Posts Tagged ‘R2’

Animals of Japan: Nihonimals.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

“Oooooo I can’t wait until you do an Animals of Japan post!” said R2 while we were tooling around Tokyo. I remember him saying this quite clearly, and yet when I sat down to compose this post I was like, “Did we see that many animals…?” But then I opened iPhoto and it reminded me that yes, we did see that many animals, and in fact we went to a fucking ZOO you dumbass.

On our recent excursion to the Land of the Rising Sun (btw, thank you Daniel and Tinx for covering with the most excellent posts; Tinky if I die/coma-out just continue posting as if you are me because we are blogstyle soulmates), we went to Tokyo, Izu, and Kyoto, and encountered tons of cuteness along the way. None was more surprising than the capybara., who we saw at the Inokashira Koen Zoo.

Oh man y’all. Capybaras are fucking cute. I was familiar with the species from the capybara Squee Spree but I was unprepared for how hella HUGE capybaras are! Usually, you mini-fy something to make it cuter, but in this instance the fact that this guy was so huge (you cannot tell in this photo, but a capybara is as big as a St. Bernard, but thicker and rounder). Apparently there is a capybara fad going on in Tokyo, which has netted shit like this which, even though they’ve been Japanified, do not quite capture the cuteness of a capybara. It’s something about their pissed-off looking eyes and their teeny prosh front feet that have to hold up the rest of the massive body. And they are massive indeed – capybaras are the largest rodent in the world.

Also at the zoo were fennec foxes. Jeff Corwin, my celebrity crush who I think looks just like Green Lantern, [aaaaaaand I'm back from almost an hour-long Jeff Corwin video watching jag] owns one as a pet. Jealouuuuuszors. Google “baby fennec” and you’ll squee, drool, and curl your toes, I guarantee it. This one was standing with one paw up and we were like “oh noooo is his wittow pawzie hurted?” but then he was like “fuck you tricked you stupids” and sprinted away. Adorbs.

While I was shrieking at the actually cute animals, R2 was busy going gaga over things like elephants.

Don’t get me wrong, I like me some elephants too, espesh since they are allegedly super intelligent despite the nomer Dumbo, but do I find them cute? No. Plus this one was stinky.

R2 also has a bird obsession, so much of the trip was him shouting GIVE ME THE CAMERA! and me frantically digging it out of my purse to throw to him, only to find he was taking pictures of birds:

I mean…ok I guess? I do like how he is marching like a soldier.

Ok that boid is legitimately cool (found outside the aquatic area of the zoo).

Ooooh artistic! This is at the top of Ohmuro-yama in Izu.

EWWWWWWWWW disgusteeeen why why why. Barf and cry. After that one, R2 was no longer allowed to take pictures.

OK, back to the zoo for a mo-mo. This is a super ZOOmed photo of a phone pic of a species that has evolved to camouflage themselves into rocks with a third monkey distractingly photobombing it in the back, so it’s difficult to see. But it’s basically a monkey in a pr0n-ey pose getting its ass picked over by a kind neighbor monkey.

Now, onward to Izu. Izu had a ton of strays. This one was lounging like nobody’s business on sharp gravel, owwch! They don’t seem to be wanting for food, based on the adorable ploppy roundness of this Oreo cat.

In Izu, we went to a heart-stoppingly gorgeous and rugged suspension bridge with giant cliffs and big white waves that crashed up against them extremely dramatically. Everyone was making “sugoi!” noises and taking a million pictures (that’s racist!) and bravely peeking over the edge of the rocky ledges.

Meanwhile, I found this cat hidden under a bush and was squealing at a super high frequency. I made everyone in my group come over and look at it, and was universally met with “….” You can see that even the cat itself was like “What is the big fucking deal.”

I dare anyone to go squee-less in the face of this marmalade stray! I can tell he’s sleepy and hungry at the same time, because his eyes are almost closed and his lil’ pink perfect half moon tongue is out.

I…I don’t understand this. But I want it. Whether it’s -the Barbarian or -O’Brien or just an incredibly awesome dog name, I don’t care. Please take note of the wiggle marks people.

All over Kyoto there were gardens in the middle of houses, restaurants, temples like it was no big thing. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to walk INTO an already gorgeous building and find this in the center. This koi was floating around at an impossibly slow pace which made me think it knew exactly how beautiful it was and was doing it on purpose just to be admired. Asshole.

Next, we went to Nara. From faaaaar away, my animal Spidey sense tingled at a four-legged brown thing off in the distance behind a fence. As I got closer, I realized it was a deer! SHHHH! Don’t scare it! We crept up on it and took a million pictures.

Then we turned a corner into Kohfukuji temple and saw a billion deer roaming around and bothering people. I yelled “IS THIS A THING?” at my mother, who was huffy because she had TOLD me that there were deer all over the place and I didn’t need to do 100x zoom on the first deer I saw. She was right. What was up was tons of deer butt.

This one was sleeping in on a park bench. Look at that moist nose! I wanted to stuff it into my mouth!! Instead, I went up to it, gave it bunny ears, and R2 snapped a photo. I am so hilarious.

This one was walking in the gutter. Stupid.

How’s this for the silliest warning sign ever? My mom and sister both thought this was a warning to humans not to bite, kick, butt, or knock down the deer. Although hilarious, also stupid.

R2 noticed that deer seem to save their fury solely for old ladies and little girls. If my mom and sister were any indication, it’s because they couldn’t correctly comprehend the signage. And if a deer is kicking you, why would you crouch into a ball!

I will conclude this nihonimals post with the gratuitous baby deer shot you knew was coming. And, because I neglected to say it when we were actually leaving Nara, I will fix my blue balls by ending this post by saying Sayonara Nara!

Guest Post: Rainbow Doodle Cake!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

My stick figures are as true-to-life as it gets.

While Janet was in Japan getting her cultural heritage on with R2 in tow, I spent my days baking a beautiful cake.   Ok, it was only 2 days, and the cake is by no means beautiful.  But it has a great personality.  Sort of a butterface, or in this case, a butterfondant.  

This seems to happen to me a lot.  I love baking, and the stuff I make tastes really fucking good, but I’m kind of a failure when it comes to decorating.  Case in point: Giant Cuppycake.  That one tasted bad too, but whatevs.  A couple months ago I went crazy for a party Logo and I were hosting and made a shit-ton of desserts and the results were astoundingly lovely.  Alas, that was not the case this time.   

I decided to make this cake after a request from Eggroll to make a glorious dessert for a weekend away in Arrowhead for the Tough Mudder and Lisa’s/David’s birthdays.  For those who don’t know, the Tough Mudder is a ridiculous display of manliness and stupidity under the guise of a 10 miles race with obstacles.  Obstacles like diving in ice water and running through electrical wires charged with 10,000 volts.  SUPER FUN!!!!1!  

