Maven

Kyoko had two friends visiting from Denver, John and Sean, so we thought it would be fun to have dinner and drinks then visit the California Academy of Sciences afterwards. On Thursday evenings the Academy turns into NightLife – think of it as a science museum for adults! With that in mind, we dined at Maven, which was perfectly located to accommodate such a plan. Maven is a cool, trendy, yet down-to-earth, two-story bar and restaurant in SF’s Lower Haight.

IMG_1346

Maven’s Chinatown Duck Sliders are #38 on our 7×7 list. One order comes with two sliders, so we ordered a few! These sliders were definitely on the 7×7 list for a reason, the duck was perfectly glazed in a slightly sweet hoisin sauce, topped with shiitake mushroom and bok choy. All the delicious flavors of a traditional Sunday morning dim sum were captured in this trendy, palm-sized slider. The duo, and our two visitors, give the chef eight thumbs up!

IMG_1344

Chinatown Duck Sliders ($10)

To accompany the sliders, and of course we couldn’t resist, we ordered the fries which came with olive aioli. Fries are one of those foods that seem to taste good everywhere. Maven’s fries were no exception – perfectly fried with a great house-made dipping sauce.

IMG_1342

Kennebec Fries ($6)

The guests sitting at a table next to ours ordered oysters. Since oysters are not on the menu, we had to ask our waitress how we could get our hands on them! They looked too delicious not to ask. Who doesn’t love a fresh oyster?

IMG_1337

Oysters ($17 per dozen)

To keep with the seafood theme, we also ordered the Penn Cove Mussels, made with Korean chili pepper and absinthe and served with garlic bread. Our favorite part was using the bread to soak up all the delicious broth at the bottom of the bowl!

IMG_1341

Penn Cove Mussels ($11)

We loved the atmosphere that Maven provided and its proximity to Golden Gate Park. We would suggest that if you want to plan a date night, or host friends, or just explore the city, that you dine at Maven on a Thursday night before visiting the Academy, and be sure to get tickets ahead of time!

Until next time, cheers!

IMG_1326

Corpse Reviver #598 ($11)

xo,
The Duo

Advertisements

A Little BIX Of Heaven

Sometimes the best discoveries are made in the most unassuming alleys. That was certainly the case for Bix Restaurant! It’s located in Jackson Square on Gold Street, a narrow walkway sandwiched between charming old brick buildings. To know that you are heading in the right direction, walk towards a tiny neon sign that reads “Bix”…

Bix Restaurant alley entrance

Bix Restaurant alley entrance

Greeted with live jazz music the moment we walked in, this elegant 1930’s themed restaurant was full of surprises! The large, two-story, dimly-lit dining space was decorated with artwork, dark woods, plush booths, and perfectly polished silverware. If you happen to look up you will find amazingly beautiful crown molding, a true SF trademark. To the right of the entrance was a long and grand bar, a perfect place for us to grab a drink while we waited for the remainder of our group to trickle in after work. There was nothing “trendy” about this place, and we loved every classic detail.

Bix Restaurant is known for its live jazz music.

Bix Restaurant is known for its live jazz music

On this particular adventure we dined with our favorite group of French friends. Since most of them only had a limited amount of time in the city, we decided to show them what we know best – delicious food.

Dining with old and new friends visiting from France

Dining with our new French friends

To start the meal, we ordered “Potato Pillows” to share, or as Angie likes to say, “for the table”. Potato Pillows are lightly fried potatoes topped with crème fraîche and caviar. Needless to say, and as you can probably judge by the photograph, it was quite tasty. To put it in elementary terms, they were like a richer, classier, and tastier version of tater tots.

Potato Pillows with Crème Fraîche and American Caviar, $15

Potato Pillows with Crème Fraîche and American Caviar ($15)

Following the potatoes, we had the Steak Tartare, numero 92 on our list. The dish was prepared tableside by our waiter who mixed the raw beef with shallots, capers, parsley and mustard. Our eyes lit up with excitement as our waiter set the dish on the table. Without wasting much time, we tasted the tartare and loved it. One of our visitors exclaimed that it was very good, a huge compliment considering that his grandfather has a restaurant in Italy where he makes the best foods using the freshest ingredients. As you can imagine, this friend of ours has high standards when it comes to food!

