SF Restaurant Week 2016

I had recently been chosen once again as a Gogobot Pro for this year (5th year and counting!), and had the honor of being part of their first Pro event, which included dinner for SF Restaurant Week. Funny thing about it is, we actually bypassed the actual set menu and ordered from the regular one. But I digress, it was delish. The dinner took place at Gaspar Brasserie in downtown. Very exciting for me since it was my first full on experience with French cuisine

The evening started off with a few cocktails since our reservation overlapped with their happy hour. A handful of us chose their Pimm’s No. 3 Cup, which was a mix of Pimm’s #1 liqueur, brandy, lemon, ginger, cucumber, mint, and seltzer.

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We were soon seated not long after placing our drink orders. Once we were settled, we got a few small plates to share before our main courses arrived. Yes it’s a French restaurant, but if they have pomme frites (aka fries), we’ll take them!

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Despite others being hesitant to try them, one of the group and I enjoyed their escargot. These were prepared with parsley garlic butter, pancetta, shallots, carrot, and topped with brioche croutons.

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My favorite out of the apps was the Roasted Bone Marrow. I usually wouldn’t touch the stuff, but topped with parsley-anchovy breadcrumbs, carmelised onions, and capers, the flavors in this were amazing.

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For the main course, I chose their Citrus & Saffron Poached Salmon. It was served atop a bed of butter lettuce, with baby beets, pickled red onion, and crumbled egg yolk.

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I’m not sure where I heard about French food having “small portions”, but this was not at all a small meal! Most of us were on the verge of full, if not already there. But for some, myself included, there was still room left for dessert! My order of their Petite Tart Tatin was garnished with streusel and malted honey ice cream, and was a great way to cap off an evening of fine dining.

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Overall, I loved the restaurant’s ambiance, their use of organic ingredients (e.g. micro greens and lots of beets), and of course the food. Not to mention the company of people I see a few times during the year, if not often. I think it’s safe to say that my food adventures for 2016 are off to an incredibly good start. I look forward to featuring more of my pheNOMenal finds in the near future.

To find out more about Gogobot, a mobile city and travel guide app, feel free to check out their page here.

 

Pinky Up! My Favorite Places for Afternoon Tea

Winter’s creeping up quickly here in the Bay Area. One of the things I like to do during this time of year (or any time of year, really) is have a nice afternoon tea. I’ve been to quite a few places, but wanted to share the ones I liked the most. (All places listed in this post are linked to their websites.)

Crown & Crumpet

Located in San Francisco’s Japantown off of Post Street, this has been a frequent stop for me and my friends when satisfying our afternoon tea craving. Their Tea for One includes finger sandwiches, warm savories, a scone and crumpet, desserts, and a pot of tea of your choosing. I either get their Strawberry Oolong or Murky Water (it’s actually a fruit blend tea, and really good). For $28, that’s the best deal I’ve seen by far up here.

Satori Tea Co.

Once located in downtown San Jose, they have since moved to their new one in Saratoga. I loved the inside ambience, not to mention their extensive selection of teas. Customers are able to look at and smell the different types before placing their order. The English Afternoon Tea ($37) or Tea for Two ($63 or $31.50/person) would be my recommendations if you’re willing to go all out. I would prefer the former because it includes a crumpet. I really don’t eat those anywhere outside of afternoon tea!

Tea Upon Chatsworth

Call me biased if you will, but I absolutely adore this place in San Diego even though it’s the only SoCal location I’ve visited. I’ll heighten that sentiment even more because I celebrated my birthday here with some good friends. Their Queen’s Tea is $29/person, offering seasonal menus of various finger sandwiches, sweet and savory pastries, dessert, and unlimited pots of tea. They even gave me a candle lit mini cupcake and sang since it was my birthday. Talk about awesome service!

Looking for more options? Here are a few honorable mentions:

Regardless of where I’ve been, these are my favorite afternoon tea items:

  • English Breakfast tea
  • Crumpets with clotted cream
  • Lox or cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches

 

I highly suggest making reservations, especially if there’s a large group. Some locations will take walk-ins depending on availability, and they may also have gluten-free options upon request. It’s always best to plan ahead, and bring an empty stomach because some of these menus can be surprisingly filling.

