Currently – v.06 {2015}

Being Suki

Loving friendships forged through blogging. I was recently invited to attend the media preview of Pinot’s Palette in Alameda. It takes the painting and drinking wine concept a step further by hosting these events in an established location with featured wineries rotating in.

Since it was in her neck of the woods, I invited Lori of Fake Food Free to attend as my guest. Sadly, it won’t be her neighborhood for much longer, so we took the opportunity of wining and painting to hang out before her move.

Loathing all the bad news out there. Just this morning – there were reports of a second bombing in Bangkok within 24 hours. That’s only the tip of the iceberg though.

Watching my Pets budget this month! Fresca’s pet insurance is due at the end of the month, and in order to take advantage of a small discount, I have to make the payment all at once. While I’m grateful she hasn’t gotten into too much trouble this past year, having the insurance puts my mind at ease even further should anything happen. We didn’t get any insurance for Sergio since he’s almost 10 years old, but we did put in a cat door for him recently.

Feeling exhausted, but happy from the past weekend. Ryan and I went to the Taylor Swift concert on Friday, then hopped onto a plane on Saturday morning for Southern California for his cousin’s wedding. We, of course, along with his brothers helped close the party down by dancing until the very end. On Sunday, we took our flight back to the Bay Area, only to be stuck on the plane for an extra hour because there was a fire alarm going off in our terminal.

When we finally got off the plane, I had to hightail it down to the Palace of Fine Arts because I’d gathered a group of friends together for an escape room experience with Palace Games. More on that in another post!

Working on a plan to start coding again. It fell to the backburner for a bit, but I’m ramping back up again.

Wishing for more hours in a day. Instead, I should learn to make the most of the same set of hours everyone has. :)

Looking forward to a weekend in Bodie, a ghost town east of the Sierras. It’s been on my list to visit for some time. Several evenings in the year, the state historic park is open to the public, so we planned our trip to coincide with one of those evenings. So excited!

What are you currently up to?

comments

Eat SF: Omakase

Restaurants

Omakase is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it to you.” Essentially, you’re ordering the chef’s choice when using this term at a Japanese restaurant. We were recently invited to dine at Omakase, a traditional Edomae-style sushi bar in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, where rather than selecting items from a menu, guests have three pricing options to choose from. The team of chefs led by Chef Jackson Yu serve a series of items based on what guests choose to spend.

Much of the fish served is flown in several times a week from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, so you’re getting ingredients you would find in a restaurant in Japan!

With a total of 14 seats, no matter if one chooses the early or later seating, the dining experience is intimate and special. We certainly felt like special guests when we arrived.

Our belongings were tucked away under our seats in baskets that were likely custom produced by Japanese artisans for the restaurant. Most of their dishware and pottery is, at least. The quality of the wood, ceramic and porcelain is apparent, and if you want to hear the story behind each piece, your server will be more than happy to explain. The quality of the ingredients and tabletop accessories make the dining experience at Omakase like no other in the Bay Area.

Omakase - sake
Nishida Kikuizumi Ginjo Sake from Aomori prefecture

Omakase - sake Omakase - sake
Akitabare Suirakuten Daiginjo Sake from Akita prefecture – enjoyed out of tin Mt Fuji sake cups!

The dining experience reminded me of the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, where piece after piece of fish is presented for consumption. It was less intense, of course. I didn’t keep track of the timing of our meal, but it was a much more relaxed pace.

Omakase - Lobster Snow Crab Salad
Lobster Snow Crab Salad (left) and Ball Sushi with Fresh Ginger (right)

Omakase - Uni Fish Cake over Kombu
Uni Fish Cake over Kombu (edible kelp)

Omakase - Sashimi
Live Octopus, Ocean Trout with 24k gold flakes, Trout Belly, Bluefin Tuna, Black Sea Bream

Omakase - Sashimi
Close-up of the Sashimi

After the sashimi course of the meal came the nigiri. We were encouraged to use our hands and to enjoy them as the chef prepared them without adding soy sauce of our own. I didn’t mention my aversion towards wasabi, but the small amounts used didn’t bother me too much.

