Monday, March 24, 2008

Epic Roasthouse's Not So Fabu Burger

Epic Roasthouse and Waterbar are SF's new IT destinations for the previously Americano presiding crowd. The views are fantastic of the bay. The decor leaves something to be desired and is stuck in mid-90s Kuleto-land. I have been having a Cafe Rouge craving, but didn't want to travel to the East Bay. The menu and website billed their burger as "The Ultimate of Ultimate ¾ Pound Steakhouse Burger - Ground Daily with the Trimmings." So I thought it should be good as it's one of their restaurant signature dishes. I liked the cure array of salts on the table though a bit trendy for trendy sake.

The bread service was way too buttery. But then again, I have bias against bread.
The condiments for the burger all come on the side in cute little dishes. They ranged from house aioli to mushroom to chow chow.
The burger came dissembled with everything on the side and some stale house made chips.
I didn't like htis burger at all. If I weren't so hungry, I probably wouldn't have finished it. The bun was dry and sratched my mouth. The burger meat was dry and was not holding together. It lacked flavour and clearly did not have enough of the fat content needed for a good burger. Not a drop of juice in the meat was found. I ordered mine medium-rare/medium and as you can see in the pic below, it was more medium-well. Wil had his rare and experienced over-doneness and a dry crumbling patty as well. And this is an f-ing $20 burger!!! The Zuni is about $12 and so is my Bay Area benchmark of fancy burger, Cafe Rouge. The DB burger with foie and truffles isn't much more. Epic Roasthouse was not so epic.
P.S. The service was rather bizarre. For a white table cloth restaurant with rather high prices, the service was really casual to the point of mismatching the environment. Our server behaved as if he was slinging us fish and chips at a pub and our busboy asked us, "Finito?" Grating...

Orson Me Again

I've been wanting to check out the newly opened Orson for about a month now. Mellow drinks and apps with Samantha seemed like the perfect time. We sat in the lounge area while Wired magazien happened to have a party next to us. Even so, our service was spot on and we never felt ignored in favour of the larger group. They gave us a popped corn type amuse bouche that was expertly fried.

light fry tofu, house kimchee - $5

rye salami - $5

chicory salad, apple, hazelnut, lengua - $5

charred octopus salad, beef tendon, sprouted nuts - $10

The food was all very clean and delicate. Fresh as spring would be a good way to describe the feeling. I loved the sparse, industrial decor and delicious although spendy cocktail list. I can't wait to go to Orson again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Miss Kimberly's Corned Beef & Cabbage

Growing up in our complicated, oddly combined hyphenated family culture (that's Chinese-by-the-way-of-Taiwan-Jerseyan, Southern Baptist, Neo-Confucian, hippie from Tiburon), St. Patty's was always a big deal. I never knew why, but my mother, who was a terrible cook for most things, made a fantastic corned beef and cabbage. Most years, I continue that tradition and make my mother's recipe for friends. This year, I've been too mired in work to deal with the long cooking process so we decided to have St. Patty's meal out. We drove by the overgrown frat-boy convention at Harrington's and decided to punt to The Liberties in the Mission. The place was entirely sit-down dinner and each beer took about 20 minutes to arrive. While we may have escaped the frat-boy convention, we were now deeply in yuppie family territory. Almost every table consisted of 40-something couple with their young toddler. A festive atmoshphere is hard to conjure when you have been hailing that server 3 times for a Guinness.
And the corned beef and cabbage was just barely okay. Too salty. With a weird cream sauce. The cabbage wasn't creamy and smooth. Miss Kimberly, this is one dish that your cuisine still reigns supreme!

Not *My* Kitchen

In preparation for St Patty's drinking later, Wil and I went for dim sum for lunch. We tried The Kitchen in Milbrae owned by the same folks of Asia Pearl. sadly to say, I think this would be the last time I would go there for dim sum. The selection was dismal. The renditions of our dimsum favs were blah. After an hour of waiting we gave up and got the bill. It was $17 doesn't demonstrate low prices but rather how little we ate due to boredom.

Sometimes Tourist Traps Are Good

Glorious weather over the weekend made us do a little drive down Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay. The back deck at Sam's in Half Moon Bay seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon. A bottle of sauvignon blanc and some seafood supplemented the plentiful sunshine. Paula got the Nicoise salad. I had the Maine lobster roll. Life is pretty graceful...

More Korean Cooking

More goodies I made from the stash I bought from Kukje. My version of Korean style jajangmyung. Mine was more vegetable focused. The dark pieces are actually daikon cooked soft. I used a bit of shredded pork and simmered it all with a black bean paste. I also made some sauteed Chinese broccoli for greeenery of the meal.

Yum Soon Dubu

Jessica introduced us to a soon dubu joint in SSF, Todam Tofu House. We both ordered the combo seafood version. It comes with rice in a cly pot that has nice crunchiness o nthe bottom. The soup was the right taste. In all not a revelation but really solid versions of this comfort dish. Theencironment was bright and clean, but the service a bit slow.
Wil had the bibimbap whcih he seemed to like.

Forever Fish

I recently had an amazing omakase meal at Tataki. I wish I had pictures from the meal as the presentations of fish were beautiful. But the real highlight of the show was the sustainable fish used and the flavours that those fish introduced to me. Arctic char in place of salmon. Horse mackerel in place of toro. And I never missed salmon or the toro. I need to go back again as those tastes still haunt me weeks later and I also need to show you the pics. An example of how eating seasonally and responsibly can actually taste better than eating destructively. Wow...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Duk Bokki Fill

Sorry that I have not been posting lately. I've been very busy with work and thus not really cooking at home. And when I did eat out, not taking pics.
Sunday night, I went for a big grocery trip to Kukje market. Then I have a whole fridge full goodies to cook with. I decided to make duk bokki. It's Korean rice cake (in sort of a tubular shape) pan fried with bean sauce and usually with some veggies and maybe fish cake. I made mine with baby cabbage, scallions, and Japanese fish cake. The taste is great but so filling! I can only have a small portion.