My inspiration for this cake was the amazingly beautiful Canuck cake blog Sweetapolita.  That woman makes some gorgeous cakes.  And gorgeous babies, just look at the pictures of her children on there!  And she married a gorgeous man.  Some people have all the luck.  I figured it would be fun to make a fun, surprising cake and have everyone write all over the pristine, smoothly fondant-ed outside. 

Not my cake.

I made the cake part of the cake the Wednesday before the weekend because I didn’t want to bake at high altitude–tried that in Mammoth without making adjustments and the cake was deflated and dry.  Still edible, but this one had to be gorgeous and thus I baked the cakes early and froze them.  The recipe is super easy.  I used cake flour instead of regular flour because I wanted to and mine says it’s expired so I need to use it up.  Apparently cake flour is treated with chlorine so it’s really soft and results in a lovely, soft, light crumb.  I subbed 1 c. + 2 T. of cake flour for each cup of regular flour and it worked out fine. 

Rewind to my initial preparations for this cake.  I went to the only cake decorating supply place in West LA, Gloria’s (silly side note: their URL spells it “suplys” hehe).  I think it was under construction because the right side of the store looked like a bomb had exploded.  Still, the place had everything!  I enjoyed rummaging immensely and spent a lot of time looking at the gel food colors.  SO pretty.  Ended up with the Americolor “school training kit,” so I’ll be set if I ever go to cake school.  AND I got these awesome food coloring markers so everyone could draw on the cake. 

Pretty colors!!

There was no way I was going to make my own fondant so I bought a fancier-looking one than Wilton because Wilton is the cake decorating devil and they’ve taken over everything with their cheapy fondant cutters and shit!  I made a good choice, too, because this fondant was actually tasty instead of tasting like sweet plastic. 

Fancy French name means it’s better.

After making the batter, you have to weigh it and then split it into 6 bowls for dyeing.  I thought this would be pretty difficult but it went quickly, though I used all of our cereal bowls and all of our forks for stirring the colors.  Logo was like “what happened I just did dishes?!” and I was like “Sorrrryyyyyy……”   Good story, huh?  Here’s a picture of the pretty batter.   Some of it, at least.

 Blue + yellow = green.  Lessons in color chemistry.

And here’s a couple pictures of the cakes cooling.  The layers are super super thin so I was glad I parchment-papered the bottoms of the pans to prevent any cake-butt loss.  The blue layer is missing because I had to rescue it from overcooking due its runtiness.  I’m like the mom that pushes aside that baby that won’t make it because it’s too small.  But the purple layer looks blue so pretend it’s both blue AND purple!  Yay! 

I obviously didn’t bake them in rainbow order.

Ignore the finger gouge in the green. 

I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap after cooling and realized when I stacked them that one of my cake pans was actually a pie pan and was slightly less than 9″.  So two layers were littler than the others on top of blue being super thin and yellow having a weird hump.  Not an auspicious beginning.  At least the colors are vibrant, right? 

Always use protection.

Fast-forward to assembling the cake: everyone was at the Tough Mudder except me and Stosh.  We went to breakfast (I had chicken-fried steak and eggs–I won) while the layers defrosted and then I made cream cheese frosting–Lisa’s favorite!–and frosted the cake.  I forgot to take pictures of this part, probably because I was having major issues getting it smooth because the layers were so lopsided.  Eventually I gave up, figuring that it didn’t have to look good since I was just going to cover it in fondant.  That was a poor decision.  Just so you know, fondant will form to whatever shape is underneath it.  Even weird cake lumps and gooshy frosting.  

The P-sug went into every crevice of the wooden table.  Whoops.

I did ok rolling the fondant out because it was very pliable and easy to work with.  But then when I put it on the cake, I didn’t cut off the excess soon enough and the bottom slowly ripped off, leaving a large hole in the fondant.  I tried using the remaining fondant to make another layer, but I didn’t have quite enough. 

First layer.  Not as ugly with flash.

That’s when I got the brilliant idea to make a bow!  It didn’t turn out half bad, but while I was making it the fondant already on the cake continued to settle and got lumpier and lumpier.  Eventually, the bottom of the cake looked like cellulite and when I tried to smooth it, the frosting underneath would squish out around the bottom.  Grossssss and delicious on my fingers nom. 

Ghett-bow!  Punny.

Everyone else said the cake was lovely, but they’re just nice friends.  They dutifully signed it and drew some fun pictures, including a lovely peen drawn by Eggroll’s brother. 

Complete with veins and hair.

Please compare my decorating skillz to those of my sister-in-law, who made the cake below for her friend’s wedding.  It’s breathtaking–all buttercream!!  Such sharp edges!  But then I learned that it took like 27 hours to do and she ended up crying in the kitchen more than once and I felt better about my 3-hour cake.   I could make it perfect if I spent 27 hours too!   

The story of this cake’s inception would make a good chick flick.

We FINALLY got to cut into the cake after all those hours of labor, and it was truly beautiful.  All the nasty fondant was forgotten and the cake was deliciously sweet and vanilla-ey.  With everyone getting drunker as the evening progressed, appetites increased and the cake slowly disappeared.  Aftermath.  Looks nom.

Ultimately, it was a success.  A delicious, colorful, lumpy success.  Make this shit for a fun time and an impressive reveal.

Off The Grid: Food truck circle/circus

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Have you ever wanted to get food from a food truck, but were too scared that your pants weren’t tight enough, your fedora not awkward enough, your scraggly mustache not hideous-looking enough? I mean, you bought yourself a vest so you could fit in, but as you nervously smoothed the front with your hands, did you worry that it wasn’t threadbare enough, or the buttons not ironically gaudy enough?

Did you ever want to get yummy, cheap street food without wilting under the stare of a hundred hipsters judging you?

I did.

So I went to Off the Grid, which is a weekly gathering of SF food trucks at Fort Mason. (It also happens around the city on other nights but this is by far the biggest with 30+ vendors.) I was apprehensive about it being too scene-y, but I figured it would take a lot of energy to ride a fixie all the way from the Mission to the Marina, and hipsters seem to take it as a point of pride that they have no muscle tone whatsoever, so I hoped I would be safe.

And I was.

As R2 and I approached the lights in the middle of the Fort Mason parking lot, we saw a giant circle, the border comprised of food trucks and tents with two gaps – the entrance and exit, respectively. As we stepped into that hallowed circle, I nearly fainted with joy.

Here were young people, old people, family people, weird people… and instead of calculated boredom or angst, there was only eagerness and howling hunger.

