We Run SF, We Eat SF

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Ready, Set, Go!

I’ve wanted to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF for a few years now. The first year, I seriously considered it. Like, seriously. The second year, I actually signed up for random draw, but was rejected! The third year… well, I guess it’s true, 3rd time’s the charm! I had 14 weeks to prepare for my goal of sub-2, but unfortunately, life got in the way as it always does. Given that I only trained for about 3 weeks, my time of 2:14 isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s actually a PR! The view was not as beautiful as RnR Seattle’s marathon, but overall, I still liked the course.

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That last hill though…

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All for this blue box!

My preparation in the days leading up to the race involved a lot of eating. I shamelessly took full advantage of the necessary carbo-loading by stretching it over a couple of days. All for the race, guys. All for the race.

First stop off the plane was Limon Rotisserie for some Peruvian food.

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Ceviche Mixto… SO GOOD! One of the best ceviches I’ve ever had

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The infamous Pollo a la Brasa (half)
This dish comes with 2 sides… if you’re planning on ordering the Lomito Saltado, I would suggest not picking Papas Fritas and Vegetales Salteados for your sides like we did

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Lomito Saltado

Even though we were already stuffed from ordering too much food, we had to have dessert. Next stop: Bi-Rite Creamery.

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The usual… salted caramel and some kind of coffee, this time being Blue Bottle

For early dinner, we headed to Fort Mason Center for Off The Grid, a gathering of local, mobile vendors.

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From top left:
(1) Lobsta Roll from Lobsta Truck
(2) Tender Pork Belly Bao from The Chairman
(3) Lemongrass Chicken w/ Garlic Noodles combo from An The Go
(4) Boom Plate w/ Shrimp from Hula Truck
(5) Vanilla Creme Bizmark from Johnny Doughnuts
(6) Golden Ticket from The Creme Brulee Cart
Everything was really good except the Boom Plate. I found it unappetizing. Sorry, not sorry. What a waste of $9!

The following day we met up friends in San Mateo and had some bomb bruschetta at B Street and Vine.

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From left:
(1) Fresh mozzarella with tomato and basil
(2) Salami with feta and pesto
(3) Prosciutto with figs and mascarpone
(4) Hummus, tomato & avocado

And for my official carbo-load dinner, we had roasted garlic crab and garlic grab noodles at PPQ Dungeness Island. I know, I know… this isn’t your traditional carbo-load dinner but whatever, I do what I want. The crab was delicious, but I preferred the garlic noodles from An The Go.

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Best meal of the trip!

When I ran the marathon in Seattle, Atlas Genius’ When It Was Now carried me through the last few excruciating miles. This time, it was Chvrches’ new album Every Open Eye and the lady at mile 11.5 with the “bRUNch” sign. Not gonna lie, all I could think about was what I was going to eat afterwards…

First stop post race was Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for some pastries followed by Hong Kong Lounge for dim sum.

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Mr. Holmes Bakehouse was already sold out of the their infamous cruffins by the time we got there. Lame! Of the six pastries we ended up choosing, my fave was the ham and cheese danish

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The XLBs were so plump and juicy!!!

Stuffing my face with dim sum sent me into a food induced nap and when I woke up, it was time for my celebratory dinner at State Bird Provisions.

Getting a reservation at this place was almost as difficult as getting one at French Laundry, Alinea, etc. Seriously, WHY?! I went on Open Table, 60 days in advance, at 12:00AM ON THE DOT and I almost wasn’t able to secure a rez.

2015-10-23_09-48-28I’ve actually been enjoying dark beer. Stouts are delicious!

State Bird Provisions has a standard menu consisting of small bites (Toasts & Pancakes), main dishes (Commandables), and dessert. The provisions come on trays/carts and you select whatever you want and they mark it down at the bottom on your menu based on price, dim sum style. I remember the prices ranging from $3 to $15.

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From top left:
(1) Kung pao beef tongue and sweetbreads (Commandable)
(2) Rabbit meatball (Provision)
(3) Pork belly pluot salad (P)
(4) Hog island oyster (P)
(5) CA state bird with provisions, half (C)
(6) Miso glazed cod collar (P)
(7) Guinea hen dumpling (P)
(8) Duck liver mousse with almond biscuit (P)
(9) Charred octopus (P)

Overall, I enjoyed the meal but left underwhelmed. My favorite was the kung pao beef tongue and sweetbreads – the beef tongue was so tender and I’m just a sucker for sweetbreads! Besides this, nothing really stood out. The state bird, although flavorful, had too much breading. Perhaps I expected too much based on the 4.5 star rating on Yelp.