We recommend ordering this dish if you ever find yourself at Bix, especially if you are a steak tartare fan. If you have never had raw beef, we definitely recommend trying it because, well, there’s a first for everything!

Steak Tartare with Shallots, Capers, Parsley and Mustard, Prepared Tableside, $15

Steak Tartare with Shallots, Capers, Parsley and Mustard, Prepared Tableside ($15)

The Black Truffle Cheese Burger came highly recommended. It was perfectly cooked and of course, the truffle made everything just that much better.

Black Truffle Cheese Burger served open face on Rye with Truffle Fries, $28

Black Truffle Cheese Burger served open face on Rye with Truffle Fries ($28)

The Lobster Spaghetti was served with cherry tomatoes, jalapeños and basil. The spaghetti was al dente, the lobster was amazingly sweet and generously portioned, and the sauce was light yet flavorful. A must-try if you are in the mood for pasta, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Lobster Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños and Basil, $34

Lobster Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños and Basil ($34)

To top off the meal, our waiter brought us coconut pineapple sorbet. Just the right amount of sweetness to finish another great dinner with great French company.

Coconut pineapple sorbet

Coconut pineapple sorbet

This city is truly filled with so many opportunities to enjoy the good life! Bix Restaurant is another example of this because we were able to enjoy a delicious meal in a great atmosphere with a diverse group of friends. Although our ultimate goal is to taste all 100 dishes on the 7×7 list, we promise that we’ll never forget to enjoy the journey. Cheers, the Duo.

2011 Birgit Eichinger, Riesling, $52

2011 Birgit Eichinger, Riesling ($52)

Sunday at b. Patisserie

Hello friends!

Heaps of thanks, hugs, and fist bumps for all of the support and joining us on each adventure that we seem to get ourselves into. We truly appreciate the love as we have certainly been discovering many quirks and twists within San Francisco that make it wonderful and want nothing more than to share some of this delicious goodness with you. Like most things, our blog is a never-ending-work-in-progress and we have decided… dun dun dun… to incorporate both of our perspectives into one- The Duo’s. From this point on, our posts will have both of our flavors swirled into one! We hope you will enjoy this new change. Cheers!

b. Patisserie's freshly baked kouign amman

b. Patisserie’s freshly baked kouign amman

IMG_1303

Assortment of pastries

San Francisco seems to have an overabundance of trendy and hip bakeries and cafes, but it’s not often that you stumble across a traditional French bakery with a hint of California zest to it. Nestled in lower Pacific Heights in San Francisco, we have discovered b. Patisserie – the crème de la crème of bakeries. The moment you walk into the bakery, the aroma of freshly baked pains, pâtisseries and viennoiseries consumes your senses and instantaneously, all seems to be wonderful and right in the world.

IMG_1310

Partners/Chefs Michael Saus and Belinda Leong

IMG_1309

b. Patisserie’s open kitchen

Large inviting windows permit light to ease its way into the open kitchen, highlighting the smiles of customers of all ages who get to experience and enjoy the creations being made right in front of them. A stunning showcase of delectable treats wait patiently, ready to be devoured on platters atop beautiful marble countertops. It takes almost every ounce of self-control in your body to resist ordering just about everything.

IMG_1287

Kouign Amann

IMG_1273

Kouign Amann

IMG_1277

b. Patisserie’s Kouign Amann

We had come to b. Patisserie for the notorious kouign amman. Kouign amman hails from the Brittany region in France and is similar to a croissant in the sense that there are hundreds of incredibly thin layers of butter and pastry. The differences are that instead of using unsalted butter, salted butter is used and an added layer of sugar is folded in with each layer of butter. Every morsel of the flaky, buttery, and caramelized pastry was an exquisite treasure.

