Could the weather be any more gorgeous in San Francisco this week? I think not. Indian Summer is finally here and the weather Gods are brightly shining down upon us. While the rest of the country is talking pumpkin soup and butternut squash ravioli, we in the Bay Area are finally reaching for our shorts and sandals. The timing couldn't be any more perfect with the arrival of Fleet Week and the 34th America’s Cup World Series back to our city. Many are in a celebratory mood, and with this in mind, CHAYA Brasserie is offering a limited-time special menu ($12-$28) celebrating two of our favorite delicacies from the sea - Oysters and Scallops.
If you have guests coming in to town for Fleet Week, or just want to indulge in some satisfying cuisine and cocktails along the waterfront, CHAYA is your answer. Seeing the items on the menu below literally made my mouth water. Gosh, we are so blessed to live in San Francisco. Especially during this time of the year.
Seasonal Half Shell Oysters
sesame chili ponzu, apples, tobiko, nori flat bread
If you are craving a taste of Tokyo, but don't have the time or funds to get on that plane to Narita at the moment; a visit to Berkeley's Ippuku just may do the temporary trick. Specializing in Izakaya cuisine, this authentically-decored space with a Japanese aesthetic and staff serves items not standard on American restaurant menus. Expect to find bites such as Chicken Tartare and Bacon-Wrapped Mochi.
Although you'll notice that a visit to Ippuku can be drenched in all things Nihonjin (Japanese), you'll be reminded of the fact that you are in the Bay Area. Especially, when you see the repeated use of local ingredients. One such example, is the Matcha Affogato ( green tea over Straus Organic soft serve vanilla) dessert. I'm an avid fan of Straus, making special visits to San Francisco's Super Duper and Zero Zero just to order it. The combination with the matcha was a perfect Ippuku ending. The only thing that could've made it better, was maybe a small dollop of azuki beans with a few fresh mochi on top. Reservations highly suggested.
I hadn't been to Ebisu in a while, but enjoyed some dinner there last night. This was the Seared Albacore with tobiko, ponzu & onions. Already triple-digit likes on Instagram and counting... Bonus points for high-protein and freshness.
Following its festive inaugural Mission Beer Garden celebration on the rooftop of Wix Lounge, Nombe has mapped out future dates including one happening this Friday 7/20. For only $15/person ($18 at the door) each guest will receive 3 pints of beer from featured breweries Kirin, Pacific Brewing Labs and Speakeasy. There will also be a variety of Japanese street food on hand including edamame, chicken wings, pork belly, hand-rolled sushi, chicken katsu sandwiches and more. So, if you are trying to figure out how to start off the weekend, now you know. Kick back and kanpai with your friends with a beer in hand and spread the word. And since it only goes on until 8pm, you still have time to grab dinner at Nombe or one of your other favorite Mission eateries before you head to your next destination.
Nombe believes in community, so a portion of proceeds will go toward La Cocina, a non-profit incubator program that supports low-income edible enterprises.
Here are some of my pics from the last event:
Sushi Hand Rolls from Nombe
All Smiles at Sapporo Beer
Raw Oysters sprinkled with Shichimi pepper
Japanese Beer Taste Testing
Edamame Hummus with Taro Chips
No shortage of good eats coming out of the kitchen
Pork Belly - not a low calorie food
NOMBE's MJBG (Mission Japanese Beer Garden) details:
As a biz owner, I'm a huge fan of people who follow their dreams. It's something many talk about, but not a lot do. Most find excuses, reasons, but mostly it's just their own fear that prevents them from doing it.
On the other hand, there are those that break through the fear factor barrier and go for it. But, as any small business owner knows, finances can get tight and run thin. From paying your employees, to purchasing paper for receipts..., everything adds up. And when you are a small business without huge backing and investors, it's often challenging.
If you've frequented the SF Ferry Building Farmers' Market, or followed the dining scene around San Francisco, I'm sure you are familiar with Hapa Ramen. From soy-braised pork tongue, to vegetarian miso, chances are you've tried it at Hapa and thought or said, "Wow, this is some awesome ramen, I just wish they were open for dinner." Well, SF ramen fiends, the time has now come and the Hapa Ramen crew is hoping to turn their dream into reality.
As a truly grassroots, small business, they need our help. Starting this week, you can make a pledge or $5 and up via Kickstarter to help Hapa Ramen reach their $55,000 goal by August 1st. Every bit counts and in addition to the future Hapa Ramen brick & mortar, there's an additional reward in it for you (see below). And believe me friends, once you try their ramen, you'll be glad you supported these passionate and talented people in bringing their little ramen stand to a permanent space where we could all enjoy a wonderful meal with friends and they could call home.
Since I was a young girl in Japan, I loved my Yoku Moku. A light, buttery cookie - each individually wrapped like a dainty sweet omiyage (gift). This lovely confection comes in the popular cigar shape, in addition to flat with a chocolate filling. After finishing the cookies, I would always keep the tin to store collectibles including jewelry or stationary.
Yoku Moku is a gift that will be loved by all. It won't ever be a re-gift...unless it's an entirely new tin all for yourself.
Available at Saks, Neimans, Bergdorfs, Shirokiya (Hawaii) & of course at Yoku Moku boutiques in Japan.
With the exception of this torrential storm, Spring time has arrived in the Bay Area. Cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is right around the corner. In addition, one of my favorite sweets has come back to attack (the waistline). From now until Summer, Strawberry mochi is being prepared and offered daily at Benkyodo.
When many Americans hear the word "mochi", they immediately identify it with the boxed ice cream dessert which has a ball of cold, dense mochi wrapped ice cream. Although I do ocassionally indulge in this frozen treat, even having consumed the green tea version the other day, when I think of mochi, I have visions of ultra soft, freshly pounded, steamed mochi rice like I used to gleefully enjoy as a child in Japan and here in San Francisco.
Fortunately for all of us, we all don't have to jump on a plane to Tokyo to get the fresh stuff. We have Benkyodo. This Nihonmachi staple was one of the original shops to open in San Francisco's Japantown back in 1906 and it's still here over 100 years later. Thank God.
Just be warned: there is a cult following for this confectionary, and it does run out, so get there early, or go during the weekdays to get your fix. One Strawberry Mochi will cost you $1.25. Although, many are satisfied with one or two, I usually get 4 to eat throughout the day. Oink.
Just in time for Spring, one of my favorite healthy spots in LA, M Café has a new seasonally-inspired menu. Their updated Spring Clean(s)ing menu is a simple decision when eating healthy looks and tastes this good. They are also offering a 3-day D.I.Y. juice cleanse program based on their popular seasonal juices with recipes, tips and a daily suggested calendar of juices for guests to follow at home. And just in case you don't need another reason on top of the 13 appetizing ones below, bathing suit season is just around the corner.
Expect to see the following on M Café's Spring Seasonal menu:
NEW! Barley & Green Garbanzo Bean Salad (photo 3)
NEW! Kale & Shiitake Ohitashi (photo 1)
NEW! Raw Almond Sushi (Photo 2)
Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Spring Seaweed Salad
Chickpea & Dandelion Salad
Grilled Spring Vegetable Salad with Avocado-Lemon Dressing