Saturday, February 28, 2009

Simply Fondue

2300 First Street, Livermore, CA
Simply Fondue is simply in that the way cooking the food is very simple, just dip your raw or cooked food in cooking sauce or oil, and eat it! The not so simple part though is their selection of food, cooking styles, chocolate sauces, and combination dinners. Oh yes, and did I mention they have over a hundred of different kind of martini cocktails? So for an indecisive person like me to go to Simply Fondue, I relied on the waiter. He was very nice and helpful by the way!

Anyhow, Simply Fondue has a dim lighting atmosphere. The lounge and bar was broadcasting sport channels while people sit and sip on their wines and cocktails and engaged in conversation. The dinning room on the other hand, was much quieter. The whole time I was there, I could only hear and focus on my food sizzling away in the cooking broth. As I mention earlier, the services were good and helpful.

On to the food! I did a four course combination dinner, which started off with a salad. There were four to choose from. I chose the spinach and strawberry salad. It was delicious, but super sweet!

Spinach & Strawberry Salad - baby spinach, strawberry slices, and almonds tossed in sweet cider dressing

Next, I had the appetizer, which was assorted fruits, vegetables and bread cubes with your choice of cheese fondue. There were five different cheese to choose from. My server recommended the Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar, and that was exactly what I have.
Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar with assorted breads, crisp vegetables and fruits - sharp cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses, beer, garlic and spices

The cheese was very, very rich. I could taste the beer in the cheese, which taste somewhat interesting. It made me want to try eating cheese with beer.

Next, I went onto the entree. I was able to choose six kind of meat from the red meats, poultry and seafood list. With about seven things to choose from in each list, I asked my server once again. I ended up with six pepper beef, beef tenderloin, roasted garlic chicken, sea scallops, ahi sesame tuna, an pecan crusted mahi-mahi. The entree came with some more vegetables and cheese ravioli. I chose the traditional cooking style, as recommended. It was a trans-fat free soybean oil, which served with house made sesame batter and famous stuffed mushroom. The entree was served with seven different dipping sauces. You can pair your meat with whichever one you like.
The combination meal ends with none the less, dessert! Dessert was some serious business because there were 15 different type of chocolate fondues to choose from! Some with nuts in them, some with liqueur in them, and some with fruit syrup. I ended up choosing one with just chocolate, Chocolate Confusion, which as described as "for the chocolate lover who just can't make up their mind. Premium white and milk chocolates swirled together". The chocolate fondue came with fruits such as strawberries, apples, grapes, banana, rice crispy, brownie, and cookies, dusted with powdered sugar. After a couple dip of the fruits and chocolate, I have one word to say...sweeet!

All in all, I had a really great time cooking my food and dipping them into sauces. As much fun as it can get, the portion is pretty small. Basically, I just got full from the rich sauces that cover the actual food. Also, selection and variety is good, but it really took me a long time to read and navigate through the menu. The martini menu was ridiculous long since it was filled with description for all 100+ cocktails. I tried two of the martinis, Sexytini and Peppermint Mint Martini. Both were pretty strong and tasty, which made me want to try others on the menu as well to see how they taste.

I would definitely go back to try everything else that I haven't try, and the fun cooking and dipping part. This is not a place for a quick dinner, so make sure you don't have movie plans even though the theatre is just right around the corner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


901 Cole St, San Francisco, CA
(415) 566-3063
It was after a long day of work on a Wednesday night, and there was nothing my friend and I wanted to do besides grabbing some drinks and dinner. We met up pretty late, and decided to take the muni to EOS on Cole Street for some sangrias and tapas. Tapas are perfect as small dinner especially late at night since I don't want to sleep with a full stomach.
The door front of EOS was pretty neat. Entering the restaurant, it was dim, but I was still able to see that it was still packed around 8 something at night. Our hostess led us to a corner with a red comfy couch, chair and table. This place contained a lot of small tables that are for party of 2 or 4. It looks like a place for romantic date. The place looks very artsy also, with paintings by local artists hanging on the walls, vase and a few nice red velvety couch.
EOS has a wall filled with wine because it is a wine bar. So the menu is mainly contained tapas, or wine food. I also notice that EOS' menu is very Asian inspired. Some of their dishes contains ingredients that are very common in Asian cuisine, like duck, shiitake mushroom, and ahi tuna. My friend and I decided to order two sangrias and some tapas to share. There were two items that contained mushrooms, and immediately I knew I wanted to order both...the Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings and Wild Mushroom Risotto. My friend is a fan of duck, and so we ordered the Roasted Duck with Pear Sauce.
Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings

The dumplings were very flavorful but also salty at the same time. I avoided the excess sauce when I could. Also, I could taste the shittake. I like it better when I ate a dumpling with the tomato. The sweetness in the fruit balanced out the saltiness of the sauce and dumpling.
Wild Mushroom Risotto

The risotto was really, really good! Usually the cheese used in a risotto dish tends to overpower the other ingredients in the dish, but not in this case. It was so good! The mushrooms also tasted really good. I couldn't tell what kind of mushroom was in it thoughnce the ambiance was quite dark. The aborio rice is just right, not too hard and not overly soft. You can still see the individual grain.

Roasted Duck with Pears

I never had ducks with pears or pear sauce before. I had roasted duck in Chinese cuisine, which serves with a sweet plum sauce. The duck and pear pair actually reminded me of duck with plum sauce, but not as sweet. I ate a piece of duck by itself, and it was very tender and juicy. Then I ate a piece of duck with some pear. The pear added some texture to the duck, because psychologically, the pear made the duck seems even more tender and sweet. From there on, I just ate the rest of my duck with the pears.

The sangria at EOS was okay. It was pretty light and refreshing. It wasn't dark at all like typical sangrias, it was also more translucent.
The experience at EOS was pretty unique. The dim light just made the atmosphere seems more upscale, which totally is, since their tapas cost around $10 to $20 a plate. It is definitely not a quiet place but I noticed that people tried not to talk too loud there. The service was not too good the night I went, but it was a busy night and it didn't seem like there were too many staffs. I would definitely go back, but with a small party of course or just whenever I want to relax by sipping on a drink and eating some tapas