Saturday, May 31, 2014

Baltimore: Thames Street Oyster House

The trip to Baltimore for my sister's graduation was a test of endurance.  And patience.  Due to weather issues, our plane couldn't land in Denver for our layover.  It circled Denver for 30 minutes before announcing that we were going to try Colorado Springs.  But after we got to Colorado Springs, the airport there turned us away because there were simply too many planes trying to land.

Which is how we found ourselves in Albuquerque.  The first thing we should have done after getting off the plane probably should have been to find another flight to Baltimore.  Instead, we made a beeline for food.  My parents were borderline HANGRY and we had to find food fast.  By the time we thought to check for other flights to Baltimore, it was too late for any flights to the East Coast.  So we waited until our original plane was cleared to head back to Denver.  Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight to Baltimore.

The Denver airport was a hot mess.  Everybody and their mama was trying to get the hell out of there.  We were told by Southwest that the last flight of the night to Baltimore was completely booked and so was the first flight out the next morning.  The option we were given was to fly in to Orlando, spend the night there, and then catch the first flight to Baltimore bright and early the next day.  However, if we did that, we wouldn't land in Baltimore until 8:30, which would make us late for my sister's graduation.

Luckily, there were seats available on the last flight to Dulles International Airport in DC.  It was delayed and delayed and the gate changed three times, but we finally touched down in DC at 3:08 am.

Well, we arrived in DC, but our luggage didn't.  We ended up renting a car and gunning it for BWI.  An hour later, we got there just in time to watch someone wheel away the leftover luggage from the flight from Denver.  I flagged him down and we successfully rescued all our luggage.

We arrived at my sister's dorm around 5:30 am.  We had time for a shower and a quick nap before we were up for breakfast around 6:30 am.  My parents and I got to the graduation field around 7:30, which was just early enough for us to be able to be a bit choosy about where to sit.

The graduation was long and hot.  The entire school graduated together.  All 1,500 students.  And my sister wasn't up until close to the very end.  Ugh.  I may or may not have nodded off once or twice, but I certainly didn't miss it when my sister crossed the stage.

Much pride.  Much screaming.

And we all left with very uneven tans.  Yay.

Of course my sister had to have her post-graduation photo shoot (aka where my father followed her around with a camera).  After that, we went back to her dorm and crashed.  Well, everyone else did.  (Even my sister didn't get much sleep due to being stressed out by the possibility of our not being back to make it to her graduation.)  I, on the other hand, had work to do.  So while I was sending out email after email, everyone else conked out.

They woke up in time to make our reservations at Thames Street Oyster House:

There was no way we were going to miss it.  Not lack of sleep.  Not my mother's leg cramps.  In order to get reservations at Thames Street Oyster House, you have to call exactly a month in advance.  That's when they start taking reservations.

Seeing as to how small the restaurant is, I guess that makes sense:

 Thames Street Oyster House is known for its seafood.  Since it was my sister's graduation dinner, we went to town.

We ordered half a dozen oysters:

Three Wellfleet oysters for a briny start and three Kumamoto for a sweeter finish.

As an appetizer, we got the grilled rock octopus ($10):

The octopus came with Peruvian olive sauce, grilled red onion, roasted bell pepper, ricotta salata, and charred lemon.  Charred lemon.  Yum.

We also got the crispy Point Judith calamari ($10):

The calamari were lightly breaded and fried and seasoned by garlic, parsley, lemon, and hot peppers.  So good until you get the oil at the bottom.

The lobster roll ($23) was bursting with tail and claw meat:

The buttered split-top bun was toasted to perfection.  Forget the lobster.  I just need that bread.  With butter.

Our server really sold the daily special, which was a monk fish on a bed of brown butter cauliflower puree, walnuts, and greens:

One word: succulent.

We ordered a side of roasted cauliflower and aioli ($7) just because we love cauliflower that much:

Wish it was a tiny bit crispier.  But that might just be because we waited so long to get to it.  Everything else on the table just looked so appetizing.

