Monday, May 30, 2011

Nigashi Somen

Nigashi somen or flowing somen is a Japanese summer tradition that involves eating Japanese somen noodle by letting it run down a bamboo gutter with cold water. People would stand next to the gutter and catches the cold noodle as it runs down, and then dip it in somen sauce to eat.

My friend Philip bought a miniture plastic somen contraption from Japan, and brought it over to share. I am sure we can just rinse the somen and just dip it in the sauce without going through this whole contraption. But using nigashi somen was super fun, especially when trying to catches the noodle with chopsticks as it comes down, and watching friends trying to do that and failed.
Regular and green tea somen
The machine bumps water from the water reservoir at the bottom and propells water out at the top where the little house and wheel are at. Then the water goes down the gutter and back down to the reservoir and get to be reused again.
Along with somen, my friends and I prepared some sashimi and side vegetables. How's my knife skill look on the sashimi? I like to cut and align things out neatly, at least for presentation. I mean 1/3 of creating appetite is from visualization, so I like to present my food nicely.
Sashimi as side dish
It was a very nice and fun experience, a light and satisfying dinner!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jerk Chicken

For Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I wanted to grill something for lunch. So the night before, we decided to marinade one of our favorite grilled food of all time,  Jerk Chicken. I like my Jerk Chicken a bit spicy, and the recipe below calls for habanero peppers, which is perfect to add a little kick to the delicious spices-filled chicken.

    • 3 scallions, chopped
    • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 to 4 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs, drumsticks or wings
1. Blend all the ingredients except for the chicken together in a blender until it becomes a sauce.

2. Place the chicken in a large tray and pour marinade over it. Stir well. Cover tray with a saran wrap and pad the saran wrap so that it sticks to the chicken with the marinade.

3. Refridgerate overnight.
4. Let chicken and marinade cool to room temperature before grilling.
5. Oil your grill and place chicken over it.
6. Cook for about 15 to 20 mins and until internal chicken temperature reaches 165 degree F.

Happy Memorial Day!

Kowloon Cafe

15828 Hesperian Blvd (between Grant Ave & Post St)
San Lorenzo, CA 94580
(510) 276-6888

Once in awhile I would crave for Hong Kong style cafe food. I just like the simple sauces they have over a bed of rice or spaghetti. Kowloon Cafe was pretty new compared to other Chinese restaurant in the area, so I had to go try when I found out where it was.

It was pretty hidden considering where it was located. At first I thought it would look a little run down like most HK style cafe are, but it wasn't. The air inside the cafe smelled just like those I'd been to in Hong Kong except Kowloon Cafe was much fancier with their cotton padded booth.

I'd been to Kowloon Cafe three times now, and each time I tried something new. I had tried their Baked Spaghetti, Chicken Curry with rice, wonton noodle soup, Crab and Shrimp Spaghetti and their Adegashi tofu. I also tried their HK Style milk tea, which was perfectly sweeten. Everything tasted original. The presentation of the food was very inviting and appetizing. The little sprinkle of parsley on the Baked Spaghetti showed that they are very detailed oriented. The sauce was very tasty and aromatic. It also wasn't overly salty or overly brown. It also had the perfect amount of cheese and meat. The spaghetti wasn't al dente, but it wasn't overcooked either. The chicken curry came out shortly after and it was really bright yellow. It was very appetizing as well since they put red and green pepper into it. The sauce looks like it has a lot of corn starch though. It was flavorful but it left me really thirsty after.

Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

The Wonton Noodle Soup was just okay though. It lacked white pepper flavors, which I love in wontons. The soup was pretty bland, a lot of hot sauce and some soy sauce was needed when eating it. The Adagashi tofu was Japanese inspired. It was good. Thin crispy skin tofu soaked in tempura sauce, and topped with bonito flakes. The Crab and Shrimp spaghetti though was a bit weird. It was just a bunch of white sauce filled with crab and shrimp on the side of a bed of spaghetti. The sauce was a little too thick and there was a piece of harden and unbroken flour in there.

Chicken Curry with Rice
Overall, Kowloon Cafe was pretty good. Their service was great too. After going back three times, of course, I would still continue to go back. But yes, I came to conclusion so far, their Baked Spaghetti was by far the best dish at this place so far. I need to try some other dishes next time though...or maybe when I feel adventuus.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


2367 Market St
(between 16th St & Noe St)
San Francisco, CA 94114

My friends and I went to Bisou on a Saturday night for my birthday dinner. It was a small but busy restaurant. The host welcomed us warmingly with a loud "bonjour", and then he led us to a table upstair. The white decor, tables and chairs were packed very closely together like restaurants in France. The seatings were tight but I had enough space that I didn't feel claustrophobic.

