Thursday, October 28, 2010

giants!

as i was born in san francisco (yep, there are actually some of us still here) it would be remiss of me to not provide some commentary on the fact that the sf giants are currently playing against the texas rangers in the world series.



game two is happening today and it is rather fascinating to see so much black and orange in the city the last couple of weeks. the fact that the sf giants made the playoffs and are now playing in the world series is the reason why i am hayes valley, typing this posting from a loved one's place and dog sitting the cuddle monster. he is snoring while laying on top of my feet and only a dog could make snoring cute. usually, the loved one works in soma and brings the cuddle monster to work with him. yet, there is really no parking to be had in soma during regular games (much less epic events such as the playoffs and the world series) so hence....the foodie hunter gets to dog sit. i think i'm the one that has gotten the best part of this deal.

for those of you dear readers who are not from the bay area or even the states, the fact that the sf giants are in the world series right now is quite amazing. the sf giants in the world series will become a part of the city's mythology and legend....especially if they win.

after my slew of meetings that started at 7am and ran well into the afternoon, i was extremely hungry by 1pm-ish. i decided to see if i could make it to the ferry building before 4505 meats closed up their stand (it closes at 2pm) to try the "gigante dog" (i.e., all beef hot dog with cheddar and jalapeno ....which is as good as it sounds...actually it tastes even better than it sounds).


thankfully, i was able to arrive at the stand about 10 minutes to 2pm and they still had some left. as i basically inhaled my "gigante dog", i was thinking how it seemed appropriate to have a giants hot dog while watching so many people wearing giants gear in the streets....and with much of the city waiting in anticipation to see what the outcome of game 2 will be. the foodie hunter, like many folks in the city, hope that they'll go all the way....now wouldn't that be something?

who says the foodie hunter can't be a wee bit sentimental? shhhhh, don't tell anyone kay?

xxoooo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

simple moments in hayes


well. i'm back in hayes valley working from a loved one's place and spending time with the cuddle monster. he is currently snoring while laying on my feet.

this is becoming a habit that i can definitely get used to. i can also become way to easily accustomed to stopping off at the blue bottle kiosk in linden.....

for lovely lattes and mochas (made with recchiuti chocolate no less. sigh. rather addicting. more sighs). there are many things that i could become very accustomed to working from this neighborhood.



personally, i don't think i'm hip enough to live in this neighborhood, but it is nice to visit. i haven't really done a lot of exploring food-wise while doing this working-and-dog-sitting-thing. i think it is because i've been wanting to spend as much time with the cuddle monster as possible so i end up bringing my lunch or snacks


as well as drinking copious amounts of tea while i am working from the loved one's kitchen table. although this snack is just a persimmon, i just love the colors. yes, i am such a food nerd. i do like to stand back and admire the color of produce.

not only do i enjoy admiring produce, taking the pics allows me to appreciate the moment even more. it is one of the reasons why i started this blog years ago...to help (or more like actively prod) me stay present in the moment....and notice things that are happening in the moment. i'm glad that i'm taking more time being present in the moment these past few years.

sometimes it really is the simple things that make a day great. in this case, a lovely mocha from blue bottle, the striking contrast of the beautiful tasty orange persimmon against a blue plate, and a snoring cuddly dog warming my feet as i work....these are some pretty great ....and simple.... moments.

Monday, October 25, 2010

fearless, lovely, and amazeballs: since u been gone


i'm sitting in a local cafe and i can't seem to stop smiling.

i'm still fighting off this cold-flu-whatever-it-is...but at this moment, i really don't care. i finished booking the details of my trip out to nyc in a couple of weeks, and a loved one in nyc forwarded me this link to a piece that his partner completed.....



and it still is making me smile now. i mean, how could it not? aren't they so fearless in their silliness? so adorable....and really rather amazing. i found myself humming the kelly clarkson song to myself, giggling, and thinking about their video while i was digging into my hot pumpkin spice sundae (two scoops of pumpkin 5-spice ice cream, cinnamon whip cream, butterscotch, and pie crumble) from humphry slocombe....


one of my favorite places in the universe. as i was noshing away on my sundae, i was thinking about life, love, and laughter.....and how fortunate i am....that my life is and has been filled with such. it reminded me that even among some not so great times....just how lucky i still am....in so many ways.......lucky in who i love, what i eat, where i live, and how laughter is never far away..... and i hope dear hearts....that it is the same for you as well.

xxxooo

Saturday, October 23, 2010

back again.....


