Thursday, June 29, 2006

Corinne Bailey Rae

I love this girl - I hope she makes it big here in the US!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


this was taken before the start of the pride parade

Monday, June 26, 2006

what a night

Friday: Nel and I met at the Metro for drinks. The place was jumping but access to the bar area was not too difficult. After our very watered-down drinks, we headed off to The Bar on Castro. The drinks were much better as you could actually taste the alcohol. That place was packed, too. I haven't been there in awhile and the place looks better though the beer smell is still there. Then we headed to dinner.

Our choice that night was Malacca, 'the world's first fusion fare'. There was about a 10-minute wait. Luckily, the bar Moby Dick was next door. With people spilling out the door, we somehow were able to squeeze in and ordered our cocktails. A couple were smiling at me but before they could get to me, we get a call that our table is ready.

The restaurant was beautifully decorated in muted colors with paneled walls. For a Friday night, especially pride weekend, they were not very busy. I guess people were mostly at the bars. We were deciding on what wine to drink when I noticed that they had specialty cocktails. We ordered our apps, a combination dish, and the cocktails. The appetizer consisted of bbq ribs, a beef and a chicken satay, calamari and shiitake rolls. The peanut sauce for the satay was good but the tamarind sauce for the calamari was better. Still undecided with the wine, our server brought us two to taste. We ordered a mid-priced wine and he kept insisting that we should go for a $65 bottle instead. We didn't go for it. We ordered our main dishes, Nel had the beef rendang and I had the crispy wrapped salmon. I insisted that my salmon be cooked medium rare. The beef came with yellow rice and sauteed vegies. The salmon was served over roasted potatoes and sauteed vegies. My salmon was cooked perfectly. The beef on the other hand was so tough that to this day, Nel is still upset about it. On paper, the menu looks fab but it was just okay. The dishes should have better descriptions. We skipped dessert, finished our wine and ventured out.

We ran into some friends who just came from Crave. A newly opened restaurant though it hadn't officially opened yet. It was a tapas-style restaurant with a full-bar. The inside gave the illusion that you were inside an ice-hotel/restaurant, it was very mod and hip. We sidled up to the bar for more drinks and chatted with the bar staff. Definitely worth checking in the future. That ended our evening and while we stood at the corner of 16th and Market, I took out my camera and Nel snagged a bystander boytoy to pose with him.

Friday, June 23, 2006

summertime and the living is easy

It was HOT yesterday! Public transport was free yesterday and today as well to encourage everyone to Spare the Air. Hopefully, it will cool down some for the parade on Sunday. (I'm still debating whether to march or just watch from the sidelines.) June is a crazy time for me at work, and it's also a crazy time in SF! I so need to sleep in this weekend but I have to get up early both days.

My friend N and I are going out tonight. It'll be a night of debauchery again.

Friday, June 16, 2006

the flags are up

The rainbow flags are up on Market Street in anticipation of the Pride Parade. The SF Int'l LGBT Film Fest is also on-going. There are three films that are of particular interest to me: Stray Cats, The Maaseur and Paper Dolls. Alas, the times are not good for me. Hopefully, Netflix will come to the rescue.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pink Martini

I am so stoked! We have tickets to see Pink Martini live on July 28 with the San Francisco Symphony. It's going to be lots of fun!

Pink Martini is a 'little band' based in Portland, Oregon. They sing songs in various languages (French, Spanish, English, Greek and even Japanese) that are part cabaret, samba, torch, classical and fun. Some of their songs have been featured in lounge music compilations like Buddha Bar, Hotel Costes, Putumayo, etc.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

biscuit chinois

I cracked open a fortune cookie and it was in French:
Un conseil confidentiel vous amortira une transaction financiere juteuse.

How unusual to receive one en francais.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

and yet another restaurant in Oakland

A restaurant experience to top it all. Had a late lunch at La Furia Chalaca, a Peruvian Seafood restaurant in Oakland on Saturday. The salsa music playing, albeit somewhat loudly, in the background did not match the somewhat oppressive feel of the dining room. It did not help that the server was moving sluggishly and was somewhat unfriendly. Her immediate response to any request was "Yeah, sure, okay."

