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Moving!

Like my move back to LA, I’ll be moving my blog to a new host. See you there!

http://www.tummydiaries.com

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant was one of those things I’ve always really wanted to try, but because of the proximity, I kept holding off. Until now.So just image ultra fresh just hot out of the oven doughnuts. Better than the one’s at Krispy Kreme, and with an assortment of unique flavors.The Pumpkin Doughnut with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds was absolutely phenomenal. Which is saying a lot about Doughnut Plant since it was my least favorite of the three I sampled. The doughnut itself is warm and moist. Although the glaze does get a bit sticky and messy, the flavor is out of this world.Now I forgot to state that Doughnut Plant made doughnuts 2 different ways. Either the traditional yeast way that most of us are used to, or the cake way, which resembles the doughnut packages you get for 99 cents at the gas station. The second place doughnut is the latter and is dubbed the Blackout. With a chocolate cake, a chocolate glaze, and for good measure some more chocolate crumbles. PMS euphoria. Finally, my number 1. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnut. Now this square concoction is heavily glazed and sprinkled with toasted peanuts. Next, they have the audacity to fill this bad boy with a blackberry jelly, and the result? The best damn doughnut I’ve ever had in my life.

Not Pictured: Their Hot Chai Tea was amazing as well, especially on a cold windy day like the day I went.

San Francisco – Absinthe Brasserie

I’ve recently been told to write less, and just add more pictures. So this is my attempt on being a minimalist.The bread and butter was.. well.. just bread and butterSome beautiful and fresh oyster shooters with a spicy Bloody Mary sauce up in the top left.Phenomenal Duck Leg Confit Golden Peaches, Watercress and Goat Cheese.Beef CarpaccioBeef Short Ribs with Mirepoix, German Butterball Potatoes, with a Pinot Noir Jus.Alaskan Halibut with Sweet Shrimp, Mussels, Saffron-Chorizo Broth, Crostini, and Rouille.Grilled Skirt Steak Frites with Green Peppercorn Jus and Caramelized Onions served with Mixed Greens and Fries.Honey Upside Down Fig Cake with Fresh Figs and Ice Cream

Not Pictured: Yellow Watermelon Sorbet

Absinthe Brasserie Scores:
Food: 7/10 – Although all the ingredients in the entire meal were absolutely fresh, there wasn’t a single stand out dish that would expedite my return.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – A relaxing brasserie/tavern feel, having a relaxing absinthe based drink at the bar is simply divine.

Service: 7/10 – Nothing over the top, but servers were there when you needed them.

Value: 7/10 – With everything on the menu under $30, it’s affordable but doesn’t scream value.

Overall: 7/10

San Francisco Megapost

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen, for me to take you on an extraordinary photograzing journey through another amazing city. This time it’s the hella delicious city of San Francisco.We’ll start with some delicious breakfast/brunch items at Mama’s.

Mama’s Northern Italian M’Omelette is a hearty egg omelette filled with Pancetta, Mushroom, Fresh Basil, Tomato and Garlic Jack Cheese. Next up is their Smoked Salmon Scramble with Green Onions, Home Fries and a Bagel with Cream Cheese. Too be honest, I thought the best part was the bagel. The actual scramble was pretty uneventful. Finally the Piece de Resistance, the famous Monte Cristo. Basically a Ham and Cheese sandwich grilled up french toast style and served with a Raspberry Preserve. This thing is phenomenal! Maybe it’s my love of melding sweet and savory in the early morning, but I’d have to say that it’s one of my all time breakfast faves.

What you need to know that I eventually ended up eating ice cream for breakfast for the final 2 days. How awesome is that? Stop number 1, Bi Rite Creamery. Now I know usually there’s a nice little line that you have to wait in to get your ice cream. Not for me! I’m a pioneer! Cup of coffee for breakfast? No way! Cup of ice cream please!Armed with a unique set of rotating flavors such as crème fraiche, honey lavender, salted caramel, and balsamic strawberry, it’s clear why Bi Rite is such a popular favorite around town.

