Thursday, December 29, 2016

San Francisco: B. Patisserie

My sister was discharged from the hospital a lot earlier than expected.  As my parents were still stuck in traffic on their way to the city, my sister and I relocated to B. Patisserie to wait:
















There was quite a line, but it went quickly:
















Waiting in line meant more time to browse...and to add on to your order:
















Just when you think you're past the danger zone, there's more to drool over:
















There weren't any tables available inside, so we had to sit outside.  It was cold, much like our ham and cheese croissant ($4.50):
















I have a feeling it would have been much tastier had it been fresh out of the oven.  Or at least lukewarm.  Alas, it was kind of stale and uninteresting.  The ham and cheese croissant from Arsicault was infinitely better.

The chocolate banana almond croissant, on the other hand, was quite delightful ($4):
















I typically tend to avoid almond or banana things, but I figured we should get one because it's supposedly one of B. Patisserie's most popular items.  Definitely the right thing to do.  One bite and I was in the gooey banana-y center.

We originally only ordered a plain kouign amann ($4.25), but it was so delicious that we went back inside and ordered two more, one plain and one chocolate ($4.75) for our parents:
















The kouign amann at B. Patisserie is less crackly than the one from Arsicault, but I prefer it that way.  I like how it's not super sweet and how it's pleasantly flaky. 

Arsicault and B. Patisserie get compared a lot.  I've only visited a grand total of once each, but based on my amateur observations, while B Patisserie has much, much more options, Arsicault executes its limited menu extremely well.  For croissants, go to Arsicault, but for kouign amann, B. Patisserie is the way to go.  Both are not cheap.

I am happy to report that my sister is recovering very nicely.  The first couple days after the surgery were tough on her, but now she's back to hitting up buffets and cracking jokes.  All is right in the world.

At least all's right in the world that is my family.  The outside world is one big hot mess. 

Damn you, 2016.


B. Patisserie
2821 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115 
http://bpatisserie.com/
(415) 440-1700

Monday, December 26, 2016

San Francisco: Zazang Korean Noodle

The doctors told my sister that she most likely wouldn't have much of an appetite after her surgery.  Of course, she took that as a personal challenge to prove them wrong.  She had to concede and sit out lunch, but after a nap, her stomach was ready to tackle dinner.

My mother and I were the designated food retrievers.  We braved the pouring rain to reach Zazang Korean Noodle: 






















The restaurant was pretty quiet, but then again, it was a rainy Thursday night:
















We ordered our food to go and brought everything back to my sister's hospital room. My father warned her off the gan poong ki ($15.95) or fried boneless chicken:
















But my sister insisted her stomach could handle both the fried chicken and the sweet chili sauce:
















We were a bit disappointed to find that the gan poong ki was more batter than chicken.  The sauce, however, was quite good.

Besides the chicken, we also got two orders of jajangmyun or black bean noodles ($8.95).  The noodles were packed separately:






















From the giant tub of black bean sauce:
















I don't know how much sauce they give when you dine in, but we had enough leftover to take home for round two.  The sauce was a bit on the bland side, but the noodles had great texture.

It's not the best jajangmyun I've ever had, but portions are generous and the price is reasonable.  I would skip the gan poong ki though.  That wasn't worth the 15 bucks at all. 

After dinner, my parents went home, leaving my sister and I to party it up.

...Not really.  Between the 4:00am wake up call and the surgery, we both crashed around 9:00pm.


Zazang Korean Noodle
2340 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115 
(415) 447-0655

Thursday, December 22, 2016

San Francisco: Cheese Steak Shop

My sister's surgery went very well, but a minor complication meant that she had to stay in the hospital overnight instead of getting in and out the same day as she'd hoped.  Once she was settled into her hospital room, my mother and I went out to forage for a late lunch, leaving my father behind to deal with my heavily drugged and thus hilariously weepy sister.

It was raining really hard, so we stuck close to the hospital.  Because of said rain, I couldn't snap a photo of the exterior of the Cheese Steak Shop until the next morning:
















It was a bit grungy on the inside, but that's okay:
















Sides are important, so we made sure to get a large order of spiral fries ($2.89):
















And a small order of onion rings ($2.99):
















The nurse advised my sister to take it easy on her stomach for a while, so the rest of us ate our cheese steak sandwiches with relish in front of her.  (We're evil like that.)

The lighting in the hospital room wasn't so great, so the photos of the sandwiches came out kind of meh.  We got three kinds, but they all looked exactly the same from the top:


We had the classic Philly cheese ($5.49), the mushroom and cheese ($5.69), and the spinach and cheese ($5.69).  All came with grilled onions, sweet peppers (which I chose over hot peppers), and melted white American cheese on Italian rolls.  We ordered three small sandwiches instead of trying to split a larger one because it was cheaper that way...and that's priority number one in my family.

The first bite was a bit dry, but I hit the cheese by the second and that was quite lovely. 

