Friday, September 30, 2011

Eat Real Festival 2011: Jack London Square

A few months ago while perusing random food stuffs on the Internet I came across a group called ForageSF , a rogue foodie group out of San Francisco giving those without commercial kitchens or farms opportunities to share what the harvest or make. It's a very interesting concept and from reading deeper it sounded like they put together some very unique dinners and markets. I frequently have wanted to attend a gathering but had yet to get up the courage or the time needed to get to one. Recently on one of their e-mails they began promoting their attendance at the Eat Real Festival in Oakland's Jack London square. My first thought was total excitement! I had that Saturday free and I was ready for some tasty adventure. My second thought.... was a little bit of dread. I have been to Oakland exactly 1 time prior to this event for a meetings industry educational conference. I made it in and out as simply as possible and did not get shot. Growing up in the Bay Area I have been lead to believe that if you go to Oakland- you will be shot. Or shanked. Or car jacked. Or god knows what else. Bad things, bad violent things happen in Oakland. Well what a shame that I have wasted all this time believing that. Yes it maaaaayyyyy have a higher crime rate than you know... like... I dunno most everywhere else. BUT there are perfectly lovely parts of Oakland that deserve your attention. Jack London Square being one of them. Since I had dinner plans with my parents in SF Saturday night I let them tag along to the festival with me (more mouths to try more things and Dad to drive to Oakland!). I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised as we got off the freeway and drove to the square in not-the-ghetto and parked in a totally reputable parking garage (it did not appear we would be getting car jacked today- things were off to a great start!)

We followed the crowd and soon found ourselves in the square. WOW! I had only done a little research on the festival and the few things listed on ForageSF's website did not even begin to encompass the enormity of this festival. In my mind I saw 10- 12 vendors and maybe 100 people. Try well over 100 vendors and what I can only Imagine was at least 1,000 people. The place was packed! We made our way cautiously through the crowd just trying to get a feel for everything around us. The lines at the different booths and trucks were huge and it was daunting to make our first choice but as we wandered up to a small pavilion near the front we settled on some popular (and yummy!) looking tacos at Cholita Linda. As we stood in line waiting to order we realized that if we wanted to try the selection of different items we planned on we maybe better off splitting up since this line was not moving and there was still the pick up

 line to wait in. My mom dashed off out of no where when she spotted a booth selling Knish, a Jewish street food made by filling dough with an herbed mashed potato mixture and then grilling on a hot flat surface. I made my way back down from the pavilion to one of the first trucks I saw, Vesta , that was selling flat bread sandwiches. While the line at this truck was long they were much more efficient and I got my Citrus Pork sandwich almost immediately after ordering, while my dad was STILL waiting in line for the tacos. My Mom returned triumphantly with two knish for us to share. In recent memory I can't say that I had ever tried a knish before and these were awesome! The outside dough wrapping had a nice chewy crunch to it giving way to the soft silky mashed potatoes inside that were bursting with herb and garlic flavors. While it was delicious it was also filling so even though I was starving I had to hold back and not finish mine since I knew there was still a lot of eating to do! While still waiting for the tacos my dad suggested we make our way to one of the demonstration stages that I had wanted to check out. We found a spot at the Whole Food Market stage and patiently awaited the tacos arrival. My dad finally was freed from the line and made his way to us. We quickly lined up our treasures and began our feast! Since I had already pretty much demolished my knish I went next for the tacos. We chose one fish taco and one carne asada. 

Whole Foods Butchery Demo
Cholita Linda Taco's
As you can see in the picture to the right both were dressed in a spicy red sauce and topped with shredded cabbage. While the tortillas were unremarkable the meat on both tacos was really delicious. The fish had a nice firm texture and not too much fried batter on the outside. The sauce had a nice kick of chili but also a nice balance of acid and the cabbage brought it all together providing some crunch and a cool element to the spice. I tried not to be greedy and just enjoyed two bites of each before moving on to the flat bread sandwich.

