San Francisco IX: A16

The morning after Monsieur P arrived in San Francisco, we took the bus to meet up with his friends for coffee/pastries at La Boulange in Filmore…

…at first I though La Boulange was a cute little French cafe, but then quickly found out that it was actually a big chain with a location in what seemed like every neighborhood of San Francisco. Sigh, how easily I was deceived by the charming, cozy decor. At least the cannelés were decent ;)

Post-coffee we strolled around Pacific Heights and Marina, stopping by the Palace of Fine Arts, and then…

Crissy Field beach for some sun time!

We swung back though Pacific Heights for a late lunch at A16. The place was still bustling half an hour before lunch service was to end.

Bread and olive oil (upon request only) to start…

We decided to share a pizza and salad which turned out to be the perfect amount for two (I eventually added a pasta dish to our lunch, but more on that later!) First up, a Roasted Mushroom and Snap Pea Salad with radishes, nepitella and pecorino.

Many pizza options to pick from…click to see bigger.

We finally chose the Carciofi, an ideal combination of artichokes, with ricotta, smoked mozzarella, onions, prosciutto cotto, garlic, basil and chiles. I almost enjoyed the topping combination more than the pizza itself. Would love to use those same ingredients in a pasta dish…

An upskirt shot for you! Pizza is one of my favourite foods, as I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, and I always make pizza an eating priority when visiting other cities. I enjoyed both Defina and A16 on this visit, but neither come close in delivery of final product to NYC pizza places, and were just as pricey. Perhaps I should stop attempting to compare, huh? ;)

While eating I couldn’t help but notice that practically every diner around us had, in addition to pizza, the Cavatelli pasta, either as an appetizer or entree. I was so intrigued that by the time we wiped out the pizza and declared fullness, I placed an order for the housemade Cavatelli. It’s okay right? We skipped dessert after all ;) The cavatelli was served with cannellini beans (both whole and blended in the sauce), tomato, chiles and pecorino. Nothing earth shattering nor delicious as we had hoped for. I wouldn’t be inclined to order it on a return visit, but it sure did satisfy our curiosity.

Note: We sat at the bar, which definitely enhanced our lunch experience. Monsieur P loved watching them construct pizzas in the open kitchen and I couldn’t get enough of the guy who just kept on turning out the cavatelli, pasta by pasta. Same twist, turns, rolls and cuts, over and over again for the entire hour we were there…mesmerizing!

Oh boy, looking at these vacations photos has me all wistful…summer in NYC is a disaster in terms of weather.. Would give anything for cooler temperatures and time away from work :) Hope you all have a wonderful upcoming holiday weekend!

2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94101
(415) 771-2216

Sugar Rushed…

…for the week at Serious Eats New York. Plus Lunch for One at Bo Ky and Cha An :)

Lunch for One: Summer Set at Cha An

Sugar Rush: Espresso Frappé at Grom

Sugar Rush: Rice Pudding at Russ & Daughters

Lunch for One: Chicken Curry Noodles at Bo Ky

Sugar Rush: Lemon-Blueberry Turnovers at Grandaisy

Sugar Rush: Raspberry-Almond Croissant at Bouchon Bakery

Sugar Rush: Raspberry-Yogurt Cakes at Le Pain Quotidien

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Hawai’i: Nobu Waikiki

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[Ok man, now I think I’m going to start mixing my Hawai’i May 2010 trip posts with the San Francisco June 2010 trip posts, otherwise I’ll never catch up with the NYC posts all before the next vacation! Whew! :)]

The most exciting meal I had on my last trip home was a two-part, five-hour, feast organized and graciously hosted by Reid of Ono Kine Grindz. [Super thank you, Reid!] Alan from Manoa was at the meal in addition to Robyn and myself. Reid’s blog was the very first food blog I’ve read back in the early 2000s, so it was such an honor to meet him in person!!

Our evening began with dinner at town followed by dessert at Nobu Waikiki. And when I say dinner and dessert, it wasn’t just dinner and dessert…it was, man, seriously something out of this world. We’re going to work backwards. Dessert in this post, and dinner in the next.

