Monday, July 20, 2009


I don't think anyone checks this site much anymore, but just in case any stragglers stumble upon this site, I wanted to let you know that I've moved to Yelp, which I think is a more appropriate forum for writings of this sort.

Here's my Yelp site:

Thanks for visiting, and I'll see you on Yelp!


Monday, May 26, 2008

How Long Will You Wait for Biscuits?

Today, I realized just how much of an influence Yelp has on the restaurant industry. I went with Tiffany and Betty to Brenda's, a French Soul Food establishment smack in the middle of the Tenderloin, not a very pretty place to be. We were simultaneously saying "Damn the Yelpers!" when we saw the huge crowd of people waiting outside, yet also acknowledging that we're part of the guilty party too. We are the internet generation.

Ah. Internet social networking at its best/worst!

We waited for over an hour and a half! Over 1.5 hours!! I was getting increasingly more furious as the minutes ticked by, but I justified the wait by telling myself that if I will put up with waiting for over 2 hours to spend 30 seconds on a rollercoaster, then I can certainly wait 1.5 hours to get a good meal. So, this begs the question. Was it worth it?

Let's run down the foods first.

We started off with the beignet appetizers. These are fried doughnuts of sorts, but Creole-style. We decided that we didn't want the sampler, which consisted of a plain sweet beignet, a chocolate one, a granny smith one, and a crawfish one. Somehow the idea of eating 3 sweet donuts right before a large meal didn't sit too well with us, so we opted for the crawfish beignets. The inside was cheesy and gooey, but I couldn't really taste too much of the crawfish. I thought the top was over-spiced and overly salty. The insides were great, but they could still make this a good dish if they laid off the salt on the outside.

I will admit that I love the colors. Awesome colors.

Tiffany got the peach pancake cobbler special. It came with some creme fraiche, which tasted like yogurt to me. I'm not a dessert foods person, so I didn't try any, but it looked pretty good.

Betty got the Hangtown Fry special, an oyster bacon scramble. Most entrees come with a creamy biscuit and some cheesy grits. This is what I should've ordered too.

But instead of ordering what Betty got, I decided to go with an omelette. I am a lover of good omelettes, but this one was not to my liking. I ordered the Cheddar and Andouille Sausage omelette, and the thing fell apart as I was eating it. I hate when omelettes don't have enough cheese and fall into a separated mess as you're cutting into it. And the tomato relish on top did nothing for me. Nothing! Absolutely unnecessary!

But! I will say that these grits were fantastic!! I loved them! Actually, my favorite part of this meal were the sides. The grits were so creamy and cheesy; they felt so hearty, and I can just imagine waking up on the weekend and eating a bowl of this. So good!

And OMFG. The biscuit. The biscuit was heavenly. I have never had a biscuit that good in my life! It was flaky and buttery, and when you add more butter onto it, it tastes even better! Not so good for my heart, but so worth it!

So, in conclusion:

Beignet: 6/10
Omelette: 4/10
Grits: 9/10
Biscuit: 10/10!!!

If you're thinking about coming here, please come in a party of 2. The wait is long, and it's much easier to get a table if you're a party of 2. The poor party of 4 that came before us had to wait over TWO hours because the waiters didn't think to put two tables together to seat them first. And come on a weekday, if you can. If you can't, you should come at like 2:30pm and you'll get seated right away instead of waiting over two hours.

If I came again, I think I would order a side of grits and a side of biscuits, and I'd be happy. The wait is worth it. But only for the sides. LOL.

Another note: Yelpers love to overrate things. This is definitely overrated. Even if the biscuits are to die for.

Brenda's French Soul Food
652 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94012

Peace, love, and biscuits!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunny Day, Sweepin' the Clouds Away!

If I had things my way, I would be trying all sorts of new foods every week. Unfortunately, this would burn a whole in my wallet, and I don't have the time or the money to indulge as much as I would like. This past Saturday, however, I was lucky enough to center my day around eating many foods, walking downtown streets with the rare SF sun blazin' down (these warm days come once every blue moon), and introducing my parents to new, exciting foods.