Thames Street Oyster House is just a solid seafood restaurant.  The seafood is noticeably fresh and you can tell how much thought (and skill) is placed into each dish.  Definitely check it out.  It's a great place for a special occasion or just a treat yo self kind of meal.

My sister actually thought to treat us to her own graduation dinner.  Fool.  I ninja snagged that bill out of our server's hands.

You have a lot to learn yet, little one.

Super proud of my baby sister and so glad that I got to be there to witness her accomplishment.  The world is your oyster, little sis!

Thames Street Oyster House
1728 Thames St
Baltimore, MD 21231
(443) 449-7726

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New York: Smorgasburg

And so I'm back...from outer space!  I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face...

...Okay, I'll stop now.  (Sometimes I just can't help myself.)

Anyway, lots of things went down during my recent trip to the East Coast.  But before I can get to them, I have to finish up my last trip to New York.

My flight back to California was Sunday evening, which left the entire morning and early afternoon free for shenanigans.  Nana brought my sister and I to Brooklyn to check out Smorgasburg, which is essentially a flea market/food fair extravaganza.  Think food booths as far as the eye can see.

We did a careful walk through first before deciding on what booths to order from.  We ended up stuffing our faces and I documented all of it with my camera.  And of course, I lost all of it when my hard drive crashed.  Curses!

My sister had three photos in her cell phone that she's given me permission to share with you.  Hopefully, you'll get an idea from them how awesome Smorgasburg is. 

One of our first stops was at Bolivian Llama Party.  I'd never had Bolivian food, so I was curious to see what it's all about.  We ordered a beef salteƱa, which is a Bolivian baked empanada:

The beef filling was sweet and the dough was dense and delicious.  I was enjoying it until Nana pointed out that the taste reminded her of Chef Boyardee.  Ugh.

We got a sausage roll, but I don't remember from where.

I remember the sausage being good, but the sandwich being kind of dry overall.

At the Milk Truck Grilled Cheese booth, we got a bowl of mac and cheese:

The mac and cheese was made with cheddar, gruyere, and asiago cheeses and topped with rosemary bread crumbs.  We added in some caramelized onions for an added sweetness.  So rich and yummy.

Not pictured here are the hibiscus and cafe au lait donuts from Dough, the Arnold Palmer slush with pear puree mix-in from Kelvin Natural Slush Co., as well as the blueberry sweet corn and strawberry lemongrass popsicles and plum chai shaved ice from People's Pops.

A stop by Dough is a must.  The donuts are light and fluffy and just heavenly.  Kelvin Natural Slush Co. also cannot be missed, especially on a hot day.  People's Pops is creative and fun, but skip the sweet corn.  It's very...corn-y.

Lots to see and lots to eat at Smorgasburg.  It has various locations.  The one we went to was at Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 5 and is open Sundays from 11:00am to 6:00pm.  Bring lots of cash because you'll definitely end up wanting to buy everything.

Self control is overrated.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5
Joralemon St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New York: Dough Loco

So, my less than 6-month-old laptop crashed over the weekend.  The good news is that I save all my files on my external hard drive.  The bad news is that I kept putting off moving my photos from NY into my external.  Ugh.

Luckily, my sister had some food photos on her phone, which she kindly sent my way.  Baby sister to the rescue!

I spent Saturday morning volunteering at a mega naturalization workshop.  Things were kind of slow, so I left around 1:00 pm.  While I was gone, my sister and Nana got into all sorts of mischief.  Most notably, they dropped by Dough Loco and brought back half a dozen donuts:

 Six donuts for three people.  Holy cow.

Clockwise from top left: blood orange poppy seed, blueberry lime, raspberry sriracha, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, and maple miso.

The award for most interesting goes to the raspberry sriracha.  Most tasty is split between blood orange and maple miso.  And most likely to get another one goes to the chocolate (so decadent!). 

