Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hong Kong Flower Lounge

After a decade of eating at random dim sum restaurants with my parents or with friends, I've finally taken an active interest in searching for the best dim sum in the bay area. While it's easy to find decent dim sum places in San Francisco, finding better than average ones is much more difficult. This visit was to Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae, off of El Camino. It's part of the Mayflower restaurant chain which I've visited before.


Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae


Boiled White Tripe cooked in Sauace


Beef Balls


Chicken and Sticky Rice in bamboo leaves


Chive Dumplings


BBQ Pork Bun - First time I've had baked BBQ Pork buns with what looks like Pineapple Bun Tops (Whoever thought of this idea is genius - Great combination of salty and sweet flavors)


Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce - Steamed to perfection without too much oil


Chicken Feet - The chili sauce was alright. Nothing to brag about. The ones at Koi Garden has better flavor


Spare Ribs - A bit on that fatty side but well cooked and marinated


Beef Rice Crepe


Siu Mai - Standard steamed dumplings. The roe on top was a nice touch


Fried Taro Dumplings


Ha Gao - A bit too starchy. They were either over steamed or the quality of the starch was not very good


Black Seasame Balls


Shrimp Crepe

Overall, a good dim sum lunch experience. Good for large groups but it definitely gets crowded at lunchtime with lots of chines families for competition. The food is consistent with the other restaurants in the chain which is a plus. All the foods are authentic and pleasant but not amazing either. A good stop, but the search continues...

51 Millbrae Ave
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 692-6666
http://www.mayflower-seafood.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gombei

I had a chance to drop by this popular Japanese restaurant in San Jose's Japantown. My girlfriend told me it was located next to a fresh tofu shop and as a result made some pretty good agedashi tofu. Taking her word for it, I went with a friend to check it out. The main entree was standard fare but the agedashi tofu was definitely the highlight. Fresh fried tofu with tobiko and diced green onion is a killer combination. A great spot for lunch if you're in the SJ area.


Agedashi Tofu - This is a definite solid agedashi tofu dish made with firm tofu


Chicken Teriyaki Combination Lunch - Miso Salad, Shrimp and Crab Meat in Tempura batter

Gombei
193 Jackson St
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 279-4311
http://www.japantownsanjose.org/rest7.html

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Esperpento

A friend introduced me to this Tapas restaurant in the Mission district. Esperpento has a wide variety of tapas and paellas to choose from and you really can't go wrong trying everything on the menu. Their signature paella dish is the lobster paella which takes at least half an hour to prepare. I wanted to try so many dishes but my eyes like to eat more than my stomach can. I recommend multiple visits to find out your favorite dishes. I'm already planning on what to try for my next visit.


Esperpento!


House Sangria with lots of fruit chunks!


Calamares A La Plancha - grilled calamari


Tortilla De Patata - potato and onion omelet


Lobster paella special with clams, shrimp, mussels, and peas with saffron rice - When not overcooked, the rice comes off slightly creamy with explosive flavor


Rabo Toro - Ox-Tail Stew - A great dish for dipping with bread. Lots of vegetables cooked in a delicious broth. You have to try it see what I mean


Clams in broth

Esperpento
3295 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-8867
http://www.esperpentorestaurant.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sahn Maru

While you can find many Korean restaurants over in the Oakland/Berkeley area, it's a bigger challenge trying to find relatively authentic Korean food as many of the restaurants cater to a more Americanized taste. With that in mind, Sahn Maru stands out as one of the better establishments with fresh panchan dishes as well as a hearty japchae. Still on my search for a place with a "to-die-for" japchae dish.


Side Dishes! - The fishcake and sprouts stood out the most


Japchae - The American style mushrooms threw me off but the noodles were great!


Mushroom Tofu Soup - My friend enjoyed it. Very mushroomy

Sahn Maru
4315 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94701
(510) 653-3366

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tanto

Tanto is a cute little Japanese restaurant in Sunnyvale located right off of El Camino Real. Here are a few photos from our meal. I almost always try the Agedashi tofu at all Japanese restaurants I visit. One bite and you know how fresh their tofu is which in turn is an indicator of how fresh the rest of their ingredients are. Not a fail proof rule but one that has proven true most in most of my experiences.



Agedashi Tofu - The Agedashi Tofu was fresh and tasted silky smooth while the sauce was just sweet enough.


Unagi Nigiri - Straight up no frills Grilled Unagi lightly covered with kabayaki sauce


Salmon Sashimi - Fatty, Soft, and melts in your mouth good


Stir Fried Udon Noodles with Vegetables - Standard noodles that were cooked with Cabbage and bonito shavings. Lightly cooked in oil.


