Sunday, May 31, 2009

udupi palace in my own backyard...

late last week, i was thinking an awful lot about london and about the trip i had made to tooting in order to have some sri lankan food at apollo banana (oh soooo good). in order to get to tooting from my hotel in mayfair, i had to change trains a couple of times. tooting isn't one of those places on the london tourist beat. yet, i was a determined foodie hunter and it was well worth any and all train changes. it seems that tooting, in general, is well known for good southeast asian places. i wanted to pay a visit to dosa n' chutney in tooting as well. yet, to my regret....i wasn't able to pack it into my schedule. i was thinking about how i missed out on trying dosas in tooting and was feeling a hankering for the crispy savory crepes. yet, i was feeling supremely lazy (and admittedly, slightly dehydrated from my friday evening out) and didn't feel up to going to either dosa in the city. like many hankerings, just because you are lazy or want them to go away.....doesn't mean they just magically disappear. so i suppose it was out of necessity that i finally remembered udupi palace.

while udupi palace may be very close to where i live, i usually avoid walking down university. those of you live here....know exactly why. yet, if i was willing to travel to tooting for gawd's sake, i told myself that i *should* get my ass in gear and go to udupi palace.

i am very glad that i did.

udupi palace has been on the corner of university and mlk for a long time. admittedly, i have heard about it for a long time..... yet, i had never been. first up, when you go to udupi palace in berkeley, you have to go for the food. this is NOT a place you go for the atmosphere. if you want atmosphere then you should go to the dosa in pac heights in the city. yet, if you want to go for some really yummy comforting food that is well done and prompt....then you go to udupi palace. yet, please remember to take your cash. they don't take credit cards.

the uthappam topped with chilies and onion.....

is served with a coconut chutney, a spicy and sambar (a yummy soup with veggies, lentils, spices, and tamarind), and a spicy chutney. my favorite is the spicy chutney (big shock)....

the dosas are also quite divine. here is a shot of the masala dosa (dosa with spiced potatoes)....

what's that on top? those are an idly (a savory lentil and rice..well...almost cakey biscuit for lack of a better term) and a medu vada (savory lentil fritter/donut).

these are also supremely yummy as well. the dosas are lovely and crispy...and everything is a perfect vehicle for the chutney and sambar.

i love this kind of food. i think it is very possible for me to eat this kind of food everyday. when i eat this kind of food, i feel like someone has wrapped me in a warm blanket and everything is just right with the world.

udupi palace, 1901 university Ave (and MLK), berkeley, CA 94704, +1 510 843 6600...bring your cash. not your credit cards..

Saturday, May 30, 2009

chocolate & chalk art festival 2009

just wanted to let you know that i've posted pics from the chocolate and chalk art festival.....

warning though....there are no food pics. just chalk art. the above pic is one of my faves and here are a couple of my other faves.

'til later.


foodie hunter hearts intensity

i woke up supremely late in i just woke up a few minutes ago.

i have a feeling that today is going to be a lazy-in-bed with my comic books kind of day. i was pretty buzzed when i got home from cesar last night (or rather earlier this morning)....and did a bit of writing. i didn't post it last night...because i had a moment of clarity right before i fell asleep that told me that i should hold off hitting the "publish post" button until tomorrow.

you know, just in case.

one can never be quite sure what one will say when one is really buzzed.

yet, here i am, the next morning...and i think it is ok for everyone to see what i wrote. it is more silly than anything else. it goes along with me my goal of being "open" and allow folks to see me....warts and all i suppose.

so, here you go.....

location: gourmet ghetto
time: well after midnight

hmmm. the foodie hunter is feeling pretty buzzed at the moment. i actually had more than two or three sips of a cocktail this evening....i had, actually, more than half of my tequila love cocktail from cesar. for those of you who have hung out with me on a regular basis, i think you realize just how much to drink that is for me. it was supremely yummy.

yet, how did i reach this point of yummy buzz-y-ness?

first, it has been a tough week and i was looking forward to some gratuitous action. as a result, we went to go see terminator salvation. it was quite an appropriate movie to go see..... lots of things that go boom boom. nice. then there was also the christian bale factor. he is intense....and well, i'm a big fan of intense. huge!!! i heart intensity. i find intensity very stimulating. i think this may be a future requirement for any dating potentials.

omg. did i just write that? you know, the d-word. "dating". how weird is that?

anyway, then we stopped by beckett's near the shattuck cinemas and decided that it wasn't what we were looking for this evening. neither of us had been before....yet, after peeking into the window.... it didn't seem to fit our mood. so we ended up at cesar. not exactly a bad choice. i do enjoy it there. i don't mind being a regular. the drinks and nibbles were a bit impromptu so i didn't bring my camera. it was pretty dark when we got there the pics probably wouldn't have come out so great.

hmmmm. i'm starting to feel really sleepy. i think i'm moving to the next stage of my self induced buzzing...which is falling into a deep sleep.

you know, i think i'm just going to follow my instincts and intuition a bit more. just sayin.

night all.



p.s. i don't like jordon almonds btw. never did. on a plus side, i guess i won't be buying them anymore.

