Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let’s be Frank

I was over in Crissy Field walking around taking scenic shots of San Francisco when I passed by this interesting looking Hot Dog stand. Can’t say I’ve ever had a Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dog, so I plunked down the 6 bucks for one all beef Frank Dog. Threw on some grilled onions and some ketchup and I was ready to chow down!

Let’s be Frank Food Cart @ Crissy Field in San Francisco

The Frank Dog, about a foot of wholesome hot dog-ness

Overall, the Hot Dog was excellent. The dog itself was a bit tougher than your average hot dog but was much more meaty and it had none of those squishy fat chunks. It was like biting into a tasty super lean sausage. Not sure I’d pay almost 6 bucks for a hot dog again anytime soon, but this was a nice treat! They have multiple locations which you can find at the website.

Crissy Field
http://www.letsbefrankdogs.com

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ohgane Korean BBQ

When you think of good Korean restaurants, you normally don’t think of Pleasanton, Dublin or anywhere in the Tri-Valley area for that matter. While Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon have been deluged by average Korean restaurants, this newcomer has been a refreshing change. Located where Tri Valley Korean BBQ used to be, the new staff and management are very friendly and will do their best to meet your needs whether it’s refilling dishes, drinks, packing food, or getting additional dishes and utensils for you. While the main dishes don’t measure up to LA’s Korean restaurants, their side dish variety and quality is impressive and the main dishes are decent.

Ohgane Korean BBQ! The new Dublin location has a sister location in Oakland.

Pan Chan – Their side dishes change every time I visit. My favorite was crisped seaweed with roasted sugar. The fishcake is darn good too.

Seafood Pancake – Just the right amount of flour and fried to a golden crisp

Spicy Pork Bugolgi – Well cooked and served hot, but lacking a bit in flavor and spices.


Beef Bugolgi – A little on the dry side but the meat is generally pretty lean

japchae – Mushrooms, vegetables, beef, and bell peppers cooked with noodles. My favorite dish hands down. On the heavier side when it comes to oil but still very tasty.

Spicy Tofu soup – Came on the house and was decent. The tofu was fresh and the broth was well seasoned.

A great Korean restaurant to try if you’re in the Tri Valley area and can’t make it out to Oakland and you don’t know when you can make it to LA again.

Ohgane Korean BBQ
7877 Amador Valley Blvd
Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 875-1232
http://www.ohganebbq.com/

Halu

I found Halu while searching for decent ramen restaurants in the bay area.  A quaint little hole in the wall in San Francisco’s Richmond district with lots of Beatles themed memorabilia, they serve all types of Japanese dishes including ramen, noodle dishes, and yakitori. This posting is the culmination of two visits. On the first visit on a Thursday night at 8pm, I ordered ramen but they ran out! (They open at 5PM Mon-Sat.) Instead I ordered a cold noodle soba dish and age-dashi tofu.  On the second visit with my girlfriend, I was finally able to try the ramen as well as their yakitori.

Age-dashi Tofu – Delicious fried silken tofu in a sweet soy sauce with scallions and diced ginger on top. I’d order this again. The tofu was soft and fresh while the fried batter was just thick enough to hold while being eaten with chop sticks.

Sliced avocados, cucumbers, cooked eggs, and seaweed over buckwheat noodles with ponzu sauce – A nice refreshing dish for the summer months. Or when you just feel like it. Light and citrus-y.

Icy Cold Sapporo – Nuff Said

Chef’s Choice of Yakitori – From left to right (My memory is rough but I believe these were the items) Beef, chicken, stuffed mushrooms, meatballs, okra, shrimp, chicken wings. Not fantastic, but overall good.

Chashu-men – Chashu Ramen – The noodles were of a good consistency while the broth was both salty and savory. The cuts of meat and the side of corn in the broth were nice as well.  Great for a cold foggy day in the city.  I would argue it’s better than Santa Ramen in San Mateo at least based on the last few visits there.

If you’re looking for good ramen in the city, you will be satisfied here. Better than most of the joints in Japan town at the very least.  I do believe other San Mateo/South Bay ramen joints sound promising though.