I really didn't start exploring the Mission District until I started college. As an Asian American kid growing up on the western end of the city, I spent most of my childhood on streets that were formerly sand dunes, rollerblading up and down the Avenues while the fog rolled in and obscured our area of the City from tourists and the Downtowners, sticking mainly to the edible Chinese fares on Noriega and Clement. That was my childhood and teenagehood. The world of pupusas, sushi, pad thai, injera, and more didn't really cross my path until my college years.

But now, post-college, I find myself discovering areas of my hometown which I really hadn't explored. I really can't begin to explain in words the feelings of happiness I get when I eat a delicious new food. Well, maybe I can. If you've ever watched Ratatouille, you'll remember the scenes in which our protagonist Remy shares the almost-hallucinogenic and magical effects of devouring a new blend of foods. There's the scene when Remy eats a piece of cheese and a mushroom together and the background is all black, and then there are colorful fireworks and explosions as the tastes meld perfectly in his mouth. That pretty much sums it up!

Anyway, enough chit-chat...I'll get right into this weekend's food explorations. I went with Emily and Stephanie to Balompie, a little cafe in the Mission serving Salvadorean food. Their little blurb on their site describes it as: "Scrumptious, authentic Salvadoran food. Get your fill of empanadas, pupusas, pasteles de puerco and curtido, all the favorites!!" This is a pretty popular spot for brunch, and after coming here twice, I can see why. Their pupusas are pretty terrific. The dough is thick and hearty, and the insides of the pupusas are warm, cheesy, happy-tasting. Happiness-inducing foods always make my list of foods that YOU should eat! Here are some pics from our excursion.

One of my pupusas was filled with chicken and cheese, and the other contained zucchini and cheese. The dough is chewy and the fillings are generous. I feel like making these things is an art. Aren't they beautiful in the light?

A close-up so that we can all admire the art that is pupusa-making.

I've added some salsa and slaw for that extra bit of spice and zest. Nice colors, eh?

My friend Stephanie ordered a side of plaintains, and these things are crispy on the outside, hot and sticky and chewy on the inside. These would go great with a side of vanilla ice cream, don't you think so? Although, even on its own, it's already very good.

After lunch, we walked to Tartine Cafe, a famous little French bakery. I must say, the prices are a bit too hefty, and I am not in a position where I can easily plop down $7 for a little dessert tart. That said, I can still walk into these places and enjoy all the eye candy and absolutely beautiful art that is pastry making. And maybe get a little somethin' somethin' that won't burn a whole in my wallet. Also, just a little side note: if you've been following the latest and hottest trends on the internet, you'll know that Stuffwhitepeoplelike has been the internet blogosphere darling for the past several months. Tartine Bakery deserves an entry on that site.

Some eye candy for you:

This is Emily's double soy latte. It was so large that we had to take a picture of it next to her hand for some perspective!!

And lastly, on our edible journey today: Dinner! My parents have been living in the United States for over 25 years, yet over those last two-and-a-half decades, they've always stuck to Chinese food when eating out. Lately, my sister and I have been trying to get them to eat more different foods. We live in one of the most diverse food cities in the country, and it makes sense to take advantage of this. I feel like I've been extremely lucky in this respect, and I want my parents to access that too. So, last night, we all went to Assab Eritrean Restaurant. I've been here before and liked it. The food comes out on this giant family-style platter. The mixes of curries and meats sit on thin pieces of flat sourdough bread called injera. You rip off pieces of the injera to scoop up the food with your hands. What I like best about this cuisine is the way all the different flavors - the sourness of the injera, the cooling taste of the yogurt, the spice of the meats - blend together. Not to mention, the visual flare of the plates is really something to admire.

We ordered the meat combination platter, the alicha beggee (lamb), and the kantisha (mushroom dish). The meat combination sampler had top round beef, cooked with onions, tomatoes, and hot pepper; skinless chicken leg on the bone; and mildly seasoned cubes of lamb mixed with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers.

A closer look at the lamb, my favorite!