The donut themselves were very dense and doughy.  If you like your donuts fluffy, Dough Loco probably won't be your cup of tea.  But check this out.  The donuts were sitting there for hours before I got home, but they still tasted super fresh. 

Dough Loco definitely has very creative flavor combinations, so I would encourage you to check it out if you're ever in Harlem.  Just get there early before all the good stuff sells out.

I'm heading to Baltimore tomorrow for my sister's graduation.  Then it's off to Orlando for a few days to see family (and to just play around).  See y'all after I return!

Dough Loco
1261 Park Ave
New York, NY 10029

Friday, May 16, 2014

New York: Maison Kayser

Even though it was the weekend before her finals, my sister came to join me in New York last week.  While I was attending the conference and Nana was at work, my sister studied in Nana's apartment.

Friday night was our grand girls' night in.  Nana had made picadillo (which we struggled with defrosting) and we demolished all of it while watching "North and South" (Mr. Thornton!) and wearing facial masks.  In case you're wondering, that's the proper way to do a girls' night in.

"North and South" is four hours long, but we fast forwarded through the less exciting parts, rewinded to re-watch the juicy bits, and somehow managed to finish the entire thing in two and a half.  Boo yah.

After all the picadillo was gone, Nana busted out the box of pastries she bought on her way home from work.  She'd been telling me about the new French bakery that was to die for since my arrival and presented the box from Maison Kayser with a flourish:

Okay, maybe there was no flourish.  Maybe all the excitement was on my end.

Anyway, in her attempt to have us try as many things as possible, Nana bought way too many sweets for three people and we loved every second of it.

First there was the pistachio eclair:

I've never been a huge fan of eclairs and I wasn't too impressed with this one:

The pistachio flavor was too...absent for me.

The pastry itself was a bit stale from sitting in the fridge, but that's not Maison Kayser's fault.  Maybe I would have enjoyed the chocolate eclair more if it'd been fresh:

I guess I'll have to go back to New York to try another one to find out:

The real stars of the show were these little darlings:

Now prepare yourself for pictures of half-wrecked cakes.  It won't be pretty.

The chocolate mousse cake with coffee glaze was heaven in my mouth:

So creamy and rich and decadent and holy cow was it delicious.

The lemon tart was my favority (but only by a close margin because all the other cakes were amazing too):

Tart and bright.  So good.

The chocolate mouse cake was oh-so-lovely and the passionfruit center added an unexpected tangy twist:

The St. Honore was subtly sweet and a good contrast to the decadence of the chocolate mousse cakes:

Eclairs aside, everything else was simply perfection.  The presentation, the texture, the taste...all spot on.  Ideal for a pick-me-up, a gift of appreciation, or, of course, a girls' night in.  Just accept the fact that you can't be counting calories when you're indulging.  Pick what little cake(s) catches your fancy, commit to the potential weight gain, grab a glass of milk, and enjoy!

It's probably a good thing Maison Kayser hasn't opened a store in California.  I have enough temptation in my life as it is.

And for those of you who haven't watched "North and South" yet, DO IT NOW.  Or this weekend.  Or as soon as you can.  He's waiting for you:

Oh, mama!

Maison Kayser
1294 3rd Ave 74th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-3100

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New York: Mission Cantina

I was lucky enough to be in NY last week for a conference and even luckier to be able to stay with Nana the entire time.  Nana planned out what we were going to do each day before I even got to NY.

I flew in Wednesday evening and hopped on a bus headed straight for Nana's apartment from the airport.  It took me a bit longer than I anticipated to get there thanks to traffic.  When I finally arrived, I had just enough time to say hi and put down my luggage and then it was off to Mission Cantina for dinner:

The wait was 45 minutes, which actually worked out for us since we needed to find an ATM (the credit card machine at Mission Cantina was broken that night).  We were already on our way back from the nearest Bank of America when Nana got the call saying that our table was ready.

