homemade kale chips

Kale is such a common green yet very underrated. These dark green leaves are one of the best greens to eat – high in fibre and a great source of vitamins. I bought a large bunch from the farmers market and to my surprise, the stems were bright yellow and a gorgeous deep pink! With so much kale, I decided make some into healthy (and very addicting) kale chips.

What you’ll need:

  • tongs
  • spatula
  • knife
  • baking pan
  • wax paper or tinfoil
  • large mixing bowl
  • kale – 1 large bunch 6-8 leaves
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • lemon (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil

I loosely followed Martha Stewart’s recipe – omitted the lemon and used garlic virgin olive oil instead of regular virgin olive oil. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, line your baking pan with wax paper or tin foil followed by thoroughly washing kale leaves. Lightly pat leaves to dry. Slice stems completely off and leave to the side (the stems will not “crisp” when making your chips) and slice leaves down the center, followed by small 1 to 2 inch pieces. Toss all sliced kale leaves in mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp of olive oil & a pinch of salt. I used extra virgin garlic olive oil and sea salt (the garlic and kale leaves are a delicious combination). Once leaves are evenly coated, use tongs to place kale leaves on the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Check often and flip leaves over for even toasting. When finished “crisping” leave out to cool and sprinkle sea salt (to taste). Voila! Kale chips.

*stems don’t have to go to waste. Cook in quinoa or in a stir fry!

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Tony’s Makes its pizza even hotter, 1000 degrees hotter that is

Italian Slice House

Photo courtesy of SF Eater

Only a year old and Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has made a killing in the pizza business. The award winning Tony Gemignani will open his latest establishment, Tony’s Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House, Friday, Aug 20, next door to the famous North Beach location.

Pies at this location will be fired in NorCal’s only 1,000 degree oven and items on the menu include New York style pizza, Roman style pizza, Chicago Italian beef sandwiches and New York deli sandwiches. You can even order pizza by the slice.

Eric Corbin, who worked at Grimaldi’s in Arizona, will be running shop.

Groupon Deal – $25 for $50 Worth of Apparel at Gap

A friend of mine sent this deal to me the other day. Sign up here and get $50 worth of Gap apparel for only $25!

Michael Mina – San Francisco

Michael Mina Tuna Tartare MixedMichael Mina
335 Powell St
(between Geary St & Post St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Union Square

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

So, in my last post, I mentioned I didn’t make it out to Michael Mina with my whole group of friends. However, K decided to take me for some 1:1 time the night before my birthday. Michael Mina is definitely a special occasion restaurant, so I think it’s much more appreciated by a party of 2 rather than a large group.

The scene:

I had no idea Michael Mina was in the Westin in Union Square. The restaurant looks more like a lobby bar than a restaurant, but the ambiance absolutely screams big-price-tag.

Service was phenomenal. Our waitress, Sam, was always attentive. She observed my need to take photos of every meal and advised me when to take photos of certain dishes (i.e. the lobster pot pie before it’s been assembled.)

The food:

After Sam described the menu, K and I quickly flipped back to the first page with the cheapest menu option, the prix fixe menu ($105/pp).

Amuse Bouche Trio – This was the opening number for every meal at Michael Mina and it definitely impresses. The trio is consisted of a shrimp tempura, an uni (sea urchin) flan, and hamachi tartare. It has a great “wow” factor. Each little item is packed with big flavor and it plays with each of your sensory buds on the tongue. A fun way to start the meal.

Tuna Tartare – If I had to choose my last meal on earth, I don’t think this would be it, but it came pretty darn close. The tartare is initially served with the ingredients – tuna, egg yolk, chili pepper, salt, basil, pine nuts, pears and sesame oil – laid out on the plate and then they mix it right there in front of you. The combination of ingredients in this dish is brilliant. It’s both sweet and nutty. And the fish is incredibly fresh, it was like eating straight butter.

