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