The atmosphere was young and fun:

At first glance, I thought the restaurant was double the size than it actually was.  Tricky mirror placement.  Nice.

Nana ordered the dirty horchata and let me have a sip:

It wasn't bad, but I could taste the alcohol, so I declined a second taste.

A lot of things sounded really interesting on the menu, which apparently changes pretty often.  We started with the chicken liver tostada ($10):

It came topped with crunchy salmon skin and pickled chili morita.  I really liked the chicken liver, but the bitterness from the red leafy veggie on top was a tad off-putting.  We ended up just pushing it aside.  Nana was not a fan of the salmon skin, but I rather liked it.

The octopus and potato tostada ($12.50) was unexpectedly spicy:

It came with celery, olives, and chorizo vinaigrette.  It was so spicy that I couldn't handle it.  Nana didn't even seem to notice.

The lengua tacos ($6.50) were pretty darn good:

The addition of the fried peanuts was pretty genius.  Not sure if I tasted the beer salsa though.

The double decker alambres ($8.50) was the best thing that night:

The steak and jowl bacon was good, but the fried cheese lying on top was what made the taco.  Just wow.

If you like your tacos traditional, this is not the place for you.  But if you like to experiment and try new flavor combinations, Mission Cantina is the place to be.  While not everything was a hit with us, I appreciated their inventiveness.

Mission Cantina
172 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-2233

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

South Bay: The Kickin' Crab

My parents and I have had our eye on The Kickin' Crab for a while now.  (A pretty skeptical eye, of course.  We really like Boiling Crab and are die hard fans of the fried catfish there.)  However, every time we tried to go, the line was so long and the parking lot so full that we didn't bother to wait around.

Sunday morning, my father and I drove some friends up to the San Francisco airport.  We originally planned on having lunch with said friends, but found out in the midst of loading their luggage onto our van that they wanted to skip lunch and get to the airport early.  Fine by us.

This meant that we ended up returning to the South Bay way earlier than we expected to.  While still on the highway, I called my mother and ordered her to round up Ahyi and meet us at The Kickin' Crab:

My father and I beat them there.  We were nervous about the wait on a Sunday afternoon, but we shouldn't have worried at all.  When we arrived, there were a lot of parking spaces open and the restaurant was very nearly empty:

We put our orders in after my mother and Ahyi finally showed up.

The Kickin' Crab offers three special combo deals with special prices.  Kickin' combo #1 is $34.99 and comes with your choice of 2 lb shrimp or 2 lb crawfish, 1 lb clams, 2 corns, 2 potatoes, and 4 pieces of sausage.  If you order the seafood separately, they go by market prices.  After we found out that the price for both shrimp and clam that day was $10.99 per lb, we ordered the combo #1:

Like at Boiling Crab, you can choose what seasoning you want.  We went with "kickin' style" which is a combination of all the other seasonings: lemon pepper, Cajun, Louisiana, and garlic butter.  We asked for extra mild, which was a new thing for me.  Not exactly sure what that means.

When the bag of seafood was dumped on the table, the first thing we noticed were the huge chunks of garlic in the sauce.  That turned out the be the BEST THING EVER.  The votes were unanimous.  Kickin' Crab sauce beats Boiling Crab.

The prize for the better fried fish, however, goes to Boiling Crab.  The fish n' chips at Kickin' Crab came in small pieces ($8.99):

Besides being small, it wasn't catfish, like at Boiling Crab, which is infinitely more delicious.  The tartar sauce was also a tad too sweet for me.  The Cajun fries weren't bad though.

Neither were the Cajun calamari ($6.99):

The Cajun seasoning was pretty darn good.

People made a fuss on Yelp over the garlic noodles ($8.99), so we ordered a plate:

The noodles were overcooked, but I can't deny the fact that the chunks of garlic were amazing.  I want to know if I can just order the garlic and skip the noodles next time.

