Monday, November 4, 2013

San Francisco Vacation - Hog Island Oyster & Bi-Rite Creamery

“I've long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we're talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime 'associates,' food, for me, has always been an adventure.” 
- Anthony Bourdain

When it comes to food, there is one thing I love more than trying new things and that is introducing people to a new food experience. Especially a food experience that leaves them wanting more. 

A couple of months ago I took a trip to the Bay Area. My little sister cam back with me on her way back to school in San Diego and decided to stay a few days in the Bay Area. This gave me an opportunity to take her to a few of my favorite places in San Francisco. 

One thing I always want when I visit the Bay Area is raw oysters, and one of my favorite places to go is Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building. With a farm less than 50 miles from San Francisco, you are pretty much guaranteed fresh oysters. My sister's experience with raw oysters had not been so great, but I convinced her to try it out one more time. I ordered some of the Hog Island Sweetwater Oysters. I told her to add a little bit of their vinegar sauce and a dash of Tabasco. She took a slurp of her first truly fresh raw oyster and loved it!  I couldn't have been a more proud older sister. 

Another great dish the at Hog Island is their chowder. I will even go as far as to say it is my favorite clam chowder. The ingredients are fresh and the soup flavorful. The best part about it is the fact that they top it with fresh clams. The fresh clams give it that final touch to make it a great chowder.

After a great lunch, I decided to take my sister to my favorite ice cream place in San Franciso, Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission. No matter what the temperature is outside there is always a line, but it is well worth it just to try their salted caramel ice cream. Every flavor I've tried there tastes like a cold, creamy version of the real thing. For this trip, I opted for the Salted Caramel (obviously) and the Roasted Banana. 

Stay tuned. More posts to come soon from my Bay Area trip!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Benu - San Francisco, California

hello everyone! after a very long hiatus, i am back to blogging thanks to some new inspiration and ideas. stay tuned for new things on here!

i feel there is no better way to come back then to talk about my experience at benu. barely a year old, benu has been talked about, written about and recommended by people reaching as far as the east coast. the famous david chang even said "benu in sf best restaurant in america? if not now then damn soon. corey lee working w flavors that are on point. run don't walk." corey lee, the brains and talent behind benu, has an impressive resume that includes a nine year stint at french laundry. it is no question that his training and talent has cultivated something that is uniquely his, and this is what makes him truly talented.

why the name benu?
On the way to the city my friends and i had a discussion about how to pronounce the name. this made us curious as to what benu actually meant. we asked our waitress, and she told us the quest for chef lee to find a name that would start his career anew, a name that would have people judge his work based on his food and not his resume. the benu is actually a mythical egyptian bird that is much like the the phoenix of the greeks. it constantly rebirths itself much like chef lee wanted to do. 

the atmosphere and staff
there are two seating areas in the restaurant. we sat in the quieter area that had less tables. the design of the restaurant led us to feel like we were somewhere else other than a noisy san francisco. it felt like they wanted to create a setting without any distractions, which they accomplished. the staff was fantastic. we had a main waitress, but each of the wait staff seemed to help out and present us with our food. they were all well versed in the menu. one of my friends decided to do the wine pairing with the tasting menu and the sommeliers seemed to know their stuff. see her review here.

the food
 i am a true believer that good food doesn't always mean lots of money. i will admit that there are a few exceptions to this rule and benu is one of them. my friends and i decided to do the tasting menu which is definitely worth the money. the tasting menu had 19 small bites. even the ones i liked the least were still amazing. chef lee's dishes consisted of items i had either nver seen before or were new takes on familiar dishes. i definitely want to come back and try out the regular menu. see the pictures below of all our food. 

just a few other tips: make reservations- we made ours two months in advance. don't make any other plans for the night if you do the tasting menu- it takes about three hours.

Get the flash player here:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

this year for all the holiday parties and for some family gifts, i decided to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch thanks to thomas keller's ad hoc at home (thank you foodgal for providing the recipe online). the cookies were a big hit! because these cookies use darker chocolate i feel it created the perfect level of sweetness. they also bake perfectly, crispy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. i highly recommend this recipe if you need to bake some chocolate chip cookies.

cookie dough

after baking

close up of the finished product

Monday, November 8, 2010

World Expo - Shanghai, China

one of the reasons we choose shanghai for our family trip was because it was the host city for the 2010 world expo. it was quite the experience. in terms of crowd control, there were a lot of things shanghai could have done better. waiting time for lines were anywhere between 2-4 hours. because of these wait times, we only saw the inside of 2 buildings. one thing is for sure: the work countries put into the architecture of their buildings was amazing.

one saving grace for our experience was the food the world expo provided. each country's pavilion showcased their food. one country highlighted their food more than others, spain. spain brought in highly rated spanish chefs and created a tapas bar in their pavilion. it wasn't hard to choose where to eat since spanish food (due to it being part of our heritage) is one of my family's favorite cuisines. everything we had was delicious and good quality.



stuffed peppers



jamon serrano

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Din Tai Fung- Shanghai, China

for my parents' 25th wedding anniversary/my 25th birthday/my sisters' 21st and 16th birthdays, we decided to take a family trip to somewhere new. after much debate we chose Shanghai, China. thanks to foodicles' suggestions, it turned out to be a great food trip. our first stop after checking into our hotel was din tai fung. all the food we had there was outstanding especially the xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).

"draft" tsing tao

hot and sour soup

dumplings in spicy sauce

xiaolongbao - pork

siopao (bbq pork buns)

mushroom dumplings

xiaolongbao- pork and crab

sauteed green pea shoots

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


i think my love for food can be attributed to one thing: family- my parents, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and even close friends. for me food has always symbolized a gathering of the people i love and care about. i believe that there is no point to creating or eating amazing food if you can't share it with anyone.

there are so many reasons christmas is my favorite time to visit guam. bumping into an old friend at a bar. catching up on the latest gossip over lunch with a close friend. chatting with a second cousin at a family party. mom and dad's home cooked meals. hearing my baby cousin ask for more chicken. food and drinks bringing us all together. growing up on guam with such a large extended family makes me appreciate where i come from and who i have become.

the sickness and loss that has surrounded me, my loved ones, and even some i have barely known in that last few months has caused me to reflect. the support i have witnessed through these tragedies has been a testament to the strength of my "family". it makes me thankful for those around me who are always there to support me. if the last few months have taught me anything, it's that everyday we need to tell those we care about how much we love them

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

i'm back!

After an extremely long hiatus i have decided to come back to the blog world. My trip to the Philippines, Shanghai and Guam (home) inspired me to write about my travel and food experiences once again.
Since my family and I frequently travel to the Philippines, we have our favorite restaurants that we continue to visit during each trip. One of these is the Italian restaurant Cibo. The menu includes soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, paninis and other italian entrees. Definitely a must try if you ever visit the Philippines.

mango shake

red grape shake

crema di zucca- summer squash.cream.bacon

spinaci zola- spinach and gorgonzola

patatine fritte- home-fried potato chips w. garlic mayonnaise

penne al telefono (my favorite)- stewed tomato.mozzarella.white cheese.basil.cream