Omakase Omakase
Shima Aji (Striped Jack) and Blue Fin Tuna

Omakase Omakase
Isaki (Grunt Fish) and Torched Butterfish

Omakase - Sashimi
Chef Jackson torching it up

Omakase Omakase
Saba (Japanese Mackerel) and Spanish Mackerel

Omakase Omakase
Hamo (Daggertooth Pike Conger/Eel) and a small break from all the nigiri – Grilled Sea Bass over an English Pea Puree

Omakase Omakase
Hobo (Sea Robin) and Braided Kohada (Gizzard Shad)

Omakase Omakase
Anago (conger eel) and Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper)

Omakase Omakase
Bluefin Toro and Uni with Roe

Omakase Omakase Omakase
Final courses: Toro with Pickled Radish in Torched Seaweed, Egg sushi, and Red Miso Soup with Manila Clam and Mirugai

If either of us had a different appetite, we could have requested more or less rice with each nigiri. We were pleasantly stuffed at the end of the meal, so no adjustments were necessary. There are benefits to reserving the later seating. We arrived at 7:30pm, and there was no worry of having to eat as fast as we could because there wouldn’t be another seating after us.

Since Japanese cuisine is at the top of my list, I am excited for future visits to Omakase for another seafood experience!

Disclosure: Our dinner at Omakase was complimentary. Thanks to Omakase for hosting us! All opinions expressed here are my own.

Click to add a blog post for Omakase on Zomato

comments

Pan-Fried California Halibut, our Welcome Home Meal

Cooking, Partners, Thirsty Suki

Crater Lake
Overlooking Crater Lake

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Ryan and I took a road trip through Oregon in a rented Jucy campervan. We were on the road for five days, making stops in Crater Lake, Bend and Portland. We slept in the van at rest stops, campgrounds, and even a motel (just for one night).

We prepared most of our meals, while limited to the ingredients we’d packed with us. We pre-cut vegetables before hitting the road, so we were eating the same ones morning and night. The onions, shallots, bell peppers and mushrooms made appearances at breakfast and dinner, while the cheese from our lunchtime grilled cheeses also showed up at breakfast to top off our eggs.

The few meals we “cheated” on and didn’t cook were dinners at a Thai restaurant (once in Bend and once in Redding) and a home-cooked Puerto Rican meal at Ryan’s cousin’s house.

California HalibutUpon returning home to our real kitchen, unpacking the campervan and getting settled from the trip, it was time for a delicious home-cooked meal. Our Sea Forager shipment of the week were slabs of California halibut, or as Ryan and I like to call it, “Calibut.”

We decided to keep it fairly simple by pan frying the halibut in olive oil. For the thickness of our filets, we gave each side about five minutes. We rounded out the meal with broccoli and couscous with grilled corn on the side and a glass of 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

California Halibut

We were recently invited to join Cultivar Wine’s Blogger club. We gladly accepted, and our first shipment this quarter included bottles of 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

California Halibut California Halibut

As described in the tasting notes, this Sauvignon Blanc is aromatic with notes of jasmine, roses, and subtle citrus, which open to passionfruit and melon. As for flavor, the wine has bright passionfruit and citrus notes and pairs well with grilled fish and chicken.

Our pan-fried “Calibut” was no exception, and the glass of Sauvignon Blanc really made this homecooked meal even more special after our roadtrip.

Interested in trying Cultivar Wine? They’re hooking up [Super Duper Fantastic] fans – you can enjoy Cultivar at 10% off with code SuperDuperCultivar when you order!

Disclosure: I am required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site [Super Duper Fantastic] and Cultivar Wine. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of product. I receive wine from Cultivar Wine as a member of the Cultivar Wine Bloggers group. All opinions presented are my own.

comments

Eat SF : A Lazy Bear Birthday

Life in SF, Restaurants

Lazy BearI’m one who enjoys celebrating a birthday for as long as possible. Birthday weekends turn into birthday weeks that then turn into birthday months.

One of these days I will celebrate all year long. Life is worth celebrating. It doesn’t mean to splurge without a care, but it means to make the most of the here and now, rather than waiting forever for the perfect moment to arrive.

Ryan’s birthday was during the first week of the month, but we made sure to celebrate ahead of it and through the following week. One of those celebrations was dinner at Lazy Bear, a dining experience in San Francisco that was conceived originally as a pop-up dinner party.

Restaurant goers purchase tickets online for the multi-course menu, which reserves their spot at the table. The price of the ticket depends on the time/day of the reservation. There’s an optional beverage pairing one can add for $$, and it consists of approximately seven drinks [mostly wine] to pair with the meal’s courses. I purchased one ticket with and one without, so that I could drive the birthday boy home afterward.

