Archive Page 2

magic japanese salad dressing

Magic Japanese dressing photo.jpg

Unfortunately I’m not at home and thus I can’t transcribe the back label for you right now.  The first few ingredients are soybean oil, vinegar, and soy sauce.  It’s incredibly savory and makes any salad taste like crack.  The front label of the jar has what looks a lot like a seafood salad which I’ve always found a little disturbing.  There are these big prawns and clams too.  I highly suggest looking for it if you want to trick someone into eating raw vegetables — it’s turned our resident salad-hater into a salad-lover.

Super Tuesday

The California primaries are tomorrow, and I don’t know who to vote for. And let’s not get into the ever-present California propositions — the Superbowl was sprinkled liberally with ads for and against the series of four propositions on gaming deals with various native american tribes.

I don’t believe in voting on this concept of “electability”. It’s always seemed like some sort of projection of yourself onto the American public, like playing some sort of cat-and-mouse mental games with everyone else, and it makes me feel like a pawn in some game I don’t quite understand. So I just can’t bring myself to do it, or really, even consider it. Who am I to say that the public will respond to a certain candidate in a certain way? And I don’t trust polls unless I see the polling methods and the statistical errors.

For the first part of the primary season, I was leaning about 75% towards voting for Clinton. She has plans within plans. She totally knows all about the attack alligators that hang out in the moat around the White House. She’s developed a tough skin to deal with all of this. I already knew who she was, I was happy with having her as a choice to vote for, and didn’t really care to learn more about any other candidate. And Obama seemed so positive and optimistic about everything, and I am too cynical for that.

A couple weeks ago I read a New Yorker article about Clinton vs Obama and how in some sense, it’s a question of how one views the role of the President. Is the President a do-er, or is he or she supposed to be an inspirer? This question is still lingering with me, and at the time, tipped the scales back to near-even.

And then this weekend, those goddamn Obama ads got me all teary and I totally feel manipulated by the forces of advertising agencies. But it worked and now I’m about 60% Obama and I’ve got 24 hours left. I don’t know how to decide — I don’t really want to decide — I think I’ll just go and see what the pen wants to do tomorrow morning.

I would rather have the option that was occasionally pulled out in high school class president elections and decide that we will have co-presidents for the next 8 years.

By the way, the best proposition ever is on the San Francisco ballot this year:
Proposition C: Shall It Be The Policy Of The City Of San Francisco To Support And Facilitate The Acquisition Of Alcatraz Island For The Express Purpose Of Transforming Alcatraz Island Into The Global Peace center?

Hippies are hilarious.

Refrigerator raid: Foo

Name: The Foo household
Age: 27 + 32
Occupation: Student + Art Appraiser
Location: San Francisco
Grocery shops: weekly farm box supplemented by just less-than-weekly grocery trip. This week’s farm box includes the following items that you can see in the photo: carrots, mandarins, baby bok choy, potatoes
Cooks: few times a week
Eats out: few times a week
Favorite condiment: magic japanese salad dressing (upper right of fridge door, red cap and stripes). otherwise I mostly like to buy condiments, use them once, and then let them go bad. Like the June Taylor ketchup and spiced pear butter that I can’t bear to throw out. Pickles regularly become moldy before going to the trash. In fact I can pick out about 4 containers of pickled items from the photo.
Favorite beverage: 12 yr Jameson + Ron Zacapa 23 yr Rum (sorry you can’t see the liquor cabinet in this photo). Fridge-wise, most common beverage is Lactaid (I have a fake psychosomatic lactose intolerance — and see, there are two containers of it) and Crystal Geyser sparkling water (but right now we don’t have any of it).
Favorite takeout: almost never happens
Grossest thing in there: Fishballs from Ranch99 that my mom bought that are too freezer-burned to cook but I feel guilty about throwing out. And probably at least one bottle of spoiled wine. Luckily A. cleared the fridge of most moldy stuff a few days ago. Oh and there’s that reddi-whip that we bought for the vat of spiked hot chocolate we made at a party once. Yes, we made hot chocolate from real chocolate and then we put whipped cream out of a can onto it. Not my idea.