Michael Mina Rabbit Fois Gras AppetizerSpring Rabbit / Foie Gras – It is very rare to find rabbit on the menu.  From the left, we had the pea tortellini, leg confit, and tarragon.  I found this dish to be creamy and delicious.  I would definitely look forward to having this again.  In the middle, there was the Loin Terrine, California Asparagus,  Meyer Lemon.  I found the Loin Terrine to be slightly game-y but the Asparagus was delicious!  And on the right, I had the Foie Gras Mousse, Radish, and Chive Wafer.  I had no clue how to eat it, so, I placed the Chive Wafers into the Foie Gras Mousse like crackers in soup.  This was the highlight of this dish.  The Foie Gras was a little cold, but it tasted awesome.

Lobster Pot Pie – Wow, this is sinful. The pot pie is presented by one of the chefs in a copper pot. He then cuts off the top and assembles the entire lobster on your plate. The rich, creamy sauce along with the thumbelina carrots, potatoes, radishes and pearl onions is poured on top of the perfectly tender and succulent lobster.

Brandt Farm Beef – Fava Beans and Spring Potatos – From the left, I had the Filet Mignon, Laratte Potato Puree, Ramp Jus.  I barely remember the Filet Mignon, but the Potato Puree was really rich and creamy.  Just my style.  In the middle, I had the Grilled Ribeye, Crushed Fava Beans, and Potato Gaufrette.  The Grilled Ribeye was a bit on the dry side.  On the Right, there was the Braised Ox Tail, Morel Mushrooms, and Herb Salad.  The Braised Ox Tail was really good.  Definitely my favorite out of this dish.

Michael Mina Rootbeer FloatRoot Beer Float – I initially ordered the dessert trio, but in mid-lobster, I switched it to the root beer float because I knew I would be pretty sad watching K eat his, while I had something else. The root beer float is made of 1 scoop of sassafras ice cream and 1 scoop of root beer sorbet with IBC root beer. On the side of the float are 2 warm cookies – 1 chocolate chip and 1 chocolate chip pecan. I was way too full to eat the cookies, but I was able to finish mine and help finish K’s. I took the cookies to go and ate them warm 2 days later. Mmm, so good.

At the end of the meal, we spoke with Sam, our waitress, and she told us they were closing down that location and reopening a boutique version of it at the old Aqua location on California. In place of the space in the Westin will be a steak restaurant also branded with the Michael Mina name. A grand opening party is supposed to happen in mid-October, but I’m not sure of the details.  I hope I can get my name on that press list. 🙂

Office Kitchen – Chicken Tacos

Working in a cubicle farm from 9 to 5 definitely has its health disadvantages.  At the office, most people have a quick meal of anything from leftovers, fast food, store bought or company provided meals.  My company doesn’t provide meals, but I also usually don’t have leftovers to bring to work.  I found that buying restaurant food was very expensive and wasn’t very healthy.  So, my coworkers and I have been preparing our own fresh hot lunches on our own for the better part of the last 2 years.  We do occasionally go out a few times a week, but we usually return to our usual creative dishes in no time.

In order for us to make this work, our office provides us with a few appliances that should be available at most office lunch rooms.  These include a refrigerator, microwave and toaster oven.  Over time, we have purchased our own equipment for the office, such as the versatile Slap Chop, a large mixing bowl, and a few tupperware containers.

Enough about the back story, here’s what we made recently: Grilled Chicken Tacos

Purchase from the store:

12 Tortillas
8 Roma Tomatoes (Why Roma?  Because they cut the best in the Slap Chop)
1 bunch of Cilantro
1 small Onion
1-2 Grilled Chicken Patty
2 Limes

To make the Pico de Gallo:
We have a pretty good process for this.  I split the tomatoes in fours, VD scrapes out the seeds, and Ivan runs them through the Slap Chop.  For the Cilantro, we make sure we remove the stems, then we bundle it and Slap Chop.  Last, we slice up an onion  and put it in the.. Say it with me… SLAP CHOP!  All the chopped ingredients are thrown into our mixing bowl, we squeeze some lime, and spring some Salt and Pepper and voila Pico de Gallo.  We also add some extra ingredients sometimes, such as jalapeno and green onions, just to try them out.

To steam the Tortilla:

Place the tortillas on a plate, and a wet paper towel on top.  Use the microwave to heat it up for about 1:30 minutes.

To heat the Chicken:

Microwave for 2 minutes.

I hope this inspires you to make your lunch more exciting the next time you feel like you are stuck eating the same old stuff.