We attempted to do a lap to be organized about our dining plan, but halfway around the circle we gave up and went for the shortest line, which was for Red Truck. We picked up Chinese fried chicken with hot sauce for a piddling $2, and it seemed like as soon as we gave our name to the guy another guy was yelling our name with our chicken. In my state of extreme hunger and excitement I totally forgot to take a picture, but visually it looked a lot like fried chicken with hot sauce. It tasted a lot like heaven. It had a complex peppery flavor that I might even describe as “weird” but with the Sriracha it burst into flames of complex, crunchy, fatty, spicy goodness.

Riding high on that triumph, we next went to a vendor whose name I am regrettably missing. It was Argentinean if I remember correctly, but maybe it wasn’t. (So sue me. I was in a joy daze).

Don’t judge me! I HAD to use flash or it would have been hopelessly blurry! Anyway, I think it captures the spirit of OTG – off center, exposed in multiple ways, and delicious-looking. I get scared when the thing containing the innards is neither soft nor crunchy but somewhere in between, but this glorious green thing, whatever it was, was appropriately and pleasingly chewy to stand up to the tomato and carnitas. As a texture-eater, I found this little pocket to be totally delightful, and one of my favorites of the night.

While R2 waited in line for it, I danced on over to the Onigilly stand, which was selling rice balls filled with salmon or hijiki, which is a super salty/sweet preparation of seaweed. I got one of each, duh, and ran back to R2. Rice isn’t a slurpable foodstuff, but that’s what it felt like I was doing. Putting rice up to my mouth and inhaling, basically. It’s been ages since I’ve eaten hijiki so I was cuddled up in a nice nostalgia bubble.

See, this is what happens when you attempt to take a food photo at night without flash. Of course, it doesn’t help that it’s almost all eaten and being grabbed out of my hands by a greedy R2.

I didn’t begrudge him this grubby behavior. Because this was the Chicken Tikka Masala burrito from the Curry Up Now truck that we had been lusting after from the beginning. We were in that superbly annoying situation where the line was outrageous, and yet once we were in it NO ONE got in line after us. But all of that was forgotten once we had the huge, hot thing in our hands. Oh God. I mean I can’t. It’s…just…so JUICY! and … taste so good! I’m sure this burrito will keep me up at nights, crying, once I move to New Jersey.

Finally, we ended the night at Chairman Bao‘s truck. We got one Red Sesame Chicken bao with scallions and bok choy and one pulled pork bao with Savoy cabbage and preserved mustard seeds. Poor things. Nothing could possibly follow the transcendent curry burrito, and we were stuffed to boot. I can say that the chicken one was a flavor esploshun and the proportions were absolutely perfect in both baos.

The whole shebang is catered by quality alcohol purveyors like Alembic. Not that you needed any help in reaching a giggly, high, staggering, I-LUF-YOU-GUUUUYS state. If you are my stalker, you are in luck, as you will find me at OTG every Friday from now on.

Off The Grid
Fridays at Fort Mason
Just drive to the northernmost part of the city, you’ll find it.

Grilled Cheese Invitational and World’s Cutest Puppy

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

With a title like that, there’s no way you wouldn’t read the whole post. But just to be sure, I am putting the puppy picture at the very end.

R2, Daniel and I went to the Grilled Cheese Invitational in LA last weekend. Their motto is “Bread-Butter-Cheese-VICTORY!” which makes sense to me.

We all got judging tickets, which meant that we could go to the competition arena and judge the entries. It all sounded like a dream, a cheesy dream, and I couldn’t wait!

11:00 am, day of festival, at Tinx’s house:

Janet: [clutching a huge ham sandwich] OM NOM NOM NOM!

Tinx: Aren’t you going to be eating a shitload of grilled cheeses soon?

Janet: Eee! If Daniel asks this is YOUR sandwich OKAY?

Tinx: Why?

Janet: Because he’ll be pissed that I’m ruining my appetite!

Tinx: He’s not gonna care.

Janet: Yes he is.

Knock knock.

Daniel: [Walking in] Tillamooooook!

Tinx: Hi!

R2: Hi!

Janet: Hi!

Janet: [Absentmindedly picks up sandwich and starts eating it again] Snarf snarf.

Daniel: WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN YOUR APPETITE!!

We made it to the festival, in a sort-of-shady part of downtown, by 1:30 pm. Despite my rebellious snacking, I was very low blood sugar, and the three of us were totally cranky.

Then the door checker gave us our judging bracelets, and I perked up. Then he gave us two tickets and said “That’s for your two judging tastings.” Whaaa? Just two? There were over 200 competitors! And…tickets? Does this mean it’s not a cheese-eating free for all?

It did indeed mean that. There were 17 professional stands where you had to purchase samples for anywhere from $2 to $7.50. This made us crankier. Then there was the competition arena, where the 200+ amateurs cooked their grilled cheeses in several heats throughout the day. They handed them out to people with judging tickets as they finished cooking them, often one at a time, so at any given time 1 out of around 50 people would get an actual tasting. Usually it was the person yelling the loudest or the girl with the most prominent boobs. Bogus. This made us the crankiest.

I realized were were in that dangerous headspace where you simultaneously have lost the will to live but are ready to shoot someone in the eyeball. I said, “Let’s just get one into our belly” and lined up for the shortest line, which was the Mendocino Farms stand.

Pictured in the background is the $3 Asian pork belly Cubano with chinese hot mustard, caramelized Kurobuta pork belly, prime honey ham, provolone, house made sweet chili sauce and Asian pickles on a panini grilled ciabatta.

Whoa, right?

Pictured in the foreground is the $2 French Onion Soup Melt with smoked gouda fondue and cave aged gruyere with caramelized onions on panini grilled dolce forno pretzel roll.

Fuckin-A, right??

The former was one of those sammies that start out all weird but in the end all the flavors combine to be something more than the sum of its parts. The Asian mustard POW was the best part. The latter was my favorite of the entire day. The idea itself is so pleasing, and the execution, especially with the exotic bread, was outstanding!

Next, we met the World’s Fucking Cutest Fucking Puppy. But I’m not showing the picture until the end, remember?

Daniel and I had lost R2 at this point, and I worried that he was crouching in the corner in some low-b-sug-induced sulk-seizure, but instead I spied him being fed a grilled cheese sandwich by a huge, bearded dude in a very seductive way. I felt like I was interrupting a private moment so I looked away. Then I looked back and realized it was one of R2′s high school pals, and they’re always doing silly shenans like that.