Because there will be a next time.  The Kickin' Crab is way closer to where I live than Boiling Crab.  Given how the sauce is bomb, we'll probably find ourselves at Kickin' Crab more often now.  Especially since we now know that Sunday lunch is the best time to go.

But for fried fish?  Boiling Crab is still the place to go.

I'm off to New York for a conference tomorrow, so brace yourselves for some awesome posts coming up in the near future!

The Kickin' Crab
2675 Cropley Ave
San Jose, CA 95132
(408) 945-0888

Monday, May 5, 2014

Half Moon Bay: Barbara's Fishtrap

The wait for a table inside at Barbara's Fish Trap was too long, so we opted for the take-out window:

The prices at the window are a bit lower than those inside.  Not sure if that's because the portions are smaller or not.  Regardless of if your inside or out, make sure you bring lots of cash because Barbara's doesn't accept cards.

AF had to peace out early, so T, my sister, and I split a couple things among ourselves.  We got the fried clam strips ($7.95) and the fried calamari ($10.95):

And of course, in honor of CL's 3C birthday, we got the clam chowder ($8.95):

If you expect clam chowder to be creamy, you're in for a surprise.  Barbara's Fishtrap's clam chowder is thick without being milky.  It's chock-full of clams and other good stuff and is definitely worth getting the big bowl for.

The calamari and clam strips were lightly fried and delicious, but I would have been a-ok with just the chowder alone.

Barbara's Fishtrap.  My go-to place in Half Moon Bay.

Well, CL, I hope your birthday was everything that you hoped for.  As expected, it was...creative and pretty darn epic.  Just a suggestion for next year: let's do something a bit less painful.

And go with a theme that doesn't require stretching your brain overmuch.

Happy birthday, mdear.  Caribou love forever.

Barbara's Fishtrap
281 Capistrano Rd
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 728-7049

Half Moon Bay: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

CL decided that the theme for her birthday this year would be the number three.  Her reasoning?  Her name starts with the letter C, which is the third letter of the alphabet.  She was turning 27 and three times three times three is 27.

Wow.  Talk about forcing things to fit.  (I joked that her theme should be the number three because she is now three years from 30.  Heh.)

Anyway, to implement her strange theme, CL planned three activities, all starting with the letter C.  The first activity of the day was "coffee," which I skipped out on.  The second was "cowboy and cowgirl."  T, my sister, and I drove up to Half Moon Bay to meet CL and her other friends at Seahorse Ranch for some horseback riding along the beach.

An hour and a half and one sore bottom later, we stopped at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company because it was still a bit too early for the third C, "clam chowder," at Barbara's Fishtrap, which is located just across the street:

The wait for a table outside was two hours, but we were seated inside immediately.

There were about 15 of us total and we managed to all fit at a really long table.  AF, T, my sister, and I squeezed in at the end.  All the better to split two appetizers among us.  One of CL's friends also chipped in, but she ate so little that she hardly made a dent.

The half order of nachos ($8) was still quite a lot:

The tortilla chips came topped with black beans, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, salsa, and sour cream.  We threw in some guac for an additional $1.50.

The pepper jack bites ($8) were basically just fried cubes of pepper jack cheese with chipotle ranch sauce on the side:

How can you beat fried cheese?

We didn't order anything else because we wanted to save our stomach space for the main event at Barbara's Fishtrap.  The food at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company was decent though not exactly mind-blowing.  I don't drink, so I can't speak to the beers, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them.

There's just one more thing I feel like I have to touch upon before I end this post.  If you've always wanted to go horseback riding on the beach, a few observations for you:

1) Horseback riding is not an ideal group activity.  Riding single file is not conducive to conversation.

2) Horseback riding on the beach is not romantic.  Especially not on a beach where people are laying out sunbathing with their families.  Especially, especially not when the horses in front of you are pooping as they plod along.

