one drawback for us was it erred on the side of dry. Flaky croissant pastry dough does run that fine line of being seemingly dry yet not so much that the buttery-ness of it all compensates for it. Here it seemed they just stepped over that line and the butter and chocolate couldn't quite make up for it. It's possible this particular batch was slightly overcooked, who knows. Either way, we were not over impressed with this effort. The square shape seems to be the only thing really unique about this. The rest was just kind of everyday and crumbly. Maybe that's why the suggest some latte with it. Like an upsell and a cover up to off set the dry. Oh well, while Craftsmen didn't impress the relatives much with this, I still think they do some tasty treats and next week I'll offer up something I did have and enjoy there. 


Friday, August 7, 2015

FOOD TRUCK QUICK BITE: IZZY'S CHEESESTEAKS

What to do on a sunny, breezy Sunday afternoon? As is want for me and the SO, we headed out to SOMA StrEat Food Park to see if any new truck was shaking it on this day. Surprisingly there was more than one making an appearance and seeing as how we had just gotten back from vacation, I was still on the eat anything vibe, including carbs, and found myself making eyes and footsteps towards Izzy's Cheesesteak truck to see what cheesy meatiness they had to offer.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

BREAKFAST AT SUPER DUPER BURGER...BECAUSE WHY NOT

Breakfast, they say it's the most important meal of the day, or that's what they used to say as new information has come to light it is not really that important. I know what they mean. Sometimes when I first get up, I am so not in the mood to eat (or see people, talk to people, interact in any way, etc.). Be that as it may, it's still good to have options your standard bagel shop or the ubiquitous Lee's Deli--though I will shout out to their breakfast bar and endless bacon. Thus when an old favorite like Super Duper Burger, starts offering a small selection of breakfast eats (at 2 of their locations) I decided to swing by the 98 Mission Street location and check out what they got going on. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME AND VEGAN CINNAMON ROLL...SEEMED LIKE A GOOD PLACE TO END VEGAN WEEK

Vegan--that's like totally no animal product. No butter, no cheese, no eggs, no (cow) milk. Usually this can lead to no taste, too much sugar and weird textures. It's what has always made me dubious when trying desserts that are vegan. But since me and the SO were on that kick this week, when I came across this cinnamon roll with "cream cheese" frosting from Mollie Rose Baking Co., of course I was going to try it! I mean it looked decent enough and was a pretty good size for about $3. I was also moderately intrigued by the idea of vegan cream cheese frosting. This particular one seemed to be some kind of either soy or tofutti type mixture that had a nice look of frosting and an almost taste of cream cheese, though it was a tad on the too sweet side and the texture was also a tad off. Hard to pinpoint what it was but it was sort of like lotion to my tastebuds. Not really off putting, but just sort of off. The roll itself had a tasty enough cinnamon sugar flavor but again the texture was on the slightly doughy side. I think this could have benefited for a little more time in the oven. The color was a little more beige as opposed to golden brown and the inside was the color of like a light wheat bread. I'm not gonna say I totally disliked it, but I also couldn't fully appreciate it either. I had much preferred the mocha brownie me and the SO had. Oddly enough, in a change of flavor tastes, the SO said he did like this cinnamon roll. A switch, I know. He was a fan of the slightly doughy texture and liked the fact that it didn't taste all that sweet when icing and bun were eaten together. I was surprised but that just goes to show how people's taste buds and appealing flavor profiles can vary from item to item. I'd had high hopes for a vegan cinnamon roll with some faux cream cheese, since I'm such a fan of this particular type pastry dessert (shoutout Church and Market Safeway!). So it's kind of a thumbs down thumbs up on this. For me, I can't see getting it again without some adjustments--maybe bake a little longer and do a sugar glaze topping instead? Though the SO will tell you it was pretty good. Okay, so maybe that doesn't help you decide, how about--it wasn't so bad I wouldn't see what else Mollie Rose had to offer. Where desserts are concerned, I'm willing to go that extra bite for you to find something yummy. For that, your welcome!


Friday, July 31, 2015

HELLA VEGAN EATS FOOD TRUCK....YES IT'S STILL VEGAN WEEK PEOPLE

Yes, it's a full week of vegan entrees for me and the SO. We are undeterred in our search for palatable vegan fare in food truck/tent land and, of course, we couldn't go on without trying some of that food from Hella Vegan Eats. More a food trailer hook-up that I'd seen at SOMA StrEat Food Park before but hadn't ventured to as it seemed to have long lines and waits and you know, that whole vegan thing. But on this particular day the line was minimal and we had time to kill so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to discover why they are so popular with the masses.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

GOING VEGAN SUNDAY IN SAN FRANCISCO SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK

Yes, it's vegan week on my blog and fortunately most of this took place on a random Sunday when me and the SO hit up SOMA StrEat Food Park and they had gone all vegan for the day. Vegan is something that has been hit or miss for me, though I usually find myself trying out all the sweets that are produced this way as anyone who reads me regularly knows. Some good, some not even close. This time looks we are going entree style as long as we are here. The SO picked one place and I took another. First up was Euro Bistros, a semi-regular at the Park that doesn't necessarily do vegan. They appeared to have a crowd around them and I was guessing it was for the vegan mac and 4 cheese plate. It seemed like a good place to start by going old school on my taste buds.

