Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys

So you know Hubert Keller, the Frenchman from Top Chef Masters? Yeah...this is his restaurant. It has been deemed one of the most romantic restaurants in all of San Francisco. So, while I didn't go there on a date, I did go with my foodie family for an awesome night of French food.

The restaurant is fairly close to Union Square (within walking distance) and is very quaint under and indoor canopy. We opted for the 5 course meal (parents got paired wines) including dessert and a cheese course. It was all TO DIE FOR. From the pistacio fig bread, to the ginger buffalo, to the Grand Marnier souffle. I even ventured out and tried my dad's lobster and salmon (I don't care much for seafood) and while they weren't to my liking texturally, I could tell they were delicious for a palate on which they were.

Fleur De Lys
77 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brunch: Plums, Newport Beach

New bunch local in Newport Beach, courtesy of my roommate:

Plums Cafe and Catering
369 E. 17th Street
Newport Beach, CA 92627

I was having an indecisive morning, and also a greedy morning, craving eggs, meat, and the raspberry pancakes that looked, oh, so good on the menu. Lo and behold, our waiter let me mix-and-match whatever I wanted so I could have a little bit of everything. Amazing. My other roommates also got what they wanted. I don't think there was a bite left on the table when we finished. It was incredible.

Even though the cafe is in a strip mall, they have their own little patio under a skylight which provides a great atmosphere.

To try next time, when I am not starving and all I want is sugar: the Dutch Baby (it takes 30 minutes to's like a deep dish pancake, the coconut french toast, or the lemon meringue waffle...mmm...

On another note: went to Maya in San Francisco this weekend (where my family went in NYC a few months ago) and it is just as good. Too bad I couldn't bring my leftover mole pablano home on the airplane. Boo. I guess that just makes it that much more better next time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New York Again

It's been a while, but since my last post, I've spent a week and a half in New York City. While there my best friend and I did lots of wandering of the city, allowing us to explore and discover new restaurants in territory we had yet to delve into.

A good cheap eatery we found is on the Upper West Side: Soom Soom. They have amazing falafel. You order either a salad or a pita with falafel in it, then get to pick and choose from their open salad bar of pre-made Israeli salads. I cannot tell you the names of any of them, but they're AWESOME. I actually went twice while in town. I prefer the salad to the pita because the salad makes you feel so good. All veggies and chickpeas.

Soom Soom
166 W. 72nd St.
New York, NY

Another place my family and I discovered when they joined up with me for Labor Day weekend is Maya. It is a really, really nice Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side with, hands down, the best Mexican I've ever had. Their chicken with mole is to die for. Guacamole is made fresh for you on the floor. I had their chicken enchiladas which were pretty tasty. We also got corn pudding and plantains on the side. Deelish. We were stuffed and going to get gelato after a show later that night, so we took a look at the dessert menu but didn't order anything. Were we to order, we would have gotten the chocolate tarte with cinnamon ice cream. Then our waiter surprised us with one, not knowing that that is what we were eyeing. Needless to say, he got a big tip. Haha. To our surprise, we also found out that there is a Maya in San Francisco (Yippee!) so we can go when we're at home to. Chevy's no more. We're converts.

1191 First Ave.
New York, NY

or for the West Coasters:

303 2nd. Street
San Francisco, CA

Lastly, my best friend and I were treated to some gelato by some family friends of hers that we were crashing with for part of my stay. It's called Screme and it is definitely not wallet friendly but SO worth it. With a small starting at $5, it may steer many away, but believe me, if you walk through the doors and start tasting (employees are required to give as many free samples as you want) you'll want to order a large (which, if you're wondering, will set you back $9...but it's practically a pint when they pile it all on, and it's totally worth it). The two Manhattan stores have 5,000 flavors that they cycle through from pear sorbet to Captain Crunch or Fig Tequila gelato. The flavor intensities are awesome (though the sorbets slightly less so). There is one location on the Upper West Side, and the other is in the lobby of Madame Tussauds in Times Square.

Screme Gelato
2030 Broadway
New York, NY

Screme Gelato
234 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thai Food...The Best of the Best in SF

Some of my good friends and I had a bougie night out in San Francisco tonight. We got dressed up all snazzy and had dinner at Osha Thai Restaurant on 2nd Street. It was probably the best Thai food I've ever joke. The yellow curry one of the girls got was peerless...and trust me, I've had my fair share of yellow curry. I had a Lava Guava drink, a spring roll, a piece of fried tofu with peanut sauce on it, and country chicken as my main dish. I think the dishes are supposed to be eated family style, but with 11 of us, we each decided to get our own entree then mooch off everyone else for tastes. It worked out perfectly and I was able to get my fix of everything I wanted: lemongrass chicken, pad thai, curry, pineapple fried rice...all incredible. The bill came out to around $35 a pop including drinks, 11 entrees, and a few appetizers to share. Not too bad for an AMAZING meal.

