Thursday, February 07, 2008

Catfish Claypot Home Cooked in San Francisco

That's right, we're back! Not only do we love to eat out, we also love to cook so let's kick it off wt a homecook meal. Last week, V and I conjured up a catfish claypot dish. It is a tricky dish that calls for lots of attentive love and care. Unfortunately, we did not have a clay pot to cook this dish, which is usually used to enhance the smoky essence of this dish. However its all good, because you can use any heavy pot or pan to make the goods.
Here's whats needed:

Some plain white sugar sugar
Some catfish
Some shallots
Some ginger
As much fish sauce as you please
Good ol' black pepper
Chili peppers if you like it spicy

1. The hardest part is melting the sugar. In an empty pot, melt the plain white sugar by stirring it around and around on medium heat. Its going to start to bubble smoke and brown. Don't be scared, its suppose to! Once the sugar is brown, kill the heat and add the catfish.
2. Completely coat the fish wt the caramelized sugar. Now the hard part is done and the rest is easy!
3. Add some shallots, ginger, black pepper and chili if you like.
4. Stir in fish sauce as you please.
5. Reduce the heat to low and cover pan.
6. Simmer for about 30 minutes, turning the catfish occasionally and carefully.
7. Serve straight from the pot.

I must say, it came out pretty good despite the fact that we didn't use a claypot. Of course, we would have loved it to have the really really smokey effect that its suppose to have, but shrug. The dish came out a bit sweeter than we wanted, I think we carmalized a bit too much sugar for the amount of catfish we cooked. But it was nothing that a bowl of jasmine white rice and some vegetables couldn't balance out. It is now one my new favorite ways to cook catfish HOLLA!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bringing it back.

Wow, it's been awhile.

I was inspired to start this back up again because 1.) it's San Diego Restaurant Week and I have reservations for two restaurants I've never tried and 2.) I started looking at old food pics I've taken and compiled them in a folder on my MySpace. I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to maintain this blog and update as often as I can. I'm wondering if Norey and Christine have time to do the same.

Coming soon: reviews on Rappongi's (La Jolla, CA) and the Bertrand at Mister A's (somewhere between downtown and Hillcrest, CA).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hurry Curry -- Los Angeles

le'sigh. Hurry Curry.. my absolute favorite place to eat in LA. It's been that way since my friend Aiyah first introduced me back in 03. Located in the little Japanese enclave of West LA (along Sawtelle and Olympic), Hurry Curry boasts guess what, great curry, and a quaint and sheik little eating environment which suprisingly you don't have to wait long for. I can't remember a time I've waited more than 10 minutes to be seated.

Their curry is a bit different from what a normal curry-eater is used to. Before my first Hurry Curry experience, I had only tried the Indian and Thai versions of curry. This Japanese curry, which boasts "proprietary blend of 21 spices" (according to, still has that distinct curry smell, but it's thicker and darker, and goes perfectly with your meat or seafood of choice. My personal favorite is the Chicken Cutlet Curry ($8.95), which comes with a couple of pieces of deep fried, breaded chicken breast, rice (dollar extra for brown rice), and a side bowl of their plain curry (you can order it in mild, medium, or hot). Or if I'm in the mood for something not fried, then my choice is the Chicken Curry ($7.95), which has the chicken meat already mixed in the curry. My third choice, if I'm in the mood for something small and light, is the Light Eaters Curry ($6.95) which has smaller portions of both curry (your choice of chicken or beef) and rice.

Although I don't order anything besides the choices I just mentioned, I have tasted their Chicken Pasta, which is spaghetti and chunks of tender chicken breast and vegetables in a curry sauce. This white sauce is different from the curry I described above.. it's a bit thinner and lighter, perfect for mixing with the pasta.

According to my friend Matt, their pomegranate lemonade just tastes like lemonade. But their lychee martinis are also worth a try, especially if you can hit them up during happy hour (4-7pm I believe).

And if you're really lucky, you can score some cute I<3Curry pins or really good lychee candies from the front counter. Trust, after eating here, you'll want a pin.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

LA's renowned Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

Damn I'm so behind. Still haven't done my SF food reviews yet. I apologize.

Anyways, if you ever find yourself in LA, I suggest you make a trip out to Roscoe's. I personally have only been to the one on Pico, but note there are other locations in LA that you can hit up..