El Patio Español – San Francisco

El Patio Espanol Seafood PaellaEl Patio Español
2850 Alemany Blvd
(between Farragut Ave & Whipple Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94112

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

My bday was last weekend! So since I’m super crazy, I had a dinner with my friends at a Spanish cultural center. Haha! Well, we ate at the restaurant in the Spanish cultural center. The original plan was to eat at Michael Mina with 18 of my friends, but it was way too pricey for some people. Totally understandable. So, our back up plan was to eat at El Patio Español. I’ve been a few times before with my parents, and although it’s a little off the beaten path, they serve excellent food, especially the paella.

The scene:

El Patio Español is situated in a very residential part of town next to a Pacific Super with the BART train passing directly above. If you drove by, you would never know there was a restaurant in side. The plus side about the location is that you’ll always find parking in the huge lot out front. This restaurant is great for parties. Always pretty empty since no one really knows it’s a restaurant. The restaurant was probably half full and we took up a good quarter of it.

Almost every time I’ve been here, there was a wedding in their large ballroom. When eating in the restaurant next to the ballroom, you can enjoy the music from the dance floor. That night, it was hip hop.

Despite the amazing food, the service is satisfactory. You don’t really get what the main waiter says and the sous servers often take plates when you’re not finished.

The food:

Did I mention the food was amazing? My typical order here involves a few tapas an an order of paella. With the paella, you get a choice of soup or salad. Go with the soups, specifically the garlic soup. YUM!

Sangria – I didn’t have my own glass, but I tried a sip of my friends. I was surprised that it tasted nothing like wine. It was more like a really sweet and citrus-y grape juice. Friends said that ones they’ve tried before were bitter, and that this was probably one of the best they’ve had.

Serrano Ham w/Pineapple – I looooove Serrano ham. Especially when fruit is involved. I just love the saltiness and nuttiness of the cured meat. I’m going to Spain in October, and I’m planning on eating this every day.

Mussels and Clams in a White Wine Sauce – This was cooked perfectly. The wine was subtle enough in which I could taste the wine, but it didn’t overpower the flavor of the seafood. Clams were super tender and I didn’t catch any sand in the ones I ate.

Balsamic Portabello Mushrooms – By far the best tapas of the night. It has a strong balsamic taste because of the reduction. It stings the nose and eyes a bit, but once you put it in your mouth, the sweet juiciness of the mushrooms explode.

Seafood Paella – I was a little bummed the waiter plated out the paella for us. I was looking forward to getting a picture of the paella in the pan. But anyway, the paella is awesome. It’s got a great balance of spices. Not too salty, not to fishy. They’re generous with the saffron and seafood. There were clams, mussels, fish, squid and scallops. Everything was good except for the scallops. The scallops were pretty pungent as if they were old.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella – I only got to try a bit of this. Chicken was tender and the sausage was firm and hearty. I’d probably go with this one next time.

All-in-all, I was very pleased with El Patio Español. It’s easy, great for parties, and food is good.

Flavor of the Week – Tartine’s Morning Bun

Tartine Morning Bun

I know, I’m a little late on the bandwagon about this one. Almost everyone and their mama has tried the morning bun at Tartine, mostly because of it’s feature for 2 years in a row on the 7×7 list. For those of you who have not tried this, Tartine’s morning bun makes me, someone who rather sleep in than eat breakfast, want to wake up early to eat breakfast.

The morning bun is like a hybrid of a cinnamon roll and a croissant. What’s different about this morning bun compared to others is that instead of cinnamon sugar in between layers, it’s sugar infused with orange! This morning bun is light and fluffy because of the flaky dough, but the best parts were the chewy bits of sugar and orange zest nestled in between the cracks of the bun.

I thought the morning bun was amazing until I bit into the little black chunks pictured above. I asked the guy at the counter to heat up the bun for me and he gave me this. The black on there is burnt particles from their oven. Gross! At first, I though it was some kind of topping sprinkled on top, but it tasted like burnt parmesan cheese.

I’ll have to come back and re-try the morning bun at room temperature. And, maybe get a sandwich while I’m at it. When waiting in the 20 minute line to get my morning bun to go, I watched all the young hipsters eating these amazing cheese paninis.

Recipe for Tartine’s morning bun after the jump.

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