Osha Thai Restaurant
149 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Berkeley Brunch

Ate at a new place this morning for a friend's birthday. La Note Restaurant in Berkeley on Shattuck. It's Provencal French food. Though I don't eat eggs, their oeufs (eggs) looked awesome and tended to be what people ordered. I got the lemon gingerbread pancakes with poached pears. They tasted like gingerbread cookies of pancake consistency, and were pretty darn tasty. I had a taste of another guy's pain perdu (French toast, essentially) and it was good. Too rich for me to eat more than a taste, and very dense, but good. Their orange juice was fresh. The mocha I had left much to be desired but was what I needed at the time. I'm definitely going back to try the oatmeal raspberry pancakes next time.

La Note Restaurant
2377 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Sensations of Summer

Having lived in Southern California for two years now, I think I'm finally starting to appreciate the weather. It is perfect, especially in the summer. Highs of 85? Brilliant, and it stays just warm enough to be able to sit outside without a sweater until about 9PM.

I went to the farmer's market this morning. On my way out, I heard an announcer at the swim club across the street. I didn't even know there was one, but it made me miss my childhood summers. Saturday morning meets were the epicenter of my life. It's nice to know that there is a club as close to my home now as there is up north. It's comforting.

The countdown to Balboa has begun...two more months and I will be all settled with six of my favorite people. It is going to be an epic year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Favorite Guilty Pleasure

I made dinner with my little sis tonight which consisted of bison burgers. (If you haven't discovered bison/buffalo yet, please head to your nearest Whole Foods to buy some pronto. It is very similar to beef, only it tastes better and is better for you because it has fewer calories, less fat, and more iron. Be careful, though. The lack of fat means it can cook very quickly. It's taken me a few months of cooking it finally master bison meat. Low temperature for a longer time does the trick.)

Anywho...back to dinner...we decided to have frozen yogurt for dessert. Trader Joe's plain tart froyo was the yogurt of choice. I had some blueberries. Check. I was also in the mood for peanut butter. The Irvine Whole Foods just started carrying Nuttzo Butter today, which is a multi-nut butter with lots of omega-3's; it's crunchy and delicious. I also had extra peanut butter I'm trying to get rid of before I move out next month.

So try this: Tart froyo, Blueberries, and Peanut or Mixed Nut butter. To DIE for. Very strange. Your tastebuds might get confused, but it is incredible. Also, if you use Nuttzo, you're getting your omega-3's, antioxidants, and probiotics all in one. Absolute heaven, and so dangerous now that I have it in my apartment...eeek!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My new favorite coffee shop, ever.

I went into Long Beach early yesterday afternoon to get some studying done before the Musical Theatre West Little Shop designer run so I wouldn't have to sit in traffic for an hour and a half. I wound up at this adorable little coffee shop, Portfolio, on the corner of Junipero and 4th. It is amazing. I was able to finish Midsummer in one sitting, get in some leisurly reading, and catch up with my parents in Hawaii (they're in Hawaii, Meg's in France, and I'm taking midterms in Irvine...fantastic) in four hours. They are all about natural ingredients and their plastic coffee cups are really made of corn so their 100% biodegradable. Yay!

Going back today to catch up on some more reading on my day off before heading home for the 4th.

Happy 4th of July!

On another scale was friendly as says I've lost 3 pouds since I started this. YES. Maybe if I had been more diligent with my eating habits winter quarter I could have lost more weight then...damn.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sunny Sandy Eggo


510 N. Coast Highway

Encinitas, CA

I haven't been here...yet...but my friend Angel took my friend Blair there and Blair came back raving about it and telling me I need to experience it, knowing how much of a foodie I am. It's a cute little coffee shop in an old railway station right off the ocean.

Extroadinary Desserts

1430 Union St.

San Diego, CA

The name of this place is no understatement. It is extroadinary. I would drive all the way down from Orange County just for their peanut brittle ice cream. They have a different selection of desserts daily. They also serve real meal food, but why would you go to a dessert place to get savory food?