sometimes when i revisit certain places, it reminds me of how much things have changed....or how much i have changed. sometimes it leaves me with a sense of bittersweet reminiscence and sometimes, it also reminds me that change allows one (or me) to grow toward different paths that i may not have envisioned or even dreamed of before. i definitely had one of these sort of moments this afternoon during a visit to oakland today. a loved one's friend is visiting from the ATL and he wanted to take her to kim huong in oakland for pho and asked me if i wanted to come along. he has only had the pho once there....and well over a year ago.... but he's a rather huge fan of it. i have a feeling he asked me if i wanted to come along because he knows that kim huong is one of the only places that i can find bun bo hue made the way i like it.

since i have moved to the city, i've been trying to scour the city for different vietnamese food options. i've pretty much settled into OTD on bush as my "go to" place for my comfort but i still haven't found a place for bun bo hue....and i'm actively still looking. i remember when this loved one asked me a few months ago how come i haven't been back to kim huong and i said it is because i've been trying to actively settle.....and find my bearings in the city.

i'm not gonna lie, it felt a bit funny to walk into kim huong after not having been in ages and ages. one of the owners recognized me and then gave me a big hug. it was unexpected but it was also really nice and very natural. after we settled into a table, we put in our order. i ordered the bun bo hue......


the loved one ordered the pho with the meatballs and the loved one's friend ordered the pho tai.

we were are all pretty happy with our choices.

kim huong, 304 10th Street (between Harrison St & Webster St), oakland, ca 94607, (510) 836-3139,

just another market morning

ahhhh, i do love saturday mornings. not only do i actually get to sleep in which is absolutely positively wonderful, it is also a chance for me to hit up the saturday farmers market at the sf ferry building. as usual, my first stops are dirty girl produce, heirloom organic gardens, and tierra vegetables to see what they have to offer. then i decide what to eat for breakfast. i think my body is still recovering from the "big mac" that i had from 4505 meats on thursday. it was amazing...but i don't think my body can take eating it very often. i decided that i wanted something a bit lighter and checked out the menu at namu. also, as a total non-food related aside...while guerilla cafe in berkeley still holds the foodie hunter award (for the two cents that is worth) for the sheer number of beautiful people that work there (which i have blogged about before)....i think namu is a close second. not to detract from their food or anything and i say this with all due respect....but damn, there are some good looking people that work at namu. i'm not the only person that has remarked on this....my friends and i have had conversations about this during a visit to the place in the richmond.

anyway, back to the food right..... after reviewing the menu and such....i ordered the yuzu french toast which i've had as a "dessert" at their place in the richmond.

i think i was off in my own little world thinking about the french toast as well as sneaking peeks at my farmers' market crush that i didn't even see a friend hanging out in the 4505 meats
booth until he made some arm motions and faces at me. i think this must be a new record. i've seen him 3 times this week. after a brief chat and my picking up the yuzu french toast....


i realized that i forgot to remind him that i'm still up for kid sitting duties so that he and his uber cool wife can have a date night out. sigh. yet, i'm sure i'll have another time to mention this to him or his wife since the universe seems to think i should run into them so often.

well, gotta run dear hearts....there are a few more errands i need to do before i head over to oakland with a loved one and a friend of his visiting from the ATL. methinks that there may be some bun bo hue in my future....and who knows....maybe i'll have some decent shots to show you later.

xxooo


namu, 439 balboa street, san francisco, 94118, +1 415 386 8332, http://namusf.com/

also at the sf ferry building farmers market on thursdays and saturdays -
one ferry building, san francisco, ca 94114, http://www.cuesa.org/markets/;

Friday, October 22, 2010

missing the foot warmer

kay. i'm no longer dog sitting and i totally miss the cuddle monster. he was a great foot warmer



stories, connections, and experiences

when i woke up this morning i instantly realized something was off. "well this is just peachy." i muttered to myself as i dragged my ass out of bed and made some tea before my morning meetings began. i wasn't in top form during my meetings this morning and all i could think about was how i wanted to get to the counter at OTD on bush and have some soup. thankfully, a few hours later, this is exactly where i found myself and i had the wonton soup with braised pork and egg noodles again.....


as well as ordering some things to go for dinner tonight. i doubt that i will be leaving my place again today as i really need to get over whatever this is. as i was slurping through my morning soup, i thought about my visit to the sf moma's now playing event last night.