My parents' verdict after eating at Assab: We are never coming back to this place ever again! My sister and I personally love this stuff! Please don't let my parents' opinions change your sense of adventure because this really is very good. During the entire dinner, my parents kept saying, "Chinese food is the best food in the world." I don't think I will ever change the nationalism they feel or change their political stance, but I think I can keep trying when it comes to new foods. Maybe one day I'll strike jackpot, and my parents will finally see that there are other foods in the world that are worth eating other than Chinese food!

I leave you with some fun pictures, some tasty, some not-so-tasty.

You know, I have absolutely no idea what this is. I think it was for a bagel shop in the Mission. Whatever it is, I had to take a picture of it because when else are you gonna see an alien riding in a bagel spaceship?!

This is for Stephanie. She loves the Coffee Bean.

The view from the top of Dolores Park. The setting for most of our adventures today. When the sun comes out, the people start roastin'!

So, if you're in the neighborhoods, and you want a bite to eat, hop over to these place!

Balompie Cafe
Neighborhood: Mission
3349 18th St
(between Capp St & Van Ness Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Tartine Bakery
Neighborhood: Mission
600 Guerrero St
(between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Assab Eritrean Restaurant
Neighborhood: Western Addition/NOPA
2845 Geary Blvd
(between Collins St & Wood St)
San Francisco, CA 94118

Signing off, now!

Peace, love, and new adventures!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hungry for some Pupusas?

Well, then, head on over to the Mission District of San Francisco. It's where I come to get my favorite of Mexican and South American cuisine. A favorite of many food connoisseurs is the Salvadorean pupusa, a thick corn tortilla stuffed with your choice of pork, chicken, cheese, zucchini, or even shrimp! I went to El Zocalo, a cute little place on the edge of the Mission District, near Bernal Heights, to try some of their pupusas. They also serve up mean breakfast items, including my favorite, huevos rancheros!

Here is my delightful pupusa. Oh, how filling and hearty it looks!

Oops! You were so delicious that I had to get a bite of you! It was filled with chicken and cheese, two of my favorite edible things in the world!

To top it off, one of these pupusas is only $1.80! My friend Emily says you can leave feeling satisfied and full on only two of these! That's a meal under 5 bucks, not counting tax and tip! And for someone who's just graduated from college and without a large income, that's definitely alright with me!

In addition to the food of the Mission District, you should come for some of the sights. Including the hipsters. We took a stroll down Mission and walked in Holly Park in Bernal Heights. We were lucky that it was a gorgeous day, complete with blue skies and not a cloud in the sky. From where we were, we caught a great view of this fabulous city, and it once again reminded me why I love living in San Francisco.

So, here are some sights and, of course, foods for you to enjoy!

This is the view from Holly Park. Check out the tree on that hill in the distance! Isn't this quaint? The San Francisco Chronicle calls Bernal Heights an "urban village" and I couldn't agree more.

This is from Que-Tal, a cafe in the Mission. I didn't actually eat anything here, but it was such a colorful place that I couldn't resist the urge to snap a few shots.

Everyone in the City loves a good bagel.

I'm not a huge fan of really sweet desserts, but sometimes even I like to say that I have a separate "dessert stomach" as a means of justifying the need to devour more food/desserts after a large meal. This looks too good.

So, in a nutshell, go to the Mission for the great food, the colorful sights, and the hipsters (whether you like them or not, because they really are everywhere)!

Cafe Que-Tal
Neighborhood: The Mission
1005 Guerrero Street
(between 22nd St & Alvarado St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

El Zocalo
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights
3230 Mission St
(between 29th St & Valencia St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Peace, love, and pupusas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Le Pain Quotidien

I visited my wonderful college, Pomona College, over the last four days and had a fabulous time revisiting good friends and seeing people that I missed. It reminded me of how absolutely GREAT college was and still is; physically having access to friends all the time; and eating together while watching friends argue about math and probability.

I had the pleasure of eating with my Chinese professor, Professor Allan Barr, and we went to the new restaurant Le Pain Quotidien in the new Village Expansion in Claremont. It is a Belgian and French-inspired chain from New York City, and as soon as I walked in, I felt like it was a very classy, higher-end restaurant. The light wooden tables give the place a rustic feel, but the atmosphere is undoubtedly modern and hip, with the soft lighting and bright feel.