I was all riled up from the one-two punch of puppy-beard so I forgot to take a picture of our next set of sandwiches, which were from the Mix N’ Munch Grilled Cheese (their apostrophe is in the wrong place, stupid) stand. We got a $2 Mix N’ Munch Breakfast Sammy with cheddar, bacon, fried egg, and tater tots on Shepherd’s bread. I dislike egg and I REALLY dislike tater tots, so this one wasn’t for me. I did appreciate, however, that instead of being a monstrosity that it could easily have been, it was all tidy and compact and looked, for all intents and purposes, like a regular Velveeta grilled cheese. We also got a $3 Char Suit [sic] N’ [we already know this was sic] Cheese, with Chinese barbecued pork, pickled onions and provolone on egg bread. In terms of Asian fusion points, Mendocino wins. Mostly I was distracted by the huge fat chunks in the pork, which on top of the provolone was a lot of white blandness. Oh, we also got the last cantaloupe water, which made many folks in line curse at us.

Everywhere we walked with the above item people ran up and asked where we got it and what it was. We got it from the Cynthia Washburn stand and it was an off-menu arancini. Basically a chunk of mozzarella surrounded by a clump of rice, breaded and deep fried. Heavenly. This one was particularly amazing because it had huge chunks of vegetables inside like spinach and carrots. I also really appreciated that it was so hot we could barely pick it up. Next time I’m super drunk, I hope this will magically appear in my hands, because I can’t imagine anything better and my hands will be numb and won’t hurt quite as much.

This one, also from Cynthia Washburn, wins my gourmet award. It is the$4 Ruby Canard, with duck confit, truffled chevre, and red onion port marmalade on rosemary bread.

There are probably those grilled cheese purists who would scoff at such a concoction. But creative and schmance grilled cheeses have their place too, which is why the Invitational has four categories:

Love, American Style – White bread, butter, orange cheese (American or Cheddar). NOTHING ELSE.

The Missionary Position - Any type of bread, butter and cheese. NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS.

The Kama Sutra - A sandwich of the savory nature, with any type of bread, butter and cheese PLUS additional ingredients, and the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.

The Honey Pot – Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese, and the interior ingredients of the sammich must be at least 60% cheese, PLUS additional ingredients, and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert.

Click through for outrageously detailed paragraphs describing each category if you are bored.

I expected the Ruby Canard to be over-the-top decadent, but it really wasn’t. R2 and I came away with the same single conclusion, which was that we really like goat cheese.

Winning my decadent award instead was the above-pictured $7.50 Chicken N. [sic - what the hell everyone?] Waffle Melt, with sharp cheddar cheese and fried chicken on two golden waffles. By far the longest line we waited in, but I passed the time by first going to to the First Aid tent to steal some spray-on sunscreen. The paramedics looked super bored. One of them took one bite out of a grilled cheese sandwich and pushed it away. “I don’t really like grilled cheese sandwiches,” he mumbled sadly.

Then I passed the time by bopping to the music of March Fourth, which is this crazy kooky indie scary/creepy/cool awesome marching band, as it came through the main drag. Surprise surprise, they are originally from Portland.

The Chicken N. Waffle Melt was being sold by The Grilled Cheese Truck #2 (there were two and they both sold different things), and came with your choice of syrup or gravy on the side. We, of course, got one of each. I also got a Plain and Simple Melt, with sharp cheddar on French bread.

Yes, the gravy was THAT kind of gravy. The thick, chunky, pale kind that you might mistake for condensed cream of mushroom soup. This one had some cayenne pepper in it, and the fried chicken was very salty and crunchy, and the waffles were sweet and fluffy-soft and the whole shebang was pretty freaking awesome. The regular grilled cheese I got was tossed to the side after one bite, poor thing.

I was bursting at the seams, but we couldn’t leave without getting (a) a free 5-hour Energy that ladies in short shorts and visors were passing out and (b) a $3.25 Bacon Me Crazy from The Feast Truck, with mozzarella, strawberries and bacon coated with brown sugar and cayenne topped with a chocolate balsamic reduction drizzle.

It didn’t taste as weird as it looked (that’s what she said). I think cooked strawberries can sometimes get a gross slimy texture and this bordered on that, but otherwise it was fine. Who knows. Maybe my taste buds were on strike after being overworked.

We felt stupid buying judging passes and not judging a single sammy in the competition arena, so we waddled our way over and pressed ourselves up against the fence. The competitors were on the other side slowly making their sandwiches one by one. Then, festival workers would take a completed sandwich, turn to the crowd, and bask in undeserved attention as we all shrieked and begged for one of the samples. The ticketing system had gone out the window an hour earlier so it was an actual free-fer-all. One of the guys came close to Daniel, and he half-heartedly reached out a hand, but didn’t get one. I looked over at R2 and he was like “enh…” and equally half-assedly waved his hand at another worker.

Clearly we were full and our hearts just weren’t in it. To add insult to injury, there was a grilled cheese poetry contest being broadcast at ear-bleedingly loud decibels just to our left. Beyond the headache this generated, it made me double mad because R2 had composed a poem and not submitted it. I am SURE it would have won, so I am publishing it here:

Shall I compare thee to a grilled cheese sandwich?
Thou art fine and full, but not so satisfying.
Would that I were pampered and rich,
My heart still melts while cheddar’s frying.
Sometime too hot my passion burns,
By blackened char, gold flavors dim’d;
But bite for bite, opinion turns
And sandwich gone, I found I’ve sin’d.
I find fine dining my tongue eschews,
Nor are fair viands my heart’s true wish
‘Tis grilled cheese that I always choose,
Eternally the most delish.

And when I die, when laid to rest,
‘Tis cheese I will have loved the best.

Finally, we had had enough, and without judging a single sammy we wobbled/rolled our way back to the car. When I got back to SF, all those who had seen my Facebook status bragging about it were dying to know who won. First of all, we would have had to stay until SIX pm to find out the results, which would have been the death of us. Second of all, and just mentioned, we did not ourselves judge a single sando. Third of all, the winners and their sandwiches have nonsensical names so it wouldn’t make a difference to tell you. An example – the winning team of the Kama Sutra category was Super Duper Zung Chung and their entry was called the Fromage Connection. Meaningless.

So who cares! Especially when you have made it this far and can reap your just reward: The Fucking World’s Fucking Cutest Fucking Puppy. To get the proper sense of scale, you must realize that this puppy is being held by a child who is herself tiny. It was about the size of a bagel. You might even mistake it for a squirmy bagel and put it in your mouth. In fact, when I asked Daniel “how would you describe the teeniness of the puppy?” he said “Edible! Like literally fit in my mouth maybe.” So, without further ado, here it is, in all its tongue-y squee glory:

 

Pictures of dogs R2 has sent me

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

There are more dogs than children in San Francisco. So, the collection of pictures of dogs that R2 has texted me is a well-curated one. It’s not like any old puppers can make the cut. Since they arrive in my phone without accompanying narration, I have to infer what it is about each pup that has stricken his fancy. I will share my thoughts on what I think his thoughts were with you now.