For starters I had the mashed potato fritter stuffed with ground beef and Emmanuel had grilled slices of beef heart with grilled potatoes. They were both good but the beef heart needed red wine to savor it best.
E: What kind of red wine are you pouring by the glass?
Server: (smiling) The bottle doesn't have a label but it's from Napa.
At $7 a glass, I want to know what wine that is. For all I know it could be two-buck chuck swill.

While we were eating our appetizers, we could hear our server on the phone arguing with a customer. It seemed that she might have overcharged them.
Server: Yeah, I charged your credit card $xxx.xx
Server: Yeah, this is what you ordered. Blah, blah, blah.
This goes on for sometime. (Meanwhile, we were done with our apps and our main dishes were probably ready in the kitchen.) And then we hear her yell at the customer.
Server: YOU ORDERED TWO COFFEES AND (something unintelligible). YOU WERE CHARGED FOR IT.
Server: Yes, call back on Monday and talk to the owner (and hangs up the phone).

She finally reappeared with our main course but instead of clearing the appetizer plates she started shoving them to make room for our main courses. It didn't seem like she was going to clear until we asked her to.

Emmanuel ordered arroz con pollo, golden fried chicken served with cilantro-rice with fresh peas. The chicken was not golden but green, the rice was gummy and the peas were so shriveled there was nothing fresh about them. In fact, the entire dish was green. I had beef saltado, tender slices of beef sauteed with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers served over golden potato slices and a side of steamed rice. The beef was nowhere near the spectrum of tender and those potato slices were nothing but french fries. Strange combination but after the first bite it worked. Too bad the meat was tough.

E: (fake smile) Check please.
Server: Yeah, sure, okay.
She drops our check and we motion that we're done with our plates. (The tip-counter was ticking and it was not in her favor.)
Server: Yeah, sure, okay.
We double-checked the receipt to avoid a phone call, paid and then promptly left.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

fun things in the sun

"Hola, me llamo Barbie." Old Town San Diego Tijuana Border, Mexico
Imperial Beach, Calif

Monday, June 05, 2006

dining out San Diego-style 2

Saturday night and the place is jumping! That night we went to Blue Ginger. For the longest time, we could not find the restaurant. In hindsight, I wish we hadn't found it. We were excited at eating there as we thought that this was somehow affiliated with Ming Tsai's restaurant in Boston. It's not. When we got there, the hostess told us we had to wait at the bar and it will be a 15 minute wait. Strange as there were empty tables inside. We found out later the kitchen was catching their breath since it was quite hectic early on. The bar had a loungy feel with matching Asian lounge music - a pseudo-Buddha Bar at a much smaller scale.

And now the restaurant experience. I ordered a bottle of Zin in the red wine section of the list. As is customary in other restaurants, the waiter normally presents the bottle before opening. This did not happen. I saw the waiter open the bottle at their station. When he came over and was about to pour I said, "NO!". Horrors of horrors, it was white zin. I had to choose a different wine and then he almost opened it again without presenting it. It was a good thing he caught himself. For appetizers, we ordered barbecued pork and some combination appetizer. That was the driest, toughest barbecued pork I've ever had. I don't recall anything special about the other appetizer, it was just okay. We were laughing (what else can we do) at how bad both the service and food were. And then we get to our main course: Kung Pao chicken and shrimp and crispy duck with veggies. Presentation was zero. It looked like the kitchen finished cooking our meal and plopped it on a plate. The duck was undescribably gross. There was nothing crispy nor tender about it. It was covered with gloppy sauce that was overly thickened with cornstarch. The Kung Pao dish, though not outstanding, was at least edible. The white rice that came with our meal was okay. I would not go back even if someone paid me. Emmanuel and I usually like to re-hash our meals whether at home or out, but this time we wanted to completely forget the bad, over-priced Chinese food.

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