Vesta Citrus Pork Sandwich
  The coolest part about the Vesta Sandwiches was that they make the bread in the truck in their mobile hearth. They start with flat dough and it poofs up in the hearth to create a pocket as you can see below on the left. They stuffed the inside with their citrus marinated pork, and a slaw of fennel, napa
I quickly jumped up and chased her down to find out what she had. It turned out to be a selection of items from the Whole Foods truck parked just to the left of the stage. What luck! Double the luck as I approached there was hardly any line so I was able to get what I wanted right away. The truck was serving 4 little specialties- Figs Roasted with Honey and topped with goat cheese and crushed Marcona Almonds, Mini Corn Dogs topped with a sauce, A Yuba Salad, and lastly the Meat Whip. With their three for $10 option I made the difficult choice to skip Yuba Salad, while it looked interesting... it also looked like slaw which I had already had my fill of that day. I got my tray of cones and headed back to our seats. I knew already that I would like the figs. They were nice and ripe and slightly warm glazed with the honey for added sweetness. I could definitely have gone for more goat cheese as figs and goat cheese are one of my favorite combinations and the creamy tanginess would have been a welcome contrast to the sweet figs, but I did really enjoy the nice crunch the crush marcona's added. That textural difference really made the whole thing pop. The mini corn dogs were delightful (corn dogs are my weakness) they had a great crunchy coating with nice grainy cornmeal texture and they were drizzled with what tasted like a cheesy sauce. What I thought was most adorable was that since they were bite size they were served on toothpicks vs sticks!
Figs, Corn Dogs, & Meat Whip
We approached the "Meat Whip" with some trepidation.  It had the appearance of a light pink fluffy dip, sprinkled with crushed pistachios and served on a bed of arugula with three herb toasted crostini. A very retro seeming dish the signage described it as a "mousse" made with mortadella (an Italian pork sausage). While the idea was a little off putting the actual product was tasty. Nice light salty meaty flavor with a smooth airy texture. The pistachios added a nice crunchy and the crostini was good. I think we could have used maybe one more piece (but isn't that always the way with crostini- why do they never give you enough pieces for what you are eating!) but overall this was surprisingly enjoyable. I can't say I would search it out but it was certainly fun to try!
After sitting and eating for about half an hour we finished up and moved on to check out the rest of the festival. It seemed to go on for days. We passed the ForageSF booth with promises to each other that we would return and made our way down to the main stage. Across from the stage was a booth Cynful Eats, that declared themselves to be west Indian home style eats. Their menu on the other hand... sounded decidedly mixed (Chicken Creole, Cuban Style pork, braised cabbage onions, & carrots). My dad was still hungry and something about it caught his eye so he bought one of their bowls. Although it seemed exciting (the heirloom garlic was what hooked him) he said the bowl was nothing to write home about.
 We continued to check out the booths near the stage and my mom (always the sweet heart) couldn't help but buy some sorbet "from those nice people with no line poor things!" Turns out the sorbet was delicious! She chose the Pink Pearl Apple flavor and it made a lovely palate cleanser both tart and sweet and subtle this was a nice refreshing
 treat! (And look how cute it is! They had 3 sizes we went for the smallest since we just wanted to try it and it was perfect for a few bites for everyone). We were quickly coming to the end of the road at this point. There was a nice collection of food trucks capping of the strip and while everything looked enticing by this point we were feeling a little too full so we mostly just looked. The most exciting attraction at this far end was the set up by King Aurthur flour.
All day they had been performing hands on dough making demos and had a super cool looking stand alone wood fire oven going in which they were making little flat bread appetizers with roasted peppers and tomatoes. It was really fun to watch them stoke the fire and it was amazing how quickly the flat breads cooked in the high heat it was able to create. I made sure to grab a flyer for some of their upcoming classes in the area (they are free and sound fun!). I hope to some day have one of these beauties in my back yard there are so many fun things you can do in one of these ovens (pizza!!!)We decided to start winding down the day with a dessert. As we walked down to the end my mom had spotted a pastry stall, PieTisserie, That she really wanted to try. Since it was later in the day they were down to their last selection in their mini pies- Beet! The young woman working the booth assured us that it was very tasty and not unlike Pumpkin Pie. Boy was she right. It was really good a little sweeter than a
 pumpkin pie but similar texture. They had quite a few other exciting sounding flavors like Pecante (what I could only assume was a spicy pecan pie) and a chocolate cream with a pretzel crust. As we enjoyed our pie we took some time to check out the indoor area where vendors were selling items to take home like honey's, jam's, and pasta's. We enjoyed browsing their wares and even bought a couple of flavored honey sticks (a favorite of my childhood summers visiting my grandma up in Sebastopol). By 5 o'clock we were ready to call it a day. We came, we saw, we conquered, and we will be ready next year to take on even more! I am already preparing my plan of attack which involves getting there at opening, staying to closing, and bringing as many friends as I can so we can all try lots of yummy different treats!