Me? I ordered up a special known as Kris’ Kombo. A heavenly sundae comprised of 2 scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream, drizzled with Blood Orange Olive Oil, sprinkled with Maldon Sea Salt and finally topped with fresh Whipped Cream. Is it safe to say that this was the best ice cream that I’ve had in my life? Yeah, it sounds mundane with plain Vanilla, but once all the simple flavors marry together. It becomes my favorite ice cream in the world.  Bravo Bi Rite!Another thing to note is that I also got a Snickerdoodle cookie. My advice, just stick with the ice cream.After filling up on delicious sundaes what else is there to do besides grabbing more food? We headed a few blocks up to the famous and now closing (because of neighbor law suits for noise and people complaints, yada yada) Ike’s Place for sandwiches.Things to note about Ike’s Place: Cons: Long line, no dining area, very messy sandwiches. Pros: Great bottled drink selection, helpful staff, you get a free lollipop (the caramel apple one), and lastly, out of this world delicious novelty sandwiches.Did I mention that the sandwiches were also ingeniously named? We ordered their famous Manage a Trois and the (Name of Girl I’m Dating). I know I’m going to catch a lot of crap for not remembering what the third sandwich was, sue me.The Manage a Trois was a sloppy combination of Halal Chicken Breast, Real Honey, Honey Mustard, BBQ, PepperJack, Swiss and Smoked Gouda. Despite the saucy-ooey-gooey-stickiness, the flavor was phenomenal. Maybe I should’ve ordered it on Italian Hero instead of the Sourdough, it could’ve probably kept the sandwich better in tact.Next up, the (Name of Girl I’m Dating) is made with Halal Chicken Breast, Honey Mustard, Avocado, and PepperJack cheese. A fresh, cleaner and just as appetizing sandwich when compared to the Manage a Trois.

So Day 2 of my ice cream for breakfast adventure led me to Humphry Slocombe. Now if you thought Bi Rite had unique flavors (which I did), the ones at Humphry Slocombe will absolutely blow your effing mind. Flavors include Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Secret Breakfast (Bourbon and Cornflakes), Red Hot Banana, Balsamic Caramel, and lastly Jesus Juice (a sorbet comprised of Red Wine and Coke, go figure).Another great stop in San Francisco is their weekend Farmer’s Market at Ferry Building. With fresh food and a ton of vendors, it’s one of the biggest outdoor markets that I’ve been to. We ended up stopping at a vendor that created fresh sandwiches with produce obtained from the other purveyors at the market.Their Sockeye Smoked Salmon on Sourdough with Cream Cheese, Onions, Capers, Lemon, and Lavender Salt was jaw-droppingly good. The open face sandwich embodies the pure freshness associated with outdoor markets.Head up a few miles and you’ll hit the famous Pier 33, which you have to stop and grab some Clam Chowder. Lucky for me I bought a sourdough roll right before I left the Ferry Building. So I had something to slop up the warm chowder.Finally, my journey concluded in famous Chinatown. And what do you have to get when you’re in San Francisco Chinatown? That’s right, the Egg Tarts or Dan Ta’s at Golden Gate Bakery. After what seemed liked a half-hour wait (which I’ve been told is relatively short), I got my hands on a couple piping hot Dan Ta’s. Now, I’ve traveled all the way to Macau to grab a few bites of their famous Portuguese style Dan Ta’s, but can I tell you a secret? The ones in SF are better. The custard was perfect, albeit a tad hot, but hey, it kept me warm on a cool San Francisco night. Just thinking about that flaky crust makes me want to ask my pilot to divert this flight up to San Francisco (I’m writing this on the plane by the way). My favorite part of these Dan Ta’s? Standing outside and exaggerating my orgasmic face after slowly savoring each bite and making the people in line suffer while they wait patiently (or at least they try) for the next batch. What an asshole.

Hide Chan Ramen

I don’t know how many times I have to reiterate myself, but I love ramen! It’s definitely one of my most favorite foods ever. Honestly, picture yourself gazing out upon a freezing New York night while enjoying your delicious warm bowl of ramen. Surreal no?After reading an interesting blog post regarding Hide Chan and their unique offering of ramen, a couple of friends and I decided to grab a quick bite there.