Monday, July 27, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....AND VEGAN DESSERT! (ugh)

Me and the SO hit SOMA StrEatFood Park on a Sunday recently and to our surprise (dismay?) it was vegan day. Yikes! I nearly turned around to make a beeline for Big Chef Tom's Belly Burgers, which is just a block or so over from there. But, we were meeting friends there, was a little late to change, we felt lazy, we thought WTF let's try, name your reason. We wandered around to see what was on offering. I will review some of the main dishes we had in a few days. For this short review, I'm highlighting one of the desserts we (I) felt like trying. Usually my experience with vegan desserts has been on the blech! side. However, some of the offerings at least looked good enough to try--like the mocha fudge brownie from Well.Fed.Bakes that I came across. Looking at their site, they are more of a catering company and it seems they were getting their began name out at this particular event. Still, the brownie was big and only $3.50. Being dubious and not the biggest fan of mocha, I actually picked this for the SO--a fan of both. Surprisingly enough though, I ended up liking this more than them. The mocha was in the cream in the middle and it was very light as was the cream. It struck that nice balance of firm and thick enough to taste and still light enough to not be actual icing. The brownie part was very fudge like and didn't taste overly sweet like some vegan desserts can be. (They tend to add more sugar to offset the lack of flour and eggs.) Still, this one had a nice texture and wasn't too fudgy or too cake crumbly. The layer on top was like a dark chocolate bar. And while chocolate isn't necessarily my dessert go to, I still like what they did here giving this heft and moderate sweetness that was pleasing in both taste and texture. I mean really, how often does that happen? At least for my tastebuds. They have an array of vegan sweets they do from cupcakes to cakes to pies and based on this little cream brownie, I'd be willing to give one of their other items a shot if I come across them. Vegan-ness be damned!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

COOKIELOVE IN THE TENDERLOIN NOB HILL....FOR NOW I'M MORE IN COOKIE LIKE-ISH

It's a sunny random weekday when I find myself wandering through the Tenderloin--YES! IT CAN HAPPEN! No seriously, I was just walking around killing a rare work day off with no particular place to go. Usually it's during these times that I stumble across places I never knew about, either because they are tiny, off the beaten path or new. So it was when I came across a place called CookieLove which fit into all three of those categories.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....WITH BANH MI!

Banh mi's have been the go to sandwich around town for awhile now and it seems I'm unintentionally making it my mission to try them are, or as near close to doing that as I can. On a recent lunch time walk-a-bout near Embarcadero, I sauntered by Saigon Deli Express, a tiny place round the corner from that space age Marriott by the Ferry Building. I've walked by it many times, sort of casually looked it over and just continued on, not impressed enough to give it a try. On this particular day, time and laziness caught up with me as my lunch time was slowly evaporating and I needed to eat something. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what they got. They offer a handful of banh mi versions (pork, chicken, veggie, etc) all for just $6, which in the grand scheme of $10 SF sandwiches seems like a bargain. When getting a banh mi I'm always gonna go traditional and get pork, so I ordered it up and said "yes, I do want the jalapenos," when queried. Things I liked about this particular version: the bread was nice and crispy outside, soft inside; you get a fair amount of veggies piled; the pickled carrot was nicely sweet and tart; the pork was tender with only touches of fat around the edges; there was plenty of the mayo/pate spread to go around. Things I didn't like about this version: even at $6 it was the smallest in size of the banh mi's I've had around town which makes it only marginally a bargain; the cilantro that was piled on was mostly the stems without the leaves (as you can see in the pic)--I mean what's up with that?; also, where was the daikon? the menu had it in the description but there was none to be found here; this was mostly veggie and the serving of meat was also the least amount I've been given compared to other versions, it was just a few thin slices-bummer. So what does this all mean? While not a bad attempt at a banh mi, it's also not the best. A few changes here and there and this could be upgraded but based on some other reviews I've seen of the place, they don't seem willing to make any adjustments. It's one of those places that you've seen around forever and then after noshing there, you wonder, how do they survive? Especially when you consider the fact that literally just around the corner from them is Les Croissant, which serves a cheaper, bigger and much better banh mi. Added bonus, you can get a donut for dessert there too!