Margo's Mexican Grill

2015 Garnet Ave. #102

San Diego, CA

On a roadtrip down to SD, one of my friends researched this place and among all her cross referencing, it was deemed the best Mexican food in Pacific Beach. After tasting it, I think we all agreed. Just be careful...eating a whole burrito can be taxing on your stomach. was that good. Their happy hour is pretty awesome, including cheap drinks and tacos. Their margaritas are also great.

We Get Hyphy in the Bay...Eating in Oakland and Berkeley

So the Bay Area is and always will be home. What I miss most about the Bay is being able to go out with my foodie family all the time. But I figured I'd share with you all the best places (in my opinion) to grab a bite to eat or do your grocery shopping. This entry includes my Oakland and Berkeley favorites.

Rick and Ann's
2922 Domingo Ave
Berkeley, CA
This is a very homey place to grab brunch or dinner. The tables are communal, so you'll get to know your neighbors and see what they're getting to eat. The walls are always full of fun artwork from customers or local kids. Their pot pie is amazing, as are the burgers.

Zachary's Pizza
5801 College Ave.
Oakland CA
This is the location I grew up on, though there is another location on Solano and they just recently opened up one in San Ramon (so my mom can pick it up on the way home...yes...). Their deep dish Chicago-style pizza is my absolute favorite pizza anwhere. I miss it all the time and have often considered getting one half-baked and driving it down with me when I come back after vacations. My personal favorite is the stuffed chicken and basil, but the thin-crust cheese is also incredible and a standard dinner at my house.

Cactus Taqueria
5642 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Amazing Mexican food. Nuff said. Tres Leches Cake? To die for.

Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers
5819 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This place has burgers that are to die for. Everything on the menu is incredible. There are a few other locations throughout the bay (and even one down in Brentwood).

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA
This makes for a great dessert outing. Their sundaes are gigantic and delicious and more that sufficient for multiple people. It was featured in the movie "Up" to...made me miss home.

510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA
I've never actually been here, despite growing up in the Lamorinda music culture. It is a jazz club/restaurant and features all sorts of big names in the Jazz community. My drum teacher, band teachers, sister, mom, dad, and on and on have all been. Norah Jones performed there when she was unknown. The jazz music is brilliant and going for a performance is still on my "To Do" list.

Market Hall
5655 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This market is lovely. There are many, many different stores within the market. They have fresh pasta, coffee, a bakery, and a gigantic produce section. One of my favorite purchases on a regular day: curry chicken salad. On special days (like around Valentine's Day): chocolate raspberry raviolis. You never know what you'll find there, but it is all delicious.

Cafe Gratitude
1730 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Raw Vegan. Amazing. Their milkshakes are TO DIE FOR. What's great about this place is because it's raw vegan, after you leave you feel incredible because you're getting all the nutrients (including the ones that would have been cooked off) out of your food. Their pad thai is definitely something to try.

Bette's Diner
1807 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
Great brunch in a cute little shopping area. There can be a little bit of a wait on the weekend.

Cheeseboard Pizza
1512 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Cheeseboard has a different kind of pizza every day, and that is the only pizza they carry that day. The line tends to be down the block but it's a fun outing to make with friends.

Bittersweet Cafe
5427 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Bittersweet is a fun place to stop for dessert or coffee. They carry all sorts of chocolate treats, chocolate bars, and drinks. It is a little hole in the wall so seating is very limited but get something to go and wander College Ave.

1809 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
I came across this place with my sister once, and it stopped us dead in our tracks. This is some fantastic gourmet ice cream. Sketch has flavors including Saffron and Earl Grey, with toppings like salted caramel and cocoa nibs. It's a little pricey (a small can set you back $5) but it is so worth it.

2106 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Naia has great gelato (inlcluding flavors like Rose and Lavender). I frequent the one in Walnut Creek more, but the Berkeley ones came first.

Cafe Fanny
1603 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
So I've actually never eaten here, but Cafe Fanny Granola is a standard in my house. Alice Waters is the brains behind this legendary Berkeley restaurant, which gives it a stamp of note.

5600 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
When my friends and I want crepes, this is the go-to place. It's so worth the drive from the other side of the tunnel. They have all sorts of savory and sweet crepes as well as a coffee menu, salads, and all sorts of baked goodies.

1601 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Acme bread is TO DIE FOR. Like, literally. It is absolutely incredible. Acme is the the Bay Area as La Brea is to the Los Angeles area. My favorite way to eat this bread is as a burger bun (as one of my other Bay Area favorites, Chow Restaurant, serves it).

