Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tsunami Sushi - San Francisco

My good friend, the Fin, had told me once that the best sake is always served cold. So when Joe B made reservations for dinner at Tsunami Sushi Restaurant both the Senora and I were very excited indeed. Tsunami is well known around San Francisco for its deep sake cellar, superb fish and not so friendly prices. All dressed up, we hailed a cab, waved good-bye to the hotel and made our way to 1308 Fulton Street and our evening of sushi.

Small with a low-key vibe, Tsunami is a San Francisco sushi hipster hang-out. Mellow house beats combined with dim lights and hard wood paneling only add to the restaurants uber relaxed feeling. When our server arrived at the table, I had a hard time hearing anything that she said. The room had become quite loud. I guess the sake was kicking and my fellow diners where starting to become a little rowdy.

One of the restaurants big draws has to be its extensive sake cellar. Hard-to-find sakes are offered by the glass, bottle or flight. I decide to try the Luxury Flight, a mid level tasting. The sake came much like a wine fight, served in small glasses with a card explaining what you are drinking. I must say that I had never tried good cold sake before and was pleasantly surprised. All three were very smooth and pleasant to sip. It wasn’t long before I started to get the warm sake glow.

The Senora and I both had miso soup and shared some edamame as our starter. For our dinners, the senora had a salmon roll and a five piece sashimi, chef’s choice. I had the sixteen piece chef’s choice sashimi. Joe B and Bay Lady order three different kinds of house rolls, while Brother-In-Law-Foodblog had the Fudo Make and a tuna roll.

The fish was fresh and tasty like good sushi should be and was exactly what we expected. The Senora loved her roll and the fish. My sashimi was also outstanding. The cuts, a little small, were like heaven to my mouth. Unfortunately, I was so caught in with my meal and because I was having a hard time hearing anything our server said, I can’t tell you what I ate. Sadly, while we were eating, we received little service and our glasses went dry and stayed dry for most of the evening. When our server would notice our table and give us the time of day, it would take 15mins to get a refill of H2O or a bottle of beer. Senora Foodblog’s and my share of the meal came to $130.

Senor Foodblog says one spoon for Tsunami. I really liked the layout and the feel of the place. The food was wonderful and the sake so smooth. I can understand why Tsunami is so popular with the in crowd. If only the service was as good as the food, then the restaurant would be well worth all the hype. But until then it is nothing more than just another expensive place to eat and be seen. I guess Senora Foodblog and I are officially hipsters now…cool.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

San Francisco Tripping One

Some months back, Senora Foodblog found crazzzzzy cheap air tickets to San Francisco and like a good wife, immediately bought them.

Senora Foodblog booked a quaint room at the sexy boutique hotel, Hotel Rex, part of the Joie de Vivre hotel family. Small in size but very romantic with that 1920’s feel, Hotel Rex reminded me of some of the hotels I stayed in while traveling through Europe. Presiding in the heart of town, with Union Square, China Town and North Beach just blocks away, we couldn’t ask for a better location to start our California adventure.

Arriving at the hotel around 7pm we got our luggage comfortably to our room. I upgraded to a king for an additional $20. Well worth the money, the room change gave us a great view of the street and also some well needed extra space. After the long day of travel, the Senora and I both agreed not to make a big deal about dinner and just find something close to the hotel instead.

Next to China Town (the corner of Grant and Bush), we found this warm, inviting little place, Café de la Presse. Before writing this blog, I hit Google and discovered a huge amount of blogs/reviews praising this restaurant. I guess the Senora and I just got lucky.

Upon entering the restaurant, the waiter/bar keep greeted with a smile and sat us at a small table for two with a window by the side of the bar. We had a great view of the famous China Town entrance arch.

Within a short time Michael (bar keep/ server) was showing us pictures of his scooter (which he was very proud of indeed) and telling us of a recent scooter event in town. He tells us that he is a big fan of the Austin scooter scene. Café de la Presse definitely had the laid back feeling that the Senora and I like so very very much.

For our meal, we started with Tarte Flambee Classique (bacon, onion, crème fresh tart). Imagine the very lightest pizza you have ever eaten, only square. The tarte was amazing with huge flavor. We both liked this very much. The Senora followed with a light tomato/basil salad and onion soup as her main. I decided to try the old tried and true French favorite, Boeuf Bourguignon, a hearty beef stew with carrots and potatoes, cooked in wine with herbs. This had good flavor but not outstanding. Served in a small cast iron pot, the presentation was rustic and cool. In hindsight, I kind of wish that I had tried the duck, which looked fantastic. With wine, some laughs and wonderful memories of Senora Foodblogs eyes, the meal came to $65 + tip.