i'm glad that sf moma does events such as this. yet, the primary reason i decided to attend last night was because richie nakano was planning to plate something very unramen-like. when i ran into richie last week at the market and he told me what he was planning to plate at the "secrets and disguises" themed meatpaper + sf moma event...i had some difficulty imagining what it was going to look like. but what i took away from the conversation was that he was planning to do something very different and when friends push themselves in their craft....and their passion....whether it be business, food, cooking, writing, art, design, teaching, or more....you know that i'll be there......if nothing less than to provide a friendly face in the crowd.

as i scurried over to the sf moma....i kept looking up at the sky....wondering how the hell i was going to get in some good shots with the light fleeing so quickly. thankfully, as i am a member of the museum, i didn't have to stand in line for a ticket and was able to get my wrist band and museum ticket at the membership desk very quickly. then i made my way up to the 5th floor and bought 3 meatpaper tickets (1 ticket per plate) for $12 from the always stylish gals that work the meatpaper events.

usually, i'm a bit shy in approaching the folks associated with hapa ramen but not so much last night as i felt like i was against a distinct time line (i.e., the natural light completely going away).

as i watched richie and victor plating their "pickle plate: pickled roots, pancetta, and manchego", it became very obvious just how different this was from their usual fare that they produce under "hapa ramen"......




the powder is the pancetta. it consisted of pureed meat combined with a mix of rendered fat and tapioca maltodextrin. the foam was the manchego. it was manchego cooked until reduced and then frothed with soy lecithin. the "pickles" were familiar and unfamiliar at the same time....there were the pickled root vegetables but there was also the surprise of the pickled pork skin.


it was definitely one of those dishes that made me want to just stand there and look at for a while.....


not because i didn't want to eat it....but because it was like an intellectual puzzle. the plate definitely reflected the them of "secrets and disguises" of the event.

i also wanted to have a chance to take some shots of what the folks at bar tartine were offering. while this was richie's first time doing a plate at one of the meatpaper events on the sf moma rooftop, the bar tartine folks have done this event before and i'm always curious to see what they have to offer. their offering was "puppets in disguise: chocolate milkshake".....

now since i don't know chris kronner and i rarely interact with the folks (richie is a rare exception) behind the food, i don't know the background of this particular dish. yet it was interesting and there was a surprise of berries in the cup....which explained the need for a spoon....as i was just planning to sip it before mr. kronner put a spoon in the cup for me.

for my third taste of the evening, i picked the offering from ryan ostler and katharine zacher of gypsy kitchen and catering....

their offering was "the white album" escolar, monterey squid, and nantucket bay scallops".....


which was underneath the mound of noodles and beside the puree.

as i was nibblin, taking pictures, and looking at the crowd....

i remember thinking that this is just one of the reasons why i love food so much....there are so many ways to communicate with it....so many stories to tell....so many ways to reach out to people. it was also something i was thinking about as i was slurping away on my soup at OTD on bush this morning. there i was, feeling cranky and grumpy.... but having the soup and seeing one of my fav servers at the bar helped turn around my day.


it is never truly just about the food alone is it?

it is also about the stories, connections, and the experiences we have surrounding the food as well.

well, i better get back to my work day.....until later dear hearts...

xxooo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the big mac from 4505 meats


one of my usual things on saturday mornings at the sf ferry building farmers market is to have breakfast while looking out on the bay. as i was stuffing my face with steak and egg poutine from 4505 meats, i get a text from a certain chef who asks where i am and we end up meeting up for a chat as well as him helping me pick some things out before i head back to my place to make the mushroom soup for the ill loved one. yet, during our chat, this chef pretty much dares me to eat the "big mac" from 4505 meats. i always listen when friends make recommendations on things to try and i just stored that away in the foodie hunter brain-powered database for later retrieval.

then i get this email via facebook....

which gives folks a heads up that the "big mac" is on the menu today.

at this point, i still don't have a clear idea of what this is. so when i arrive to the market right before it closes, i feel a bit sheepish when i ask the nice gal at the 4505 meats counter what the big mac is. she, like everyone else i've ever ordered from at 4505 meats, is super nice and explains that it is two patties with the fried mac and cheese in between. i could feel my arteries almost harden in response to her description. yet, i knew that i was going to order it and also knew that it would likely be one of the only things i'll be eating today.

when my order was called up, i had to gasp....i mean wouldn't you?


isn't that just amazing? i said that aloud to the folks when i saw it too...it is rather amazing isn't it? one of the gals behind the counter suggested that i take a pic....which was a wonderful suggestion.

as i walked around to find a table, i could see and hear the folks whispering about the food. i mean, it must have looked pretty funny. i'm a chubby not even 5 ft tall gal carrying this rather large burger thing....and as soon as i sat down with it and started to dig in....


