Thursday, August 30, 2007

Je Suis Arrivée

I arrived in New Orleans earlier this week, and I have already gorged myself on some of the best eats of the City, including warm Cafe Du Monde beignets generously dusted with powdered sugar, fried chicken fresh from the fryer at Willie Mae's Scotch House, huge sloppy oysters at Acme Oyster House, and a velvety and hearty gumbo at Emeril's NOLA. Pictures and reviews are coming soon--as soon as I move in my new place and get settled down. Thank you for your patience, I can't wait to share with you my stories of the Big Easy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leaving My ♥ in San Francisco #5: Taqueria Stalker-ia

One thing I will miss profoundly when I leave San Francisco, is "the San Francisco taqueria."

Everyone has their opinion on what they believe is the best taqueria in San Francisco. One of my close friends says she will live and die eating at only Gordo's Taqueria. On the other hand, three of my other male friends swear by El Farolito Taqueria. The beau likes La Taqueria. Personally, I am a devoted groupie of
Pancho Villa Taqueria (the one in the Mission District, and not the Financial District). I am not kidding when I say that with one bite of a burrito from Pancho Villa, you will experience euphoria and be transported to the celestial throne above.

Despite one's personal taqueria preferences, I believe that almost every taqueria in the Mission District of San Francisco has something unique to offer, be it juicy chunks of immaculately seasoned, char-grilled carne asada; authentic slow-cooked pinto beans; hand-pulled tendrils of pork shoulder, or even a motley mariachi band--every taqueria has a distinctive specialty to draw repeat customers. If you are a tourist or a San Francisco native, you should try as many San Francisco taquerias as you can before you decide on the one that best suits your fancy. Although you can take recommendations from others, listen to your own tastebuds first.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Leaving My ♥ in San Francisco #4: The Food Bloggers

Because of a recent death in the family and the demands of my move to New Orleans later this month, I won't be posting often until the end of this summer. But I want to take this time to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and share with you a moment that made me realize that the best part of being a food blogger is the people, my friends.

This last Sunday, I finally met five of my absolute-favorite-food bloggers for brunch in one of San Francisco's most culinarily savvy destinations, the Mission District. In addition to their taquerias, the Mission District is known for its many critically respected restaurants, markets, and food businesses including Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, Bar Tartine, Tartine Bakery, Bi-Rite Market, and Bi-Rite Creamery. (Notice a "duplicative" trend here?) The great part about it is, that all of the above-mentioned business are all within walking distance of each other. We ultimately dined at Maverick in the Mission.

The bloggers in attendance at the brunch were those who I had come to admire greatly over the course of these two years. Best of all, Chubbypanda (from Orange County) wrote me and informed me that he would be attending a wedding in the Bay Area and that he would make a special trip out to meet me. The San Francisco food bloggers included: the Bunrabs, the Food Hoe, and the Single Guy Chef.

I arrived extra early. I was seated with my back to the door, so one-by-one, I caught the food bloggers enter the dining area curiously craning their necks to catch an initial glimpse of my face. I am sure they were thinking of the line in Forrest Gump, that meeting online friends face-to-face "is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get! ...Especially with Passionate Eater!"

Unfortunately, the CalTrain ran late and delayed the awaited arrival of Chubbypanda and his wife. But as soon as he arrived, the party began. The food bloggers were ebullient and lively and our laughter reverberated across the table. Everyone was riveted by the conversations led by Mr. Bunrab and Chubbypanda--honestly, they possess a wealth of knowledge beyond comprehension! Also, I couldn't stop staring in amazement at how beautiful all of the food bloggers were. I remember thinking to myself, "Shoot, if this is always going to be the case, I need to meet more food bloggers!"

Several of the food bloggers brought me wonderful and thoughtful gifts, including gourmet specialty salt, huge packages of roasted coffee beans, and a stunning box full of colorful manju. The sweet bean paste within the manju cakes was thick, smooth, and full-flavored. It was the best manju I have ever had.

Although I won't get into great detail about the food that afternoon, I will say that food bloggers make the best company EVER, and they would make any food taste good.

I ordered the Texan migas, or scrambled eggs with made with crispy strips of deep-fried tortilla. The migas were served with a neighboring pile of firm black beans. The beans themselves weren't sandy, mushy, or overcooked, but they were a little bit more al dente than I would have liked. . . And because I love scrambled eggs, pico de gallo salsa, and guacamole so much, I do wish the portions were a tad larger.

The beau ordered the cornmeal pancakes with the chicken and apple sausage. Initially, I disappointed with his selection because I was afraid that the coarse, individually-textured grains of cornmeal would violate the "required" soft and spongy interior of pancakes. But the pleasantly sweet pancakes were so fluffy, moist, and cakey, that syrup was unnecessary.

I also snapped photos of the two brunch dishes of the food bloggers sitting next to me. Chubbypanda ordered eggs benedict with fried cubes of breakfast potatoes and andouille sausage,

And the Single Guy Chef ordered poached eggs over duck confit hash, which was made with oyster mushrooms and potatoes, in a mushroom cream sauce.

My blurry photos pale in comparison with the other food bloggers, so check out their posts now!

After we finished our brunch, no one wanted the afternoon to end, so we strolled over to the nearby Bi-Rite Creamery and Tartine Bakery to grab a late-afternoon snack. Unfortunately, the beau had to make an urgent stop at the restroom, and since there were no available public restrooms in the immediate vicinity, the food bloggers graciously waited in Bi-Rite Market as he used the facilities in Pizzeria Delfina.

We eventually made it to Bi-Rite Creamery. Despite the gloomy weather outside, we all ordered multiple scoops of their decadent ice cream. I ordered one scoop of caramel ice cream with fleur de sel and one scoop of chai tea latte ice cream. Both icy orbs were creamy, melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. I couldn't taste the fleur de sel at all--the salt enhanced the already full-bodied flavors of the cream and caramel.

After we polished off our ice cream, we entertained the idea of grabbing chocolate eclairs at Tartine Bakery. We waited in their line for a few minutes, but because most of us had already unbuckled our pants, we decided against our food blogger instincts and call it a day.

Thank you so much, to all of you who came to wish me good-bye at brunch! Also, I want to send a heartfelt "thank you" to my precious friends who read and comment on my site. I couldn't even begin to explain how much every comment, every visit, and every person means to me. I am so honored by your friendship. I am also deeply touched by the outpouring of support and kindness from everyone regarding my move away from San Francisco.

My tear ducts will continue to work over time this month, that is for sure!
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