IMG_1282

Banana Chocolate Almond Croissant

IMG_1276

Chocolate Banana Almond Croissant and Kouign Amann

Some things are just better in pairs which is why we couldn’t just scoff the kouign amman unaccompanied, but had to order the chocolate banana almond croissant too. This croissant was equally as amazing. The moment you broke through the layers of pastry, a gooey mixture of chocolate and banana seeped out, unveiling an incredible synthesis of flavors. We had already consumed our morning brew so we decided to order a pot of jasmine tea that was the perfect complement to our sweet treats.

IMG_1318

Chef/Co-Partner Belinda Leong

We had the honor and privilege of meeting Belinda Leong, co-partner (alongside Michael Saus, the founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute) and head pastry chef who took time-out from baking to speak with us. The “b” in b. Patisserie stands for “Belinda” but many of her friends, family, and regular customers call her “B.” We were in complete awe of her vision, passion, and motivation. She said that she wanted to “create elegant pastries in an open and inviting space where people can comfortably hang out while eating high quality pastries.” She is also an esteemed James Beard nominee for “Outstanding Pastry Chef,” which we wish her and the patisserie armfuls of good luck!

Chef Belinda's favorite is the pain levain!

Chef Belinda’s favorite is the pain levain!

IMG_1306

Fresh fleurs reside on each tabletop

IMG_1317

Fleurs on the countertops

IMG_1315

Macaroon Tree

From it’s elegant and refined design to the chic addition of fresh fleurs at every table and countertop, b. Patisserie is a jewelry box of beautiful pastries and wholesome goodness. You might leave a tad bit heavier but a whole lot happier! Until our next sweet spot…

xx,

The Duo

IMG_1323

IMG_1322

2821 California St. @ Divisadero Street

When Life Gives You Limón Rotisserie

Red Wine Sangria ($30 pitcher)

Red Wine Sangria ($30 pitcher)

Ceviche Mixto

Ceviche Mixto ($12.95)

Kyoko’s Palate

Limón Rotisserie is a rare San Francisco gem that you can enjoy an incredible experience with a date or friends without burning a hole in your wallet, which is exactly my kind of digs! The restaurant has a sophisticated energy and an immediate sense of warmness and culture that makes you feel as though you are part of the restaurant – an ambiance that executive Chef Martin Castillo wanted to create. I first fell in love with Peruvian food when I lived in Japan (of all places), because there was a wonderful presence of Peruvians and Brazilians in the city that I lived. The influence from immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa fused with the traditions and culture of the indigenous people, give Peruvian cuisine a synergy of delicious flavors and uniqueness that coexist and make it one of my absolute favorites.

IMG_1240

“One of the best foods I’ve had since I moved to the U.S.” – Clément

On this crumby adventure, we brought our friends Clém and Graeham with us who are roommates and basically a dream team if you ask me. Clém is from France so naturally, he has a very refined palate unlike my hooligan ways. It’s also great to have him around when I need a humble reminder that no matter how much us Californians rave about Napa or Sonoma wineries, the grapes are always better in France (despite him really loving the sangria).

The moment we were seated, our waiter Erik was very amiable and treated us to the finest service the whole night. If you fancy seafood like myself, the ceviche is an absolute MUST. Our waiter recommended the Ceviche Mixto, which was mouthwatering. The fusion of flavors, citrus, and freshness was a symphony of perfection that I never wanted to end. And when I didn’t think it could get any better, the waiter brought us the bowl of Camote Fritos (sweet potato chips) and it gave it the perfect crunch to put a dollop of the cured fish atop. We also ordered the Picante de Marisco, which was heavenly. It was a medley of seafood and potatoes cooked in this cream sauce that comes with a side of rice and it was the most terrific combination.