This was such a great day (followed by a great evening to be outlined in my next post about our dinner that night at A16 in SF). It is a really unique pleasure to share your adult passions with your parents, opening their eyes to new things and letting them see a part of you that they helped create. I'm very lucky to have immensely supportive parents who listen to my ideas and foster my interests!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

K&L Wine Merchants: Life Goes Better with Bordeaux tasting

I have some really amazing friends who are always encouraging my interest in food & wine. This last Saturday I had an exclusive opportunity to attend the K&L wine merchants Bi-Annual Bordeaux tasting & luncheon courtesy of my dear friend Kelly. For some time now she has been wanting to introduce me to a close family friend who has worked in the wine industry for many years. He provided us with this chance to not only be introduced but also enjoy some fine wines and food! I was extra excited because I have not spent a lot of time studying the Bordeaux region so this would be a great chance to taste lots of their wines and hear more about the different Chateau's.

UpStairs Tasting

K&L Wine Merchants is a California based wine import company with three brick and mortar retail locations in San Francisco, Red Wood City, & Hollywood as well as a bustling on line sales component. They have been in the business since 1976 and have built strong relationships with all of the wineries that they purchase from all over the world. This gives them unique opportunities to purchase exceptional wines for their clients often at singular values. They are also a resource for restaurants to purchase fine wines for their lists as well.

The tasting took place next door to the Redwood City retail location in the Chantilly restaurant first upstairs in one of their banquet rooms then down stairs in their dining room for lunch. Chantilly has a slightly antiquated but well maintained feel to it with lots of carved wood furniture and Burgundy floral accents. We were greeted upon check in with a glass and directed into the tasting room where 3 tables where set up showcasing 4 wines from select vintages starting with 2009, followed by 2008, and finishing with wines from 2000-2001. While there are many many more details needed to have a full understanding of the Bordeaux regions this is a jumping off point! Bordeaux is one of the foremost and oldest wine growing regions in the world. The three primary varietals in Red Bordeaux wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Cabernet Franc. Cab Sav Providing the back bone, Merlot creating softness, and Cab Franc contributing deep rich color and an additional layer of flavor. The only other varietals designated for blending in any bottle that can be labelled a "Bordeaux" are Malbec, Petit Verdot, & Carmenere. The French follow very strict restrictions in terms of what is grown where and how it is labelled which gives the buyer & drinker a confidence in both style and quality. Located in the areas surround the Gironde River and it's forks the Dordogne & Garonne Rivers the AOC (Appellations D'Origine Controlee- The french defining lines for separate growing areas of a distinct type) encompasses 60 unique Appellations.

The Lunch Menu
with Wine Pairings

It would take volumes to describe each wine we tasted and par usual I forgot a pen (I'm just not that handy with taking notes on my iPhone). This was definitely a tasting for those looking to buy and not so much one where people were looking to dissect each wine for different flavors and textures. That was fine by me (I have gotten really lazy with my tasting it's become a lot of "I like it" "I don't like it" and only picking out odd ball or stand out characteristics). We were by far the youngest there with a smattering of couples in their 30's being the next youngest. The primary market seemed to be the 60+. We enjoyed all the wines served upstairs and then at 1 everyone was directed downstairs for lunch. We were given a splash of Clos Flourdine Blanc a nice crisp and refreshing white wine to cleanse our palates from all the red to get ready for more... red! Each place setting had 7 glasses set with a number on each so we could easily keep track in our coinciding menu. The first two were set ready to go, the rest were poured throughout the meal by Ralph and Clyde the K&L hosts. We were lucky enough thanks to Kelly to be seated at Ralph's table so in between pours we got to enjoy his company as well. More than the wine at this point we were excited for- the bread! We were all a little extra hungry after our 12 tastes up stairs do as soon as the bread hit the table we eagerly passed it around the table. Once everyone was settled the service staff served the first course, Two plump cheese ravioli's in a creamy sauce with tender cremini mushrooms. The earthy notes were a great compliment to the dusty tones in the wines. One thing that I noticed about the second wine was the distinctly skunky or marijuana-y finish. This was a flavor I had never experienced in a wine and it was very unique! I'm sure those aren't really the most correct terms but it was what it was reminiscent of to me.