i had at least 4 people ask me where i bought it and one blogger ask if they could take a picture. i have no idea who the blogger was. i usually don't see myself as being that approachable but maybe it was my look of gluttonous glee as i dug into the burger that provided an illusion that i am a friendly approachable person.

folks, it was good....in a very naughty kind of way.

well, i'm back to work.... sippin on some blue bottle iced coffee.....getting a few things done before i head back out later to visit the sf moma for the meatpaper event on the rooftop. a certain chef is going to be doing some molecular gastronomy tonight as his offering and i definitely wanna get some shots in of that....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

cuddle monster

i'm doing something a bit different.

instead of taking a break away from my place by working in a cafe, i'm working from a loved one's place...dog sitting. it is pretty cool. i've already established a routine for this working-dog-sitting-thing, in that i'm making regular stops at the blue bottle kiosk on linden (see top image).

cuddle while i work on the computer......


and peek at the cuddle monster while i reheat lunch (left over pasta i brought from home) in the loved one's oven.

i didn't see anything that seemed oven proof in a brief look through the kitchen so i decided that the easiest thing to do was reheat my lunch on some foil.


pets are great aren't they?

well, i better get going, i think it may be time to walk the cuddle monster.

hugs to all....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

front of the house

kay, i'm winding down....for the "night". i just finished off sending a few emails and i know i should sleep....because i have to get up in a few hours....but my brain is definitely all a buzz buzz buzz. i did get a chance to take a quick walk over to OTD on bush today for a soup visit. i managed to hit it at prime lunch time today though.....a time that i typically avoid. it was interesting to see how packed it was. i am not surprised, they do good food....which is why i like visiting during "off hours"....so that i can have the good food but not be around so many people. yeah, i know i am so anti social.

i sat down at the bar like i usually do and one of my favorite servers (both of my favs work the bar on a regular basis) was there. i quickly ordered the shrimp and pork wontons w/the braised pork and egg noodles. it just felt like that sort of day. i've had it before (big shock) so i already knew that i liked it.


the soup arrived quickly which was great as i had no intention of lingering in that crowd today. as i was slurping away, a couple next to me started commenting about how gorgeous the server was. my first thought was "well, duh. what a way to state the obvious." yes, i know...i am quite the cranky shit head. but then, i also thought this couple were being total dipsticks to her, so i really wasn't feeling all nice, warm, and fuzzy towards them. then my follow up thought was "even though she is lovely....that isn't the reason why she's one of my favs though." it is true. she's one of my faves because i see her hustling about always doing something...even when it isn't busy. the very practical and efficient part of me definitely respects that. also, she is always very composed and gracious (even to some real dipsticks that come in...and oh boy...have i seen some real dipsticks come in and eat at OTD). she always seems to know when i want to linger or when i'm in the mood for a quick bite. i've seen her answer all sorts of questions and is never condescending. when i observe folks like her, i realize how challenging working the front of the house can be....and how different people respond to those challenges.

i really don't know how folks in the front of the house do it. during my brief excursion to "the other side", i went into a zone of distance and was super-duper-polite as i knew i couldn't be a total shit as this wasn't my business. there was only one time that i wanted to throw the ramen at someone but i didn't and ended up kinda sorta venting to a certain chef about being condescended to. it was one of those moments that i realized that this chef has all sorts of people skills...which makes sense...he has to in order to run a kitchen...and a team. i don't like not being treated well....which is why i suppose i avoid dealing with the general public as much as possible...so i have to tip my imaginary hat to those that make conscious decisions to do it....and hope that they do get something out of it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

treats from miette

i'm taking a quick break from a few work projects and munching on some treats from miette. i didn't buy the treats from miette as they were a gift from a loved one. looking at them still makes me smile.

yesterday, i dropped off some of the wild mushroom soup that i made for a loved one and i must admit that i was rather intrigued by the miette bag that they had on their kitchen table but i didn't remark upon it. i mean, just because there is a bag from a confectionery and patisserie on a loved one's kitchen table doesn't make me automatically assume that what is in the bag is for me.

let's be real shall we....most of my loved ones enjoy food quite a bit...so at any given time there can be sweets, savories, produce, and more on kitchen tables, counters, etc. etc. it doesn't mean that they are gifts for visitors. i remember thinking it was a bit odd that this loved one fiddled with the bag a couple of times. looking back on it, i think he was waiting for me to say something about the bag. but i didn't. i thought it was kind of odd that the bag was marring my vision of this loved one across the table during our conversation but then i was distracted by some cute thing that the dog did and decided to go sit on the floor and cuddle the dog. i do adore this dog. if cuddling was an olympic sport, this dog would definitely be a medal contender.