IMG_1259

Trio of aji sauces that come with the rotisserie chicken

Pollo a la Brasa ($13.95 half-order)

Pollo a la Brasa ($13.95 half-order)

Alright, enough about the seafood, let’s talk about the restaurant’s biggest celebrity: the marinated free-range rotisserie chicken. This chicken is slowly roasted over open flame giving it a subtle smoky flavor and arrives at your table with a trio of aji sauces that vary in heat. The meat was moist and seasoned to perfection. Just as a precaution, it will most likely put any other rotisserie chicken that you have after this to utter shame! We also ordered the Carne a la Parilla, which is another one of their specialties. It is a marinated skirt steak over roasted chimichurry baby yukon potatoes, and finished with a red wine & demi glaze. It was a marvelous combination of salty and sweet.

When I asked our waiter Erik what was one of the best aspects of working at Limón, he replied instantaneously, “The diversity. Because the restaurant is Peruvian, it brings a lot of different people here and it’s great.” His remark was absolutely spot-on. Just taking a glance around our table, that consisted of a French guy, a Vietnamese-American, a British-American, and a Japanese-American, I couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful to not only be surrounded by a diversity of great friends but also to live in such a beautiful place that is rich in color and experiences.

In the words of our waiter Erik Vega who has worked at the restaurant for over a year, Limón can be described as a place to “live, love, and relax.” Until soon… xx, Kyoko

Picante de Mariscos ($16.95)

Picante de Mariscos ($16.95)

Angie’s Take

The Mission has easily become one of my favorite neighborhoods to eat and play. Among many great restaurants, Limon Rotisserie does not disappoint because it has great service and equally great Peruvian food.

On this adventure we decided to bring Gramz (who also joined us at Wayfare Tavern – see previous post) and our French friend, Clement, pronounced Clee-moh, or as I like to call him, “Cement” or “Clemmy-Bear” because it drives him up the walls. He was a great asset in this tasting (and will also be a great asset in future tastings) because he is a self proclaimed food critic, being French and all.

Now let’s get to business. I asked Erik V., my favorite waiter by far, to help us order because we wanted to try some of his favorites. Here’s what he suggested and its corresponding verdict: Ceviche Mixto, Arroz con Mariscos, Carne a la Parrilla, and Pollo a la Brasa with veggies and a salad as sides.

Ceviche: Came highly recommended by Erik. It’s made with all types of perfectly cooked seafood in a mildly citrus juice. The first person to comment out loud about the food was my favorite Frenchie, who exclaimed it was delicious! For once we agreed on something! It was so delicious that for a minute we uncharacteristically didn’t have anything to say to each other, focusing on more important things.

Ceviche atop a sweet potato chip

Ceviche atop a sweet potato chip

The next plate was the Arroz con Mariscos, a Peruvian style paella. It was made with various types of seafood in a mildly spicy and creamy “sauce”, which I think was more like a thick broth. The white rice came on the side, separate from the seafood. This dish was so tasty, the sauce reminded me of Mom’s and Grandma’s Thai curry, a compliment which is highest of highs! Anytime a dish brings me back home, I’m donezo, it has me.

Carne a la Parilla, a perfectly grilled skirt steak with a sweet-ish glaze served with potatoes. I mean, c’mon, judging by the previous two dishes I wouldn’t have expected anything less. If you are a red meat type of person, you will love this.

IMG_1251

Carne a la Parilla ($16.95)

IMG_1253

Yukon potatoes

The Pollo a la Brasa, number 56 on the 7×7 list, and the reason for visiting this restaurant, was a knock-out. It was exactly like how I imagine a delicious rotisserie to taste like: tender and fatty and all the other delicious things in life. You can order a whole, half, or quarter and it’s served with two sides. We picked the veggies and salad, our futile attempt to slip something nutritious into the meal. If I had it my way I would have ordered the fries. But hey, you win some you lose some.

Like I mentioned, our waiter Erik V. was my favorite waiter by far because he was so attentive, talkative, and seemed happy to be there! Don’t you just love waiters like that? They make the dining experience so much more fun. Erik, if you are reading this, thank you for everything! I asked him a series of questions about Limon and here are two of my favorite answers:

1. If you had to sum up the experience here in a few words, what are they? “Live, love, and relax.”

2. Would you bring your family here? He smiled and responded with a very genuine “of course”.

So if you are looking for a fun and trendy place to eat yummy delicious food in the Mission, Limon Rotisserie is a must-try. Also, if you can help it, ask for Erik V.

