Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Have You Heard That One About Pizza? It Goes Like This...

Some of us associate the oddest, most humorous memories with certain foods. Pizza is one of those foods for me.

Example: May 28, 2004. AMC Theatres on Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California.

I remember it clearly. It was opening night of the blockbluster disaster flick, Day After Tomorrow. That evening, the silver screen audience was principally populated with residents from the nearby nursing home and the moviegoers were abuzz with excitement. Before the movie began, we excitedly watched the previews when I suddenly heard my beau whisper loudly into my ear.

"What is that smell?"

I faintly detected an oniony odor wafting in my direction.

Upon looking up, about two to three rows ahead, I saw a feisty gray-haired woman with her head buried in an open Styrofoam take-out container. I surreptitiously craned my neck upward and peered over her shoulder to view the contents of the container. I was amused to see that her container was heaped to the brim with a mottled orange ball of stringy chow mein noodles and sweet and sour chicken that was so radioactively red, it looked like the molten tip of a branding iron. Awe-struck and secretly jealous, I chuckled softly and feigned exasperation. "She has some guts," I muttered to my beau.

I then heard a rustling commotion and using my peripheral vision, I spotted a cluster of eager seniors huddled over a popped-open lid of a large cardboard Costco pizza box. Not to be outdone, they had snuck a whole pizza into a movie theater! Now those folks had guts to the N-th degree! In my heart, I immediately bowed in deference to them. If any human was worth worshiping, it was these cheapsters! I vowed to myself that one day, I would sneak an entire pizza box into a packed theater. And let me tell you, that day, will be the pinnacle of my achievement as a human being!

The moral of the story, is that one should have no shame when it comes to eating pizza. One of my favorite places for "shameless pizza eating" in the City of San Francisco, is Pizzeria Delfina. They serve pies there that are guaranteed to leave even the hardiest, most-resilient of adults in a garlic-induced stupor.

Pizzeria Delfina specializes in authentic Italian pizza: the kind with blistered, charred, and crackly edges and a supple interior. The kind with melted blobs of mozzarella and crushed tomatoes reeking of freshness. The kind that will make you wanna bring a whole pie into a movie theater! The pies of note at Pizzeria Delfina, are the classic Margherita and two, off-the-menu specials: (1) the Purgatorio and (2) the Gricia.

The Purgatorio is a traditional pie slathered with a spicy, tingly hot tomato sauce base which the chefs spike with red pepper flakes and layer with Romano cheese. The shavings of Romano will melt away on your tongue like salty flakes of snow and provide the perfect counterbalance to the entire pizza pie. However, the best part of the pizza is not the cheese, but the oozing and gooey sunny-side eggs, that spill forth on the pizza face.

The Gricia is made with guanciale (apparently, pig jowl) and panna cheese. This pizza is decorated with wispy tendrils of spring scallions and topped with a puddle of warm cream poured directly within the concentric circle of crust. The entire pie is sprinkled with crushed black peppercorns, which provide a spicy contrast to the creamy pie.

And hey, I would be willing to risk shame and ostracization in a movie theater for these fellas'! (I am an exhibitionist, what can I say.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Favorite Toys (Not Necessarily My Son's)

As a new Mother, I am always on the prowl for kid-friendly toys and foods. How about combining the two? I found these toy sets on my last trip to IKEA a few months ago, and I fell in love at first sight.

The IKEA Duktig soft toy breakfast play set:

The IKEA Duktig soft toy fruit play set:

The IKEA Duktig soft toy vegetable play set:

The IKEA Duktig soft toy dessert play set:

These toys are made of non-toxic fabric (plain felt) and are surprisingly detailed and innovative--there are velcro strips to make the lettuce leaves attach to the lettuce head and similar velcro strips on the banana peel and sandwich fixins'. The bacon is sewed just right, so that there are tiny ridges and ripples in the fabric. Without a doubt, these are my favorite toys in my baby's toy chest.

My son still prefers scrap paper and my cell phone to these toys, but I feel like these IKEA items were an awesome investment. They bring a smile to my face every time I see them!

In addition, I also discovered these tutorials for adorable for felt foods via Pinterest! These may require more investment than a mere purchase at IKEA, but they are cute nonetheless.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bandwagon Jumper

What do you call someone who waits in line for more than two hours for lunch-time sushi?

Dumb as a rock?