Have you ever had afternoon tea before? Feel free to let me know if you have any recommendations.

My Experience at The Makeup Show Pop-Up Shop San Francisco

Last weekend I attended a makeup show with my friend mzcolorplay. It was held for 2 days, but I was only able to attend on Sunday. Although this show is mainly for pro MUAs, there was a good mix of them and regular consumers such as myself. Since this was a pop-up shop, the venue was held in one of the ballrooms at the Hyatt, which was rather small. I was able to do a few rounds on the floor, and we were in and out of there in under an hour.

The prices for the items sold at the shop were reasonable. Guaranteed to make anyone who attended drop a few bucks. Professionals could also sign up for membership/discount cards with a few of the brands there, and seminars were available to sit in on during the show.

I managed to snag a few items. I’ll be reviewing them in a future post. Overall, this was just a taste of what to expect with makeup shows. It’s definitely not IMATS or Beauty Con in terms of size, but they will be holding larger 2-day shows and another pop-up in the US within the coming months and next year. Check out the lineup at www.themakeupshow.com.

Walker Stalker Con 2015

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I came across a Groupon for this event and at first thought it looked a bit generic. However, after checking their website, it was confirmed that this was legit. In fact, it’s been making several stops since October of last year. This past weekend, it came to San Francisco and was held at Fort Mason Center. The venue is much smaller compared to the ones I’ve been to for other conventions, but surprisingly it wasn’t too crowded. Maybe because I chose to attend on the last day? I’m not sure. I saw several of the actors taking photos and signing autographs inside one of the exhibition halls and managed to snap a few myself (taking an actual one with them would cost me, no thanks). I also saw a panel with the actors who played The Governor and Merle from The Walking Dead. More actors from the show could be seen having interviews at an outside stage as well. From what I saw, the attendees looked like they were enjoying themselves. I just might dish out a little more dough should they plan to return next year. This has me even more excited for the new season of TWD this coming Sunday.

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An Evening at Wayfare Tavern

The best friend treated me to a belated birthday dinner, which was delayed even more by a week because they caught a bug, but it was totally worth the wait. We had an early reservation for 5:30pm, and luckily it wasn’t very crowded at the time. The hostess even informed us that Tyler Florence (celeb chef on Food Network and owner of the restaurant for those not in the know) happened to be there. She led us to our seats near the kitchen, where low and behold, there he was! He said hello to us once we arrived, and my friend hilariously said a proper “Hello” in return.

He popped in a few more times to help out the cooks and take a few phone calls before leaving for the day. He doesn’t stick around for the crowds, which is smart. We did want to ask to take a photo since not too many people were there yet, but it didn’t feel right to disturb him in his element. Seriously though, he was literally about 3 ft away from me when I took this.

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The following items were what my friend and I had for dinner:

Starters – American Kobe Tartare and Deviled Eggs

The tartare was served with garlic popovers and the deviled eggs were some of the best ones I ever had.

Entree – Seared Scallops

This was actually supposed to be their Poached Wild Black Cod, but our server regretted to inform us that it was unavailable that evening. Instead, he recommended this to us and said we would not be disappointed. He was right! 3 large scallops atop chowder broth with sweet potatoes, clams, and bacon? Yes, please.

Dessert – S’mores

I had this while my friend had their Snickerdoodle gelato. Their version of this is far from your normal campground variety s’more (look at the photo and you’ll understand what I mean). The Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream that came with it was an added bonus, not to mention a flavor explosion for the palate. Anyone who likes cinnamon should get this. Trust me!

It will be a bit difficult to top a restaurant visit like this. I do plan to return as there are still a few items on their menu that I’d love to try (i.e. the fried chicken. I’m sure I saw the kitchen prepare 20+ orders of that during the time that we were there). Reservations are highly recommended since it is a popular place. A wait may still be expected depending on the time you select. Their menu also changes often due to the seasonal and local availability of the ingredients. An experience like this is definitely something not meant to be rushed.