Thank you again for reading, we have been LOVING the encouragement and positive feedback! We are so excited that some of you have been visiting these places after our posts. It motivates us to keep the information flowing!

Until next time! xx, A.

IMG_1261

 

Celebrations at Wayfare Tavern

IMG_1080

View of the open kitchen

IMG_1094

Gin Spiced Mule ($12)

Kyoko’s Palate

Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern is located in the heart of the financial district of San Francisco. The restaurant has an edgy boldness to it, which makes it fitting for its location. From the moment you walk into the restaurant, there is an old-timey San Franciscan vibe that you breathe which is really a unique and lovely feeling.

IMG_1106

The perfect little popover

As my friends and I all settled down and scoured the menu, looking for the infamous popovers, a faint stream of panic overcame me, as it was nowhere to be found. I began to think that either my eyes were failing me due to the dim lighting or they weren’t actually on the menu any longer. When our waiter returned to our table, we inquired about the popovers, and he said, “OH, they should be on their way!” WAIT A SECOND. So an item on this 7×7 list is actually not even an item you can order but is complementary? SAY WHAT?! This was all too hilarious. But this surprise wouldn’t be the only “surprise” for the evening. When the warm popovers arrived at our table, it was as if we were all suddenly overtaken with this tangy cloud of goodness all around us. The popovers were crisp on the outside and airy and light in the inside. They arrived with this portion of butter to be smothered on top, which made it oh-so-very-heavenly. The butter was light and tasted like freshly whipped cream. All I kept thinking was that I bet Paula Dean wished she could dig into this deliciousness right now.

IMG_1111

Avocado and Heart of Palm Salad ($13)

IMG_1116

Organic Fried Chicken ($25) 

Angie and I shared the Avocado and Heart of Palm Salad and the Organic Fried Chicken. If you have affection for avocados and want to stray away from the standard leafy green salad, I would recommend this salad in a heartbeat. It was certainly the best looking avocado that I’ve ever eaten that was well-dressed in a delicious honey lime dressing and sprinkled with shavings of red onions, cucumbers, and cilantro. Also, if you aren’t afraid to put aside your cutlery for a moment (cutlery is so overrated sometimes) and get your hands a little greasy, the fried chicken is a must. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. It was brined in buttermilk, coated with a light crust, and fried to perfection. Keeping with the fried theme, there was a heap of fried herbs (rosemary, sage) atop the mound of chicken that was complimented by cloves of roasted garlic that was even delicious to eat on its own. Once I drizzled the fresh wedge of lemon on the chicken, it was game over. I could die happy. I seriously could.

IMG_1109

Baked Macaroni & Cheese with vella dry jack and smoked olive oil ($9) 

As we all devoured our food and got samples of each other’s dishes, I could feel that the chaos of all of our workweeks seemed to melt away and we could delight in the company of each other. Somehow three orders of the Baked Macaroni and Cheese had made their ways to our table, which was utterly delicious and the only thing left were crumbs (of course). The macaroni was drowning in vella dry jack cheese yet kept afloat with the smoked olive oil making it a creamy mess of fantastic-ness. And just when I thought that the night couldn’t have gotten better, the waiter arrived with a birthday cake for our friend Andrew. Apparently our friend Graeham had picked up a cake for him and brought it to the restaurant to celebrate his birthday that was the day prior. He then surprised Angie and I with two very thoughtful and sweet cards as we found out this week of some exciting news for our futures. Thanks Graeham for being such a supportive and caring friend!