It was beginning to get late so we slowly made our way back to the Hotel Rex, holding hands, enjoying the cool San Francisco night. We finished the evening with a chilled bottle of Piper Sonoma in our room. We were both pretty tired but excited and restless, filled with anticipation about the next day and our continued adventure in San Francisco. I went to sleep that night with a smile on my face, dreaming only of Dim Sum.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Eddie V's Happy Hour - Austin,TEXAS

When I arrived home this past Friday evening, after working one stressed out week, I just was not in the mood to cook dinner. Señora Foodblog had already eaten so I decided to head downtown and visit Eddie V’s oyster happy hour. Parking in downtown Austin has become a joke, some sort of crazy dance that involves driving around for 20mins, hunting, searching every side street until you find that elusive parking spot. To top the situation off, most of the time you end up walking five blocks just to reach you final destination. So, I pulled out the wallet and used the friendly and convenient valet to park the car… $6.

Eddie V’s happy hour is served in the bar, to the left of the front door as you enter the restaurant. Seating has never proved a problem for me at Eddie V’s; Señora Foodblog and I quickly found a table near the bar and ordered some beer and wine. I have never eaten in the main room so I can’t tell you about it but the bar area is a dark haven for overpaid, and some would say, under worked lawyers. Very subdued and crispy clean, this has to be one of my favorite watering holes in Austin.

Oysters are .50 cents each during happy hour – I ordered a dozen. Señora Foodblog doesn’t like the oyster, but she does like the steaming hot bread served with every meal at Eddie V’s. The bread is so good, you have to used some real self control not to eat it all before you receive your food. The menu also offers many items at half price including and not limited to the Maryland Style All Lump Crab Cake , Sliced Vine Ripe Tomatoes & Italian Bufala Mozzarella and Georges Bank Scallops in Tempura. All of which I have tried and all taste great. The best part about the happy hour is that if all you eat is a doz oysters, a happy hour half price appetizer, the free bread and only drink ice tea, your bill should come in under $15…that includes tip. Now Señor Foodblog says that is a craaaazy sweat deal. The oysters this night were clean tasting, not muddy at all, defiantly some of the best in town.

Señor Foodblog says two spoons up for Eddie V’s. Wonderful oysters, great happy hour food specials and the kind of top notch service you would expect from a restaurant of Eddie V’s caliber and reputation. If you are an oyster eater, check this place out. I also understand that Sundays are all day happy hour. This sounds like a prime opportunity to settle into possible seafood frenzy and just maybe find some decent parking without having to pay, to boot.

Austin – 2 locations
512 472 1860

512 342 46 26

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Koriente - Austin,TEXAS

As downtown is slowly overwhelmed with “Condofication” one of the best side effects has to be the restaurants popping up everywhere. Koriente, 621 E. 7th, with its refreshing landscapes and light fare, certainly adds a new kinda flavor to the I-35/E. 7th Street area. Located right next to the Beauty Bar and just across the street the Creekside Inn and the “Po-po” headquarters, Koriente is hard to miss. The restaurant’s owners personally landscaped the whole surrounding area and turned what was a forgotten, dull patch of cement at the corner of east 7th and Sabine into a wonderful lush garden. It’s really cool.

When we eat at Koriente, the Señora and I have our favorite appetizers. We are both fans of the Smoked Salmon Roll: $4.50 (avocados and smoked salmon, marinated cucumbers) and the Spicy Noodles Salad: $3 (vegetables, chilled myung bean noodles tossed in a spicy Korean pepper dressing).

For our entrees, Señora Foodblog likes the Mixmix Bibimbap: $6 (rice served with colorful julienne vegetables, and one of two sauces: the spicy red pepper paste sauce or the milder wasabi soy sauce). The Señora likes to add spicy chicken bulgoki and mix it all together into one colorful heap. I, on the other hand, like the Kalbi Pot-roast: $8 (beef, carrots and Korean radish simmered in wine, fresh apple and vegetable juices). The pot roast is a surprising amount of food for only $8. Both are served with the house rice, which has an unusual purple look about it. With beer and tea (Koriente has abundance of different teas to choose from), our bill comes to about $30 + tip.

Señor Foodblog says two spoons up of Koriente. The place has that groovy Austin feel that I dig so much. I really like the spring chairs a lot. While the service is usually really good, I have been in the restaurant when it is busy, so table service can be slow at times. But that’s ok with the Señora and I, we just like to read our Chronicles, sip our drinks and enjoy the garden while watching people walk on by. Make certain you visit Koriente’s website, the restaurant keeps different hours and closes during the day for a few hours.

621 E. 7th Street.
512 275-0852

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