First, the dog pictured top. Obvy! The dog has two different colored eyes, stupid! Upon closer inspection, though, maybe it’s the fact that if you look at it right, it looks like a weird three-legged species of dog, and also its fuck-you expression is adorbs.

I keep telling him that this breed is called a French Bulldog, and that many famous people have them, like Martha Stewart. But every time R2 sees one he gets all excited like it’s a strange-looking mutt that is very cute and sends me a picture.

R2 is a sucker for dogs that are sitting politely even when it’s obvious that they want to freak out.

This dog looks either very old or very Asian. R2 is also a sucker for wise-soul-looking dogs, and also dogs that look very patient.

Haha awesome. Maybe he was trying to give me material for my dogs-that-should-be-named-Oreo post. Or, maybe he was actually trying to get a picture of its owner, who looks suspiciously Doctor Who-esque in his apparel.

I’m sure it was this pup’s “OK, so what the fuck do you want?” expression that caught R2′s eye. Also, he likes black-muzzled dogs. Also, free dog!

R2 knows I heart heart heart Corgis, and if it is a mutt that has some Corgi in it, even better! This puppy looks like a cross between a Corgi and Patrick Dempsey (see below) so it is ultimate cute.

This is Patrick Dempsey, the charmer that hangs out in the Animal Company pet store. He is a Bernese Mountain Dog, which ranks #2 after Corgis for me. Many a time have I dug both of my hands into his belly and relished his softness. He is extremely lazy and chill and puts up with this for as long as I want.

As a general rule, R2 does not like purebred dogs, so I’m not sure why he sent this to me. Maybe he didn’t have his glasses on and thought it was a Corgi. Dumbass.

Oh, how did this get in here? This is the late Vernon, cat of R2′s late grandpa. RIP. Vernon was both blind and deaf, but somehow he knew when it was 5 am because then he would start meowing SO LOUD like a banshee. I still hearted him, though, and I would say “I heart Vernon!” and R2 would say, “No one hearts Vernon!” but he was just saying that. I know for a fact that Tinx also hearted Vernon.

If it’s a Corgi, he will send me a picture, no matter how far away the photo has to be taken from.

He also really likes boids. The plumper, the better. I like how this one is like, “Yeah what?”

Update: Apparently Tinx sent me this. Sometimes I get them confused, even though it should be easy to tell them apart – one is a ginger with a nice rack, the other is usually practicing karate kicks with a Green Lantern ring on while telling me a really long synopsis of a Doctor Who episode.

This one is a toughie. Why did he center the one dog to the neglect of the other? The one on the left looks much sillier, and I remember that we laughed sooo hard at this post of 22 dogs that look like they’re high. I’m guessing that the dog on the right fell into the “patient-looking” category that he loves so much.

This is just a weird-looking wee dog.

Hee hee he’s so round and fat! R2 has a “fat and at Starbucks” meme with some of his dog photos.

This is another. He particularly loves pugs. He says it is because their faces are so weird but I suspect it also has something to do with Men in Black.

A+ for effort, but fucking F for safety! I do love how this dog is sitting like he’s just a human.

My all-time favorite, and sums up many of R2′s pupperson-love memes. (1) At Starbucks. (2) Old-looking, even though it is clearly a puppy. (3) Round. (4) Patient. (5) Silly.

MTFB goes bicoastal

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Hooo now that I’m recovered from the dizziness from that effing cheese skirt photo, I has an announcement to make! The extreme busyness to which Daniel is referring was a series of interviews for faculty positions in universities all over North America. After a grueling three months of these shenanigans, I’ve finally decided on a top-notch university in the lovely and beautiful… New Jersey!

Look at me, I’m all growed up! I’m gonna teach undergrads (and obsessively check ratemyprofessors.com)! I’m gonna have a lab and a lab website that starts with my last name and ends in -lab.com! I’m gonna stay up nights worrying about tenure!

Ahhh twill be the life.

I’ll also be within striking distance of New York City and all the glorious eats contained therein! Fuck. Yeah.

Ut oh this means I have a giant fucking backlog that I have to clear. This means: HAIKUS!

So so so much hype

Meatballs should be decadent

These were just meh, yo

OMG that’s fish!

Tuna with spaghetti, WHAT?

Chewy crunchy NOMS

Burninated kale

Puffy crust, umami blast

Well done, A16

A16 | 2355 Chestnut Street SF | 415.771.2216

So hungry at 5

Happy hour half price – heart!

Truffled popcorn, fuck

Flatbread half price too

Ham, Burratta, broccoli

Nectar Wine Lounge mmm

Nectar | 3330 Steiner Street SF | 415.345.1377

Tea leaf salad, god

Haunts me in my dreams, oh god

God almighty yum

Some sort of noodle

Should have ordered two Tea Leafs

Nice eggy-ness though

Poodi is curry

Funny name so we got it

Burma Superstar

Burma Superstar | 309 Clement St SF | 415.387.2147

This is Croque Madame

I got a yucky club, shit

R2 wins this one

Chouquet’s | 2500 Washington SF | 415.359.0075

Now I’m in LA

Watermelon apple juice

“Everything Nice” gulp!

I love jicama

No mayo tuna salad

Too healthy bad choice

Wrong one delivered

Worth the wait Havarti nom

Crunchy mouth-roof ouch!

What is this sammy?

Tinky got it – Caprese?

Look at that baguette!

Coral Tree Cafe | 11645 San Vicente Blvd LA | 310.979.8733

Deep fried chickpea app

Spicy crunchy addictive

Eat them with Beano

Embarras de richess

Brown Bear Ale was my fav’rite

Taste all beers for 10

Veggie paella

Just as good as fishy kind

Wait I miss sausage

Grilled Bistro filet

Chimichurri sauce and blood

Carnivore hard-on

Thirsty Bear | 661 Howard St SF | 415.974.0905

Oh Mamacita

Duck tacos be still my heart

Way too pricey, loud

Mamacita | 2317 Chestnut St SF | 415.346.8494

Lamb meatballs, sauces

A16′s can suck it dude

What are smaller balls?

Words cannot explain

Egg and cheese and meaty bliss

Ristobar my love

Ristobar | 2300 Chestnut St SF | 415.923.6464

Sebo sashimi

Anthony Bourdain went there

No Reservations

Only dab the soy!

Sushi platter broke the bank

Blackboard Eats thank god

Sebo | 517 Hayes St SF | 415.864-2181

Yay it’s Sharisa

Tacolicious Paloma

Festive red sugar

Top one was the best

Middle not spicy don’t fret

Bottom is mango

Fish and carnitas

I’ll miss these in Jersey, sigh

More, more cilantro!

