Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Perbacco Perfection

It's one of Jean's last weeks in SF so we went to Perbacco for a lovely summer dinner. All the hype of this place was really justified. We lucked out on getting a booth in the bar area. Good thing as it was near impossbile to get last minute reservations for two even though we wanted to dine at 6PM. There was quite a bar scene. I would go back for sure. We had the following:

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD / PICCOLO FINO BASIL / SEA SALT / OLIVE OIL / MANODORI BALSAMICO- This really highlighted the perfection of heirloom tomatos right now at their peak of the season. Sweet and crisp.
SALUMI MISTI (CHEF’S SELECTION) - House cured meats. All was good except
the prosciutto in the middle was a bit on the dry side. So delicious. One of the main reasons we came to Perbacco.
ROASTED PEPPERS FILLED WITH CRAB AND SALT COD BRANDACUJUN / PARSLEY SAUCE / SIEVED EGG - Anything with crab is great by me. But the peppers were so intensely sweet and smokey... yum!

GARGANELLI / TRUFFLED RABBIT POLPETTINE / BABY RED CHARD / GOLDEN CHANTERELLES - or as I was calling this "Little Pockets of Happiness." The filling was savory and rich, but never heavy. The pasta was firm yet thin and refined. The sauce was a dream, full of umami, and made one want to lick the plate.

RED PLUM CROSTATA / BASIL GELATO / ELDERBERRY SAUCE - I'm not much of a dessert person, but this was a great combo. The basil gelato really set off the sweetness of the plum.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Miss V's Buta no Kakuni Noodle Soup

Another easy week night meal. I boiled some somen for about a couple of minutes only as I like my noodles firm. Watered down a bit of chciken stock and brought that to boil. Took some cubes of buta no kakuni from the freezer that I made about a month ago and gently re-heated it. Threw some greens into the broth. Assembled it all together. The glaze on the pork added just enough flavour and saltiness to the broth.
This was so satisfying and quite cute in my new lacquer noodle bowls too.

More Noodles for Sweatshopin'

On the way to fabric shopping over the weekend, Susan and I stopped at Kukje for nourishment. I had the neng myun. It was refreshing - the veggies were crsip and fresh, the broth bright and not at all oily, and the noodles were firm. We also found out that noodles for neng myun are made from arrow root. Susan had the 3 mushroom dubu jigae. It was very flavourful.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dinner for Sweatshop Workers ;-P

Susan and I are in full *sweatshop* mode making clothes for the playa. Basically her place and mine look like bombs of fabric have exploded in our living rooms. David came to keep us company and made Singapore/Malayasian fried rice noodles for us. Was delicious!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Miss V's TW Style Pork Chop Noodle Soup

All the Taiwanese idol dramas I've been watching all seems to contain MANY scenes were the characters are eating. I guess it's a reflection of the food obsessed culture of Taiwan. Anyway, all the scenes of people having noodles at noodle stands were making me starving. I decided to do my own version. I took some canned chicken stock, added some water, and bonito flakes and let that simmer as soup stock. I fried thin pork chops using the Miaokow Fry Pack. I only had soba noodles so I boil those up to al dente. At he last minute, I tossed in some greens to the soup stock. From start to finish it took only 15 minutes. It's a mighty pretty bowl of noodles if I do say so myself. You can perhaps also tell the pork was done just right with lots of juiciness and succluence.

What is Shanghai Chicken???

Angeles and I were craving Americanized Chinese the other day and went to Eric's in Noe Valley to satisfy the craving. We ordered the "Shanghai Chicken". It's basically diced/cubed breast meat in a rich brown sauce with pine nuts and some fried seaweed mixed together. Pretty tasty and great with rice. But as far as I know, there is no *real* Shanghainese dish called "Shanghai Chicken." Anyone else know of such a dish?
I am guessing it is named like all other Chinese American dishes - meaning the name of a province tagged with a food. Examples are... Hunan Sauce, Szechuan Beef, Mongolian Beef, etc. I laugh everytime I see that on menus. It's like saying Iowa Sauce. But then again, I remember in diner menus in NYC, there were plenty of California xxxxx which usually meant the dish had avocados.

XLB Fantasy Tide-Over

I was watching Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" a few weeks back when he went to Shanghai's Nanxiang Dumpling for xiao long bao (XLB). Those of us New Yorkers know them as soup dumplings a la Joe's Shanghai. Anyway, I got so-oooo hungry and desperate for XLBs. I have resolved now to try to make them at home. I am also wondering how Nanxiang stacks (pictured left) stacks up to the XLB orgasm that I experienced this srping during my visit to Taiwan. I would think that it would be better as Shanghai is the home of XLB. But then again, I also know that much of Chinese culinary expertise suffered in the mainlnad during the years of Communist depravation... so who knows....

My dream XLBs at Din Tai Fung in Taipei

I have been suffering so much from XLB lust that I needed to have a little tide-over. I had these at Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Milbrae. They look darker because we sprinkled the black vinegar o nthem already. They were jsut okya. Not enough soup in my opinion and the sking was kinda meh. Also, I learned that the Nanxiang version has 18 folds. This was more like 12.