I stopped putting vegetables in the vegetable drawers because then I would forget about them and they would go bad. Since I haven’t figured out what I can put in them and not forget about them, they are just empty. Oh shit I just remembered that the chard from the box this week is in the drawer. See? I already forgot.

Container at the very top of fridge right is leftover fried chicken + mac n cheese + collards from hard knox last night. I didn’t have it for lunch today because I was eating leftover rigatoni + lamb sausage from aperto from two nights ago — I figured a fork-based meal would be easier to handle than fried chicken for a work lunchroom activity.

burrito episode four: el matate

i forgot to take a photo. and i’m not sure of the name. but the burritos were tasty although they had different flavors — maybe the meat was flavored differently? it was $11 for two burritos and a horchata. and the chips were cold, in fact, the whole restaurant was cold. the burrito was way better cold the next day — it was really juicy, not in the salsa kind of way, but in the meat juices kind of way, which really melded with the ingredients better after a night in the fridge.

it’s at 22nd and bryant, i think. lots of space to sit. it’s close by, will enter the neighborhood standard rotation. in fact, it’s already in my labmates’ standard rotation, so i’m sure i’ll be back.

burrito episode three: dos pinas

Dos Pinas is run by the catering company that runs our cafeteria at work. That has always disturbed me. They also run a hamburger joint five minutes away. But, I can walk there for lunch on Fridays and get $2 Coronas.

I had a carne asada burrito. It was okay. The carne asada was mediocre. That’s pretty much all I have to report. I’ll go back, not for the food, but for the convenience and the Friday beer lunch.

Dos pinas

A Mountain View Taqueria whose name I do not know

My sister and I always go to this one Mountain View taqueria (by always, I mean 3 times) called La Bamba on Old Middlefield near Rengstorff. This time, we tried the other taqueria a few doors down which claims “Best Burrito in Bay Area for 8 years!” and “Guinness World Record for Largest Burrito!” It’s a little spot in the back of a convenience store and there’s a long line, which seemed like a good sign. Two burritos for $12.55. I got a carne asada burrito, my sister got a carnitas burrito.

The hot salsa was actually quite spicy, which was nice — I asked for extra, which is apparently always the way to go, according to A. But other than that, it was not nearly as good as La Bamba, which I have yet to review. A ate the remaining half for a midnight snack when today’s torrential hurricane rains and winds woke him up at 5am and deemed it too homogenous and uninteresting.

So we won’t be going back, since we know about a better one next door.

The taqueria on the same block as la bamba on old middlefield way, mountain view

Episode two: El Tonayense Taco Truck (@ Best Buy)

Tonight we went to REI to load up on warm clothes, because I don’t have any. While standing in line, I was thinking about the potatoes and chicken sausage and kale I was going to whip into an impromptu concoction, when A. decided he could not stand waiting for homecooked food. So we went out for a burrito.

The obvious choice could have been to go to the Mission to some taqueria we’ve never been to before. But that would involve parking in the Mission. And searching for a new taqueria. But then we realized that on our way home was the taco truck that’s by the Best Buy. And at 8pm, my hopes weren’t high for the truck to be open, but sure enough it was — and doing steady business. And they were out of a bunch of things (carnitas, pollo asada) which A. took to be a good sign.

The burritos are on the smaller size — larger than La Taqueria (which I haven’t discussed yet), but smaller than Zona Rosa. The carne asada texture was weird, but had a great flavor. The al pastor was very saucy and delicious with little crispy edges. The rice was a little overcooked, but the hot salsa is REALLY HOT. Haberneros hot. I think the spiciness only now just wore off. YUM. Our two burritos were $11.50.

So it’s not our favorite place, but it will probably enter our regular rotation because it’s so close to where we live and the salsa is HOT.