The second course was the steak. While I enjoyed the sweet notes of the Madiera wine sauce the rest of the dish fell flat for me feeling very "banquet". In this selection of wines #4 the second wine poured was a standout for me (Chateau Carbonnieux, Pessac-Leognan- a favorite of Ralph's as well!) This region is in an ancient river bed so the soil has a high consistency of seashells. This gives it such a fantastic minerality that I love in french wines and I enjoyed it a lot.  We finished with a cheese and lettuces course (how French!). One soft cheese and 3 firm, they were all very tasty. The only disappointment was that there wasn't any corresponding guide to let you know exactly what the cheeses were so we were left to guess. They definitely saved the best wines for last. We did a side by side tasting of 2 vintages ('04 & '07) of the Chateau Poujeaux, Moulis en Medoc. Yum! Wonderful fruit flavors and complexity this was actually the only wine I got a chance to purchase after the event was done (everyone is welcome to go next door to the shop and purchase the wines poured at exclusive prices after the event, in my hurry this was the only one I had time to find). I actually preferred the '04 but someone scooped it all up before I had the chance so I purchased the '07 with the intention "cellaring" it (in my half broken wine fridge) for a few years (in other words I need to forget it's in there!). Over all I had a fabulous time at the event and enjoyed finally meeting Ralph! I look forward to attending one of their more casual monthly tastings soon!

If you want more information about K & L Wine Merchants and their upcoming tastings and events go HERE!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AT&T Ball Park Series #6: Long Taters (Club Level Only!)

I waited alllllll season saving up my club level passes for a "special occasion". I decided taking my mom to a game was the perfect opportunity. We had our tickets and passes ready to go, as we walked up to the gate we were buzzing with anticipation for the hidden culinary treasures we were about to enjoy. Not so lucky. I was woefully unaware of the small print that excluded Dodger's games... of which we were attending. Turned away we indulged instead in crazy crab sandwiches and Strawberry fry bread (to come in the finale post DESSERTS!)
My opportunities were dwindling with the end of the season near. Thankfully the next game I had up was with my eating partner in crime, Ms. Tori herself. On the drive up I perused the options limited to only to club level. A few things initially stood out but as we walked around the level we found something special that was sure to hit the spot- BAKED POTATO BAR!!! Ok I know it may not be that exciting to some of you but to me this sounded just right. There were lots of great options and no limits. I decided to go with shredded orange cheese, bacon, grilled corn, sour cream and green onions. As you can see in the picture to the right they load it up. I initially had to move quite a bit of the sour cream off to the side but the beauty of excess toppings was that after enjoying everything mixed into the middle I was able to create some "potato skins" as an additional treat!
Tori went another direction adding chili (which she described as flavorful without too much spice, having meat, beans and green chilies) bacon and orange cheese. Hers was a little too messy and filling for the potato skin second meal but it was thoroughly enjoyable none the less!

I genuinely hope to get a chance to enjoy one of "Long Taters" baked potatoes again next season!

Locations: Club Level only
Average Wait: This was a bit deceiving the Long Taters booth is in fact connected to the Carvery on the club level (no wonder I liked it!). They share a register however there are two separate lines. The long taters line was not long at all although it does take some time for each person to order. The carvery line was huge though so make sure you don't get in that and wait needlessly.
Price: $8.75 no limit on toppings!
Value: This was a great value, very filling for the cost
Over All Satisfaction: In case you couldn't tell I loved it! The ability to customize your own combination makes it very satisfying. The only downfall I could find was that I would like the potato to be a bit hotter on the inside.