We ended the night with ice cream at Swensen’s and a night time view of Coit Tower.

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‘Till next time, SF ♥

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I eat: La Vecchia Cucina

I’ve been feeling stressed out lately, now that I have both work and school, so I took two days off two weeks ago and had myself a staycation in LA. I made sure to fill my days off with gluttony. From ice cream to chicken wings to a DineLA dinner, I did a whole lot of eating!

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Coffee Moo (salted butter saramel with coffee) from Mother Moo

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Linguine for days at Maccheroni Republic

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TEBASAKI!!! ♡

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Kimchi spam musubi

And what better way to end an extended weekend than with a DineLA dinner!

I usually have a hard time choosing restaurants for DineLA. I’ve spent hours before browsing through menus and reading reviews on Yelp, Open Table, and Urbanspoon. Yes, I do my due diligence. But this time, it was a breeze. One look at an Instagram picture of uni pasta from La Vecchia Cucina and I was sold. What can I say? I’m a sucker for uni pasta. I did check the menu though, just to cover my bases 😉

We managed to snag the window seat. TOTES romantic! And fantastic lighting for pictures! Since I looked at the menu beforehand, I already knew what I wanted…

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Capriccio Imperiale

Well executed. The lemon vinaigrette was light and refreshing, which provided a great starting point for the meal. Although the seafood was cooked properly, I wish the ratio of the different seafood was more balanced.

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Spaghetti All Ricci di Mare

Not bad, but def not the best uni pasta I’ve had. There was only one piece of uni and not enough sauce. However, the spaghetti was cooked perfectly.

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Affogato

No complaints, but honestly, I’m not sure how anyone can mess this up…

La Vecchia Cucina was my only opportunity to experience DineLA this time around and overall, I was pleased with my meal. I can’t say there were any aspects that I particularly LOVED, but I would definitely come back to try the other pastas on the menu.

Verdict: 3.5/5
La Vecchia Cucina
2654 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Another Try

I don’t consider myself a picky eater, but there are certain foods I will not eat.

Celery. Cilantro. Peas.
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

And for the longest time, avocados were the list. Why? I’m really not sure. I just… didn’t like them!

Call it a maturing palate, reevaluation of life, whatever, but in this past year, I seem to have forgotten my dislike of avocados. I ordered a salad with avocado. Not bad. I ate poke with avocado. Pretty good. Now I’m adding avocados to breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Love!

Unlike celery and cilantro, avocados don’t have a strong flavor; they won’t overpower a dish, ever. The creamy texture provides a richness that is a perfect substitute for butter and mayo. I guess you can say the same for peas, but I’m not ready for that yet. Baby steps…

2014-07-12 12.27.34 1My usual Saturday mornings… avocado toast, Stumptown cold coffee brew, and reading

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

I have rekindled my love affair with PB&J burgers. If they’re on the menu (and the likelihood of this is pretty high now-a-days), I’ll order one. If I can create my own burger, you bet I’ll turn it into some variation of PB&J. I mean, I really can’t help myself. The sweet, savory combination just makes so much sense to me!

I think it all started in 2008. Henry and I were at Teddy’s Bigger Burger in Oahu and the guy at the register suggested we give a new burger a try. It wasn’t on the regular menu or even the specialty burger menu. He just… made it up. “Just trust me”, he said. And we did. The burger had peanut butter, grilled pineapple, bacon, fried onion rings and cheddar cheese. It was amazing. Life changing. I knew bacon made everything better, but peanut butter and pineapple? Who knew?!

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I loved that burger at Teddy’s so much, I recreated it at The Counter… this time with caramelized onions for extra sweetness!

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Recently, I had the Peanut Butter & Jealousy burger at Slater’s 50/50. It was different than the peanut butter and pineapple burgers for sure, not only because of the fruit (pineapple vs strawberry), but also because of the texture (slice of pineapple vs jam). I liked the traditional combination of peanut butter and strawberry jam, but felt the burger needed some crunch.

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What was lacking in the Peanut Butter & Jealous burger, I found in the Dee Snider burger at Grill ‘Em All…

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Crunchy peanut butter?!? Genius!

If you know of a burger joint that serves a great PB&J burger, please let me know! It doesn’t have to be local. Will travel for food. 😉

First

This is officially my first real post of 2013. I’ve been trying to finish my Foodcation 2012 posts for like the last 3 months. FAIL.

Since my vacation in September, I’ve started a new workout schedule, come to the realization that I no longer want to live in NYC, gone to Mammoth twice and attended a funeral.

