Photo Friday!

After watching the play/musical Sweeny Todd, we decided to make meat pie for dinner! This one included ground lamb, carrots, mushrooms, and fresh corn and a homemade crust. It was good that night, and even better for lunch the next day.

We tasted some Sake at Corkage (in San Francisco). We also ate their fried chicken, duck pate (not shown), oysters, and other yummy stuff. We bought a bottle of our favorite that night, and now we just need a recipe (or two) to eat with it. Anyone have any ideas?

This biscotti recipe was found on David Lebovitz‘s blog recently. I like the texture the cornmeal adds to the biscotti. (More on that later! I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but I really mean sooner rather than later this time!)

And that wraps up another Photo Friday! series. I bought a new camera so I am really looking forward to showing the results in next week’s post!

Touring Around {Chocolate and Ice Cream}

I have been lucky enough to have time to do some touring around. For the first time in my life, I have seen the process of cocoa bean to chocolate bar, via the Dandelion Chocolate factory. I also spent a day touring the city with some friends tasting ice cream from 6 major ice cream shops in the city, trying to decide which has the best.

(photo courtesy of Mike)

First up was the tour of the Dandelion Chocolate factory. They showed us the process from bean to bar and everything in-between.

Next up was the ice cream tour. I organized an ice cream walking tour throughout San Francisco. It took us from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, to Humphrey Slocombe, to Mitchell’s, to Xanath, to Bi-rite, and finally to Smitten. It was a great way to see the city and to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

We started the tour in Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. We were feeling ambitious about the ice cream tasting, so we ordered three flavors, which of course, led to ordering three flavors everywhere else, and tasted some other flavors along the way as well. This sounds like a lot of ice cream, but shared between four people and with all of the walking, by the end of the day, it was really an okay amount.

At Humphrey Slocombe, we tried the Seceret Breakfast, which is a bourbon ice cream with corn flakes, the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, and the Tahitian Vanilla.

We tried Mitchell’s Strawberry and Cream, Mexican Chocolate, and Kahlua and Cream. My favorite here was the chocolate, which had just a hint of cinnamon.

Xanath was next, and since they are saffron and vanilla importers, we had to try both the Mexican and Madagascar vanilla and the saffron ice cream. We tried their coffee here, just to be able to compare to the others.

We tried Bi-Rite’s Balsamic Strawberry, Brown Sugar, and Toasted Coconut. All rich and creamy; my favorite here was the Balsamic Strawberry. I was surprised, because I normally do not like balsamic anything, but this just had a hint of it, and really just added acidity to the flavor.

Lastly, was Smitten. Smitten is known for making their ice cream with liquid nitrogen. This leads to a smoother, more dense ice cream with lots of flavor. This also means you can watch them make the ice cream and see fog swirling around. Everyone’s favorite here was the TCHO Chocolate.

The votes are in! My favorite place was Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, because they had great ice cream and homemade treats such as marshmallows and cookies and brittle that looked delicious, too. The runner up for me would be Bi-Rite, because they have good ice cream, a good variety of flavors, and their ice cream is smooth and creamy and really flavorful. Mike also chose Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous and Bi-Rite as the places that stood out to him, but would definitely go back to any of them. Rob chose the chocolate ice cream at Smitten as the best, and said, “Coffee ice cream never seemed appealing enough to get but I liked the ones we tasted.” Michele said that she also liked the chocolate from Smitten, and the Brown Sugar from Bi-Rite. She also said that she likes going to Bi-Rite on a sunny day to sit in [Dolores] park, and Mitchell’s is good for an evening outing (with people from out of town), and definitely has added Mr. and Mrs. to the list as well. Thanks again, to Michele, Rob, and Mike for coming out and spending the day tasting ice cream!

What are you not a fan of?

It’s kind of hard question to answer. I can tell you I am not a fan of this question. Ha. Ha. I am not a fan of someone typing. their. sentence. like. this. to. add emphasis. It doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense. Along with that, I am not a fan of bad grammar and/or bad spelling. I understand that people type quickly and make mistakes every once in a while. I understand we are all human (I assume-though according to one of the latest RadioLab podcasts-it can be hard to tell.) and we might have typos. But if you are writing a blog or for some online newspaper or something that a lot of people will read, you should try to have correct grammar and spelling. It is so easy to check! Just take one more minute to re-read the article or post before hitting “publish”.

Another thing I am not a fan of is waiting for something just and when you finally get to your turn, you are turned down. For example, when you are in line at the grocery store and then the lane closes right as you are about to get your stuff rung up. Or, even worse, when you (finally) get seated at a restaurant and find out they are out of something on the menu. What’s up with that? As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I don’t understand how a chef that has run the same restaurant for years (and I assume has other restaurant experience) can’t seem to order enough fish for the night. Unless it is a special, and is literally the “catch of the day”, as in the chef went out and caught the fish that morning to sell at the restaurant that night, don’t expect me to come back to a restaurant that runs out of its main entrees early in the night. While on the subject of restaurants, I know that there are already many articles out there that describe pet peeves of chefs and waiters, so I won’t go in to details, but I do think that everyone should have either more patience with their servers and a little more respect for them, so that they can enjoy their night too, or become a server yourself and see how one lives.

There are also several articles out there that talk about words used in the food writing world that have begun to annoy the readers, and I will share some of the ones I am not a fan of: nom nom (as in a sound one might make while eating), delish (and other Rachel Ray type words including yum-o), resie, (short for reservation). When did these “words” get so popular that high-end food writers started using them? Really? They can’t write out something more descriptive?

Hmm…I don’t like ranting so much as raving about something for so long (another thing I am not a fan of!) so I am going to end this post.

my first dessert post is chocolate-filled

The desserts consumed over the weekend all involved chocolate in some way. Not very surprising, because I am somewhat of a choco-holic.
I went to Fish and Farm Friday night, and I had the wonderful Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse. This was served with chocolate ice cream and caramel-as a sauce on the plate, and a piece of caramel with salt (like a piece of brittle), that I consumed at the very end. I love the salty-sweet combo of  peanut butter and chocolate. The mousse was rich, but not overwhelming. I am not sure that the ice cream was a necessary addition to the dessert, but nonetheless, it was good, and chocolaty, and therefore fully consumed by me.

The next day, I was going to attempt the pie pops, as previously mentioned, but lollipop sticks are nowhere to be found in San Francisco, so I made the “better than brownie cookies” as presented on the Technicolor Kitchen blog. These are great cookies and certainly live up to their name.  Texture-wise, I tend to like fudge-y brownies, rather than cake-y brownies, and these cookies were somewhere inbetween. However, these cookies are similar to brownies because they have a crusty outer layer. I like this texture contrast. Also, I do not like the edges of brownies (I like the pieces from the middle of the pan.) so these cookies are better, because you don’t have the chewy, slightly burnt edges of a brownie. The cookies also take about half the time (about 12-14 minutes) than brownies usually take to bake, which is a plus, because I am impatient; once I smell the chocolate and sugar melting together in the oven, I want to just dive right in eat the partially baked brownie batter. These cookies are good warm or room temperature, if you can wait long enough to let them cool before eating them all. Next time I might add peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips, rather than chocolate chips. Maybe even try adding some banana bits.
Those were my chocolate-filled dessert tastes for this week. Hopefully, lollipop sticks will be found, and I will have the opportunity to make pie pops, and maybe something else on a stick. I can’t wait for more sweet fun! (pun intended.)