The Pork Buns although delicious are nowhere on the same level of the ones served at Ippudo. The pork is grilled and seared which brings out a ton of flavor. However, they’re not as tender as you would’ve expected, I occasionally had a tough bite. Disappointing. The sauce is a perfect medium, where it’s tasty enough to give it an extra dimension, however mellow enough where it doesn’t dominate the flavor of the pork. Also, what’s up with the iceberg lettuce? Kind of ugly no? The chicken wings have a nostalgic texture and flavor that reminded me of something my grandma used to whip up back in the day. So, brownie points for unknowingly striking up memories from my past and serving it up on a dish.Let me introduce you to the Mega Ton, and boy does it live up to its name. I know I should’ve took the picture along with another dish, but just trust me when I say this bowl was HUGE. Those pieces of delicious pork were all the size of a baby’s knuckle. A common downfall with such generous sized dishes is the drop off in flavor and overall quality of the dish, however not so with the Mega Ton.Next up is the Hakata Spicy Miso Ramen. The hot rayu oil poured across the bowl resonates through out the entire dish when it’s stirred in. Although done well, the dish lacks a certain facet of uniqueness and just feels like something that I’ve had in the past.Ahh. The Hakata Kuro Ramen aka the Black Ramen, the sole reason why I actually chose to eat at Hide Chan Ramen in the first place. Although you probably can’t notice much in this black mess, the bowl is packed with individual flavors that marry and become a dish. The first thing that you probably notice flavor-wise is the garlic, which I absolutely love. Another great addition are the black mushrooms (which I don’t know exactly which kind), almost have the texture of seaweed, but taste great!Finally, we have the Hiyashi Tskuke-Men with a dipping soba broth laced with spicy sesame oil. I was impressed by how well all the ramen noodles were cooked, but especially with the cold ramen. Usually, the noodles become too starchy and tend to stick together (you’ve seen it when making spaghetti, and letting the noodles set). However, the ramen still held a brilliant texture and when dipped into the broth, you get hit right in the mouth with a straight haymaker of spicy heat. Unfortunately, this dish was not perfect. The portion when compared to Mega Ton, was absolutely pathetic and felt like a side order. Also, I guess this is general for all ramen, why skimp on the meat? I mean really.. 2 pieces? I love to see my ramen come with a whole blanket of meat, but until that day, I can only sit here and rant.

Hide Chan Scores:
Food: 7.5/10 – The food was well prepared, but maybe I have a ramen bias and always think ramen is prepared well.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – I love being able to sit in the tiny tatami and enjoying great time with friends.

Service: 9/10 – Unfortunately, my friend waited by herself for half an hour, and I waited with her for another half an hour, the servers never threw a fit.

Value: 6/10 – Around $10 for the regular bowls of ramen, and $15 for the Mega Ton, seems a little more than average.

Overall: 7.5/10

Paradou

When you think of words that are synonymous with New York City what are some that come to mind? Crowded, rude, freedom, driven, etc. If you ask me, it’s brunch. Not just any kind of brunch, drunk brunch to be exact. And actually, not just drunk brunch, but all-you-can-drink drunk brunch. With an abundance of these all-you-can-drink restaurants in the Greenwich area, that’s where we decided to head, a quaint little place by the name of Paradou.Make sure you either get to Paradou early or have reservations made. Unlucky for us we didn’t do either and had to wait a good hour or two until a table opened up.

For $29 ($35 for parties 7+)  you get your choice of entree with an unlimited champagne brunch. The kicker is not only is it just champagne, but you get your choice of mixer, making it an unlimited mimosa, bellini, etc. fiesta. The Oeufs Paradou or basically a Salmon Eggs Benedict over a piece of shitty toast (which they dare call brioche). Not the prettiest plate of the bunch, and not the tastiest either. So what does that equate to? You got it. A terrible dish.The French Toast with a Fresh Berry Compote was no different. Just tasted very average and not to sound boastful but was something I could’ve probably mocked up by myself. I would’ve never paid the menu price of $12 for it.Finally we get to the $5 supplement. An extra Abe Lincoln would get you this bad ass Duck Reuben with Fingerling Potatoes. Straight from the menu verbatim: “The Height of Decadence!!! The Royalty of Sandwichdom!!!.” And yes, they did have all three exclamation marks, which made me three times as excited. Pieces of Duck Confit, Duck Magret, Choucroute (not gonna lie, I have no idea what the last 2 were), and Arugula. It must’ve been worth it right? Wrong. This concoction was blander than cardboard and oilier/greasier than the Gulf of Mexico. If this was really the height of decadence, then shoot me now.

As a result of the constant pounding of delicious “champagne” cocktails, I wasn’t able to get around and take pictures of the rest of the food. Failed.

Paradou Scores:
Food: 3.5/10 – Although edible, it was nothing close to being enjoyable.

Restaurant Environment: 7.5/10 – Maybe it was because we turned the entire back patio into a playhouse, but we had a great time none the less.

Service: 7/10 – The constant refilling of the drinks might have frustrated most, but the workers at Paradou kept up a good job.

Value: 5/10 – For the food, I’d probably give it a 0, but for the unlimited drinks it deserves a 10, so I’ll meet it half way.