then as the visit ended, and i was getting ready to head out of the door. i hear this exasperated statement about how the bag is for me, that i should take the bag, and how he doesn't want to hear any arguing. i remember thinking "well, why didn't you say so before? jez." but i didn't say that aloud. it didn't seem like an appropriate response. then i peeked into the bag and whaddaya know. it was filled with all sorts of goodies. i said thanks and i can see that he is feeding my snack habit.

so what was in the bag?

here are some pics i took as i was waiting for muni to head back to my place.....


in the jar was lemon heads, turkish taffy, a kitkat, and what i suspect are candy cigs....


buttery toffee caramel corn (which i've already been munching on).....


and these lovely chocolate cookies....


which i started to munch on this morning for breakfast.



i suppose it is pretty obvious to my loved ones that i have a rather ginormous sweet tooth.

miette, 449 octavia street, san francisco, ca 94102, + 1 (415) 626-6221, http://www.miettecakes.com/

Saturday, October 16, 2010

healing

right now my apartment my apartment smells like comfort.

i have a pot of homemade mushroom soup simmering on the stove. as the soup is simmering, i'm reminiscing about the power of soup and how food is more then just sustainable substance for the body. while i do love making soup for myself, i must admit that the soup that is simmering is for a loved one.

i'm using a combination of dried porcini mushrooms and a mix of fresh mushrooms i picked up at far west funghi today as the prominent ingredients for the soup. i started the soup with caramelizing some locally grown organic red onion....

with some kalamata olive oil, salt, garlic, and homemade dried sage. then, once the onions were caramelized, i added the "water" that i soaked the dried porcini mushrooms in....


also, the reconstituted mushrooms "as is" weren't the right texture i wanted for the soup and in order to add more "meatiness" to the broth, i pureed the reconstituted mushrooms. i added the puree with some water to the pot. then i brought it to a boil.....then turned it down to a simmer.


once this was reduced by about 25% i tasted the broth and realized it needed more sweetness so i added some sliced carrots well as some kale (both from dirty girl produce) that i originally planned to add as well.....


i also added some salt.

i left that to simmer for a while longer as i didn't plan on adding the fresh mushrooms until the broth had reduced further...pretty much when the kale and carrots would fall apart and the onion is almost completely disintegrated.

as the soup was on the stove, i thought about
the email i received from a loved one to let me know that they had strep throat. i have been particularly worried about this loved one as they have been pushing themselves so hard, too hard actually, and now they have strep throat....to add to the pile of stress on their body. part of me thinks that their body is telling them enough is enough.

when i got the email, i knew that they weren't taking care of themselves....and thought about how the hell i could get as much nutrition into him asap .....as well as it be something tempting enough that he'd actually want to swallow. i know that he loves soup, but i knew that neither of us would have the time on thurs. to make any during the day....and then it hit me....it was thursday which meant hapa ramen was at the ferry building. so i texted hapa ramen asking for help...which is odd for me....i rarely ask anyone for help. i texted hapa ramen asking if i could just buy some uncooked noodles and broth off of him since one of my best friends had strep. the custom package that hapa ramen put together when i arrived at the ferry building was quite a spread. there were these lovely veggies and sous vide eggs.....

their wonderful porkylicious broth......


the uncooked noodles......


as well as a cookie from batter. i think there may be some babysitting duties in my future. i think that would be a win for everybody.

anyway, when i arrived at the loved one's place to put the lovely food in his fridge, i was relieved that i decided to meddle in his life. there wasn't anything in his fridge and he did not look well. later on that night, when i was having dinner at des amis with someone i know, i received a text indicating that the loved one thought the ramen was "perfect". i remember breathing a sigh of relief and was also thinking about what else i could get into this loved one to keep them hydrated and on the course toward healing and recovery.

which leads me to where i am today, waiting for this soup to finish. once the broth had reduced by half, i added the fresh mushrooms......let it simmer for a few minutes....and tasted it. it has a lovely earthy musty mushroomness....



i've also got some chunks of acme upstairs bread in the oven for croutons. i think the croutons will help bring even more substance to the broth.




so here i am, sitting here amongst the aroma of comfort in my apartment....thinking about how food...and how it really isn't just sustenance for the body to survive. it really is so much more isn't it? it is a way to show comfort....to show care....and to support healing.