Friday, May 29, 2009

ironic morning

i woke up quite early this morning. i woke up sad. i think that i'm just going to have to accept that this is the way it is....which isn't easy for the super duper fast-paced foodie hunter. the arrogant little foodie hunter would like to skip over the sad part as quickly as possible. she can hear the stern internal voice exclaiming "move on. NOW! NOW! NOW!" she is obviously very hard on herself and her lack of control over unwelcome, unwanted, and unfamiliar emotions.

this is who she is.

a loved one once wrote to me that he thought my "attention to others is really unparalleled" and that i should spend more time worrying about myself and what i need.

there is some irony there. lots and lots of levels of irony.

if i love you, then i love you. a lot. forever. if i don't love you, well, then i'm indifferent. if i hate you, then i'll hate you forever.

not a lot of gray there.

what i know is that i love this person and i need to move on. these two things are constant and certain for me. i've been having a fascinating and supremely uncomfortable time figuring out how to stop loving someone when they haven't done anything to hurt me. i also have a feeling that in putting my needs first, i may have hurt this someone. something i never wanted to do and something i never anticipated doing. quite a bind isn't it?

yet this time, i think i'm just going to have to take responsibility for causing the present hurt...because, this time....i am going to put my needs first. i also know that in doing so, i've lost a bond that i know i will miss. for always.

it all just makes me sad.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

i'm sorry

i love you.

i think you are amazing.
i want you to be happy.
you deserve to be happy.

yet, i can't be there for you this time.
i just can't.

i think this is good-bye.

i'm so sorry.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

morning indulgences

i'm not exactly a morning person. [massive understatement].

yet, i do realize that getting up early to work with the uk folks is all part of the job. my mornings usually consist of swings between wanting to bang my head against the desk because of some of the emails waiting for me from the hong kong and beijing being extremely giddy that i'm not physically in the uk corporate office. for example, if i was in the uk office, i would probably have to be on a plane to the middle east on sunday. i think i'm really ok with passing on that trip. instead, DH has to go. tee hee. i suppose it is evil of me to laugh. oh well. tee hee.

i never quite know what is going to be waiting in my inbox when i wake up and login. not to mention the folks that are just waiting for the little skype bubble to pop up on their machines somewhere else in the world that alerts them that i am now online.

what a world we live in. what an incredible world.

sometimes, like this morning, when the mad morning rush ends...i make a little treat for myself. in this case, i made myself a yogurt and fruit parfait. i took a bit of extra time for the presentation....because...sometimes, presentation is key to a truly decadent morning indulgence. it was all so simple. yet so good. i started with a riedel stemless wine glass and some fage nonfat greek yogurt (one of my faves)....

and some sliced ca grown apricots....

spooned in some yogurt.....

then added some hazelnut agave (this is the key ingredient here....this "makes" the parfait)...

and then proceeded to continue with the layers of sliced apricots, a few ca grown blueberries, yogurt, and agave....

absolutely lovely. absolutely yummy. absolutely indulgent.

it was just what i needed to make the morning a bit easier.

back on midnights

that didn't take very long did it?

looks like i'm back on midnight duty. just finished up a flurry of emails and feedback to ensure that everything would be in folks' email inboxes by 8am uk time. i should be getting to bed soon. yet i wanted to take a moment, wind down from the day, share with you some food pics of a relatively recent meal, and share why i have a very silly smile on my face.

this will truly be a random mish-mash of thoughts and experiences. i suppose this is what happens when the foodie hunter blogs after midnight.

lets begin with the silly smile shall we?

i think the gawds are taking some pity on me with some of the processing i've been doing and cut me a little slack. i definitely appreciate this. most definitely.

while i was finishing up some work things this evening, i received an email from someone a few thousand miles away that was pretty sweet. the note itself was sweet...but when you couple the note with the fact that it is from a guy who is pretty freakin hawt [and straight]....well, that is when the silly smile comes is enough to make me go "awww. that is nice."

i suppose the foodie hunter can be quite the girl at times. rarely. but, yes, it does happen.

btw. just to be clear, i'm not reading anything into it. it was just a nice note. it helps put me in a good mood as i wind down from the evening and share with you one of the meals i had over the memorial day weekend.

one of the places i dropped by for a quick lunch this past weekend was top dog.

i heart top dog. when i was a student many years ago, i would visit the northside and southside locations. these days, i visit the one on center street.

