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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Anime Food Re-creation: Shining Hearts: Shiwase no Pan's Onion Garlic Toast

In Shining Hearts: Shiwase no Pan, Flora's bar is known for its Onion Garlic Toast, which always seems to sell out. I love garlic bread so this seemed like a great anime food to recreate!
Shining Hearts: Shiwase no Pan - Onion Garlic Toast

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anime Food Re-creation: Mirrai Nikki's Crab Legs

In Episode 13 of Mirai Nikki, Yuki's friends (Aru, Hinata, Mao, and Kousaka) head off to a resort town in search of Yuki and Yuno, whom they suspect kidnapped Yuki. The particular hotel Aru and company stayed at included all-you-can-eat crab legs. Of course, Kousaka had to get as much as he could - much to his friends' embarrassment!
Mirai Nikki - Crab Legs
Getting this much crab at a buffet in real life can be quite embarrassing. People stare at you as if you're one of those people - the ones that hog all the expensive items so that no one else can get it...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Highlights 2013 (Part 2)

Hi everyone! Here's Part 2 of highlights from my trip to San Francisco! If you missed out on Part 1, you can read about it here.

1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA 94111
Ferry Building
Every Saturday, the Ferry Building hosts a huge farmer's market from 8am to 2pm. There's also smaller farmer's markets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm, but we went on Saturday. I'm a big fan of farmer's markets because you never know what you're going to find.
Purple Bell Peppers
Just check out these purple bell peppers! I had never seen them before so I bought a few to take home. The guys working the stand were really friendly and informative. Apparently, purple bell peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers in taste and eventually turn a reddish orange color when ripe. The workers warned me that although the purple color is gorgeous, the color will cook out and turn gray. In the past, some customers came back to complain about the color change so they wanted to make sure I knew ahead of time, which I thought was really upfront and considerate of them.
Lobster Mushroom
Inside the Ferry Building, there's a shop that specializes in mushrooms. I've always wanted to try lobster mushrooms but since they wouldn't have held up on our long road trip back, I had to sadly part ways. If you know where to get lobster mushrooms in LA, please let me know!
Obsidian Knives
At the farmer's market, there's also a large section for art and craft vendors who always have interesting items for sale. If you watch or read Game of Thrones, you'll understand just how amused I was at seeing obsidian knives! But they're not just any obsidian knives, they're hand-crafted with handles made from wood or animal bones. If the White Walkers come, I know where I'll be getting armed. ;)
Old-fashioned Bike
The Ferry Building even has bike rentals. I thought it was cool that you could rent this old-timey bike and ride in style.

1 Ferry Bldg, Ste 10
San Francisco, CA 94111
Miette Patisserie
One of the bakeries on my list of places to try was Miette Patisserie. Fortunately for me, there was one inside the Ferry Building!

Miette Patisserie - Macaron Display
They had so many delicious-looking pastries and a nice array of macaron flavors.
Miette Patisserie - Strawberry Macaron (Seasonal)
I tried the Strawberry Macaron, which was a seasonal flavor. Honestly, I thought it was a standard macaron. Nothing special. (I was spoiled by Laduree macarons so now nothing quite compares.)
Miette Patisserie - Mini Scharffen Berger Cake ($6.50)
One of Miette's most famous items is their Scharffen Berger Cake, which is made with high quality Scharffen Berger cocoa (I believe) and covered in chocolate ganache.
Miette Patisserie - Mini Scharffen Berger Cake (Inside)
I liked the thick layer of ganache, but wasn't a big fan of the cake overall. I thought it was a little expensive at $6.50, but they did use top-quality ingredients. For some reason, the cake just wasn't as moist and decadent as I thought it would be. 
Miette Patisserie - Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich
My friend bought a chocolate ice cream sandwich, which cost somewhere around $5. As he was paying, he promptly stated he wasn't sharing so I can't comment on it, but he looked like he was having a food-gasm with every bite. I'm going to assume it was good. Really good.

1 Ferry Bldg, Shop 11
San Francisco, CA 94111
Hog Island Oyster Co. Booth
Hog Island Oyster Co. had a booth behind the Ferry Building during the farmers market, but they also have a brick and mortar restaurant within the building. What's nice about Hog Island is that if you tell them it's your first time, they let you have your first oyster for free.
Hog Island Oyster Co. - Atlantic (left) and Pacific (right) Oysters ($2 each)
To be honest, I was never a fan of oysters because I didn't like the texture or flavor. I have also avoided raw oysters because of the risk of food poisoning. However, when I saw that oysters were only $2 a shuck, I decided to give it a chance. YOLO, right? To my surprise, I really enjoyed them! They smelled like the sea and weren't fishy at all. The Atlantic (Spring Creek) oyster was more briny, while the Pacific (Kusshi) oyster  was more buttery and sweet. I ate these with a squeeze of lemon so I could really enjoy the oyster's natural flavor and found I liked the Spring Creek oyster a little more, but my friend preferred the Kusshi.

San Francisco Cable Car/Trolley
To get from the Ferry Building to Chinatown, my friends and I decided to be super touristy and take the cable car/trolley. It costs $6 one way and made for a fun one-time thing. Now we can say we've ridden a San Francisco cable car!