Tacolicious | 2031 Chestnut St SF | 415.346.1966

Miso-glazed black cod

Tempura maitake

Thrillingly scrumptious

Butterfish special

So good but made me vomit

Got on R2′s sock

Umami | 2909 Webster St SF | 415.346.3431

Back in LA now

Pre-dinner snack of fried squid

Slurped up all the sauce

Deep fried corn fritters

Just like Cornell Chariot’s

Sweet, crispy, fatty

Three cheeses, goat too

Came with tomato soup shot

Eyes roll back in head

They’re famous for this

Braised short rib so soft, silky

Eat it with a spoon

Mini ice cream cones

Of course I did not eat it

People loved it though

Upper West | 3321 Pico Blvd LA | 415.586.1111

Where did I eat this?

Somewhere in Noe I know

Breakfast burrito

???? | 24th St SF | ????

Fresh shucked on the Wharf

Sliding down my throat oh yeah

Oysters are my crack

One of the stands | Fisherman’s Wharf, SF

Bouchon and Bottega, Yountville

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I have been working on some sort of pun/joke about Yountville fine dining establishments that begin with “Bo” and are owned by chefs whose last names begin with a “k” phoneme, but it’s not quite there yet. So I will just straight up say “I went to Bouchon and Bottega. Both are in Yountville, which is a teeny and adorable town sandwiched between Napa and Sonoma.  The former is owned by noted chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame; the latter by celebrity chef and resident skeeze-despite-being-flaming Michael Chiarello.”

I mean, have you SEEN Michael Chiarello’s show on Food Network? He has a crazy lisp and talks about fluting things. Fellow FoodTV junkie Finni and I were sure he was gay, and then one day he mentioned his “wife and kids” and I fell off my chair, texted Finni from the floor, and then she fell off HER chair! There is NO! WAY!

But when he was on the first season of Top Chef Masters I realized he’s not gay, he’s just a snake, and the lisp is a human form of hissing. Ugh. I wanted to shower after that episode where he was oozing all over the ladies who came to his catering station.

Anyway, for my hatch day, R2 outdid himself and swept me away to wine country, where we stayed in an amazing villa in The Villagio Inn and Spa. It was one of these sprawling places that you can just wander around, marveling at the cute corners and paths lined with strings of fountains. They had tea daily complete with tiny crustless sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream. There was a super old couple at tea on the first day with the KEE-YOOTEST puppersons that was waiting on the outside of the glass door, looking in and making intense eye contact with anyone who would look at him/her. I named it Eye Contact Dog, but then I really wanted to know its proper name, so I sidled up to its owner who was refilling her tea.

Me: [Sweetly] What is your dog’s name?
Her: [Sharply] Any milk?

Confused, I backed away. Did she think I was the help? Did she not even notice me and was talking to herself? Or was her dog’s name Enniemelch?

Ennie-way, that night we went to the dark and romantic Bistro Jeanty. The lighting was untenable, despite the fact that we were seated fireside, so I don’t have any postable pictures, but we had a blogworthy but in the end slightly gross set of appetizers - LANGUE D’AGNEAU: warm lamb tongue and potato salad and TERRINE DE LAPIP: rabbit pâté with a celery root apple salad and mustard dressing. Both were mayo-ey and chunky with a not-unoccasional cartilage crunch which wasn’t great. Our entrees, however, glowed. I got Coq au vin, even though I hate bird, just because I spied Buttered egg noodles under sides, which came with the tagline “Yummy with Coq au vin.” I loved the use of “yummy” on this fine French dining menu so I went with it, and good fucking lord. I think I ate just one hunk of chicken for posterity and then inhaled the egg noodles, dipping just the ends in the gravy of the coq au vin soba-style. When people asked me after the fact how my hatch day was, I just say “buttered egg noo…” and trail off in a drooly daze.

The following day we took an epic walk and laughed at some cows that were grazing. The CHRRUUFF sound of the blades of grass getting ripped off their roots and then the CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP sound! And they just ate all day long! We watched them for a long time and then I heard a frog croaking nearby and I hate frogs so we left.
Lunch was at Bouchon. We were seated at our server’s favorite seat in the house – adjacent to the charming Christmas tree. We had the soupe du jour which was a sunchoke soup with creme fraiche, lemon oil, and toasted walnuts. You can just look at it and guess how awesome it was. I could have gone to the trouble of constructing perfect spoonfuls composed of all elements, but just poking at it willy-nilly netted very different flavor profiles (god have I become a person who uses the term “flavor profiles?”) with each bite. I silently snapped my fingers under the table and mouthed “Garcon I’ll take a vatful” and R2 said “Huh?” and I said “Nothing.”

Then, he had the Croque Madame: grilled ham & cheese sandwich on brioche, fried egg & mornay (Bechamel with parmesan and gruyere cheese added, swoon) sauce served with French fries.

Our server, who we both liked exceedingly, was attentive and peppy but not unctuous. She had no make up on, which fit with her “I’m here to make sure you eat delicious food and that is my only job” demeanor. She cracked jokes that I could see myself making. Anyway, she offered to make R2′s fries black truffle fries for a piddling more, but we decided against it (WHY WHY WHY). Instead of crying, I just dunked the fries in the aioli accompaniment, which ended up being truffle aioli so that was a fucking win. The sammy was rich and light at the same time. R2 slurped it up, even the horrifying-looking yolk-edge slime-tendon that was clinging to the side of the plate at the end.

I had the Quiche du Jour, which was Lorraine. It came out quivering with a crusty top.

More mousse than quiche, utterly reminiscent of Japanese chawanmushi. Silky and soft and hung out in a really nice way at the back of my tongue. I found myself eating around the bacon just to get at the egg. I wanted to have it with a spoon at night with PJs on like women in commercials encouraging other women to indulge by oneself in ice cream.

Then, to the Villagio spa, where it is free to soak for guests. My activity plan was as follows: Shower to get clean, outdoor jacuzzi to get hot, read Nook Doggy Dogg in a lounge chair outside to get cold, steam room to get hot, more reading outside to get cold, sauna to get hot, even more reading outside to get cold again, and jacuzzi again to leave me toasty warm. I was alone basically the entire time, and being nekkid in an outdoor spa is really liberating! I did some attempts at naked synchronized swimming in the jacuzzi but it was tough with the bubbles going.

Then, back to Bistro Jeanty for $1 oysters during happy hour. We ordered 10 (why not a dozen??) and then ordered more – a proper dozen. We washed it down with some bubbly and strolled over to Bottega.

This is the thing about Yountville. The whole town is basically two blocks long, and yet it houses French Laundry, Bouchon, Bottega, Ad Hoc, Redd, étoile – it’s really amazing. So Bistro Jeanty was next door to Bouchon was across the street from Bottega, etc.


There, we were about half an hour early. And despite being warned not to blow R2′s cover (he was going to act confused as to why the reservation was at a “different time” than when we made it for), when he gave our name at the front I yelled “WE ARE SUUUUPER EARLY!” by accident.