top dog is such a typically berkeley institution. rarely do you get to visit a hot dog/sausage place where there are calls for revolution and socio-political satire/reform on the walls. this is not the typical "hot dog" place. there are no mention of sports anywhere. although, i would definitely recommend avoiding it on cal game days as it gets pretty crowded with alumni. yet, there was no game this past weekend, so i was able to just have a mellow hang out as i waited for my hot link to be grilled.....i usually get the hot link.......

and proceed to load it up with mustard (usually the spicy russian mustard plus one other kind), kraut, onions, relish, and peppers....

yum yum. c'mon...don't these pics make you just a teeny bit hungry for a hot link? don't you just want to take a bite?

top dog, 2160 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704, +1 (510) 849-0176

Monday, May 25, 2009

unscientific face off

before my last trip to the uk, i was talking to VLD and she mentioned how i should try to do a side-by-side comparison between uk packaged food and us packaged food. she and her hubby have done stuff like this for years when they travel outside the us. despite my packing extremely light during this last trip to the uk (i packed a carry-on duffel and my computer...that is it...even the one of the custom guys was supremely surprised), i couldn't resist buying some kit kats at sainsbury in tooting in london. i bought dark chocolate and orange-flavored kit kats.

they are very yummy and the biggest challenge was not eating them all before i had a chance to do a comparison to a us-made kit kat.

to be fair, i know that it isn't an exact comparison as i'm comparing three different flavors. yet oh well. this is why the heading of this posting is "unscientific face off." i must admit that i was surprised during the tasting.

one of the reasons why i chose the kit kats was that i stopped eating them years ago. i used to really like them and then i remember getting a couple of bars that had a grainy texture to the chocolate. i hadn't eaten one since. just wanted to let you know my bias going into this whole thing......

so i proceeded to unwrap the candy....what i noticed right away was i could instantly smell the orange in the orange kit kat...

and the aroma of the dark chocolate kit kat was substantially more present

than the us milk chocolate kit kat.

once i unwrapped the bars....

i took out a knife to cut the kit kats as i didn't want my fingers to melt any of the chocolate......

as i tasted the chocolate wafers side by side, i noticed some immediate differences. for lack of a better word, the uk kit kats were more "toothy" felt like there was more chocolate to provide resistance to biting into the stick. i also noticed that there was a marked quality difference in the chocolate itself. the uk chocolate tasted of a higher quality. the uk kit kats, i remember thinking...i can really taste the chocolate as it melts on the tongue. the us chocolate was hit with a sweeter note right away, with the chocolate almost being secondary (if this makes sense) with a much sweeter after taste. yes, i know this is a bit unfair as dark chocolate is typically not as sweet as milk chocolate....yet, it was also the case with the orange flavored milk chocolate. yet, the biggest surprise to me was how the us kit kat didn't have the grainy textured chocolate that i remembered. this was a very pleasant surprise.

overall, i would definitely recommend getting a hold of some uk kit kats and try this out for yourself. the next time i am in the city, i'm going to seriously consider stopping by fiona's sweetshoppe and grabbing some regular uk kit kats and trying this "unscientific" experiment again for a more apples to apples comparison.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

oh hello.....friday night at corso

hmmmm. well, contrary to the original plan that i had tweeted about, we found ourselves at corso on friday night instead of cesar. not that i am "whinging and moaning" about being at corso. not at all. i think dear hearts....most of you know that i've paid many a lovely visit to corso since they have opened and fully continue to do so.

the dishes we ordered on friday consisted of one of the specials of fried fish....

as well as a few dishes currently on the regular menu..... such as the sweetbread meatballs....

the bone-in pork loin....

the artichokes (naturally)....

and desserts.......

yet, i received a bit of a surprise when the person that brought the desserts was the same person that waited on me and the best friend a couple of weeks ago....during our dinner and a show visit. as she placed the desserts down she recognized me and said "oh hello! how are you?" i mentioned that i was fine and asked how she was doing.


i suppose this is what happens when the foodie hunter visits places she really likes over and over again. the whole anonymity thing starts to slowly creep away.

maybe this isn't such a bad thing. well, maybe not a bad thing for certain situations. i mean, i go to these places because i really enjoy and appreciate them....whether they are neighborhood places like cesar and the more out of the way places like kim huong.

does this mean that i'm going to bust out my identity any time soon? nope. not at all.

admittedly my semi-anonymity it is kind of odd at times. for example, when tastetv sent out a link to my sf chocolate salon flickr pics in their press release, or when sam over at becks and posh linked to me, or when san pellegrino posted some of my pics....etc. etc. and everything is credited to "foodie hunter" rather than my "real name" . this is because still want to keep a lock down on my identity. yet, i'm not certain how long i'll be able to keep the semi-anonymity up for.

i suppose only time will tell.

corso trattoria: 1788 shattuck avenue berkeley, ca 94709, +1 510 704 8004