bi-rite creamery

Speaking of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, the show also featured Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, which we have been to!!

The ice cream (salted caramel, need I say more?) is really, really good. No really, I have to stress that. They write the flavors of the day on a charming blackboard and also on the glass display. They'll let you try all the flavors you want. Yes, good service, but trust me, you're paying for it.

The last time I went, they had set up a softserve counter with a couple of baked items. I wouldn't wait in line for these things; instead, brave the insanity and walk to the other end of the block to wait in line for the real ice cream.

They also have a cute little market where you can buy produce, groceries, and other specialty items. Love!

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-5600


the best thing i ever ate

Have you guys ever watched this show? I love it because it features people who really know food and the best of a certain category (guilty pleasure, with your hands, classics, meat, etc) that they've ever eaten. It's great because sometimes they'll showcase food around where you live, and then you can go try for yourself! (They also have a blog that goes through some behind-the-scenes action and what episodes they're working on.)

One of the places listed was Dynamo Donuts. Now I recently saw another spotlight for this place in Bon Appetit magazine, so this doubled my curiosity. Apparently their maple glazed apple bacon donut is to die for. We'll see, because I want to go try, and I'll most likely drag N and this girl with me. I mean, really, who could resist fried dough? Not I. (Though I have a feeling Justine and N probably could...)

Sadly, my tv decided to off Food Network, so I don't think I'll be seeing more of this show. I know, heartbreaking, but if you have Food Network and want a tv buddy, I'm available! I'm just kidding...I think.


meatballs and quesadillas!

So for small groups we have these things called CBDs [community building days] and which means potluck... that equals eating a lot of food.

Anyways, I frequent smitten kitchen and every entry she has...I seriously wanna make. So I finally took the opportunity to make her chicken meatballs which looked so delicious! And there's another thing about my small group...there's someone who is vegetarian, so we need to think of what to bring. I still wanted to bring the meatballs so I saw this recipe for portobello quesadillas! Absolutely NO MEAT! Yay! Plus, portobello mushrooms almost has a meaty texture that you don't even miss eating meat! Of course, there's no substitution in my diet for meat...but this would have to do.

Mmm raw ground chicken. You know. It's so easy, eyeballing is completely fine. Oh and I also did not brush tomato paste on top or add it in the meatball and it was still pretty delicious.
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk (for the bread crumbs, I just used ready bread crumbs. Yay less work!)
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (you can swap in Canadian Bacon if you can’t find pancetta) (sadly I did not use this, I know blasphemy! But we were fatty enough!)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided* (I did not use this at all)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes. (Skipped soakingness and stuff)

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. (Did not have pancetta) Cool slightly.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. (Did not do this) Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. (I cut out the tomato paste) Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan (I used a 9×13 roasting dish). (uhh, I made around 25-30 ish 1-inch meatballs...it's a lot!)

Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs (the paste/oil does not mix in any cohesive manner, but just smoosh it on and run with it) , then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (though mine took a good 5 minutes longer). (Skipped the brushing part)

Onto the quesadillas!

2-3 tablespoons prepared barbecue sauce (I did not use this)
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste (I did not use this)
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (I did not use this)
1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I did not use this)
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1/2 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 2 1/2 medium), gills removed (a spoon works well), diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
2 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
6 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl. (I skipped this part)

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. (I salted and peppered and added some cayenne pepper to the veggies but no bbq sauce) Wipe out the pan.

Place the tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons of cheese on half of each tortilla and top with half of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten. (So I really like avocados, so I added a couple slices of avocado)

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. (I didn't add oil to the pan) Add the quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Cut each quesadilla into wedges (a pizza cutter does the job nicely) and serve.

And here it is! The finished meatballs and quesadillas!
baked chicken meatballs courtesy of smitten kitchen and portobello quesadillas courtesy of tracey

Oh and in case you were wondering what the recipe for the bread pudding, it's from all recipes. It's called Gramma's apple bread pudding and yes, it was one of the most delicious bread puddings I've ever had. Oh on a side note, she did not make the vanilla sauce because ice cream is super delicious!!

bread pudding

I'm actually not a huge fan of bread. I know, it's kind of blasphemous, but I don't know why it just never appealed to me. Maybe because I like rice so much more? But I digress.

I do love bread pudding though, with a passion. What could be better than a custard-y, gooey, soft, but crusty bread pudding with fruits and ice cream? I know you are speechless. No, I kid.

But seriously now. Remember N's paella post? Well, there wasn't just paella at that dinner, there was tempura bacon (ah yes, can't go a post without mentioning bacon), homemade French fries, broccoli, but most importantly (we all know dessert is the most crucial part of a meal), there was bread pudding. Made by this girl here.

We had made bread pudding together before with frozen peaches and cinnamon and it was delicious. However, this time, Melody went all out--she whipped out a half a stick of butter. I kid you not. When I saw that, I knew that this bread pudding would be irresistible.

I'll have to ask her where she got the recipe, but there was an egg and milk mixture, challah bread, apples and raisins. Oh and brown sugar. Mustn't forget that! She sautéed the ingredients (minus the bread and custard mix) in the butter, then layered it in between the bread and poured the custard over.