No matter. We were promptly seated in the restaurant that was packed despite it being a winter Wednesday in the boonies. I ordered a flight of Chiarello’s own wines, which were fine. For our app, we ordered grilled octopus; specifically wood grilled octopus with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, salsa verde. We hoped and hoped and hoped that it would be as delicious as the pulpo a la plancha  we had in Spain, and while it wasn’t THAT good, it was the best octopus we’ve had Stateside.

“This is by far the best pulpo we’ve had Stateside,” I said, obnoxiously. Then I heard myself and looked around, but all I saw were approving smiles and nods. Pretentious Yountville jerks.

For our mains, which came in too low of light to photograph, R2 got the whole fish special. While not as horrifying as this, it came out looking like you’d think a whole dead fish would, and tasted fresh and good but not transcendent or anything. I had the brodetto (Italian version of like a boulliabaisse) for the sole (ha) reason that such stews are usually off limits to me as I am mortally allergic to shrimp, crab, and lobster, but this one was: Adriatic Seafood Brodettomonkfish, mussels, rock cod & fresh Monterey calamari, forno-confit tomato broth, olive oil crouton, and paprika-saffron rouille. It’s a FLAVOR PROFILE that I don’t often get to experience, so it was such a soul-warming treat. I’m pretty sure I was crying when R2 tore me away from the little town of Yountville, back to the food desert that is San Francisco (boo hoo Janet).

They’re all on the same road right next to each other, so just map yourself to Yountville.

New Years Resolutions: Twenty Chop

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Happy New Year! As Daniel mentioned, I’m gonna try hard to push Twenty Chop (11 <– chopsticks) instead of the horrible five-syllabic Twenty-Eleven. A second option that I will accept is simply “eleven” like when we said “ninety-seven” to tell people when we graduated from high sch– I mean kindergarten?

Anywayanyway. Thank you to Daniel at the end of 2010 for covering my ass. January in Twenty Chop is also crazay but I am pausing to put out my resolutions to hold myself accountable.

But first, let’s check back on how I did for Twenty Dime.

1. Finish Dogs That Should Be Named Oreo Post. Hurm. [Shifty eyes] Welp. I did a teeny bit of work on this in the 365 days I had. See above. This is Bella, a.k.a. Bella-Bee –> Bella Bean –> Beano. R2 and I dogsat her right before Christmas and I LOVED it. Although she is an Oreo dog, I can’t help but devote an entire post to her. Forthcoming.

2. Wake up when the alarm goes off. I think I did just EXCELLENT on this! In fact, I had a series of interviews for faculty positions on the east coast, so I prepped for it by getting on east coast time. Every week for a month I woke up an hour earlier. So by X minus 1 week I was going to bed at 8:30 and waking up at 4:30. Waking up early was exciting! First – so many extra hours to work! Then! The extreme sense of superiority as you see others’ lights turn on one by one. To the point where I was like, “Goddamnit sun you need to set your ass  I’m enjoying this.”

50% success is still an F in academia, so…fail.

I’ll try better on my TWENTY CHOP ones:

1. Start reading the print version of the New York Times. [PRINT version I'm not even going to hyperlink to the online version so there.] Dave Eggers once referenced a study that I can’t find showing that print media compared to online media engages our stress system less, and when it comes down to Dave Eggers vs. my scientific skepticism (even if I am an actual stress researcher), I go with the Staggering Genius. SO. This is part of my grownupification. If a dozen trees have to die and be only partially recycled for it, so be it.

2. Use ten exposures theory to learn to like the following foods: (1) ice cream; (2) cooked salmon; (3) Israeli couscous. Shudder. My strategy with ice cream is to gateway with salty-sweet. Salted caramel maybe. The final goal will be chocolate ice cream – my nemesis. Cooked salmon should be easy in theory, because I looove love love salmon sushi and smoked salmon. It’s the cooked shit though that gives me the willies. And Israeli couscous – I love regular couscous and I like boba. Israeli couscous is just one step along that continuum. But like teenagers, the medium-ness of it is horrifying.

3. Be the first to pick up things that people drop. This is a self-bettering type of resolution, inspired by R2. He is so nice and is exactly that kind of guy that will pick up, for example, a piece of paper that a stranger has dropped, even if a gust of wind blows right as the paper is dropped and blows it down the street into the path of an oncoming car, up all the way to the top of Divisadero, and then out to sea where there are both sharks and horny sea lions.

5. Get my faux squishable onto their website. I don’t want to link to it because I don’t want them to see the trackback, but for my hatchday Daniel HAND SEWED (!) me a giraffe Squishable. The giraffe is my favorite Squishable, because by virtue of making it into a Squishable you have negated the identifying characteristic of a giraffe. My giraffe is actually called a Girmath because of the extreme math that it took for Daniel to figure out how to sew a sphere. Note: Sometimes he is called Girmouth or Girmouf because Daniel had to teach himself how to embroider to do the mouth area. Anyway, on the Squishables site is an area where consumers can submit pics of themselves with their new squishables, so I’m going to take a picture of me with my Girmath and submit it. Heh heh. Fools.

6. Finish Dogs That Should Be Named Oreo Post.

Nopalito & Humphrey Slocombe

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

“Janet, what is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?” people always ask. I usually respond “HA! HA! Yeah, did you know how funny lolcats are?” Or, if that fails to change the subject, “HEY! Well! My favorite part in Elf is when Narwhal says ‘Bye, Buddy! Hope you find yer dad!’” and the one-two punch randomness of those statements usually buys me time.

Because there are SOOO many restaurants, great ones, in SF. I recently posed this question to R2 and he said King Foot Subs. I have mocked him for this but (don’t tell him) good god, they do make a mean motherfucking meatball sub.

I don’t even LIKE meatball subs but this one keeps me up at night with lust. The bread is stellar, and the meatballs are SO soft. And, it doesn’t even need to be saucey to be juicy. GOD it’s good. Good choice R2. [Note: don't get seduced by the kalbi sub, which sounds great but is mediocre.]

But anyway, I would like to announce that I now have a go-to “favorite,” even though that is WAY too difficult of a question. If I had unlimited funds, it would be Fleur de Lys. Bang for buck would be Saigon Sandwich at $3 a pop. But the resto that (a) is consistently awesome; (b) reeks of foodie cred; (c) could ostensibly be any SF-ite’s favorite  is Nopa. I just checked our search field and apparently I have not yet blogged it. That should be remedied!

This is not that post.

This post is about Nopalito, Nopa’s offshoot that opened in the past year. When Daniel was visiting, the two of us with R2 went for lunch. I had very. very. high expectations, because people all over the place were saying they liked Nopalito more than Nopa.