Game Score: Giants beat the Padres 6-4 in extra innings!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crab & Sweet Corn Fritters- Too fancy for Sunday Football? or Juuuuust Right!

I am unashamed to say I am not a football fan. Nor am I a Hockey hysteric. I'm a baseball girl through and through. I like my sports played slow in uni's where I can actually see what the players look like. Unfortunately the end of September is upon us and the time has come to bid my boys of Summer adieu till March and welcome the boys of Fall. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of things I like about Football. Day Drinking for one, cheerleaders secondly. Not like that you perves! I like the half time shows. There aren't any halftime shows in baseball. This Sunday I spent with "the boys" watching large dual screens at a buddies house as they switched back and forth through all the games keeping up with their Fantasy team scores. I always relish the time I can spend with guys doing guy things. It's refreshing to not gossip for a while and just BS and clown on each other and relax. Still a good little Italian girl at heart if I'm going to be with a group of boys- I better be feeding them. Before coming over I whipped up some wicked strong Sangria and gathered all the ingredients for one of my favorite new appetizers- Crab and Sweet Corn Fritters.

I love crab cakes. I also love .... well pretty much anything with corn in it. Put the two together and add some spicy accents and I'm basically in heaven. I first prepared this recipe for a friends engagement party and it was a huge hit. I made the mistake the next time I made them for a gathering of preparing them in advance and trying to reheat them in the oven after which they got cold again while we waited for people. It wasn't pretty. So word to the wise you are gonna want to serve these straight away most likely in batches of 3 or 4 depending on the size of your pan and how many you can fit at one time. I served them with sour cream and sweet chili sauce for dipping which add just the right balance of creamy, sweet and spicy.

This Recipe is adapted from Pete Evans My Grill: Outdoor Cooking Australian Style. The main adaptation being that I cook them on a stove not a grill. I found this recipe on .

Crab & Sweet Corn Fritters


  • 8 ounces cooked crabmeat

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 red or green serrano chile, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained

  • 2/3 cup cold mineral water

  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, to serve

  • sweet chile sauce, to serve

    Crab, Chili, & green onion
    Lightly mix the crab, green onions, chile and cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Sift the flour and cornstarch into a separate bowl. Add 2/3 cup cold mineral water and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Stir in the crab mixture and corn kernels. The mixture should have the consistency of heavy cream. I suggest keeping the mixture in the fridge for about 15 minutes before you begin frying and in between batches, the colder batter seems to fry better.

    Second Side
    First Side
    Fill a large 1 + inch deep saute pan with about a quarter inch of your favorite cooking oil. I usually use vegetable myself. Heat over medium high heat. I don't have any particularly professional tips to tell you when your oil is hot enough. I frequently go off feel by holding my hand about an inch above the oil (if it feels pretty hot.... you're probably good..) and sound (a nice loud sizzle once you drop a test spoonful in). The test spoonful is always the most tangible way to see how well and how quickly it is frying.
    Carefully drop the batter in by the heaping spoonful. Watch carefully flipping over once the edges begin to turn golden (about 2-3 minutes) the second side will most likely be done a little more quickly. Transfer with a slotted spatula to a plate was paper towels to drain extra oil off. Serve in hot batches with some sour cream and chili oil dolloped on top (or on the side if you prefer). Enjoy and GO TEAM!!!

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    AT&T Ball Park Series #5: Outta Here Cheese Steaks

     The quest continues! Outta Here cheese steaks was my next stop on my culinary ball park adventure. Featured on one of Tyler Florence's food vignette's in between innings this is one of the newer concession outlets at the park. I have to preface this with the fact that in general I'm not a huge cheese steak sandwich fan so while I enjoyed it I don't know if I can give a 100% fair comparison to any other cheese steaks out there. Located on the same promenade as many of the one-of food offerings behind the bleachers Outta Here Cheese steaks has a specific limited offering of a classic cheese steak served with cheese whiz style spread, onions, and your choice of hot or sweet peppers, a "San Francisco" Cheese steak with grilled chicken, mushrooms, & onions, or the Nor Cal Veggie cheese steak with grilled shredded zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, & onions. Looking back I would be curious to try one of the other "location specific" variations just to see if they are as good as they sound. All varieties are served on Amoroso's Italian rolls the traditional Philly born bread giving it added authenticity. I enjoyed this meal at a game with my dad. He has recently become a huge Philly Cheese steak fan so he gave me some insight. While we both agreed that next time we would do the sweet peppers not the hot (the burn just distracted from the other flavors) He said that the flavor and textures were similar enough to others he had enjoyed. He also observed that this is a great option for someone who is looking for something meaty at the ball park but aren't in the mood for hot dogs or sausages. I couldn't agree more. While I don't think this stand will be my go to I would encourage people to try it especially if you are a fan.