For appetizer, we ordered the Tuna Tartare with 4 Eggs, KBA "Kobe" Steak Tartare, and an Onion Soup to share. This was my second time that I ever had onion soup, and disappointedly the onion soup from Bisou was awefully sour. Maybe they caramelize the onion with a little too much of balsamic vinegar or something. But after a spoonful, I couldn't drink anymore...not even with the cheese.
Onion Soup with croutons topped with Swiss cheese

Next we had the KBA “Kobe” Steak Tartare. The steak tartare came with potato gaufrettes which was thin wedge cut fries that were very light and crispy. It tasted good by itself as well as with the steak. The steak was nicely marinated with a stronger hint of pepper taste. Chopped shallots, parsley and cornichons were placed on the side before the waiter mixed them all up with the sauce and quail eggs. I like it. The beef was tender and the seasoning was perfect.
KBA "Kobe" Beef Tartare - Hand cut beef served with shallots, parsley, cornichons, quail egg and potato gaufrettes
For our last appetizer, we had the Tuna Tartare with 4 Eggs. I love tuna tartare, so right away I knew I had to get this especially when it was going to be served with four different kind of eggs. The tuna was just lightly marinated with extra virgin olive oil, pimemto d'espelette, which is a type of fancy pepper grown in France, and three of the fish eggs, and top with a fried poached egg. It was interesting. I couldn't really taste each of the eggs distinctively but they definitely added to the texture, especially the crunchy casing of the salmon roe.
Tuna Tartare & 4 Eggs - Diced Ahi tuna sashimi with EVOO, pimemto d'eselette, salmon egg, tobyko egg, poached egg and caviar
For my entree, I had the monk fish tail. One of my friends ordered the salmon and another the sea bream. The fishes were cooked to perfection with crispy skin and tender buttery meat, but they were just overly salted. Also the sauce that came with the fish looked similar between the salmon and monk fish, and again, really salty. I drank almost the whole pitcher of my water and it still wasn't enough.
Lock Duart Crunchy Salmon served with leeks fondue and a beets reduction sauce

Monk Fish Tails with fried brussel sprouts and potato strings with mushroom reduction
Luckily, the service was great. Our waiter came back to fill our glasses and pitcher of water since I gulped most of it down due to the saltiness of the food. He was also attentive to clear dishes out of our small table once in awhile. All in all, it was a nice restaurant but I would only go back for appetizers, not the entree.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Congratuation Sister!

After six year as an undergrad, my sister finally graduated with a BS degree in Marketing Research. Finally!

Goodluck with job hunting! I'm waiting for the first paycheck dinner! =)

This post is food related since there may be a possible dinner!

Strolling Around

I woke up pretty early this morning to go into San Francisco. I got to the Ferry Building at 8am, which was perfect since all the market stands were up and running, and the area was nearly empty before the rush.
Walking toward my morning cup of Joe at Blue Bottle. I usually wait at the one outside since it's faster for the drip coffee. But since I was early, I went inside instead.
While waiting for coffee, I couldn't help but stare at Miette, wondering if I should get a piece of my favorite hazelnut macaron from there.
After much grocery shop, my friend and I departed. I walked by myself as I admired the structure of Jack London Square. I don't know why, I never get tired staring at it on a sunny day.
As I was waiting for my mom to get off, I parked my car and wandered around toward Washington Square. My cousins and I grew up around this area, and we used to go to this park all the time. It still looked the same. I ended up getting some prosciutto at one of the Italian delicatessen nearby.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ice Cream & Sharks

One of the groups at work hired someone new, and he brought a bunch of ice creams and toppings for us. It was a really nice break on a Friday to scoop whatever flavor and toppings I want. I felt like a little kid at an ice cream shop! I ended up with two scoops of cookies-n-cream, one scoop of chocolate mint chips, and a small slice of Japanese cheesecake. And of course, I topped it off with one of my favorite ice cream toppings, almonds!

After work, I headed to the airport to pick up my boyfriend. He's finally back from his work trip! Shortly after that, we headed down to San Jose for the Sharks playoff game!

The crowd was awesomely loud! I had to use some earplugs at some point in time, and the people behind me kept sweeping their t-shirt at my head. After three exciting periods, they won! Finally! Hopefully they'll continue with the wins!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tomato Plants

As a plant biotech researcher, my coworker invitro-ly cultivated some tomato seeds. I think I am going to try doing that with my strawberry seeds, because I had no luck growing them in a small pot of soil. Very ironic huh? I research with plants but I can't even grow strawberry in a pot.
Anyhow, he gave them out once they sprouted to a couple inches tall. My boyfriend's mom helped me planted them to the garden after I took them home. I checked on them yesterday after this rainny and sunny week. They grew so much. I can't wait until they start fruiting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fish Taco

This is not the average deep fried fish taco. In fact, the fish is not even fried at all (because I hate fried fish). I first got the inspiration from Namu's Korean tacos at the restaurant and farmer's market (, which are super duper delicious by the way. Tonight, I decided to make Japanese tacos.