Overall: 6/10

Las Vegas: Postrio

A recent weekend jetset to Vegas to celebrate the birthdays of two of my best friends (Mr. Aaron Hsu and www.zooshoo.com CEO, Jason Hsu) presented an opportunity to indulge in the fine cuisine Vegas had to offer. However, due to the sheer size of the party as well as other personal factors, finding a reservation for that perfect restaurant somehow always eluded us. However, we did manage to score a simple reservation at Wolfgang Puck’s casual bistro, Postrio. I’m not going to lie, the 20% off coupon for being a guest made the choice tremendously easier. The starter bread is paired with a nice olive tapenade. Simple, but refreshingly different. The Puree of Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and a Black Pepper Creme Fraiche, was thick and creamy. They could’ve just called it a creamed corn soup, because that’s all it was.As an appetizer I started with the Salt and Pepper Rock Calamari and Rock Shrimp which is married with Fresno Chilis and a Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. I would have to say that I do prefer the sweet and sour flavor profiles added by the Chili Sauce compared to your traditional marinara. However, maybe it was just me and the time I spent passing it around and trying to feed everyone got the dish cold, but it was actually pretty mundane. The other appetizer that was ordered was a Trio of Sausages with three different mustards served with Roasted Peppers and a Baby Mache. Maybe it’s because I haven’t developed a taste for fancy sausages yet, but I would take the sausages served with garlic gloves on the streets of Taiwan, over this, any day of the week. I did try a bite of everybody’s dish and I’m sorry if it got a bit excessive and intrusive. But I wanted to be a good little blogger and make sure I sampled everything before I critiqued it. The Fresh Linguini is served with a bed of Manila Clams and tossed with Garlic, Chili and Parsley. A very simple and clean dish. The linguini was cooked al dente, but I do prefer something that packs a bigger punch flavor-wise. The so called Housemade Scialatielli Pasta with Beef and Sausage Bolognese with Basil and shaved Pecorino Cheese, or as my friend called it, “Chef Boyarde,” was a simple meat sauce pasta with a jazzed up name. Although I am a sound epicure of a good bolognese, I did enjoy the linguini more this time. I do believe this is a half plate of the Seafood Bouillabaisse, which is basically a seafood stew. The dish is served with Tortelloni, Clams, Mussels, Calamari, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, and a pinch of Saffron. A bit salty, but hey, it is a taste of the ocean. A serving of the House Made Spinach Lasagna is doused in the same Beef and Sausage Bolognese as the pasta and paired with a nutty Parmigiano Reggiano. Although very similar to the bolognese, I would order this a million times over the regular pasta. Maybe it’s the fresh taste of the spinach , but it was actually a very simple yet delicious lasagna. The Atlantic Salmon is presented over a bed of Roasted Patty Pan Squash, some Fennel, and a warm Tomato Vinaigrette. Bland, bland, bland. But hey, that’s why you order salmon right? The salmon they serve at Whole Foods is a fraction of the price, take away the flair of the unique ingredients, and you’ll have yourself the same dish. I’m here to save you money people. Pesto Marinated Shrimp with Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Rapini, and some fresh Basil. Sounds good right? Meh. The Steamed Black Mussels are cooked with a White Wine and Garlic, and served with a Giant Sourdough Brick with a layer of Bearnaise Sauce. The mussels were fresh and done cleanly, but the Sourdough Toast was just a joke with the heavy buttery bearnaise, unless your name is Paula Deen. Every bite resulted in taking a year off your lifespan. Next up, was a Pancetta Wrapped Meatloaf over a soft bed of Potato Puree and Mushroom Gravy while stacked high with Buttermilk Onion Rings. I’ve tasted cardboard that had more flavor than those onion rings. The meatloaf was far from spectacular as well.Finally comes my dish. The Alaskan Halibut with White Corn Succotash with Wild Mushrooms, Cherry Tomato Relish, and a Sweet Corn Nage. The actual Halibut was dry, but I guess that helped soak up the flavor from the Succotash, which I absolutely enjoyed. The dish was definitely a clean summer dish that was easy on the palette.

Postrio Scores:
Food: 7/10 –  The food here could honestly be characterized by one word, average.

Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – Being in the Grand Canal shops of the Venetian and that sense of a lighted open environment helped cast an illusion that we were dining outdoors at 3pm, when it was actually closer to 9.

Service: 7/10 – Maybe I enjoy being pampered in Vegas, but I didn’t even seem to notice the waiters, a bad thing? perhaps.

Value: 7/10 – At around $20 a dish, it’s a fair price to pay.

Overall: 7/10