My first week in cali is almost over! I spent this week relaxing, doing fun stuff and cooking a lot. I made yakisoba and taro rice again. This time I used the packaged yakisoba flavoring that came with the noodles but I didn’t like it at all. Next time I will make my own sauce as I usually do. I highly recommend the taro rice recipe.
On Tuesday, we went to eat with Amanda’s family. I made sai mai lo and almond agar jelly with lychees for dessert. I made the sai mai lo and realized there would not be enough to go around so I managed to scrape up the other dessert in less than 2 hours after a bit of wandering around grocery stores and cranking up the freezer.
Sai mai lo is the Cantonese name for this dessert. It’s made with taro, mini tapioca pearls, coconut milk and sugar. Very simple yet super delicious and satisfying. It can be eaten chilled or hot but I usually prefer it cold. Recipe here.
Almond agar jelly was from a mix. All I had to do was bring it to a boil with water and then chill it. Once it’s chilled, it forms a really firm, bouncy jelly that’s really fun to eat. I mixed it with chopped canned lychee and some lychee syrup. I didn’t know if this combination would work but I love almond and I love lychee so I gave it a try. Yum!
On Wednesday, we hung out with Amanda in San Francisco. We were trying to get to Tartine Bakery for dinner but only made it with enough time to pick up our reserved loaf of walnut sourdough bread. I realized that it’s best to go early to Tartine because they had barely any pastries left by closing time. I wanted to grab an almond croissant (one of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever eaten) but there was no more. Now we have a reason to go back again. I’ll try to grab a picture of the walnut bread next time.. I keep forgetting because it’s so delicious. All I think about once we get it is eating it, not pictures.
Instead, we went to Universal Cafe in the Mission District. The Mission is a real eclectic neighborhood with a huge mix of restaurants and nightlife. It looks really shady at night but there are lots of great places to eat and drink. Universal Cafe had a great atmosphere, an upscale look built into a warehouse thereby making it laid back. It has an open kitchen and relaxed service meant to let guests dine undisturbed. I really liked the feel but the food wasn’t as good as it could have been. The prices were low, which is probably why the food wasn’t amazing. They feature organic ingredeints from local farms. (Sorry for the crappy pictures, it was really dark and my camera sucks).
I ordered the lamb, which came with gnocchi, olives and pesto sauce. It was tender but really salty. The sauce was also too oily. The gnocchi was good but I felt that there was way too much lamb and not enough gnocchi to balance the dish out. I couldn’t finish it because there was just too much meat. A vegetable would have been nice too. I guess mostly I was thrown off because I was expecting lamb chops for some reason and got braised lamb instead.
Amanda got the linguine with duck confit. The linguine was good but it was drenched in an oil based sauce. There were also olives in this dish which was interesting. The CHOPPED duck pieces really annoyed me. For a classy restaurant, I expected a big piece of duck rather than chopped pieces. It makes it seem like they put in whatever spare pieces of duck they scrounged up for cheap. The texture of the duck was dry as well. Overall though, I think this was a better dish than mine because the noodles were great.
Brian got the cheese ravioli with fresh peas, asparagus and red peppers. I think this was the best dish because it was light and the vegetables were fresh. You can taste how sweet and crisp the greens were. The reason why I never order ravioli at restaurants is because they give you so little but I should have ordered this instead!
After dinner we got one of the best ice creams in SF at Bi-Rite Creamery. They also have a Bi-Rite Supermarket nearby that’s totally not your typical market. It’s packed with high end quality products and that’s the place to go if you can’t find a hard to find ingredient. They sell very little crap/cheap processed goods if any. I wouldn’t be surprised to find this store in uptown Manhattan.
Anyway, moving back to ice cream.. we got three scoops to share. Salted caramel, balsamic strawberry and Earl Grey Tea. The salted caramel was very strong with a slight bitter note, good but not our favorite. The balsamic strawberry was really good. I couldn’t taste the balsamic vinegar though. The Earl Grey Tea was my favorite. I tried this one last time I was here too. It’s citrus-y with a hint of floral tea. A really bright flavor that you won’t tired of.
And last but not least, pictures of the first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from Two Small Farms! After being confused as to where at the house we’re supposed to find the veggies (they were hidden in a gated area next to the house), we lugged home our bounty.
We got a box of super sweet strawberries (you could smell the sweetness coming off of them), a bag of new potatoes, four heads of red romaine lettuce, big bunch of parsley, three huge golden beets with the greens still attached, a bunch of carrots with greens still attached and five big zucchini.
We ate a head of lettuce and sampled four tiny potatoes last night. Everything was so fresh tasting! These veggies were picked this week if not today. I have no idea what to do with the parsley considering I don’t like parsley much. I’m going to roast the beets, some carrots, zucchini, and potatoes and saute the beet greens tonight. I’m super glad we have veggies because we’ve been low on veggies all week. If you have any ideas to use up the parsley, please let me know!!