1029 Grant Ave
(between Jackson St & Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Golden Gate Bakery - Line
Now for the star of the trip for my tastebuds and tummy! In Chinatown, I finally got to try Golden Gate Bakery! We waited over 30 minutes in line (my friend was able to go to the bank, buy boba, and finish his boba before we reached the counter), but after trying their famous egg tarts, I have to say the wait was worth. every. minute.
Golden Gate Bakery - Egg Tart ($1.35)
I consider myself a bit of an egg tart connoisseur. I love them and if a bakery or restaurant offers egg tarts, I've tried them. So you can trust me when I say these egg tarts are good. Really good. Literally, the BEST EGG TARTS EVER!!! The custard is wonderfully eggy and I loved the large custard-to-flaky-crust ratio. You have to eat (at least) one fresh while it's still warm. You won't regret it. It's food-gasm status. Seriously. Do it.
Golden Gate Bakery - Egg Tart (Cross-section)
I decided to splurge and bought a whole dozen ($16.20) so I could take some home to share with family. I was a little bummed that Golden Gate Bakery doesn't offer a discount for buying a dozen, but with egg tarts this good, $1.35 for one is worth every penny. I'll definitely be back in the future.

So there you have it! All the highlights from my most recent trip to San Francisco. Hopefully, you found something interesting and useful if you ever visit. If you have any recommendations for other places in San Francisco to try or see, please feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Highlights 2013 (Part 1)

Back in July, I took a weekend roadtrip with some of my friends to visit my former college roommate, N, in San Francisco. We did some of the major touristy things like going to Fisherman's Wharf and watching a Giants game, but I wanted to highlight some of my favorite sights and bites. There were quite a few places I wanted to mention so I split this post into two parts.

Garlic Braids from Gilroy, CA
On our way up to San Fran, we stopped in Gilroy, CA to get gas and stretch our legs. Gilroy is famous for their summer Garlic Festival, which features everything garlic including...
Garlic Ice Cream from Gilroy, CA
GARLIC ICE CREAM! The gas station we stopped at had a fresh produce stand so we explored a little and found vanilla and chocolate garlic ice cream in the back (along with a bazillion other garlic-flavored snacks, sauces, and marinades).
Garlic Ice Cream from Gilroy, CA
We opted to try the vanilla garlic ice cream, which had a distinct roasted garlic flavor that was actually quite mellow. None of that astringent fresh garlic tang. It was interesting combined with the sweet creaminess of the ice cream. A spoonful was good enough for me, but my supertaster friend really liked it and finished it off after we all sampled it.

3489 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Ike's Place
If you've seen my previous post on San Francisco Eats, you know how much I love, love, love Ike's Place. Seriously. It's my all-time favorite sandwich place.
Ike's Place - Spiffy Tiffy
This time, I tried a "Spiffy Tiffy," which contains pesto halal chicken, avocado, mushrooms, provolone cheese, pepperjack cheese, tomato, and lettuce. I highly, highly recommend it - especially on Dutch Crunch bread. The creaminess of the avocado mixed with the pesto and mushrooms was just an explosion of flavor in my mouth and the texture contrast with the Dutch Crunch bread was just perfection. The sandwich was too large for me so N and I split it.

600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
A long line for Tartine Bakery
Located a few blocks away from Ike's Place is the famous Tartine Bakery, one of my friends' favorite bakeries. As you can see from the photo above, Tartine is quite popular. We waited a good 20-30 minutes in line before we got to the counter to order.
Tartine Bakery Case
I ended up ordering a Morning Bun and a Double Pain Au Chocolat, two of Tartine's most popular items.
Tartine's Morning Bun ($3.95)
I liked that the Morning Bun wasn't too sweet due to the light cinnamon sugar coating but thought it was a little pricey for $4.
Tartine's Double Pain au Chocolat ($4.75)
I ate the Double Pain au Chocolat (aka chocolate croissant) for breakfast the next day. I'm not sure if it was because the croissant was day-old, but I didn't like it. It seemed dense and greasy. (Though that might be because it got a bit squished in my bag. Oops!) I'll have to try it fresh to make a final judgment call, but my friend still thought it tasted really good. At almost $5, this pastry was way more expensive than I thought it'd be.

Despite being so well known, Tartine didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps my expectations were set unrealistically high from all the praise I've heard, but overall, I thought the pastries was too expensive and the final products didn't quite justify the cost and long wait time.

1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
San Tung Chinese Restaurant
N introduced us to San Tung's chicken wings during game night, where we snacked on "Original Dry Fried Chicken (Dry) (Glazed)" while playing a vicious game of Texas Hold'em.
San Tung's Glazed Chicken Wings ($10 for 12 wings)
These tasty wings were seasoned with garlic, ginger, and roasted whole red chili pepper in a sweet glaze. When fresh, they're crisp on the outside but still juicy. Absolutely delicious! We all loved them so much that we each bought a box for the road before heading on the long drive home. (They cost $10 for 12 wings.) Once they get cold, they're no longer crispy (obviously) but the flavor is still good. If you're just getting the wings, be sure to call San Tung ahead of time to place your order to save time, but the wings are so good that they're worth the wait.

I hope you found some of this information helpful and piqued some curious tastebuds. Stay tuned for San Francisco Highlights 2013 (Part 2)! If you have any recommendations for food or sights in SF, feel free to comment below.
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