El Tonayense Taco Truck

burrito mission begins

winnie! I’m baaaack!! am I still allowed to post here??

In the past month or so, I’ve eaten more burritos than I have the entire time I’ve lived in San Francisco. Actually, in my entire life. I am completely fascinated and cannot get enough — burritos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And now I’m on a quest to acquire a thorough repertoire of taquerias.

We’ll start here with today’s dinner, and will follow up with an important day-after review: the cold burrito. Today, while A. was out at Amoeba buying last-minute Christmas gifts, I had him stop by any random taqueria to get us burritos for dinner. I requested a carnitas burrito (no cheese or sour cream), and A. got a vegetarian burrito. He ended up going to Zona Rosa (he says he’s been to the Berkeley location before).

Their salsa is quite good, although the salsa fresca actually incorporated into the burrito had some underripe tomatoes (well, it’s not tomato season anymore). I thought mine was too salty, which was a little weird. A. thought the rice was a bit undercooked. Also they were on the more expensive side — 2 burritos for $13.

The verdict: I wouldn’t go out of my way to get another one — we’ve already had better.

burritos (veggie and carnitas) from zona rosa on haight st

Alinea in the Tech Review

in case you never read it (I never do), there’s an article about Alinea in the Jan/Feb issue of Tech Review.

My eating habits these days range from instant ramen to frozen burritos, so yeah, not much to say by way of food.

I guess I did go to Bar Crudo in nob hill a little while back — it was okay but not great. They try a little too hard — too many flavors in too small a space. The simplier things work better – the steak tartar dish was by far our favorite.

bahn mi fest

So as of thirty minutes ago, I, along with my esteemed colleagues, have completed the circuit of new york chinatown bahn mi establishments. Of which there are three. Of which they are within a two block radius.

Methodology: We tested the regular bahn mi at each of three establishments. Generally this is “#1” on the menu, and has roast pork along with pate or other mystery meats, lightly picked daikon and carrots, large pieces of cilantro (“why don’t they ever cut their cilantro?” you wonder, as you end up with a tree trunk of the herb in your teeth). And we always ordered it spicy.

The regular joint: Bahn Mi So #1. On Broome between Mott and Elizabeth. We discovered this while wandering around one fateful day, hungry for an in-between meal snack. It looks like a little convenience store inside, with only enough room for 10 people to stand if they pack in like sardines and risk knocking all sorts of dusty things off the shelves. They have something like 17 different types of bahn mi with all combinations of meats, and meatless things with confusing names like “vegan lemongrass chicken (no meat!)”. The sandwich is amazingly good and wins for selection, but falls short in a side-by-side comparison with its neighbors. Generally open until 7pm, and the owner goes on vacation for a week in August. Next door is the chocolate fondue restaurant. Unexpectedly, the vegetarian options are more expensive than the meat options.

The runner-up: Tu Quyen. On Grand between Elizabeth and Bowery. The menu has two options “Tu Quyen Mix Bahn Mi” and something else. When you try to order the “something else”, the woman behind the counter won’t be able to understand you, leading you on a wild goose chase where you hope you end up with the right thing (I ordered three sandwiches and ended up with two). The rest of the store is a larger convenience store with DVDs and it’s next door to a pharmacy of the same name where the toilet paper is too expensive. The sandwich seemed to have more different kinds of meat in it (at one point, the woman behind the counter held up some sort of sliced meat to see if I wanted it in my sandwich).

The winner: Saigon Bahn Mi Bakery. On Mott between Hester and Grand. It’s in the back of a jewelry store. The roast pork is extremely well seasoned, and it has big chunks of jalapeno peppers in it (if you order it spicy). There are a couple of options here — chicken, pate, sardines — which we haven’t explored yet. I also like the way the sandwiches are packaged, sliced in half, with each half in its own little bag inside a larger paper bag. This most-delicious sandwich, however, carries a premium price tag. Instead of the usual $3, this one cost a whopping $3.25.

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