    Locations: Promenade level behind Section 142 of the bleachers
    Average Wait: We hoped in when there was no line however the service seemed a little slow and a line did build up behind us. This could have just been a day of staff issue however.
    Price: $9.25 for the classic
    Value: The price is on par with other sandwiches in the ball park of the same size and quality (see King Street Carvery)
    Overall Satisfaction: 6.5 out of 10 I can't say it was my favorite but I did eat almost all of it. Would probably suggest it if someone were looking for something meaty and different. It was definitely filling.
    Game Score: Lost to the Cubs 2-5.... it's been a rough end to the season hopefully a restful off season and some re-orging will see more hits in 2012. A few more games to look forward to however this year 2 more posts to go!

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Mission Beach Cafe- Why I wish every meal was brunch

    Ah brunch. In my mind it is by far one of the best meal concepts ever. Reasons being A) It makes it totally acceptable to drink (sometimes in excess) before noon B) It combines both sweet and savory, breakfast and lunch options so there is something for everyone & C) You can get poached eggs at 2 in the afternoon.

    You may remember on my trip to New York I got a chance to check out a great brunch spot in the West Village with our friend Katie who lives out there. Recently she was in town for her brothers wedding so of course what better way to catch up than brunch! She picked out a spot in SF that I hadn't yet heard of but had rave reviews online. I'm always eager to check out new SF restaurants and this one sounded really cool. Of course it had the buzzwords "local" "organic" "seasonal" but hey you can't hate on them for what's popular and more importantly GOOD! If you are familiar with the layout of San Francisco Mission Beach Cafe is located on Gurerro & 14th street not far from Delores Park in the Mission District. In recent years the Mission has had a growing reputation as a hot spot for diverse and delectable cuisine. After browsing the menu I couldn't wait to try some of what they had to offer!

    Before I turn to mush waxing poetic about the food I have to start with a disclaimer- MAKE A RESERVATION. Especially if you are going to be a somewhat larger group. We were in the unique position of being a group of 5 in need of a 6th spot for a stroller (BTW they state in no uncertain terms that they are not a child friendly establishment in their reviews but hey sometimes the kids gotta come!) and it took..... lets be honest 2 full hours for us to get seated. In their defense the dining room is quite small (it seats about 40 guests max) and most tables are intended for 2-4 people. We were also waiting for said baby to arrive so we took the time to enjoy some Blue Bottle coffee and the break in the fog when the sun finally came shining through. We also realized after about half an hour as the wafting pot aroma persisted (at first maybe I thought it was just one person smoking off their hang over from the night before) that we were positioned down wind from a dispensary. Ah San Francisco. By the time we were seated our battle plan was in place, we practically jumped on the waiter with our orders and he was more than happy to oblige. First things first- 3 "Huge" Mimosa's. Yes. That's literally what they are labeled on the menu. And yes- they really are huge. We tried 3 varieties the classic (fresh squeezed organic OJ), Grapefruit, & an OJ Pomegranate blend. Up until this point in my life a mimosa was a mimosa. I prefer to take mine 90/10 (90% sparkling 10% OJ) and have never really thought they were anything special. O.M.G. This was by far and wide the best mimosa I have ever had, and not just because of it's size. The fresh squeezed OJ it was prepared with was so full of flavor and sweet it was like a whole new beverage entirely. I tried my best not to gulp the whole thing down because as we quickly realized delicious mimosa on an empty tummy equals drunkity drunk before the food arrives. We needed to save some of our wits to be able to properly enjoy the meal to come.
    French Toast with Fresh Fruit
     and Bourbon Maple Syrup

