Sunday, December 19, 2010

Resurfacing...on a cloud of yogurt


It has been so long since I've blogged that I almost forgot my log-in info.

Breakfast at Fraiche this morning...before the downpours. Lowfat SF Chronicle Special.

This is dedicated to my two loyal (and perhaps only--especially at this point--) readers, Lola and Danica.

Non-fat SF Chronicle Special.  See what a difference a bit of fat makes!

I think more than the taste of yogurt itself, I love how white and pure it looks.  The stuff is immaculate.    Friend/colleague and I ordered the San Francisco Chronicle Special. Beneath the dollops of white are warm steel-cut oats, with bits of fig, coconut, nuts, strawberries and blueberries.

Compare the lowfat yogurt photo (the first one) to the nonfat yogurt photo.  The former looks like ice cream; the second kinda watery.

I cannot eat nonfat yogurt without a generous coating of honey.  Even Straus' nonfat, which is the kind that Fraiche uses, is just too sour/bitter without massive honey coverage. But no matter, Fraiche has plenty of honey--several varieties, in fact, behind the counter. 

As I settle into winter-break mode I hope to post more regularly, but we shall see.  I have decided I cannot sustain the verbosity of my previous posts so I am considering converting to Twitterdom... oh, but then I never seem to have problem writing endlessly...oh, but that doesn't make for interesting posts...

Danica and Lola: hope you are having fun in your respective parts of the country.  :-)  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dynamo Donuts!

2760 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 920-1978

My brother brought over Dynamo Donuts today. Dynamo Donuts, like so many of the trendiest eateries in the San Francisco area, touts "organic, sustainable, and local ingredients whenever possible."

Vanilla Bean
I tend to believe that doughnuts--no matter what they are made of---are poison, but at times like these, I say screw it.

$2.00-$3.50 each
Here is a review of these glistening, stylish, fried fat pills.

Each had that distinctive doughnut texture that comes from shortening (Dynamo apparently uses palm oil shortening): dense but light, and ever-so-slightly chewy. They also appeared and felt just-made (even though it had been at least 90 minutes since they arrived from the store). They were so delicate that it was impossible to lift one without indenting it with my fingers.  But of course, this made them even more appetizing.

Also, none were overly sweet.  Now that's quite different from most doughnuts out there.

Vanilla bean, pictured at the top of this post was quite vanilla:  mild and simple. 

Passion Fruit
Gently sweet and fruity, Passion Fruit was one of my favorites.  Certainly, with its chunky adornments, it was the showiest looking doughnut of the bunch.

Molasses Pear
Not bad, not bad at all.  I thought it was apple at first, but nope, it was pear.

Cornmeal Cherry
I couldn't taste the cornmeal in Cornmeal Cherry, but it had a nice cherry kick to it.

Maple Glazed Bacon Apple
The bacon doughnut was, I am ashamed to say, my favorite, or tied for favorite with Passion Fruit.  I never eat bacon...well...unless featured with chocolate or baked goods.  It was the sweet-n-salty combo of flavors that did me in.
Chocolate Rose
Cute doughnut. I didn't taste the rose water, but I did taste dark chocolate. 

I didn't taste the spice in this one but I registered slightly fudgey, semi-sweet, and brownie-like.

Lemon Thyme
My second favorite was Lemon Thyme.  Loved the combo of flavors. 

Dynamo serves coffee at its shop, and I imagine that the doughnuts would be totally dynamo with Dynamo coffee...  I wonder I would see police officers on breaks in there.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vanilla Moon Bakery

Saturday, October 2, 2010
872 Laurel St 
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-3015

Here's a bakery that was high on my list during my cupcake-infatuation a few years ago.

Red Velvet
Were I still in that stage, I suspect I would be coming here anytime I was in the Belmont neib'. Vanilla Moon is a feminine bakery: set in rich, dark paneling, it  is intimate, with little round tables--ideal for chatting. It serves classic-flavored cupcakes, cookies, bars, lunch items (sandwiches and quiche), coffees, and Mightly Leaf teas, which come out on a tray with a teapot.

In the two hours that I was there on this Saturday morning, I cannot recall a single man walking in.  That couldn't have been true (Belmont does have a male population), but I didn't notice any. I did see many women there though, alone or sipping coffee with a friend over a little table.  With small children, on occasion.

SL, a karate friend and I were among those pairs of females, catching up on karate gossip and other developments. We fit right in.