Fried seaweed, ponzu marinated brown rice, avocado, seared tuna, chipotle sour cream, pickled ginger and sesame seeds.
Even though this is Japanese, I chose to use Korean seaweed. It's more transparent and crisp, and also more flavorful since it's favored with sesame oil.
I topped the seaweed with brown rice. I marinated the brown rice with ponzu sauce instead of rice vinegar like in sushi rice. Ponzu is a bit sour by itself and the soy will go perfect with tuna.
I added thin slices of avocado for its creaminess. Also avocado tastes very good with tuna!
Next, I seared some tuna, and sliced it thinly. Sear it on each side for about 5 seconds. The more seared the tuna is, the rougher the outer layers get, which cause the tuna to flake off easily. So don't oversear.
Top it off with some chipotle sour cream! I don't like the nasal kick of the wasabi, so I decided to use chiptole. It tastes super yummy with tuna! If you don't like sour cream, use olive oil! But the sour cream definitely helps tone down the spiciness of the chiptole a bit. I just smashed very little of chiptole pepper with the sour cream.
Next, add a little spice and kick to all by adding pickled ginger.

Lastly, sprinkle some white sesame seeds for that toasty flavor. I also drizzled some more ponzu onto the tuna right before serving.
All to myself!
Special thanks to Di for helping me get this beautiful tuna.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sesame "Pudding"

I love pudding! I like the Chinese kind that are like jello but contains some sort of milk. Tonight, I craved almond pudding and sesame pudding. So I decided to combine the two.
Instead of getting black sesame powder, I used whole seeds since I have it at my pantry. Usually I would grind my own almond milk to make almond pudding because it creates a much richer flavor. But tonight, I was lazy. I used almond milk since I also have that in the fridge already.
In a food processor, pulse the sesame seeds for several seconds. Then add almond milk. This step can be skipped if use sesame powder instead.
Drain the seeds and the foam.
Save about 1/4 of the mixture and sprinkle unflavored gelatin onto it. Then in a pot, boil the remaining 3/4 of the mixture until hot, but not boiling. Pour the hot mixture into the cold gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. The almond milk gets creamier with the grinded sesame, and thicker with the dissolved gelatin.
Pour into molds, and refridge for at least 3 hours. Then serve!
This pudding tastes really good with bananas! I ate each bite with half a slice of banana for extra aroma and flavor.

Pan Fried Hamachi and Assorted Mushroom

Besides the Farmer's Market, I love roaming around the Asian Market. I particularly like the Japanese supermarket just because they always have fresh marbled meat and seafood.

I bought a filet of Japanese Hamachi or Yellowtail.

Marinated it with some minced ginger and Himalayan salt. And right before you put it onto the pan, brush it with a thin layer of soy sauce. Himalayan salt is so pretty in color!

When done, brush another layer of soy sauce onto it.

Mushroom time!!

Clean and slice all assorted mushrooms, and let it air dry a bit. These are the assorted mushrooms I got from the farmer's market.

Then stirfry it with garlic, sesame oil, and oyster sauce.

Lastly, sprinkle some chili flakes.

Viola! Dinner:

Acme Bread, Prosciutto, Turkey, Provolone and Arugula

So one of the things I made with the Acme Rustic Roll and the organic arugula I got from the Farmer's Market was a sandwich. I went over to Andronico to pick up some provolone cheese, prosciutto and smoked turkey the day after the Farmer's Market. I brought everything to work with me, and then made a sandwich during lunch time.

After I assembled everything, I placed it in the microwave for 30 seconds so that the cheese would melt and the bread would soften a bit, but still crunchy on the outside.

I love sandwiches, especially during lunch time. So many combination and possibilities!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Colorful Fishes

I took my brother to an aquarium today, or should I say fish shop? My dad put up a fish tank and so, we were excited to go fish hunting!
We ended up in one that lets you catches your own in any of the reachable tanks they have! I thought it was a good idea at first, until my brother and I took an hour something just to catches 4 Skirts, 2 Pea Puffers and 1 water frog.
Nonetheless, it was fun and was good brother-sister bonding time.
My favorite one so far is this pink skirt that I got and the pea puffers. They are so poofy and a tagpole (right fish below). They are picky eaters. We ended up picking up some frozen bloodworms for them too. Yuck!

Oh yeah, we also got a frog because my brother wants one. It looks kind of creepy.