Wednesday, May 31, 2006

dining out San Diego-style

We got to San Diego (Hotel Circle area) on Thursday night around 9:30pm so it was too late to go downtown. Since we were only there until Sunday morning, we figured we can dine at two nice restaurants. Armed with printouts of restaurants in the Gaslamp, downtown and Coronado areas, we were ready to venture.

Friday night we went to Chive. I read great reviews about it and was really hyped about eating here. Touting itself as serving modern cuisine, the restaurant has an industrial look and minimalistic decor. The only outstanding things were the lamp chandeliers and metal chairs. Instead of bread, we were given edamame to nosh on, which I thought was somewhat odd. We started with beets and goat cheese towers with hazelnut and port gastrique and the albacore tartare with apples and micro greens. The beets and goat cheese were coin-shaped and stacked so high they needed to first be disassembled. The beet and cheese combo was a good match but the tartare was a bit disappointing.

I followed with the braised pork belly with cauliflower/potato puree and pork cheeks over braised cabbage with bacon - that was absolute pig heaven. Interesting that the kitchen dared to serve pork belly as this is a very fatty cut. I enjoyed it but it got to be too rich after awhile. Emmanuel had the tenderloin, mashed potatoes and mustard greens with a cabernet reduction. It was a generous cut and was very tender and the cab sauce was good.

The service was just okay but it was jazz fest weekend and they were quite busy. The waiter did recommend a mid-range priced wine that went well with our meal. Overall the food was better than expected but it did not live up to the hype. Would I go back there? Of course I would. I love these new culinary techniques: gastrique, foam, emulsion, etc.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

at the zoo

"I feel pretty!" synchronized sleeping
"I wonder if they can tell us apart?"
"Where did everyone go?"
"Come see what the neighbors are up to!"
"Hmmm, that looks good."
"We've had a long day, okay!"
"It must be here somewhere."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

guilty pleasures and then some

AI ended last night and the winner wasn't a big surprise. There was no drama, in fact it was anti-climactic. The best bit was when Prince finished his song and he was standing on the stage acknowledging the applause; the camera partially zooms out and you can see Ryan Seacrest walking towards Prince and Prince turns around and walks off the stage. Btw, what's up with Clay Aiken's hairstyle! Is this a sign that he is opening his closet doors? Hmmmm.

ANTM ended last week and the surprise winner was Danielle. You go girl! She was the underdog as everyone, including me, thought that Joanie was going to win. Jade (who has her own dictionary/vocabulary/world) looked crazy when she was told to leave. That cow is mad.

Can't wait for PR to return this summer. I know that they're filming right now. I gotta have my Wednesday night reality drama!

We're off to San Diego for the long weekend. Can't wait to check out the zoo, the eateries, and the beach. Maybe, I'll squeeze in some s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g.

Monday, May 22, 2006

anonymous posted 37 times

I checked my email on Sunday and I received 37 notices that anonymous posted 8 times at 7:42 am and 29 times at 7:43 am. I had been spammed!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

vitruvian man and mona lisa

I'm so not getting into the hype of this book, and now the movie. I have started this book a year ago and just can't get into it. I've made progress though as I'm on chapter 33. So far I found the book very predictable and somewhat plodding. I will finish this book, hopefully before the DVD is out.

News from Cannes: the movie is loooooong and the critics 'hate' it!

Monday, May 15, 2006

farmers' market find

Went to the Farmers' Market on Lakeshore Ave and it now has a vendor Fabrique Delices specializing in saucisses et pates. I was like a kid at a candy store as I wanted to buy everything. Thierry who was working the stand that day was kind enough to keep offering a taste. I sampled some duck rillettes and chipolatas which we bought and also some merguez for when we make couscous dinner. I'm looking forward to getting some pork rillettes (they were out) next time. Fatted Calf at the Berkeley Farmers' Market and now this, I'm all set!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

pretty flowers everywhere

I don't know what these are but they're everywhere in my neighborhood.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

dining out Oakland-style

I think Emmanuel and I found a 'new' favorite in Oakland: Mezze. We've been there before and forgot how good their food was. We went there two weeks ago and went there again recently. I love how they change the menu constantly. The previous time I had the tuna tartare (it was better than Hawthorne Lane) and this time I had the baby beet salad. I had the lamb shank for my main this time (I swear it brought back memories of when I was in Avignon last year eating lamb shank and fine couscous at Grand Cafe) and it was amazing. Emmanuel had the duck with puy lentils (which I had the previous time) and he too loved it. We were undecided on whether to bring a bottle of wine. We opted not to but had a hard time deciding on which wine to order. Our waitperson, who was very nice and patient, had us taste the two wines we were considering and then came back with a third one to taste. Overall an A+.

Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. As it was lunchtime, we were figuring out where to eat. Too bad Jojo was not open for lunch. We ended up going to Ninna. We used to come here often but stopped because the food wasn't up to what it used to be. The lunch menu is quite different from the dinner. Emmanuel had the lamb shank braised in kaffir and lemongrass broth. The meat was tender but the lemongrass and kaffir flavors were lacking. (I remember the very first time I had this, I was so impressed that I replicated it at home.) I had the chicken and zucchini in red curry sauce and it was good and spicy. I keep remembering someone somewhere posted a review of Ninna and said that it's just overpriced Thai food. Overall a B-.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

slow wheels of justice

Finally, justice is served albeit delayed. Courtesy of the US courts, victims of human rights abuses by the Marcos regime are entitled to receive compensation. This victory would not have happened if the case was tried in the Philippines.
Court rules victims of Ferdinand Marcos are entitled to $35 million

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

salt, pepper and empty vases

I like how this turned out. The restaurant was already empty and the flowers were removed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

no coffee today

It's been a month now since I stopped drinking coffee during the week. I only have coffee on weekends now. Can't tell any difference but I guess it's better for me.

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