     We didn't have to wait long.Within roughly 10 minutes of our mimosa's arriving so did our food piece by piece. I was in a sweet mood this morning so I chose the Brioche French Toast with fresh fruit and Bourbon Maple Syrup. Within two bites I knew I needed more of that bewitching elixir! The waiter asked which I preferred the regular syrup or the bourbon to which he got the "are you kidding me eye?" he laughed and said "it's addicting huh!" and promptly brought more. With the sweet I always crave a little savory. When I was reading some of the reviews a few of them mentioned the Cafe's unique take on biscuits and gravy which has been a favorite breakfast dish of mine since I first tried it at sleep away camp many years ago. Unique barely began to describe this biscuits and gravy dish.
    Biscuits & Gravy
    As you can see here in the picture- it's red. There were definitely some chili spices at work maybe some chorizo. The sweet corn added texture and their own flavor. There was a stringiness that I can only attribute to some cheese although it was well melted in but definitely added to the chili like nature. The biscuits were excellent. Soft and fresh but firm enough that they held up well to the gravy. It was just the right flavor contrast to the sweet french toast and the dish got passed around the table quite a few times!

    Below are a few of the other dishes we enjoyed

    Fried Green Tomato Benedict
    Torn Bread Salad
    Over all it was a great experience filled with laughter and ending with VERY full bellies. I'm looking forward to my next chance for brunch at the Mission Beach Cafe (or maybe dinner! which I also hear is fabulous!) followed hopefully by a nice nap in the sun at Delores park.

    Cheers everyone!

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    AT&T Ball Park Series #4: Edsel Ford Fong Asain Cuisine

    Edsel Ford Fong Stand
    Only in San Francisco!!! As I continue my adventure around the ball park my next stop was what I consider probably the most unique out of all the offerings. How many ball parks can you get an array of Asian cuisines at ?! From sushi to orange chicken, edamame and potstickers, Thai curry and Chicken Satay the Edsel Ford Fong Stand has something for everyone! I wanted to be able to try a few things so I was excited to see that they had a "Combo Plate" option with fried rice, orange chicken and a egg roll. One of the first things that struck me when I got my food was how HUGE the serving was! The plate is served in a plastic togo box that
     seals which is great to keep the food nice and warm as you carry it to your seat. Once we got settled I went for the egg roll first. (Note: if you like a dipping sauce for your egg rolls make sure before you leave the stand you get a little to go container from the left side they have a broad selection available so you can prepare it how you like!) I was very impressed first with the size of the egg roll then with the nice thick crispy wrapping. I find so frequently that egg rolls that are done in quick service places can sometimes sit too long and become soggy but they must prepare these to order or on a very regular basis because they were great and crisp. The
    filling was very simple but still tasty. The fried rice was a basic version of the classic- fried egg, peas and carrots. It was lacking some flavor but the texture of rice was good and it was definitely filling! The Orange Chicken was the biggest surprise. Since my time in High School working at an amazing family run Thai restaurant I have had a very high standards for most Asian food. They had some of the best Orange Chicken I have ever had it was nice and crisp with a great slightly spicy sauce. While I'm not sure any other Orange Chicken could ever compare this stuff was not bad at all! The pieces were nice and crisp outside good white meat chicken inside and the sauce was really yummy. While it has been years since I've had Panda Express Orange Chicken I felt like style wise that is the closest comparison, maybe even better. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience and I look forward to hopefully trying more of what they have to offer.

    Locations: Promenade Level Section 118, Lexus Clubhouse (extended menu)
    Average Wait: Since this is a far from average Ball Park menu it may not look as popular, there is rarely a wait- Lucky you!
    Price: $10 for the combo plate- See menu picture for additional prices
    Value: The size and quality of this plate make it a great value, I suggest splitting it with a friend and buying an extra egg roll so you each have your own, I promise you will both be full!
    Over-All Satisfaction: This is a really great option for those who are in the mood for something different. I really enjoyed everything I ate and was very pleased with the portion sizes as well as flavor!

    Game Score:Another close one! We beat the Padres 2-1 just by the skin of our teeth!