Berkeley Bowl
2020 Oregon St.
Berkeley, CA
Berkeley Bowl is unlike any other grocery store in the world. They carry EVERYTHING if it's healthy, organic, delicious, and comes in a an array of varieties. My sister was there with my mom once, and my mom told her to go get some eggplant for moussaka. A few minutes later, my mom got a call from my sister asking what kind of eggplant? There were at least eight different types. And that is just the beginning. Most of the apples come in a variety of sizes, too. Have you ever seen a 1 pound apple? I have. At Berkeley Bowl.

Gourmet Ghetto
The Gourmet Ghetto isn't so much a restaurants as it is a neighborhood full of delicious food. It covers the area north of Delaware Street, south of Live Oak Park, East of Henry Street, and West of Walnut. The majority of these restaurants are along Shattuck, but there are a few on the cross streets like Vine.

1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA
This place takes me back to my childhood. I think I actually had my 16th birthday dinner with my family there. They serve burgers and all sorts of comfort food. They make their buns fresh, and have milk shakes and malts to cause a heart the best way possible.

Khana Peena
5316 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Located on a very sharp corner, Khana Peena has a great patio for warmer evenings. This is probably my favorite Indian restaurant in the Oakland/Berkeley area.

Cha-Ya Japanese
1686 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
This is vegetarian Japanese. It's delicious. I've been there once and got a great rice dish with tarot root among other things.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New York Favorites

Here's a list of some restaurants I fell in love with during my month in New York this spring:


Alice's Tea Cup
156 E. 54th
102 W. 73rd
220 E. 81st
Three different locations, this small chain features adorable, hole-in-the-wall tea houses. You can get a pot of tea and scones for two for just $10 in the morning. I prefer to stop in for tea and a scone to go, followed by a walk through Central Park.

423 Amsterdam Ave. #1
Though there are many other locations, including Central Park South, I am partial to this one because it was the location of my first Sarabeth's experience. This place has the most incredible brunch. There can be a wait for a table, but it is beyond worth it!


32 Spring St.
Open since 1905, Lombardi's is America's first pizzeria. Though I haven't yet been there, some good friends ate there on my recommendation and loved it. I'm waiting to go back this fall to hopefully get to try it!

Cafe Tasia
38 E. 8th
Located between Union and Washington Squares, this Thai restaurant is a great bargain on Sunday afternoons. They have a prix-fix menu where you pick how many dishes you want, then pick whatever you want to eat. 3 courses can be under $10.

345 E. 12th
This restaurant sells one thing and one thing only: macaroni and cheese. You can make your own or pick from their menu of suggested combos. My favorite is the Cajun.

Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan St.
Just off of Washington Square, this restaurant (owned by the owners of S'Mac) features the American standard with a slew of twists.

Friend of a Farmer
77 Irving Pl.
This homey restaurant east of Union Square is a great place for a weekend meal. Their cornbread and apple butter are incredible. Ask for a table upstairs by the fireplace!


John's Pizza
278 Bleeker St.
This is supposed to be one of the best pizza joints in NYC, though I have yet to experience it. My best friend, an NYU student, has agreed with this statement many times.

Blockheads Burritos
322 W. 50th
This restaurant, just off of Times Square, has great margaritas for just $3. I have yet to experience this, but everyone from my program raved about it!

754 9th Ave.
This location, of four, is a trendy spot that features an Asian/American fusion menu. They have everything from pad thai to pot pie. Their pomegranate margaritas are incredible: big and strong. Splitting one might be a better option.

37 Union Square West
Once again, my love of Thai food speaks. This came to me as a recommendation from my mom last September and I have now eaten there twice. It is fantastic. Not the cheapest of restaurants, but delicious and so worth it.

Grimalidi's Pizzeria
19 Old Fulton St.
Once again, I have yet to try it but this is supposed to be the absolute best pizza you can get in the New York Metropolitan Area (come to think of it, I've yet to have good pizza in New York...maybe it's because I like mine deep dish, Chicago style...but anywho).

103 W. 77th
This is my absolute favorite restaurant in all of New York. They have great cocktails and amazing California food (...I'm from California...what can I say, I'm partial). This is definitely a place for a nicer evening out, but a restaurant I hope to make one of my regular spots every time I visit Manhattan.


Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
If you like rice pudding, you'll love this rice pudding parlor. It's not the cheapest of treats (an order of rice pudding can put you back almost $10...and that's on the smaller side of things) but so much fun. I'm not a huge rice pudding person, and I love this place. Just be careful not to order too much. This stuff is rich and you won't get through very much before wanting to put it down.