3) Horseback riding is not for the short-legged.  When your horse trots to catch up and you're told to stand up in the stirrups to lift your butt off the saddle and avoid slamming your crotch repeatedly, having short legs means that you will NOT be able to escape the crotch slamming.

4) Horseback riding does not require any skills on your part.  You may think you're directing your horse, but you're not.  Just accept that your horse is in charge and will go wherever he damn well pleases.

5) And finally, horseback riding is a pain in the ass.  Literally.  Be prepared to be sore and bruised for at least a week afterwards.

Now I'm done.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
390 Capistrano Rd
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 728-2739

Sunday, May 4, 2014

South Bay: Christy Donuts

During T's birthday outing, T brought us some donut holes for the road.  They weren't just regular donut holes though.  They were CUSTARD-filled donut holes.

They were so good that I demanded to know where she bought them.  She didn't know the name, but the more she described the location, the more familiar it sounded until I finally realized that I knew exactly which donut shop she was talking about.

I have been passing by Christy Donuts for most of my life.  I went inside once, but I wasn't aware that they had custard-filled donut holes.  Because NOBODY TOLD ME.  Apparently, my sister knew about it for years and never deemed it important enough to share.  Thanks a lot, man.  See if I ever tell you about good food discoveries ever again.

Anyway, CL's birthday came a week after T's.  To make sure I had enough cash on hand, I made a bank run that morning.  On the way home, I made it a point to stop by Christy Donuts:

Luckily they were open despite it being Easter Sunday.

The sign outside only says "Donuts" so it's really no surprise that nobody seems to know what the name of the donut shop is.  I had to look it up online.

There was a consistently steady stream of people going in through the door.  And no wonder, just look at the selection:

I refused to be distracted.  I went straight to the counter and asked for a dozen custard-filled donut holes:

$3.75 for a dozen.  Say wut.

The custard-filled donut holes are considerably larger than the regular ones.  They're glazed and most importantly, they're stuffed with beautiful, beautiful custard:

The glaze is very sweet, but the custard itself is subtle and lovely.  I kind of wish they offer non-glazed ones too.

Unlike my sister, I'm a nice person and I believe good things should be shared with the world.  So dear friends and all random people on the Internet, if you're ever in the area, get some custard-filled donut holes at Christy Donuts!

You're welcome.

Christy Donuts
1150 N Capitol Ave
San Jose, CA 95132
(408) 923-1300

Saturday, May 3, 2014

San Francisco: State Bird Provisions (Revisited)

For T's 27th birthday, she dragged four of us, including a friend all the way from SoCal, to Tomales Bay for oysters.  While the girls at the table next to ours were daintily sipping champagne and nibbling on strawberries, we were unashamedly chowing down on coxinhas (which we'd picked up from Cafe di Casa on the way north), slurping up oysters off the shell, and slamming raw clams onto the table to get to the meaty goodness inside.  Keeping it classy, yo.

The original plan after Tomales Bay was to check out the Point Reyes Lighthouse, but once we realized how long it would take us to get there, we switched things up and got ice cream in Fairfax instead.  (It wasn't that great.  Too icy for my tastes.)

Then, it was off to State Bird Provisions.  T wasn't able to get a reservation (you need to try, like, three months in advance), so we just showed up around 4:40 pm, almost an hour before the restaurant opened, and hoped for the best.  There was already a line when we arrived.  T and I jumped off the car to secure our place in line while CL and the rest of them went to find parking.

It was kind of chilly, so it was quite a welcome surprise when someone from SBP came and handed out complimentary shot glasses of hot chocolate.  Super thick and rich hot chocolate.  Sigh.

When we finally made it inside, we were told that the restaurant was already full and to expect a phone call around 7:45 pm.  Not too bad.  The last time did State Bird, we didn't get in until 10:30.