Tanto
1063 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale CA 94087
(408) 244-7311

Monday, November 23, 2009

Foodbuzz 1st Annual Blogger Festival Day 2

Been sick and and busy with work, but without further ado...




Olive Oil Tasting - Warm up, swirl, and suck it up!




Dried fruits, preserves, and olive oils


Shrimp Ceviche with chilies - This was delicious and not to mention came in very cute bite size cups





My favorite mini cupcakes once again from Mission Minis (Velvet, Pumpkin, and Chocolate). The bite size portions are perfect for popping in the mouth.


Candied Marshmallows from Gateau et Ganache - Mini marshmallows with a slight hint of flavor. Not a huge fan of marshmallows but passion fruit was my favorite.



Passion fruit ganache also from Gateau et Ganache


California Sparklers Wine Tasting - 4 different glasses of bubbly


Aha! Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding


Chocolate covered nuts from Au Coeur des Chocolats



Beer-braised pork over polenta from Mezzetta



Diced beets with meringue on a pastry bottom



After all the lovely food we had in the afternoon, everyone headed over to Greenleaf Produce Warehouse for a dinner prepared by Namu and Outstanding in the field.


Ahi tonnato on pain de mie with gochukaru and parley - scrumptious starters


Grilled Monterey calamari with Udon - This dish had a nice kick to it even when mixed with the cold udon noodles. Refreshing and Spicy


Roasted brussels sprouts, ponzu fried garlic, guanciale, and bonito flakes


Soy braised beef cheeks and oxtails, baby carrots and fingerling potato - The meat was incredibly tender and melts in your mouth.

Thanks again to Foodbuzz for hosting such an incredible event!

Vendors:
Mission Minis - http://missionminis.com/
Geteau et Ganache - http://gateauetganache.com/
Au Coeur des Chocolats - http://www.heartofchocolates.com/
Mezzetta - http://www.mezzetta.com/
Annie the Baker - http://anniethebaker.com/
Namu - http://www.namusf.com/
Outstanding in the Field - http://www.outstandinginthefield.com/

Foodbuzz
http://www.foodbuzz.com/


Monday, November 16, 2009

Foodbuzz 1st Annual Blogger Festival Day 1 - Food Carts

Definitely have to give it up to Foodbuzz for hosting such an awesome festival filled with featured food bloggers from all around the US, delicious food, and fun gifts. There's something to be said about an event where everyone is taking out their cameras to take pictures of the food before we eat it. And it's so nice to not get weird looks for doing so! Friday's theme was food carts from around the city all gathered at the Ferry building to give all us foodies a chance to taste their creations.



Getting ready to head over to the food carts with Taste Tests


Much Love to Foodbuzz!


Mission Minis! Awesome Mini Cupcakes - Velvet Chocolate takes it away again! Although the cupcakes look small, they're actually just the right size for a single bite!


Pork Rinds - Deep fried pork skin. Goes down like a shrimp chip! It's really addictive - 4505 Meats


Taco from Tacolicious - all locally sourced ingredients!


Pork Porchetta Sandwich - Roli Roti. This mouthwatering sandwich was made with an onion marmalade and crushed pork skin. Favorite of the Night. I'd go for seconds...and thirds...


Steak & Gruyere Pie - The Pie Truck!


Raw Vegan Cheesecake - Alive


Assorted Mushrooms on a fluffy tart on the bottom. I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms but the girlfriend loved it! - Spencer on the Go


Flatbread with Avocado, Tomato, and Basil - Alive


Hog Island Oyster


Sweet Beets w/ Blue Cheese - Alive


Pizza Politana - Wood oven pizza! My slice was lacking a bit in flavor though

And that's it for the first day!

Vendors:
4505 Meats - http://www.4505meats.com/
Alive - http://www.aliveveggie.com/
Hog Island Oyster Co - http://www.hogislandoysters.com/
Mission Minis - http://missionminis.com/
Pie Truck - http://thepietruck.wordpress.com/
Pizza Politana - http://www.pizzapolitana.com/
Roli Roti - http://www.roliroti.com/
Spencer on the Go - http://spenceronthego.com/
Straus Family Creamery - http://www.strausfamilycreamery.com/
Tacolicious - http://www.tacolicioussf.com/
Skyy Spirits - http://www.skyyspirits.com/


Foodbuzz
http://www.foodbuzz.com/