Lazy Bear – Snacks

When you arrive, you begin your evening upstairs. Various snacks are brought to you, and you have a chance to mix and mingle.

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Snacks: Broiled Shigoku Oyster, Cured Fluke
Lazy Bear
Snacks: Soft Shell Crab Tempura, Whipped Scrambled Eggs (not pictured)

Once you’ve had a chance to settle in, you’re led downstairs and seated at one of two communal tables. We found out that one of my friends was dining that same night, and even though we hadn’t requested to be seated together, we ended up at the same end of the table. Fun coincidence!

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
The Kitchen and The Birthday Boy!

Lazy Bear – Main Dining Experience

At each seat is a notebook with the menu inside [pictured above] and a pencil for taking notes about each course. We knew that we’d start out taking notes and probably give up by the end of the meal. We didn’t completely stop taking notes; they were more sparse, however.

Lazy Bear
Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll – House Cultured Butter

Lazy Bear
King Salmon – Cucumber, Lemon Verbena, Melon, Mint

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Broth of Toasted Grains – Egg Yolk Fudge, Ramps [before and after the addition of the actual broth]

In between courses, patrons are encouraged to visit with the kitchen as dishes are being prepared. We made sure to do this several times to capture everything in action.

Lazy Bear
New Potato Fondue – Morels, Peas, Kale, Fine Herbs

Lazy Bear
Pork – Collared Greens, Apricot, Walla Walla Onion, Lardo

Lazy Bear
Squab – Cherry, Spruce, Porcini

Surprisingly, one of my favorite dishes of the meal was the squab. I’m accustomed to how squab is prepared for Chinese banquets, and it’s one I usually avoid. When I saw it on the menu, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was prepared medium rare and resembled a perfectly cooked duck breast in texture. Delicious!

Lazy Bear – Desserts

Like the earlier courses of dinner, there were a handful of desserts to enjoy. I especially liked that they were smaller bites and not overly sweet.

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Raspberry – Soy Bean, Ginger, Jasmine Tea [+ prep] and Mulberry – Cocoa Nib, Foie Gras, Buckwheat

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Treats: Macaron, S’mores Semifreddo, Financier

We were part of the earlier seating, and by the time dessert rolled around, guests from the later seating were ushered upstairs for their snacks. The pacing of the meal was well-planned, and we didn’t feel rushed at all.

Definitely worth a repeat performance, possibly for another special occasion or even any old day!

Click to add a blog post for Lazy Bear on Zomato

comments

Snakes! American International Rattlesnake Museum

Travel

I went backpacking over the weekend with Trail Mavens. Our campsite of choice in Point Reyes – Wildcat Camp. It was a 5+ mile trek each way with our packs. While we spotted no wild cats at our campsite, we did see bunnies, mice, quail, and even snakes! With snakes in our midst, the topic of rattlesnakes came up and reminded me of my visit to the American International Rattlesnake Museum in New Mexico.

American International Rattlesnake Museum

Devoted to rattlesnake education, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is an animal conservation museum located in Albuquerque. The museum has the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. According to their website, that’s 34 species.

The staff regularly participates in international viper research events, and the museum hosts a diverse collection of living rattlesnakes and an extensive library of study material and educational tools. We could have spent hours at the museum just watching the nature videos playing and getting close-ups of the snakes.

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Western Diamondback

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Horned Rattlesnake (Sidewinder)

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Mottle Rock Rattlesnake

American International Rattlesnake Museum

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Albino Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Look at that rattle!

The key message I took from visiting the museum was that rattlesnakes are important to the ecosystems in which they live and that if we encounter them, we are far more dangerous to them than they are to us. In most cases, rattlesnakes will make every effort to avoid human contact. They will only rattle when provoked or if there is a serious threat.

In addition to rattlesnakes, the museum holds a few other living creatures worth visiting. Here are just a few:

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Gila Monster

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Alligator Snapping Turtle

There’s also an impressive collection of artifacts with a snake theme: jewelry, paintings, flags and coins. I didn’t take a photo of those, so you’ll have to use your imagination or pay the museum a visit.

It’s worth it, even if you’re afraid of snakes.

Visit American International Rattlesnake Museum

202 San Felipe NW, Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87104-1426
505.242.6569
More info: website

comments