Thursday, March 5, 2009
Click the link for my sister's take on the emergence of the bacon trend, and to share your thoughts: http://supersaturated.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/baconmania/
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Gripe: Diamondhead Grill inside The Lotus at Diamond Head hotel; part of the Starwood/W family. One would think that this would be an elegant and cutting-edge dining experience based on the brand, but it turned out to be one of those expensive meals that just was not worth the money.
We entered a beautifully furnished dining room that featured live jazz music and a very friendly and attentive host. The problem was that the dining room was nearly empty: sign number one that this was going down-hill.
Being fairly adventurous with my cocktails, I ordered a cardamom-infused martini that I had to send back. While spice-infused cocktails can be amazing when done right (try Farmer Brown in SF: http://www.farmerbrownsf.com/menu.html), this tasted like licking a bar of soap.
I ordered 2 small plates for my meal, one being the Seafood Martini and the other being the Vegetable Stack. The Seafood Martini featured a large portion of champagne-poached crab, shrimp and scallops mixed with a few crunchy and finely chopped vegetables. Sounds good, right? Well, the crab tasted like it came out of a can and the rest of it was definitely forgettable, at best. The Vegetable Stack, on the other hand, presented me with a bad case misrepresentation. The menu described it as a stack of fresh vegetables that included tomatoes, asparagus and spinach. I was looking for something refreshing and light, but what came out was quite the opposite. The vegetables were layered with globs of cheese and gnocchi. Who said anything about gnocchi??
I was thoroughly disappointed with this meal not only because of how much we paid for it, but because I was so excited to treat myself to something nice and it let me down in all respects. My one hope is that I possibly ordered the worst items on the menu, but even if I actually believed that (which I don't), you are only as strong as your weakest player and this restaurant was like the scrawny kid with thick glasses on the dodge ball team.Thankfully, the horror of Diamond Head Grill was over with after the first night, so I was able to experience some really great moments in food. The highlights are featured below:
Tailgating Hawaiian Style: Who knew that I would ever eat Ahi Poke made fresh in the University of Hawaii's Aloha Stadium parking lot? I agree that it sounds a bit sketchy, but I assure you that it was some of the freshest fish that I had the pleasure of eating on my trip. In addition to the Ahi Poke, the local-led tailgating party boasted some of the best short-ribs I have ever had and a selection of light beer at the ready. The cook was very proud of his food and explained to me that the main ingredients in many of his marinades were soy sauce, scallions, and ginger. Not only was the food amazing, but the hospitality was wonderful. Their tailgating tent served as our one-stop shop for food, drinks, music, an air-conditioned party bus, and our 25-yard line tickets. Amazing!
Hula Pie: I ordered this on the recommendation of my best friend and University of Hawaii alum from Duke's at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach hotel. While extremely simple, this sky-high macadamia nut ice cream pie was gobbled up before it even got a chance to melt. The ice cream is layered on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with fresh whipped cream and fudge. At a reasonable $7, this giant slice is worth the money, especially on a hot Hawaiian afternoon.
A Cheeseburger in Paradise: I didn't think I would be eating any red meat on the trip, but right before we left for the airport, we took our sad (and slightly hungover) heads to Cheeseburger in Paradise. I don't know if it was because the end of our vacation was upon us or what, but this burger was one of the juiciest and most well-balanced I have eaten. The combination of the large patty, the "secret sauce", grilled onions and the extremely fresh and eggy bun made for a winning combination that I will not soon forget.
Unfortunately, I teased you all with promises of fried goodness but did not realize the distance between my hotel and the malasadas. Since a 30 minute walk was out of the question while on vacation, I never made it out to Leonard's. The good news is that now I have a delicious reason to visit again, which I heartily welcome! :)
Here's a little nibblet until the next post. it is completely unrelated to Hawaii, but exciting nonetheless! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/dining/11kumq.html
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I am leaving tomorrow on a bit of a mini-vacation to Honolulu and plan on eating hot, fresh Malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery while there. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this tasty treat, they are yet another cultural adaptation of sinfully delicious yet simple fried dough. Originally from the Portuguese Azores islands, this version is said to have been brought to the Hawaii by Portuguese laborers who worked on plantations in the late 1900s. Now, they are a local staple and Leonard’s offers a wide assortment of malasadas ranging from the classic, sugar-dusted recipe to exotic varieties filled with guava and chocolate.
Is your bouche amused yet? If so, I have done my job! Look for a full report on this and other tasty bites from Oahu sometime next week.
Until then, Aloha!
A “Local Flavor” in San Francisco:
For a taste of Hawaii (and many other destinations) right here in SF, visit Pomelo on Church for their Makena: banana-stuffed mascarpone brioche french toast with roasted macadamias and warm coconut syrup. Yum! http://www.pomelosf.com/church%20early%20winter%202009%20brunch.pdf
Friday, January 30, 2009
Find a recipe for Beer Ice Cream with Pretzel Crust and other wacky Superbowl recipes (puffed saurkraut? ew.) here: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/01/superfoods.html
Sometimes I think Molecular Gastronomists are just playing a big prank on our collective taste buds.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The offerings on rotation the day that I went included: Balsamic Caramel, Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Malted Dulce de Leche, McEvoy Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Secret Breakfast, Straus Yogurt, Valrhona Fudgesicle, and Thai chili lime. I managed to taste almost all of these flavors either in one of their adorable and re-usable tasting spoons or their eco-friendly ice cream cups. Here’s a run-down of my thoughts:
Balsamic Caramel: Rich sweetness with slight acidity; the balsamic hits you first and leads to a creamy caramel finish.
Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee: Strong coffee flavor with bits of grounds in it. Serious coffee-breath post-consumption is a definite.
Malted Dulce de Leche: Delicious and simple if you like the super sweet things in life.
Salt and Pepper: Most surprising flavor because it worked so well. A slightly sweet, creamy canvas makes way for the salt and pepper to really shine. Paired with a tomato compote it might just be a winning (and wacky) sundae.
Secret Breakfast: My favorite flavor for general ice-cream consumption, it offered the complexity that I was looking for but was not overwhelmingly rich. Secret Breakfast has been described on many a foodie blog as a bourbon ice-cream with cornflakes, but the “Secret” element of this flavor gave our tasting team undertones of bananas and peanut butter.
Straus Yogurt: Slightly icy and tart, this flavor was a perfect palate cleanser between flavors.
Valrhona Fudgesicle: This one tasted like amazingly wonderful brownie batter, which makes me want to try the Valrhona brownies they also sell.
Thai chili lime: A wake-up call for the mouth. Green and slightly bitter lime awakens your taste buds to make way for the slow heat to set-in. Not my favorite, but definitely an interesting tasting experience.
Overall, it's a welcomed addition to the ice cream shops in the area. Mitchell's is still the spot for tropical and traditional flavors, Humphrey Slocombe is branching out into a new flavor realm, and Bi-Rite sits nicely in-between. As always, there's room for everyone here in San Francisco.
Visit HS and try their flavor offerings yourself:
Owner: Jake Godby Operations Manager: Sean Vahey
2790 Harrison St(between 23rd St & 24th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110