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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

TACOLICIOUS IN NORTH BEACH WHEN YOU CAN'T QUITE MAKE IT TO THE MISSION

High end taquerias are a real anomaly to me, I mean, there are so many good ones around the city serving up tasty tacos and burritos at affordable prices, then why do I need to hit up one charging $5 a taco? I can get a whole burrito for close to that! Still, for whatever reason, a number of them persist through the city and one has even branched out to 3! locations in the city and 1 in Palo Alto, you know, when you can't be bothered to make your way down to the Mission or something. It's called Tacolicious and I've avoided the place that got it's start in---the Marina (probably why they have a Marina girl salad on their menu). But, you can only not eat somewhere for so long before you just go WTF, why not try it since I just happened to be in North Beach and blah, blah, blah. I actually ended up going here twice, for whatever reason, and now I get to regale you with my visits.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...IS BACK YA'LL! WITH POP-TARTS!

After all that "fine dining" while on vacation I figured I would get back to eating the trashy American way with that ubiquitous of childhood breakfast foods, pop-tarts. Seems every time I run through the grocery store these days they are rolling out a new flavor with varying degrees of success. A few I have no interest in, but sometimes they catch my eye. This time around it was a peanut butter and jelly pop-tart, one I'm surprised they had never tried before. It seems so simple considering the filling on their tarts is jelly like so why not add some peanut butter. This iteration is a basic pastry with strawberry filling on the inside topped with a peanut butter flavored frosting on top (and those red sprinkles I remember from their red velvet version). For me, heated was the only way to go with these. It seemed to make the peanut flavor come through more than just right out of the back. It also heightened the smell of peanuts too which can add more sensory flavor. I do think they could have added more peanut butter flavor or whatever to this by putting more inside the tart and also kicking up the strawberry flavor more, they were not in even balance here. Better yet, I remember they used to make a grape flavored one and I think that may have been a better choice of jelly flavors to go with instead of strawberry here. Plus, as I think for most folks, our PB&J's were usually of the grape jelly variety growing up. And yes, before you ask, I did try these with the addition of butter in both hot and room temp versions. And as much as it pains me to say, the butter did not add to the flavor profile. Peanut butter itself is already a little salty and the butter just added more of that. I also tried adding a little smear of Jif to it also, but it just masked the strawberry flavor even more. I'll just chalk this up as a good attempt but ultimately a miss to me. That's not to say that with some tweaks or the aforementioned grape addition I could be totally on board with this flavor combo. Otherwise, I'll just take a pass on these and wait to see what they have coming....wait, what? Hmmm....looks like they are having a contest for some new flavors--strawberry chocolate (no), blue raspberry (why) and cinnamon roll! Now that I could be interested in, and can you imagine how that would taste with some butter?! Guess it's time to put on the stretchy pants and hit the grocery store. I'll get back to you after I come out of my buttered sugar coma. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

FOOD ROAD TRIP: RELAE COPENHAGEN DENMARK PART TWO

Even the heartiest of eaters needs a break between courses and we were no different. In the middle of our 7 plus course odyssey at Relae, there was just a bit of a time lag from the kitchen between the serving of that juice of tomato and olive oil cupful before whatever was coming next. In that time we let our stomachs settle and ended up talking to a couple next to us who were from Seattle, on their honeymoon and were both foodies who had worked in the industry and been classically trained or something like that. They were fun and great to chat food with while we waited--several glasses of wine will make us talkie! Soon the next course arrived, so on we go.

(inside Relae, this lady looked a little like Helen Mirren, or maybe we'd had too much wine)

Monday, July 6, 2015

FOOD ROAD TRIP: RELAE COPENHAGEN DENMARK PART ONE

When traveling, food is not in the forefront most of the times. Seeing sites and trying to relax usually is. When we planned the trip to Scandinavia, it came to our attention after the fact that Copenhagen had 2 of the top 50 restaurants in the world in #3 Noma and #45 Relae. The SO looked them up and of course, at the late date, they were totally booked. Though each had "waiting lists" you could get on in case anyone cancelled their reservations. To be honest we really did hold out much hope but put our names on the lists anyway and jetted out. Then, while we were having a beer in a cafe on the canal in Stockholm (yes, I know how that sounds) the SO's cell rang, it was Relae calling to say they had an opening and were we interested. Through bad international connection we immediately said yes and booked our table for the following week at 5:30pm (the first seating) and were told we'd have the table for 2 1/2 hours. Really? Okay, then why not.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

FOOD ROAD TRIP: COPENHAGEN STREET FOOD DENMARK

We are still winging our way through Scandinavia and this time we've touched down in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kind of reminds me a lot of Stockholm but with a slightly edgier grunge to it. The city is becoming known as a new hotbed of creative cuisine as they already have 2 of the top 50 restaurants in the world here Noma and Relae. Those I'll talk about in another post. Seems you turn any corner here and your run into some sort of cafe. Folks here seemingly worship the sun and take every opportunity to bask in it. I don't know how they do it as the rays feel a bit relenting as I run from shade to shade. This is a big walking and biking town and me and the SO have been going all over. Our goal today was to hit up this funky spot over on what they call the Paper Island, as the space used to be an old paper mill. Now it's been turned into Copenhagen Street Food--a giant warehouse space with food stalls and a few trucks inside and tons of waterfront tables to nosh and enjoy more of that sun (fortunately for us there are some inside spots too).