I realize now that these people were just saying that to be hipster cool, and that objectively there is no way that anyone can actually think that.

Because what Nopalito is is: a cute place that serves above-average, very fresh Mexican food. Pictured top is the seasonal Gazpacho Estilo Morelia – a salad of late summer melons, orange juice, queso fresco, chile, and hot sauce. Not sure if it counts as cooking, but I really liked the contrasting sweet/salty/sour/spicy thing that was happening. But any fool with a melon baller could make this (though, perhaps, not conceive of it).

Along with my gazpacho, I had one Taco de Pescado al Pastorseared fish in adobo, chile ancho, orange, onion, cilantro and salsa de morita y tomatillo. Such a fresh, simple three bites! I loved it. The Pac-man looking thing in the back is a Gordita Campechana – a fried tortilla pocket, braised grass fed brisket, chorizo, cabbage, onion, cilantro and salsa taquera de tomatillos. I was a bit concerned when, instead of shattering under my knife like I expected it to, it squishily bent and oozed out oil. When I took a bite, however, it was not stale-oily but satisfyingly meaty and brightened like the sun with a hit of lime. Yum!

Note: When you are there, you must go to the bathroom. Don’t be sketched by the fact that you have to go out of the restaurant and halfway down the block to get to it. It’s the nicest bathroom evar, and hanging above is a cool sculptural piece made of dozens of chocolate stirrers for the mole (you rub the stick end in your palms).

Next, we went next door to the schmancy grocery store, the back of which was DeLessio’s Market and Bakery, which carried Humphrey Slocombe ice cream. I always know when I am catching a cold because I start to crave sweets. I was on the tail end of the cold I caught in Minneapolis, and ice cream sounded amazing to me (!) not to mention blogworthy, so I sidled up to the counter and got the weirdest flavor I could find.

This moody-looking ice cream is LEGIT. It’s called Secret Breakfast. I thought I was being all foodie-brave and cool by getting it, as it contains cornflakes, bourbon, and butter, but apparently it is their most popular flavor. Being-counter-culture fail on my part.

The little gristly, gritty bits of stuff in the almost gelato-ey melty (bc of the alcohol perchance?) were just! so! scrumptious! I thanked the billions of virus/bacteria that were staging a coup in my body for letting me, for once, appreciate ice cream – normally a food that makes me shudder. The coolness soothed my throat, the flakes made it seem more healthy, and the bourbon provided a nice buzz as I drove myself home, sick, in a teeny car, in the rain.

Nopalito & DeLessio
306 Broderick | SF

Bushi-tei

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I’m proud to say that all these pics are better than the craptastic ones on their website

Feastery is having a special Bushi-tei tasting special, but you has to buy it by Friday at noon, so I’m going to quickly blog my own trip there recently.

It was on my radar because it is R2′s friends’ (Inigo and Sagan) favorite restaurant in all of SF.

I looked it up on Yelp and it’s a $$$$, and it’s French California Fusion. Thrilling!

We drove up to the restaurant, and something just didn’t seem to fit. I mean, there was a freaking fluorescent “ASAHI” sign in the window.

“How many four dollar sign places have beer ads in their window?” I asked R2.

“How many four dollar sign places HAVE??”

“How many four dollar sign places has beer ads in their window?”

We walked in and figured out that we were at Bushi-tei Bistro, not Bushi-tei proper. Although they are sister restaurants, the hostess at BT Bistro didn’t know where the other one was (?!?). The bartender piped up to say that it was just down the street.

BT proper is chic and sleek, and apparently the bathrooms have the fancy Toto Washlets, which I greatly regretted not experiencing but played it off by saying “DUH we like had those in Japan like from the early nineties, shoot.”

Three of us plunged in for the tasting menu, which, even though I knew about it from Yelp, still gave me sticker shock at $100 per person. Yowza.

Make sure you eat the mustard tentacle – best part

I apologize in advance for not having schmancy descriptions of these, but they were plonked on our table with the breeziest of explanations so I didn’t quite catch the details.

The amuse was a teeny puff pastry filled with tuna. It was not spectacular or innovative, and a bit reminiscent visually of Toledo scariness, but I popped it in my mouth and chirped a surprised MMM!

Next was ankimo (monkfish liver) nestled inside a raw scallop. It’s pictured top. It was very, very important, nay VITAL, that you compiled the perfect bite for each foray into the dish, or else it got…creepy. I mean, how big is the actual monkfish if a sliver of your liver is hockey-puck-sized? [Fun fact: "kimo" is slang for creepy in Japanese - so apropos.] I haven’t had ankimo in ages so I liked it, though I think the decadence of scallop AND liver, while an A++ combo if goose, gets a little fishy-intense when it’s fish liver. The whole dish, though, was brightened by the sublime green sauce, which I may or may not have dragged my fingers through and into my mouth.

Then, the pate pictured above, surely made out of exciting and luxurious bits of things, but I has now forgotten/couldn’t parse our Israeli (?) server’s English in the first place. Around here I started grooving to Bushi-tei and what Chef Waka (Waka waka! I’m sure he never gets that) was getting at. Once again, combining every element on the plate netted just rewards, with that tiny *crunch* of the microgreen nailing it.

All others’ risotto contained bits of crustacean, but mine was mushroom due to my powerful and annoying allergy. This was so delicious that the bowl may as well have been the tip of the world’s largest spoon, for I ate it in one bite. The skin was crackling, the anonymous fish was quiveringly tender, and the risotto lingered intoxicatingly at the back of my tongue.

Next came a spoonful of yuzu sorbet to cleanse the palette. Why don’t we do this at home? It’s so civilized and kinda awesome because it’d feel like having a bite of dessert in between each course.

Finally, Washugyu top sirloin with potato mousseline, haricot vert, and perigueux. This dish was the triumph of the night and also what you will get if you take advantage of the Feastery offer (except porcini instead of green beans even wow-er!).

No wacky camera angle please – I’m naturally fucking delicious-looking

Do yourself a favor, and if you ever see perigueux sauce on a menu, order it. Because it is a rich brown sauce made from MADEIRA and TRUFFLES. Magnificent. Possibly the work of the devil.

The beef, too – unholy. Outrageous! Mind-bogglingly delicate and buttery soft. Just the weight of the knife dragged across the surface cut right through. Excruciatingly delectable.

Dessert was standard issue chocolate souffle; I won’t detract from the beef description to talk too much about it.

Was it super awesome? Yes. Would I pay $100 for it? Probably not (thanks, R2!). Luckily, the Feastery offer is the whole shebangaroo for $50, so you should jump on it. If you’d like an invite to Feastery, comment or message me. I believe I has three invites to give away.

Bushi-tei
1638 Post Street (Jtown)
SF CA 94115
415.440.4959

For Inigo and Sagan: Hee hee.