Cupcakes are $3.50 each. The Red Velvet cupcake was good but the cake was a bit firm.  I say, not dry, but firm.  The frosting was a ten, though.
                                       High Hat  - Woohoo! Woohoo!!
High Hat reminds me of chocolate dipped cones I used to get from Carvel as a kid.  These are chocolate cupcakes topped with a voluminous mound of marshmallow cream:

This one was a winner.  After finishing this one, I was scrapping the wrapper with a spoon to get every last bit.  The cake was moist and but not oily, and just the right sweetness.  I'll have to venture outside of my neighborhood bubble again soon to try Vanilla Moon's other stuff, namely their chocolate cupcake with the white swirl on top that looks like a Hostess cupcake.

In Short

Food: Cupcakes, pastries, cookies and sandwiches.
Bathrooms: Large, private, clean (a woman's bathroom!).
Ambiance: Classy-but-casual, elegant-but-casual interior with view of downtown; a feminine vibe.
Other: Smack in downtown Belmont.

Tomatero Farm

Saturday, October 2, 2010
San Mateo Farmers' Market

Making my rounds of Bay Area farmers' markets, I went on Saturday to San Mateo's, perched on the College of San Mateo (CSM) campus.  There, I discovered Tomatero Farm among other delights (namely Broiche Bakery--OMG, and my beloved Bolani bread stand) to be covered at some point, hopefully soon.

I gravitate towards tomatoes and strawberries, more for their looks than their tastes, and Tomatero's produce was radiant. In addition to selling at the CSM farmers' market, Tomatero Farm, from Watsonville, CA does home and wholesale business.

Heirlooms, ready to eat.

A feast for the eyes, these tomatoes demand to be bought, sliced and drizzled in olive oil.

Green Zebras - glistening.

 More heirloom beauties.

Cherry tomatoes

"Tomatero," is Spanish for tomato picker.
'Tis the season to be checking out tomatoes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Holy Trinity of Stanford Campus Eats

In addition to abundant sunshine, Stanford has some pretty good eats on campus,  including a famous San Francisco sandwich shop with a cult following.  This is especially convenient because the campus is self-enclosed.  Some of the eats are outstanding.  My three favorites:

Fraiche Yogurt,  Tresidder Union
The San Francisco Chronicle Special: steel cut oats with organic yogurt topped with fruit and nuts.

Ike's Place, Jen Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center

I consider it a godsend that Ike's Place chose Stanford for its new location. Ike's features sandwiches that will satisfy a snobby East Coaster.  Just like it's service, Ike's extensive menu is very accommodating.  

If you are vegan, you can order the Vegan Elmo with "Cucumbers, Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato, Pesto, Cream Cheese.

If vegetarian, you can get the Chelsea Clinton- "Vegan Turkey, French Dressing, Avocado, Smoked Gouda."

Carnivores can get the Kryptonite with "Roast Beef, Corned Beef, Pastrami, Salami, Turkey, Bacon, Ham, Mozzarella Sticks, Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Avocado, Pesto, EXTRA Pepper Jack."

These are just examples. There are dozens of options. 

You can also order half-sandwiches here.  As for me, I love the wordy "Going Home for Thanksgiving" sandwich.  Turkey, cranberry sauce, Sriracha, Havarti.  

"Going Home for Thanksgiving"
Danica, dearest campus buddy and food companion, went for the "Bill Walsh" with  turkey, avocado, and Havarti which this slender creature swallowed in just one bite. 

The "Bill Walsh"

Inside the kitchen.
The line at 11:45am on a Thursday.
The line right before noon.  
Tip: Go early.   We were delighted with a special treat the other day: Ike was hand-delivering the sandwiches to customers!  If you look closely at the center of this picture, you will see the blur by the pillar--that's him, zipping back-and-fourth in his spiffy black vest!

Coupa Café, Y2E2 Building
Scrambled eggs with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and chives
I write about Coupa every few days it seems. The other day, we went for breakfast.  We were at work, but it felt like vacation.  But now that Ike's is here: let the battle begin between these two!

I know Stanford students work extremely hard. But they are also so spoiled. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What I Am

A departure from food for a moment to present one of the US's finest products:

Video with

Lola, my (non-biological) twin in NYC, has Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster for colleagues. Lucky her.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Journal

On this foggy morning, breakfast was a recipe from Chow that I made with beet-greens.