At Nobu’s, pastry chef Rachel Murai prepared a special six-course tasting for the four of us. An array of eye-opening sweets to say the least, I had no idea there they were turning out such wonderful desserts at Nobu Waikiki of all places. I was in love! Am going to let the photos do the talking, breakdown below :)

Sous Vide Watermelon & Umeshu, Lime Granita

Azuki Panna Cotta, Matcha Sorbet, Tapioca Pearls, Kuri Tuile

Creme de Mascarpone, Honey Caviar, Almond Olive Oil Crumble, Passion Coulis, Shiso Syrup

Pistachio Ice Cream, Coconut Foam, Caramelized Goma

Gianduja Cremoso, Peanut Praline Powder, Frozen Raspberry Bits, Cacao Nibs

Espresso Snow, Sweet Milk, Cardamom Ice Cream, Financier Crisps

Nobu Waikiki
2233 Helumoa Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 237-6999

San Francisco VIII: Tartine Bakery

One slice of a Summer Cake ($5.50) on a Monday afternoon. Monsieur P and Shannon flew back to NYC earlier that morning, and I was left with a full day of nothing to do but stuff myself silly with sweets, cheese, and cured meats. Thank goodness I knew how to navigate the MUNI, made it so much easier to get around the city.

Tartine had lines out the door, even on a particularly hot day. I stopped by the bakery twice during my trip but was dissuaded on both occasions with lines that literally wrapped around the corner. I was enamored with Tartine on my very first visit many years ago. This time, not so much. There were flies hovering over the croissants, and stale air in the sweltering bakery. A turn-off before even eating! How people managed to cramp in those seats with hot paninis is beyond me. Perhaps I’m not a summer person ;)

The Summer Cake pictured at top coupled layers of a leaden, tired cake. Whipped heavy cream and the most sorry soft raspberries I’ve encountered in…forever? Can you imagine this potential this cake had?! A tender vanilla génoise, the cream sweetened just a tad, and a whole parade of summer berries! Now that would have been killer.

Should have taken my money over to Bi-Rite Creamery up the block!

On the upside/funside, I couldn’t help but notice all the single men, there on lunch break perhaps, checking out the bakery girls – tall, slim, and outfitted in loose tanks and the shortest of skirts ;)

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600

NYC: Snapshots from New York Brewfest 2010

[Taking a short stop from the Hawai’i and San Francisco posts for catching up with life in NYC :)]

On Saturday Monsieur P and I spent much of the afternoon at New York Brewfest 2010. Thank you very much to Ben for the media passes! Beer of course, was the main draw, but I was equally excited about the Chocolate and Beer Pairing Seminar with Jean-Francois Bonnet of Tumbador Chocolates, whom I connected to the event.

First things first. We filled our bellies with buttery, grilled sandwiches from Murray’s Cheese before heading down to Pier 11 for the Brewfest ferry. Pictured above is the The Greenwich Village Sandwich. A base of seven-grain bread with pesto, (TONS OF) roasted garlic, prosciutto di parma, and fontina faznal. Insanely delicious. We cooled off with iced water and gelato ^_^

We planned to walk from the West Village to the ferry, but the summer heat was too much to bear, so we took the subway downtown (which wasn’t that much cooler ;). Brief security check, shiny blue hand stamps, and…

…just a breezy ten-minute ride to Governors Island.

There were over 100 breweries present at the event, and over 300 different craft beers in total. Absolutely nuts, huh?


After sampling our way through quite a number of beers, we headed over to the Beer and Chocolate seminar. Jean-Francois had prepared four types of confections specifically for the event, each one meant to pair with a certain beer. The four breweries represented were Brooklyn Brewery, Southampton Brewing Company, Ithaca Brewing Company, and Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.

My favourite of the quartet was this chocolate stout cake…

…innards! For those of you familiar with Tumbador, this is just like their Ring Ding (which I’ve Sugar Rush’ed here), only plus the stout and minus the cream.

There were also crunchy square of Beer Brittle with Cacao Nibs…

…as well as Ithaca White Ale Bonbons…

…and Ithaca Apricot Ale Bonbons.

Lines were INSANE when we left the event around 5:30pm. A short wait for the ferry back to Manhattan, and then…back to real life :)

Hope you all had a great weekend! Monsieur P and I did a lot of fun eating the last few days: Le Gigot and Little Branch on Friday, Relish and Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg on Saturday night, and early Sunday supper with friends at Boqueria. Now, maybe a “light” lunch today? ;)