Professor Barr recommended the vegetarian quiche, and I took his advice and ordered it. It was the most delicious quiche I have ever had in my life. Whereas most quiches that I've tried before have been firmer and pie-shaped, this quiche was soft and had the consistency of soft scrambled eggs. It was full of delicious vegetables like leeks and the salad was a nice, light complement too. I would wholeheartedly recommend this place to anyone who's still enjoying the college life at Claremont.

A shot of the entire dish:

A close-up of the quiche. Notice how soft and hearty it looks. The colors are so vibrant and beautiful.

The mixed greens salad adds a nice aesthetic touch to the dish, no?

*Le Pain Quotidien means "Daily Bread" in French.

Peace, love, and Claremont loves!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Finally! Pinkberry Copycat in Norcal!

After months of pining over the loss of Kiwiberri (after moving back up north to SF because of college graduation), some of us have finally found a decent Kiwiberri-like Korean frozen yogurt place!

Anh-Thu, Stephanie, and I were in Berkeley several weeks ago, and we stopped by some place that I think was called Michelle's (it's right by that parking structure with the anarchist bookstore, Revolution Books, in the basement). It had a Kiwiberri/Pinkberry spinoff called "Mangoberry." (Yea, what's with all these "fruitberry" names, right? I don't get it either.) After finding this place, we all got extremely excited because we hadn't had Korean frozen yogurt in such a long time. We all purchased pretty big sizes, and when we started eating it, the only word that I can use to describe the experience is "interesting." It was very sour and tangy and tart; not at all like Kiwiberri. I guess, in this case, for me, "interesting" is a euphemism for "not good." Sorry to admit it.

Anyway. Yesterday, the three of us were in Berkeley again for a movie and food excursion. After a satisfying lunch at Naan 'N Curry which left our clothes smelling wonderfully spicy and savory, we popped into Ryno's on Telegraph, which we'd passed by a couple weeks before.


This is basically Kiwiberri, almost exactly. For anyone who's tried any of the versions down south, like Kiwi, or Pinkberry, you know what I'm talking about. For the uninitiated, Korean frozen yogurt is VERY different from "normal" frozen yogurt, which usually tastes like soft-serve ice cream. Korean frozen yogurt is basically FROZEN yogurt. It is a combination of sweet and tangy, the distinct flavor of regular yogurt. Usually, these places also have a variety of toppings which you can pile on top of your yogurt, including fruits (lots of berries!), chopped nuts, cereals, and even mochi! It's really light and satisfying, and that tiny bit of tang definitely adds a little somethin' somethin' to it.

So, the next time you're in Berkeley, track down this place on Telegraph and get some! My favorite (and highly recommended) combination is regular flavor yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and mochi! Sliced almonds are delightful too, if you like that bit of crunch munch!

Some documentation, to prove this place actually exists:

You can't really miss the place. It's smack in the middle of Telegraph Ave.

It's very minimalist, the decorations. Lots of white.

The toppings! Here you go! Sorry you can't really see. They're all covered with lids! But there's stuff like mangoes, strawberries, blueberries (all fresh!), mochi, almonds, walnuts, granola, lots of different kinds of cereals, and stuff I can't remember! Healthy, eh?

Stephanie's snack. Strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries! On original flavor.

My snack! Mochi and strawberry! I didn't get blueberry this time, but it was still so good!

Another shot!

Ok, this is the last one, I promise.

And this is a blast from the past. My long lost love. Kiwiberri with animals, back in the day!

2380 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704

Peace, love, and frozen yogurt treats!

Monday, November 26, 2007


This entry is just eye candy. Schubert's Bakery in the Inner Richmond on Clement Street makes really beautiful and tasty desserts and cakes. One of my favorite items here is the Double Chocolate Mousse Cake (which sadly, I do not have a picture of), with white and dark chocolate shavings all over it, and creamy and light white and dark chocolate mousse inside between layers of cake. The cream is fluffy too. The next time someone's birthday comes up, I'll make sure to take pictures. But in the meantime, here are some other pretty pieces from this delectable dessert shop.

Schubert's Bakery
521 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118

Peace, love, and double chocolate mousse!