We got the call that our table was ready while we were sitting around and playing Charades! on T's cell phone in Kintetsu Mall.  We hoofed it back to SBP, got seated, and immediately started ordering when the food carts started coming around.

If you haven't been to SBP before, the restaurant is dim sum style.  Food comes around in small dishes, but you can also order a couple bigger dishes from off a menu.

As if we didn't have enough oysters that day, we got the raw oyster with spicy kohlrabi kraut and sesame ($3 each):

There's definitely a spicy kick.  If you're not careful, it might go down the wrong way.  Trust me on that.

The smoked trout-avocado "chip and dip" ($9) was one of my favorites:

The chips were basically thick potato chips, which weren't all that great, but the smoked trout and avocado dip?  Yum.

You can't really see the salmon tartare from this angle, but it's there:

Good, but not nearly as memorable as the smoked trout.

For KC, who is pregnant and apparently under a very strict diet (pregnant women have it tough!), we made sure to get some non-seafood options.  Such as this quinoa and chickpea "tabouleh" ($7)

We also ordered the duck liver mousse with almond biscuits ($6):

Then found out she couldn't eat liver either.  Wow.  One more reason why pregnancy is not in the cards for me.

CL loooooved the duck liver mousse.  So did I, actually.  The savoriness of the mousse complimented the sweet biscuit so well that it was heavenly.  We actually ordered another one because we enjoyed it that much.

The hamachi-avocado and seaweed cracker ($9) was certainly artistic in execution, but it was a bit difficult to eat, especially if you want to make sure each bite has a bit of everything:

The chawanmushi or steamed egg ($5) was small, but it shouldn't be overlooked:

So that KC could have more options, we got the pork riblets glazed in their own juices ($12):

And the beef tongue with potato ($6):

Though I think I was the one who ended up eating most of it.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for beef tongue.

Our server kept pushing us to try the spicy dungeness crab kimchi yuba with smoked egg, so we finally caved and asked for the half portion ($13):

While good, it wasn't quite...kimchi-y.  Not our favorite of the night.

We were all pretty much stuffed by then, but we couldn't help ordering the duck ham-maitake, pecan pancake with kumquat mustard ($15) off the menu:

I don't remember what it tasted like.  Probably because I was too enthralled with the roasted bone marrow with mushrooms and pink peppercorn ($14):

Bone marrow.  On bread.  Sprinkled with sea salt.  Oh my gawd.

We were ready to throw in the towel, but then someone brought over guinea hen dumplings with aromatic broth ($3 each) and we figured, what the heck, why not?:

The dumpling itself wasn't too memorable, but the broth was fantastic.

To help wash down everything, we all ordered drinks.  CL was the only one who got alcohol.  The rest of us all ordered sodas, either the hibiscus ginger lime or the muddled shiso-yuzu ($3 each):

I was actually the only one who got the shiso-yuzu soda (the one on the right) and in my humble opinion, it was better than the hibiscus one.  

You can't have a birthday dinner without dessert, right?  We ordered one "world peace" peanut muscovado milk ($2 a shot):

Think creamy peanut butter milk.

And the chocolate "ice cream" sandwich with smoked meringue, spicy cocoa nib, and apricot ($8)

The sandwich part had the sticky consistency of a macaron and the apricot added a nice tang.  I was scraping the smoked meringue off the board at the end.  So good.

The biggest shock came at the end of the meal when our server came by with the bill, asking for "Miss T".  Our jaws all dropped as he handed the bill and her CREDIT CARD to her.  When did she...?

After two seconds of stunned silence, the entire table erupted in rage while T signed the bill, smug as all hell.  We finally figured out that she'd handed over her card at the hostess counter before we'd even been seated.

That sneaky rat.

Ugh.  T, you're still on my shit list for that stunt.  I might be willing to forgive you in, say, 15 years or so.  I hope you enjoyed your birthday, m'dear.  We're gonna get you good next year.

State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 795-1272
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