Nothing fancy at the Cheese Steak Shop, but that's the beauty of it.  Don't expect to make any small talk at the cash register, but do expect a filling sandwich with a reasonable price tag.  I wouldn't go out of my way to go back, but if I'm ever at Mount Zion again I know where to get a quick meal nearby.


Cheese Steak Shop
1716 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-3712
http://www.cheesesteakshop.com/

Monday, December 19, 2016

San Francisco: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

My sister had surgery this month.  She had to report to the hospital at 6:00am, so I spent the night with her in the city the night before.  We met up at Teeth in the Mission for dinner:






















Wednesday nights at Teeth means $0.25 wings with the purchase of two beverages.  Technically, it's two beverages per person, but we got away with ordering two for the two of us by having my sister place our order at the bar and me wait in the outdoor patio:






















Neither of us could drink (my sister because of the surgery and me because I'm a wuss), so my sister got us ginger beers.  I have no clue what brand that ginger beer was, but damn was it gingery.  The aftertaste had a particularly spicy kick to it. 

I liked it.  Heh.

We probably also got away with not ordering another two drinks because of the totchos ($11) we added:
















Nachos made with tater tots have certainly been done before, but Teeth does them extremely well.  The totchos at Teeth are just LOADED with good stuff.  There's melty, melty cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, olives, sour cream, and jalapenos...all smothering piping hot, super crunchy tater tots.  And the cheese isn't just any old melted cheese.  No siree.  It has the texture of a béchamel sauce, or as I like to call it, mashed potato cheese.  My favorite.

I was actually already full before I got to Teeth.  My office had its holiday party right at the end of the work day and even though I told myself I would leave space for wings, I exercised zero self control as per usual.  I told my sister that I could handle at most one of each type of wing.  There was buffalo, bbq, sweet chili habanero, and au natural:
















The bbq was particularly saucy and tomato-y, while the sweet chili habanero was tangy, but not spicy at all.  Nothing surprising about the buffalo wings or the au natural ones. 

Were they the best wings I've ever had?  No.  But they're not bad.  And more importantly, they're 25 cents each.  25 FREAKIN CENTS.  You can't be too choosy when they're that cheap.

In short, Teeth is awesome.  Especially on Wednesdays.


Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
2323 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-2380 
http://teethbarsf.com/

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

San Francisco: Super Pan

The last naturalization workshop of the year happened to fall on a Saturday during my father's two-week trip to Taiwan.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  He's missed the last three workshops I had to work at.  My mother, on the other hand, has not missed a single one.  Even my sister came out to help.  (I may or may not have signed her up to volunteer without her knowing.)

Anyway, after the workshop, we drove my sister back to her apartment, stopping for dinner at Super Pan along the way:
















I only made it as far as the adjoining E Tea the last time I was there, but this time we made it into Super Pan territory:
















I didn't forget about E-Tea though.  The great thing about adjoining joints is that you can cross order.  I was still recovering from my cold, so I got the hot taro milk ($3.95):






















There were no pearls in it, but the thick straw was necessary for the large chunks of taro resting at the bottom of the cup.  We wanted my mother, a massive taro fan, to try the fresh taro king (which we ordered the last time I was there), but alas, it was not to be.  Apparently the blender was broken that night.  Boo.

We started with the combination appetizer platter:
















It was $9.99 for three items, fried calamari, karaage chicken, and French fries.  It came with ketchup and some kind of tangy chili sauce. 

My sister and I both ordered the cheesy omelette rice with beef ($11.99), which came on a sizzling plate:
















You get to choose one type of sauce to pour over your rice.  My sister asked for the white creamy sauce, whereas I selected the tomato sauce.  Both were utterly bland.  We kept going back for the salt and pepper shakers in hopes of adding some kind of flavor.

My mother got the chashu ramen ($9.99):
















She wasn't a fan.

At the end of the meal, we all agreed that food at Super Pan is basically just alright.  The portions are generous (I couldn't finish all of my rice) and the prices are reasonable, but...it certainly won't ever cross my mind to go back. 

Lesson learned.  I'll stick to the E Tea side from now on.


Super Pan
5344 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 668-5344
http://www.superpansanfrancisco.com/

Thursday, December 8, 2016

San Francisco: Kitchen Kura

My sister mentioned that she'd found a Japanese restaurant in the city that she thought my parents would like, so the first opportunity we got, we took them to Kitchen Kura:


I was running a bit late, so my sister ordered while I was on the way.  My timing turned out to be perfect because the food arrived just as I stepped into the restaurant.

Kitchen Kura offers two entrée combination specials for $14.25.  Each combination comes with fresh salad, miso soup, rice, an appetizer, and green tea:












I don't know if the appetizer changes from time to time, but ours was an eggplant curry with some kind of fried wonton chip:












For the four of us, my sister ordered the combination specials.  You get to choose any two entrees from a list and of course my sister made sure we got our money's worth.  Apparently the sukiyaki is the most bang for your buck, so she picked that as one of the entrees for each combination and then paired it with something different.  For one set, she got the baked salmon (which costs an extra $1):












For another she got the butter shoyu white fish (also an extra $1):


And for the last one she got the Nanban chicken (fried garlic chicken with tartar sauce):












While not exactly mind blowing, the food was good, paired well with rice, and came in super generous portion sizes.  Thank goodness we didn't order a set per person.  We had a hard enough time finishing as it was.