Pretty close. The answer is "me." I am the punchline.

If you don't get the joke, after reading this post, you will.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I noticed an explosion of Facebook activity about this new lunch place in the Financial District dubbed "Sushiritto." We had never heard of it, but around 20 of our friends did, and they touted it as the next big thing to hit San Francisco. However, none of these friends had personally tried the food there. Pretty much, they just saw long lines there and wistfully tweeted pictures of the line and something to the effect of, "Must be good! I want some!"

Since I was gainfully on maternity leave at the time, my husband decided that if anyone had a few hours to spare to wait in line, I did. Plus, I have told you before how my husband feels about long lines at eating establishments. So he dropped me off to pick up lunch there while he went to go run some errands in the City with our newborn in tow.

I would like to say this was the "wait of the century," but that would be a gross understatement. I am sure you know how long lines at amusement parks are. At the half hour mark, you are losing steam, but you believe you can keep going. By the time one hour has passed, you are too invested to leave the line. At that point, you convince yourself that "the worst part of the wait is over." At the one and a half hour mark, you tell yourself, "Oh what the heck, I already wasted my day, I might as well continue waiting." And as I waited in line, that is what I told myself. And like lines at the U.S. Post Office, it literally did not move an inch.

Given the pace of the movement of the line, I have no idea how I ended up at the front, but more than two hours later, I did. And since I was starving, half-conscious, and wholly belligerent, I ordered four of the items on the five item menu: the Three Amigos, Latin Ninja, Mamacita, and Crispy Ebi rolls.

As I checked out, the cashier rang up the total as ~$40. At first, I suffered a quick bout of sticker-shock, but because I had waited over two hours for those lil' mutha-effers, I made myself believe that it would be worth it. As I paid for the meal, my husband rushed in with our crying newborn and furiously asked, "What took you so long?" I shoved the rolls in his arms and stormed off to the car.

With a crying baby in the background, we gulped down the rolls in the car (I was so hungry, I could not be bothered to chew and there is no real seating area to eat at in Sushiritto, as it is just a take-out place). At that point, I woefully realized I could not taste a difference between Sushiritto's rolls and Americanized rolls from any ole' sushi joint. Basically, the rolls were like California rolls with one or two extra bells and whistles. Not even like a California roll on steroids, but like a California roll on a GNC herbal supplement. At one point, I tasted something that reminded me of Thai curry (I believe the mango in the Latin Ninja or the plantain and Sriracha combination in the Crispy Ebi roll), but I was too angered by the fact that I had waited two hours to even care.

To quickly recap our meal, we ordered the "Three Amigos" roll, which is sizeable sushi roll made with tuna, salmon, hamachi hiramasa (Japanese amberjack yellowtail fish), avocado, yuzu tobiko (fish roe seasoned with yuzu citrus), asparagus, cucumber, shaved red radish, scallions, and wasabi mayonnaise. Apparently, the "three" friends, are the three different types of fish.

We also ordered the "Latin Ninja" roll, which was made with salmon, mango, avocado, asparagus, daikon radish, Meyer lemon, pickled red onion, cilantro, scallions, and a ginger serrano sauce. The punchy cilantro leaves, the creamy mango and avocado elements, and the fiery serrano oils brought a punch of Latin flair to the Japanese roll.

The third roll we ordered, was the Mamacita Roll, which was made of tuna, Japanese gourd, Shiitake mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, scallions, daikon radish, tobiko (fish roe), crumbled rice chips, and Mexican kabayaki sauce.

Finally, we also ordered the Crispy Ebi, which sounded to be the most innovative roll of the four. The Crispy Ebi was made of tempura shrimp, melted pepperjack cheese, shredded crab, plantain, avocado, cucumber, and Sriracha crema sauce.

Now that you are at the end of this post, I am sure you are thinking, "Gee, I sense bitterness." Honestly, the rolls were pretty good and had it not been for the wait, I would have had liked this place much more. Indeed, my husband (who did not wait in line) went back with his brother and sister-in-law! Check out his sister-in-law's take on Sushiritto here. Also, the menu has undergone a dramatic overhaul and I heard that the lines have died down too, so if you are around the area, you might check it out.

Well, I can't say that I didn't learn a valuable lesson from this ordeal. Sushiritto helped me to realize that there is great value in having a "quicky" every now and then. "Quicky" meaning "quick lunch," that is.
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