Halu
312 8th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415)221-9165

Dine About Town Part 2 - Ruth's Chris

The day after ISA, I went with my girlfriend and a few other friends to Ruth’s Chris for a steak dinner. Now while I normally don’t think of huge hunks of meat as being my favorite dinner of choice, the food was pretty darn impressive. Well flavored and evenly cooked, the rib eye was delicious. Every bite went down with satisfaction and the sides dishes were good too! I would say it’s a pretty close tie between Harris and Ruth’s Chris when it comes down to hearty marbled steaks.

Groth 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville, Napa Valley – My awesome girlfriend brought this bottle to dinner! An excellent pairing with our dishes!
Vinaigrette Salad – Mixed Greens
Rib-eye, cooked medium rare – Nicely cooked piece of marbled meat, juicy and loaded with flavor
Side Dish of Creamed Spinach
Side Dish of Mashed Potatoes – Nice and smooth creamy mashed potatoes dipped in butter
Chocolate Mousse with a blueberry on top with whipped cream
Carrot Cake with Carrot shavings on top
I definitely came here for the meat and my expectations were fully met. The side dishes were well made but nothing special which was okay by me. The desserts however were a bit disappointing. They were rather bland and although presentation was nice, I wouldn’t have missed them. While other desserts were available, they were off the Dine about Town menu and rather expensive unfortunately. Hopefully, what we had wasn’t representative of their entire dessert selection. Overall, another excellent choice for Dine About Town. Can’t wait till it comes back in June!

Ruth’s Chris
1601 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-0557
http://www.ruthschris.com

Dine About Town Part 1 - ISA

I kicked off San Francisco's Dine About Town 2010 back in January with a visit to ISA in the Marina. Every year, San Francisco runs its special event 2-3 times where you can visit any participating restaurant and order from a special prix fix menu for a reasonable price. The next one happens in June! My trip to ISA was on a Saturday night and the place was packed. We ended up sitting in the back of the restaurant where they have a huge covered tent with heat lamps, which were awesome since we went on a cold rainy night.

ISA (in between Chestnut and Lombard)

Organic Loch Duart calmon carpaccio with lemon, crème fraiche, cucumber, egg, capers & crostini – the salmon melts in your mouth!

Steamed Prince Edward island mussels with garlic, white wine, parsley & grilled bread – One of my favorite types of seafood, the mussels were cooked to a tender point with the broth adding flavor. Although the broth was a bit over salted, the dish was enjoyable overall.

Lobster bouillabaisse broth with ling cod, pernod, tomato, peppers, little neck clams & calamari – The Cod was wonderfully prepared which resulted in soft delicate flaky meat! But the broth was the best part. Had me dipping bread nonstop to absorb all its tasty goodness.

Truffle risotto with baby shiitake, hon shimiji mushroom & reggiano – More shrooms – I love a good risotto but I just couldn’t get past all the mushrooms!


Little Cookies with Gelato – Pretty Standard Fare

Crème Brule – The top was pretty heavily burnt and thick but the custard was delicious! Sweet, Smooth, and Creamy! Almost as good as the one at Chapeau!

ISA was reasonably affordable and I’d definitely head here again with a few friends!

ISA
3324 Steiner St
(between Chestnut St & Lombard St)
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 567-9588
http://www.isarestaurant.com

Omelettes and Pancakes!

I'm still alive! After a few bouts of sickness, a broken camera (My 40D is back from the shop!), and a load of other events, it's time to get focused back on food!

Back in January, my girlfriend and I made breakfast together. She made a wonderful prosciutto omelet with onions, bell peppers, cheese and avocado while I attempted to create what turned out to be slightly burnt pumpkin pancakes. How do they make them so evenly cooked at restaurants?!?!



Thankfully, breakfast was saved by the omelets which was hands down, one of the best omelets I've ever had. The prosciutto combined with fresh slices of avocado were all I needed to sweep away the brief but burnt memories of pancake failure.


The GF's pancake turned out very nicely! I'm not showing mine.


With Avocado. Yum!


Trader Joes' Pumpkin Pancake/Waffle Mix and Pumpkin Puree ensures you'll have pumpkin infused foods to eat until October comes around again!