Sometimes when you have high expectations of food, coupled with the hoopla of a culinary rock star, it’s not unusual to be let down. But in all honestly, I enjoyed every minute of our meal especially since there was so much to be celebrated amongst the company of great people. I recommend Wayfare Tavern if you’re looking for a wholesome American experience that is a perfect example of California Cuisine x Comfort of the South. It’s a great place to grab dinner/drinks after work or have parties up to 6-7 people (they kindly let us squeeze in 7). I’m sure I’ll be coming back soon whenever I’m aching for some good ole’ comfort food. Until soon.. xx, Kyoko _________________________________________________________________________

Angie’s Take

There was much to be celebrated this past weekend so Kyoko and I decided to make dinner at Wayfare Tavern a group affair! We were accompanied by Priscilla, Jackie, Katie, Graeham, and Andrew.

IMG_1095

Our friend Graeham enjoying the meal

A little bit about our amazing friends: Pris is so sweet and fabulous, always sporting the best statement necklaces! She owns a medical translation business, she’s sweet AND successful – the whole package! Jackster is funny and outgoing with a smile that can light up a room. She is currently studying to become a CPA, keep up the good work! Katie is athletic and has the best sense of humor, try playing Cards Against Humanity with her and you will understand. She works in PR for Clif Bar, so fitting because she is currently training for a marathon in July. Gramdizzle is the most considerate, social, and energetic guy I know. We met via Craigslist in December (I’ll save that story for another time) and have become great friends in such a short period of time, he is a very capable real estate agent. Andrew, the birthday boy, is a thoughtful and intelligent. He works in the venture capitalist field, doing important and complicated things in ways I will never understand. Happy birthday Andrew!

IMG_1101

Our lovely friends Katie and Priscilla 

Like I mentioned earlier, there was much to be celebrated this weekend. In addition to Andrew’s birthday, Kyoko just landed a very competitive summer job in LA as School Operations Manager for Teach for America. I also recently got offered, and accepted, an Associate Attorney position at a new law firm. So much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for, so much good food.

Wayfare Tavern has a cool 1920s vibe and is a great after work spot. Good food, strong drinks, and plenty of good-looking people (hey, we were all thinking it)!

IMG_1090

The Popovers with a generous heap of freshly whipped butter

Now to the POPOVERS, number 52 on 7×7’s list. To my surprise, they were complimentary and the waiter kept asking whether I wanted another. Naturally, like any self-respecting woman would do, I stuffed as many as I could into my Kate Spade. Popovers are trendy and more delicious versions of boring dinner rolls. Flaky on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, all the best textures rolled into one carb-loaded present. The accompanying butter was also incredible. I think I heard somewhere they keep a cow and butter-churner in the back room, constantly cranking out fresh delicious butter.

IMG_1118

Angie vs. Fried Chicken

Onto the main course. We shared the mac and cheese, avocado and hearts of palm salad, and fried chicken. The mac and cheese was perfect, crumbly on top and cheesy on the bottom, exactly how it should be. The salad was good too, a whole avocado sliced in fancy directions accompanied by hearts of palm and other healthy things, topped with a lemon vinaigrette. I mean, I needed to add something green to this meal! Saving the BEST for last, the fried chicken. So yummy that it deserves a spot on 7×7’s list (hint hint, 7×7). It was a perfectly fried dish sent from heaven and the ultimate definition of comfort food. Feeling down? Just go eat this friend chicken, it will fix everything. As you can see from the photo above, I jumped right in and attacked those suckers with my bare hands. I loved every minute of it.

What a wonderful weekend in this wonderful city. Thanks for reading and please join us for our next food adventure. Also, check out our Instagram @theduoscrumbylife for more photos and updates. xx, Angie

IMG_1129

Cheers to the Birthday Boy, Andrew!

IMG_1146

Life is great when you can have your cake and eat it too!

IMG_1148

558 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

IMG_1140

The leftovers

Gracias Madre for Sunflower Restaurant

Butternut Squash Tacos from Gracias Madre

Butternut Squash Tacos from Gracias Madre ($13)

Angie’s Take

This morning Kyoko and I decided to visit TWO restaurants off the 7×7 list, Gracias Madre for butternut squash tacos and Sunflower for the vermicelli. Two birds one stone!