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Part of my workout schedule consists of Pure Barre classes Tue, Thur, Fri-Sun. I started Pure Barre classes when I saw a friend post on FB about how great of a workout it was. At that time, I hadn’t worked out consistently in a very, very long time. I would run on sporadic occasions, but was never able to maintain a schedule. This really all changed with Pure Barre. One class and I was hooked. I’m about to finish my 5th month and be part of 100 club (100 classes completed)! I’ve made it this far and plan to continue because I absolutely love the workout and the class schedule just fits perfectly with my work schedule. And though I’ve taken classes for a while now, the exercises are still challenging. They haven’t gotten any easier. TRUST. If you take a class and don’t feel the burn, you’re probably not doing it right or you’re not working hard enough!

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In addition to Pure Barre, I’ve been taking Turbo Kick classes on Mon and Wed at 24Hr Fitness. I used to take these classes like 3 years ago, but stopped because of my work schedule. Now, 3 years later, the class schedule has changed and I’m back! I loved it then and I still love it now. The best part is that Turbo Kick doesn’t feel like a workout, but I always leave the class DRENCHED in sweat!

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J, A and I visited V in NYC this past December. It was a great trip filled with delicious food and late night talks. It was also an eye opening experience for me. I was in love with the city after my first few visits. I was in tourist mode. Everything was new and exciting. I loved the fast paced nature of NYC. I wanted to move there! But my love has waned after subsequent visits. This last visit made me realize that at this point in my life, living in NYC is not for me. First, I don’t think I could afford to live comfortably AND enjoy the finer things in life. I don’t want to share an apartment with anyone and I don’t want to live in tiny studio apartment. I do want to go out and try all the fantastic restaurants and maybe catch a Broadway show, hockey game or the Opera sometime. Living in NYC and not being able to enjoy it is pointless. Second, I’ve always thought that NYC public transportation was really great. And to a certain extent, it is. But from my last visit, I realized that it’s not as fast as I previously thought. On my last day I went to Laduree in the UES and round trip from Stuyvesant Town with a stop at Halal Cart took over an hour and half. Third, Henry hates NYC. So yea, for now, I’m fine with just visiting NYC and delicious food like…

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Uni at Soto

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Pork and Crab Soup Dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai

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SmokeShack and Frozen Custard at Shake Shack

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Miso Black Cod at Gotham Bar & Grill

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Halal Cart!! We had this twice during our trip and I even brought two orders home!

Right before my trip to NYC, Henry and I had our first Mammoth trip of the season. And seriously, what a difference a season makes…

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It was early December, but coverage was great since it dumped the weeks before. I’m happy I rekindled my love for Mammoth’s backside!

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Our 2nd trip to Mammoth was during MLK weekend.

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We were fortunate to stay with our new snowboarding pals, B and P. They’re great to ride with because they’re fast and they have endurance! And they have the cutest, most well-behaved dog ever!

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Henry doesn’t want any dog besides a Husky or Chow Chow so for now, I’ll just have to obsessively lurk on Instagram for Bulldog or Corgi pictures. 🙂

And onto the sad news. Last week, I attended Henry’s grandma’s funeral. She lived a full life, for sure, passing away at the age of 100. It’s really sad to think that she won’t be at our wedding, I mean, if we decide to have one that is. Henry’s cousin liked to joke that I was grandma’s favorite. And while that probably isn’t true, it was nice to feel the love from her when she would hold my hand while we watched TV. RIP ♥

I eat: UMAMIcatessen

I’ve been craving burgers lately. Like, a lot. Apparently, eating In-N-Out on the weekends while watching playoff hockey has not been enough. I NEED MOREEEE BURGERS!!! So on one of my off Fridays, Henry and I headed to DLTA to try UMAMIcatessen, a food-court-esque eatery, which houses UMAMI Burger (yes, I’m totally stating the obvious :P). Having never eaten at UMAMI, we both wanted to see if the burgers were worth all the hype.

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As we looked over the menu, we knew we had to try their signature burger, the Umami Burger. Choosing our 2nd burger was tough. We were interested in both the Manly and Hatch Burgers. This was a battle of bacon vs. chiles, which we both LOVE, but ultimately, bacon won, as it usually always does. Always.

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Umami Burger, $11
shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, umami ketchup

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Manly Burger, $11
beer-cheddar cheese, smoked salt onion strings, bacon lardons

We ordered the burgers medium rare, as suggested by our waiter, but when we split the burgers, the patties looked more like medium, almost medium-well. I couldn’t really complain because the burgers were actually incredibly tender and juicy.