I can see Kitchen Kura as a popular place for students who want a two-in-one deal at a decent price.  One meal to eat at the restaurant, one meal to take home.  There's that much food.

My mother was a fan, but my father was not.  He had no complaints about the food or the service, but as usual, he couldn't stand the smoke coming from the kitchen, which was separated from the dining area by a half wall.  He ended up waiting outside while we settled the bill.

Oh, father.  So sensitive.


Kitchen Kura
1525 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 731-2054
http://kitchenkura.com/

Monday, November 28, 2016

San Francisco: Arsicault Bakery

I am not ashamed to say this.  I declined lunch with my coworkers one Saturday because I had plans to go on a Poké adventure with my sister and CL in the city.  You read that right.  I turned down food because I wanted to catch Pokémon.

NO SHAME.

We did manage to work food into our Poké day though.  To fuel our hunt, we started with breakfast at Arsicault
















The line wasn't too bad when we got there (probably due to the rain), but it quickly grew by the time we left.

The interior was tiny.  You basically inch your way to the front of the line, point out which pastries you want, and then choose whether to inch your way back out or try to find a table half a flight up:
















Luckily, we scored a table.  Flaky pastries are a mess to eat on the go.

We got the chocolate almond croissant ($5.25):
















With gooey chocolate and almond filling:
















My personal favorite was the ham and cheese croissant ($5.25):
















That was some really, really smoky ham:
















The kouign amann ($4) was crackly and sweet:
















Arsicault is by no means cheap.  I mean, c'mon.  Over 5 bucks for a croissant?  I may have moved up in the world since I left school, but not that far.  Not that far at all.  So while I can see Arsicault as a treat yo self once in a while kind of place, I definitely would not be able to afford to become a regular.

That's the dream, though.  That's the dream.

P.S.  If you're curious about how our Poké adventure went, it went swimmingly.  We swore we wouldn't go home until all three of us caught enough Magikarp to evolve a Gyarados and we didn't.  I made my sister and CL walk an extra quarter lap around Stow Lake just so I could catch the last two Magikarp I needed.  Booyah.


Arsicault Bakery
397 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 750-9460

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

South Bay: Eden Silk Road

From stalking their friends on Facebook, my parents discovered Eden Silk Road in Fremont.  When they found out that I was going to work out of my organization's Fremont office one day, they excitedly asked if we could meet for lunch.

Uh, yea?

So after a morning of consultations, my coworker HA and I headed over to Eden Silk Road where my parents and my sister were already waiting:















The first thing we noticed when we walked in was how big the interior was:
















Not pictured in the photo are the massive booths made with giant couches.  When the host asked us where we would like to sit, we made a beeline for the couches.  After scooching in, we realized we may have made a mistake.  The couches were so soft that we sank in just slightly too low to be entirely comfortable given the table height.  Also, we couldn't lean back or we would not be able to reach the table.

Don't get drawn in by the plushy couches!  Unless you have impeccable posture, in which case go right on ahead. 

When my parents saw their friend's Facebook post of Eden Silk Road, what caught their attention was a photo of the milk tea.  My father said that he could tell from the photo how strong the tea was.  So of course we had to order some.  Even though the special Uyghur milk tea was $4.95 a cup:
















$4.95.  A cup.  Granted, it was delicious and there was an unexpected medley of nuts and raisins in it, but still.  $4.95!  All the pistachios and walnuts and cashews didn't seem to add any flavor, so I can only assume that they're more for decorative purposes.  And for jacking up the price.

The hot and sour soup was complimentary:
















But we were there for the Uyghur cuisine, so we quickly downed the soup and moved it aside.

We ordered the goshnan ($11.95), which was a fried bread with ground meat inside:
















Delicious. 

The polo ($13.95) was a lamb and rice dish that was super fragrant:
















The lamb slipped right off the bone.  So tender.

The da pan ji, literally "big plate of chicken", ($14.95) was just alright:






















Whereas the lamb shish kebabs ($13.95) were so, so, so soft and well seasoned:
















My favorite though, was the lamb on crispy naan ($14.95):
















It was basically cumin lamb stir fried with fried pieces of naan.  Fried.  Naan.  Sounds oily, yes, but it was everything I never knew I needed in my life.  The naan wasn't crouton-like.  Instead, it was crispy, yet soft at the same time.  I didn't even need the lamb in the dish.  And I love lamb.

If you've never had Uyghur cuisine, definitely check out Eden Silk Road.  The food is fantastic, but it's a bit on the pricey side.  But here's a tip.  If you go on a weekday between 11:00am and 2:30pm, you get 20% off your bill.  Score! 

Eden Silk Road, I'll be back.  I might even be tempted to take a comp day just so I can go on a weekday for lunch.  Heh.


Eden Silk Road
39144 Paseo Padre Pkwy
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 505-9255
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