Milk & Cookies
270 Bleeker St.
This place is great: ice cream sandwiches made while you wait. They have a huge assortment of cookies with four or so ice cream flavors to pick from. A great treat if you're down in the area.

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleeker St.
This is the original location of the bakery (and the one featured on Sex and the City) but they've sprouted up around town. Magnolia is known for their rich, smooth cupcakes. If you come to the Bleeker location, be prepared to wait in line. The NYU kids are regulars at this spot.

Max Brenner
841 Broadway between 13th and 14th
This place is awesome...if you love chocolate. And you better if you're going to come here. They have an extravagant menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic chocolate drinks, fondues, cakes, cookies, and so on. They have regular food too (I got a burger with fries...sprinkled in cocoa powder) but their desserts are what they're known for.

Levain Bakery
167 W. 74th
This place is famous for their giant, half-pound cookies. These masterpieces are dense, delicious, and still warm out of the oven every time you buy them. If you're not too keen on the sugar overload, they have scones, bread, mini-pizzas, and coffee as well.

Crumbs Bakery
321 1/2 Amsterdam Ave.
There are a ton of these around the city, but this is the original. They have a huge array of cupcakes including Elvis (peanut butter and banana) and Cosmopolitan (in honor of the Sex and the City film release). They are awesome.


Divine Bar West
236 W. 54th
This is just north of Times Square, so it's a little pricey, but their white chocolate berad pudding is to die for and they have some fun mixed drinks. Beware, though, this is a wine bar, not a bar, so unless it's on the menu or really classic, they probably aren't equipped to make it.

753 9th Ave.
In the heart of Hell's Kitchen, this bar has the biggest martini menu you'll probably ever see. Selections include oatmeal cookie and birthday cake martinis.

The Snug
751 9th Ave.
Right next door to Vintage, this joint has great happy hours and hot bartenders.

Cosmic Cantina
105 3rd Ave.
This place is a load of fun. Black lights, neon paint, and all organic products. In front, you can get your typical cantina food, but if you head into the back, the bar has some great, freshly made organic cocktails. Be nice to the bartender, Dan, and he'll be nice back (actually, he'll be nice regardless). And if you go, tell him I say "Hi!"

315 w. 44th
Just off of Times Square, this jazz cabaret is know for hosting famous New York performers and writers. Check out who is performing while you're in town and plan on stopping in once during your stay!

So that's my lowdown. I'm sure I'll be able to add to this list every time I head out there, and even more when I eventually make the big move!

Alas...I need to head to bed. I have an Econ midterm in the morning. Hopefully it won't be too bad. My math brain has grasped supply and demand, trade, and elasticity pretty well so far...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Here we go...

So I've started this blog in an attempt to keep track of all I want to do and as a log for what I've done, where I've been, and what's in store for me. Lord only knows if anyone will actually read this, but I'll make sure to write down any exciting things that happen, log new delicious restaurants, and catalogue the bad stuff (ie: straying from goal #1) so I can hold myself accountable.

Current goals to accomplish before September 15, 2009 (move in day for the Balboa house!):

1.) Get back down below 150 lbs. Since I got home from New York, I've slacked off and spent two whole months on facebook and wasting my time doing lord knows what. Right now, I'm in 12 units of summer school in 5 weeks (eek!) so the gym isn't entirely an option on a regular basis. I'll get started on this goal by eating right and not snacking while I'm studying, really listening to what my body needs, and being responsible on weekends when I'm out with friends (this should be interesting with the 4th just around the corner...). I will be going to the gym for cardio or weights, taking yoga or pilates, biking, or swimming for at least an hour 6 days a week. I can do it. It's going to happen. I have almost 3 hole months, and if I lose a pound a week, I'll be beyond my goal.

2.) Sing 3 times a week once summer school ends. I've been slacking off on this, and there is no reason I shouldn't be singing 7 days a week!

3.) Pass the Biology and Chemistry of Cooking and get an A in Microeconomics and Costume Design. I'll do this by staying on top of my reading: one chapter for Econ every night or two, reading a little bit of my cooking book nightly, and staying engaged in my costume design projects once I've started them.

4.) Visit Taylor and Janice during my month off down here.

5.) Explore San Diego with Courtney.

6.) Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean the morning I fly home from New York in September, and watch it set over the Pacific Ocean that same day.