To my surprise, I liked the Manly burger a lot more than the Umami. Simply put, the Manly is a high end, refined version of a Western Bacon Cheeseburger. I really enjoyed the combination of smoky + sweet and the contrast in texture provided by the fried onion. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the Umami Burger. The flavors just didn’t mesh well and I did not care for the roasted tomato or the Umami ketchup. Am I only one??!! I’ve read many reviews raving about the ketchup.

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Smushed Potatoes, $4.50
dutch yellow creamers, double fried

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Crispy Pig Ears, $7
parsley, lemon, brainaise

In addition to the burgers, we also ordered two sides. If you love potatoes as much as I do, you must order the smushed potatoes. Starchy, salty goodness! And if you’ve never had pig ears and are feeling adventurous, I recommend the crispy pig ears; they’re a great alternative to fries.

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FG&J, $8
foie gras mousse, forest berry jam, peanut (yeast)

I gotta say, even though UMAMI is a burger joint, I was most excited about dessert. I love foie gras and I love doughnuts so the FG&J sounded amazing on paper. After a lengthy wait (longer than we waited for our burgers), I took one bite and was immediately turned off. My taste buds were so confused – the delicate flavor of the foie gras mixed with the tartness of the jam just didn’t make sense in my mouth. It was such a shame because the doughnut itself was quite good!

Verdict: 3.5/5
UMAMIcatessen
852 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Utah, Day 7: Time Flies

The Bird had been good to us so that’s where we spent our last full day in Utah.

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We knew we weren’t going to take the tram so we parked at Creekside (parking lot 1) instead of parking near Snowbird Center (parking lot 2).

The conditions had become spring-like as the week progressed so we stuck to the top half of the mountain where the snow wasn’t completely slush. In fact, there were still great stashes of powder in upper Gad Valley and Mineral Basin. For the first part of the day, we were in search of fresh lines in upper Gad Valley, which proved to be difficult because of the rocks that were in the way.

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Little Cloud Lift

After a quick lunch at the Birdfeeder, we took Peruvian Express lift up and then took the Peruvian Tunnel to Mineral Basin. Yes, I said tunnel. SNOWBIRD HAS A TUNNEL.

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Awesome, right?!?!?! 😀

It took about 4 minutes to go through the tunnel. We spent the rest of the day in Mineral Basin.

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I tried to get a picture of Henry jumping over rocks, but I didn’t bring my DSLR and my phone camera is too slow. FAIL.

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Even though it was another great day at the Bird, I started getting bummed out because I knew we would be going home the next day. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Our last dinner in Utah was at The Copper Onion.

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I was nervous because we didn’t have a reservation, but there happened to be two spots available at the counter when we arrived. I love watching chefs in action so I thought we lucked out. An interesting thing I noted was the number of gloves the chefs blew through during our time there. One of the chefs wore a glove over a glove and kept changing the top glove after prepping certain foods. Is this standard food safety protocol?

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Looking over the menu, I saw bone marrow, pork belly and mussels offered as appetizers; three of my favorite things! How could I say no?

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Pleasant Creek Ranch Wagyu Bone Marrow: Parsley, Caper, Fennel salad, Charred baguette, $13

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Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnip, Preserved Cherries, $11

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Mussels: Creamy Black Pepper Sauce, Toast Points, $15

The bone marrow and pork belly were AMAZING, probably the best I’ve ever had. The mussels were perfectly cooked, but the pepper sauce was a little overwhelming.

We decided not to be complete fat asses this time around and only ordered one entree. 😀 It was tough because I was really interested in the poutine!

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Lamb Riblets: Warm Cauliflower and Potato Salad, $18

The riblets were fall off the bone tender and less gamy than I’ve experienced elsewhere. I really enjoyed the side salad.

For the first time in a long while, we actually had room for dessert. Usually our buttons are popping off and still, we would order dessert.

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Special of the Day: Strawberry, Grapefruit and Basil Sorbet, $3

The sorbet was definitely light and refreshing. I first tasted the strawberry and the slight bitterness of the grapefruit came through at the end.

After dinner we went on a night walk around the State Capitol Building, which is just a few blocks away from our condo.

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If you look closely, you’ll see people sitting on the front steps and on the surrounding wall. I guess it was prom night or something because we saw lots of kids in fancy dresses and tuxes. Damn, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. 😥

After a week in Utah, Henry said he still prefers Colorado. Given how horrible this season has been, I don’t think a fair comparison can be made. I really do hope this season is an anomaly and I’ll get a chance to come back and fully experience why Utah has “the greatest snow on earth”. So for now, I’ll just say that I ♥ Utah as much as I ♥ Colorado.

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SLC Eats (+our verdict):
The Copper Onion, 4/5