Then she baked it until a toothpick came out clean, around 40-50 minutes.

The end result. We ate it with ice cream. I don't have words to describe the sensation of warm, sweet, crunchy, soft bread with a wonderful contrast of cold, melting ice cream.


the signature cookies

When in doubt...bake these deliciousness:
They're really easy to make and they make A LOT! Oh these are oatmeal butterscotch cookies.

Dude so I got this really cool and awesome measuring cup thing from Jen! So nice! :) It's super cool. Doesn't the sugar just look tastier? Haha.
There's not much I can say about this so I give you the recipe!

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I use way less)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I use a little less but I like brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips (I kinda just eyeball this depending on how much you like it)
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts or almonds (I eyeball this too depending on how much I like)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl beat the butter, white sugar and brown sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the oats and the butterscotch chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown.
Oatmeal butterscotch cookies courtesy of allrecipes
Mmm yummyness.


san diego adventures and my mama's birthday part 3

Last part! And the best: brunch. I love, love, love breakfast food, so it's really a shame that I have to watch my cholesterol. The eggs! The fried potatoes! Hollandaise sauce! English muffins! Sugary, cinnamon french toast with maple syrup! Of course, now I content myself with nonfat plain yogurt and granola from Berkeley Bowl--not that it's a bad thing! I love yogurt.

Anyhow, enough of that, when on vacation, you must splurge. Right? N and I had looked up a promising brunch spot in La Jolla, a district a little north of San Diego, called The Cottage. We knew we made a good choice when we arrived--the line was insane. But not to worry, we didn't wait for too long. (Doesn't it look cute?)

I could wax on and on about the toastiness of the muffins, the silky texture of the Hollandaise, the creamy avocado contrasted with the soft omelette...but pictures speak louder than words.

The only downer in our experience was that I ordered a muffin that never came. It worked out for the best though; we definitely had too much food.

The Cottage
7702 Fay Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037


photographing food

Jess sent me and N this article yesterday from the New York Times about people who photograph their food. I hope that we aren't as compulsive as that...or that we don't turn out as compulsive/obsessive, but hey, those people are dedicated to their work! Who knows? Maybe we won't even know it if we do become like that--it might not be such a bad thing.


san diego adventures and my mama's birthday part 2

Part 2 is all about desserts. We went to Extraordinary Desserts, which boasts cakes, tarts, and other baked goods, with ice cream, tea, coffee, and drinks as well as savory food. Situated in an urban warehouse with modern decor, Extraordinary Desserts is a bustling hub for San Diegans who want to grab a bite, chill with friends, or sample sweets. (We went to the location near the Gaslamp District.)

We ordered a beignet, which is somewhat of a French donut, served with strawberry ice cream. I confess, I didn't think it was that special (maybe I expected more because it was on the specials list or maybe I'm just spoiled because we have great bakeries in the Bay Area); it was a bit sweet for my taste.

We also had a coffeecake, but my mother, who ordered this, was sadly disappointed because Asian bakeries, when they say coffeecake, mean coffee-flavored cake, whereas American/European bakeries mean cake to eat with coffee. Nevertheless, it was good, but also a tad sweet. Still who could say no to that presentation?

Daddy ordered some tea (cute no?), but I didn't think it was worth the money really, but the teabag (I know, blasphemous!) was unique and they filled the pot with hot water each time you asked.

Some more pictures:

Extraordinary Desserts
1439 Union St
San Diego, CA 92101


national poetry month

It's April 1st, and yes, while it's April Fool's Day, it also marks the start of National Poetry Month! I like poetry, not necessarily writing it, but reading, definitely! One of my favorite novelists, Margaret Atwood, is also quite the accomplished poet, so here is one of her poems titled: They eat out.

In restaurants we argue
over which of us will pay for your funeral

though the real question is
whether or not I will make you immortal.

At the moment only I
can do it and so

I raise the magic fork
over the plate of beef fried rice

and plunge it into your heart.
There is a faint pop, a sizzle

and through your own split head
you rise up glowing;

the ceiling opens
a voice sings Love Is A

Splendoured Thing
you hang suspended above the city

blue tights and a red cape,
your eyes flashing in unison.

The other
diners regard you
some with awe, some only with bordom:

they cannot
decide if you are a new weapon
or only a new advertisement.

As for
me, I continue eating;
I liked you better the way you were,
but you were
always ambitious.

Okay, so kind of morbid, but that's just how she is.

On a lighter note, and I do mean lighter, she also has a recipe up at Epicurious for a Baked Lemon Custard.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

From Epicurious:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter six 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in flour in three additions alternately with buttermilk in two additions. Stir in lemon juice. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Divide batter among prepared cups. Place ramekins in roasting pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups.

Bake until cakes are set in center and beginning to brown, about 35 minutes. Remove ramekins from water bath. Serve hot or cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, cover, and refrigerate.)

Now, I have yet to try this, but I definitely, definitely want to--lemons and custard! What can be more refreshing as a dessert! (Yes, n, this is a hint.) Don't you think so? Especially for spring!