I like the idea of eating a vegetable or fruit in its entirely--seeds, skins, stems and all. In fact, I rarely do this, and throw beet-greens out half the time. But this dish, thanks to the egg and balsamic vinegar, is motivating. Of course, you can make this dish with different greens (Aida Mollenkamp's recipe had dandelion greens first in mind).

Note: beet-greens are very salty naturally so I'd advise you taste them first before adding salt. Forgetting this, I have wrecked dishes.

Ok. On to the next thing: apples.

My first errand was the Palo Alto farmers' market on Hamilton Ave, where I was excited to see Gravensteins! David Karp was raving about these on Good Food a few weeks ago. They are becoming rare, he was saying, and they are delicious. So I excitedly bought a bunch. Then I found out that they were NOT Gravensteins but Rubensteins. Gravensteins are already over this year.

The Rubensteins were a bit too subtle for me--lacking in flavor for my tastes. (I like Fuji and Red Delicious for eating.) But I loved the crunch of these apples. Even a denture-wearer may be able to bite into these without too much risk since the apples break off so easily with bite.

Off to Millennium tomorrow, where, if it is possible to take photos without ruining the atmosphere, I surely will!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Pill liquid form.

If health insurance covered this, I am sure the happiness quotient in this country would improve.

Meow! Spicy Mocha from Coupa Café.

It's been way too long since I've had this. One sip and life is instantly improved.

In fact, it has been way too long since I've been at Coupa. The blonde who works at both the Stanford and Ramona locations has been wondering where Danica and I (addicted regulars) have been!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Japanese Food Weekend

Labor Day Weekend
Japanese Raw and Cooked

I went to see la familia this weekend. That means Japanese food. A sample from the food journal:

Somen noodles

For lunch my mom made noodles which were served in a cold s0y sauce broth, with sliced scallions--a refreshing summer treat. I added lots of wasabi, which not only adds a nice spike of flavor, but clears my sinuses.

My mom likes to top her salads with mini rice crackers.

Prosciutto-wrapped figs.

No, this is not Japanese cuisine. The bro prepared these with figs from the yard that the dog couldn't quite reach.

On a Saturday night, we went out to Akebono in Granite Bay. (Ownership is changing soon. Not sure how this will affect the food.)


Snow crab legs

I am mostly pesceterian, but have mixed feelings when I see this.

Chirashi platter

Next night, it was mom's cooking:

Kabocha - Japanese pumpkin.

These pumpkin chunks were steamed and cooked in a soy and mirin (sweet rice) cocktail. The result: soft on the outside, cantaloupe-like texture on the inside, with a slightly sweet flavor. Candy to my palate. A mom-specialty. She insists that the success of this dish (its texture and ability to impart flavor) is almost entirely dependent on the quality of the pumpkin, which can be watery, hard or mealy. On this evening, we had a pumpkin that was just right.

Another specialty of my mom's: clear noodles and slivered cucumbers in a light vinegar dressing. Topped with egg and sesame seeds.

Mizutaki - Japanese hot pot.

Bathing in this fish broth were veggies (Chinese cabbage, Japanese mushrooms, scallions, onions), shrimp, tofu and hunks of white fish. Served with rice.

Dessert from Osaka-ya. Real and scrumptious Japanese manju.

Sakura manju.

These classic Japanese sweets are soft like a baby's behind.

Red bean filling

Gochi-so-sama. I never eat like this on the Peninsula.

Sacramento Farmers' Market

8th and W Streets
Sundays from 8AM-noon

This market, located right off the 50 Freeway is, in a phrase, plentiful but ugly. It features produce, baked goods, olive oil, meats, fish and flowers.

One of the prettier items at the farmers market.

There is a row of baked goods--breads and pastries (eg brownies, cinnamon buns, coffee cake...).

The market is situated beneath two freeway overpasses; no wonder it is an eye sore. The food and flowers help offset that some.

Asian pears

Live fish

Organic prunes

Muscat and Autumn Royal grapes

Tall, elegant, gladiolas

Tomatoes, tomatoes

My favorite colored tomatoes.

Squash varieties

Sweet potatoes the size of baseball bats.

Take it from my organic farmer friend from Menlo Park who chooses not to sell here even though his farm is actually closer to Sacramento. (Besides Menlo, he sells at the famous Ferry Building Farmers Market, and at Berkeley--my favorite locations.)

BUT: if you need veggies and would rather not go to Safeway, it will certainly deliver.