Butternut squash tacos- very great vegan dish, the butternut squash was perfectly sweet paired with a sauce that was nicely salty, all sat comfortably in a thick corn tortilla. Spoon some of the beans on top and you have yourself one fantastic healthy taco. This restaurant is perfect for big and small groups because there are plenty of big tables along with bar seating. It’s also great for indoor or outdoor dining because of the heated porch. I would visit again the next time I’m in the mood for Mexican with a healthy twist.

photo 2

Vermicelli with five spice roasted chicken ($10.95)

Vermicelli – let me preface with the fact that I am an incredibly-credible-Vietnamese-food-critic. My resume goes something like this: I am Vietnamese so I grew up on this stuff, my veins are filled with both blood and fish sauce. Moreover, I just returned from a month-long hiatus throughout Southeast Asia, including two weeks in Vietnam where I ate everything I could get my hands on. Back to the task at hand, the vermicelli at Sunflower was definitely not the best I’ve ever had (I mean, nobody can beat mom’s and grandma’s home made vermicelli and fish sauce dynamite), but definitely worthy of a B+. I would have preferred some bean sprouts and herbs in addition to the lettuce and carrots that were already waiting at the bottom of the bowl. Also, I would have liked more chicken, but nothing a simple request (and of course an extra charge) can’t fix. The restaurant is on the “run-down” side, exactly what you would expect from an older Vietnamese restaurant in hipster-town, or the Mission if you want political correctness. I wouldn’t want to have my vermicelli in any other environment, porcelain plates and authentic Vietnamese cuisine don’t exactly mix in my humble opinion.

Vietnamese coffee – damn it, I forgot to drink some of Kyoko’s while she was in the bathroom, guess she will tell you all about it. Thanks Koko for spending the day exploring San Francisco with me! I really can not get enough of this city and can’t wait until my next post. Stay tuned! xx, Angie

_________________________________________________________________________

Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk

Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk

Kyoko’s Palate

As Angie and I hopped off the bus, landing feet first in the Mission, our stomachs aching with hunger and excitement, we began to walk quickly towards our destination. Naturally, it took us a solid 5 minutes to realize we were actually headed in the opposite direction but it turned out to be a good thing because we passed Gracias Madre and decided that we might as well sneak in some tacos while we were there. So gracias to our poor navigation skills, that actually led us to two destinations instead of one!

Gracias Madre is one of those rare all-vegan restaurants where the food is so hearty and delicious that you seem to forget it’s actually really healthy for you too. Those are the best kind of restaurants, right? I’ve been there a couple times prior to today and it has never let me down. The air is welcoming, the music festive (at times there is even a live mariachi band playing), and the tables arranged family-style. We ordered two butternut squash tacos and one platanos taco. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash and it was roasted to perfection, topped with herbs and cashew cheese, atop a homemade corn tortilla. I spiced it up (but not too much – I’m rather weak) with a little verde sauce that made it absolutely perfect! The platanos taco was more of a dessert but it was the perfect bite to end our little meal. I also ordered the horchata which was not too sweet and absolutely refreshing. It definitely prepped me for our next pit stop.

Having traveled to Vietnam on a soul-o adventure and eating my way through the entire country (no shame), I naturally have high expectations. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of vermicelli and am more of a pho-kinda-chick but I thought it tasted pretty standard to my previous experiences with vermicelli. I enjoyed the chicken, crisp on the outside and tender and juicy in the inside. They smothered that baby up with spices and it gave the dish a savory kick in the butt, I mean bowl. It wasn’t a life-changing dish but it was certainly yum. Also, like the standard coffee addict that I am, I ordered an iced Vietnamese coffee, which was coffee-sighing-good. I don’t know if it was good because I needed a caffeine boost desperately, or because I just love slow-drip coffee, but I was grateful that they didn’t drown it in a muddle of condensed milk. The waiter was surprisingly cheerful and enthusiastic and said something like, “Oh you LOVE coffee?” which I appreciated because I felt like he got me. And I liked that.

All in all, it was a fun and successful 1st day of our challenge in the Mish (like the hep-cats call it) and was the perfect ending to another lovely weekend in the Bay. Like they say, eat big, or go home. xx, Kyoko