First be warned that if you're in the mood for something 'light and/or healthy," Roscoe's isn't the place for you. Almost everything on their menu is either cooked with oil or drenched in butter, no joke. And as much as I love their artery-clogging delights, I try and limit my Roscoe's visits to once a month. Not living in LA anymore makes that ten times easier. Hehe.

So my first love here was #9, Country Boy. This includes three wings and one waffle. Sounds ordinary right? But alas, their wings (and all chicken for that matter) are so perfectly fried that the skin boasts the perfect crispness and the meat the perfect juicyness. Even my dad, the ultimate chicken-enthusiast, has never achieved such perfectly fried chicken (although his turbo rotisserie is tough to beat. Sorry, tangent..). As for the waffles, they're a far cry from Belgian waffles or Eggo waffles. They're flat like pancakes, they're soft, but not overly fluffy. It's made with a batter that truly tastes home-made (you know, with love. Awww). I wish Norey was there to describe their food; her palatte is much more telling than mine and she's a more astute, articulate judge of food in my opinion.

So my other loves on the menu: cheese and eggs, the chicken omelette, and the corn bread.

Worth a try: gravy-topped chicken, their specialty drinks (sunrise, sunset, lisa's delight), and the macaroni and cheese.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cafe Flore

I apologize ahead of time because I foolishly did not bring my camera with me during this little day trip.

A cafe modeled after the original in Paris, France, Cafe Flore is a notorious but well hidden nook in the Castro district of San Francisco. It screams San Francisco vibes from the minute you enter its cottage themed indoor cafe with a DJ spinning techno and house music. The outside patio is sectioned off into a non-smoking zone with cute little square marble tables for each patron facing Market Street, an inner smoking section surrounded by trees and plants lined against the wooden and glass fence with the emblem of “Cafe Flore” etched into it, and an outer smoking section lined on the other side of the fence and along the street side of Noe Street. A seat in any of these sections (indoor or patio) will give you an eyeful of color, sunlight bouncing off the glass, tree branches lined with flowers breezing through the wind and cafe goers sipping on coffee, various beers or cocktails as they make conversation, read the newspaper, grade school papers, people watch, meet their stockbrokers, study, or sit fiddling with their phones. How much more San Francisco can you get?

I came full off an early lunch I ate at my apartment but the menu was too tempting. I ordered Spinach Frittata, an omelet with mushrooms, onions, feta, and parmesan, served with toast and potatoes. The omelet was HUGE and the feta cheese was a pleasant surprise pop in your mouth. The potatoes had a hint of a cheesey base seasoned with red spices. Absolutely delicious. I also had a vanilla latte (my drink of choice for the mornings) which was the darkest vanilla latte I’ve ever had. This cafe has some darkass espresso resulting in the bitter espresso overcoming the slight vanilla taste without a problem, which I didn’t mind.

Jerico, my gay boyfriend, ordered the eggs benedict consisting of a savoring holiday sauce (batter made out of eggs, butter, salt and a secret house ingredient they wouldn’t disclose to me) drenched over poached ham and eggs. Now his dish was OFF. THE. HOOK. I am not a big fan of eggs benedict because I don’t like the idea of biting into the yolk part of the egg is such a raw state (I usually have to mix in it with my potatoes or rice ha), but this dish was great. The holiday sauce overpowered this much smaller dish and was a nice additive to the potatoes on the side.

All in all a great experience. I am currently still sitting in this lovely cafe with the opportunity to write this because another plus of this cafe is the free wireless holllaaaa!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Caribbean Cove

I discovered a great find in Berkeley. I wish I discovered it earlier, while attending the damn university. In celebration of one of my old dorm roommate's birthday, Maya decided to throw her birthday dinner last night at the Caribbean Cove. Located in the upstairs area of "The Village" (an indoor atrium of restaurants, including a fondue joint, a korean bbq joint and an expense ass sushi joint, and a tightass trade-in bookstore tucked quietly on the intersection of Dwight and Telegraph), I arrived hungry for some acclaimed caribbean food.

I was planning on getting Maya's favorite dish, the Ackee and Salted Fish, but they ran out of that Saturday night special. So I decided to play it safe and order the Jamaican Jerk Chicken dish, which came with rice, peas, salad and fried palatanos. As you can see in the pictures, it is one large serving for only $10. The Jamaican Jerk Chicken was way too peppery for me but still really good. It threw me off because at first I couldn't figure out why the chicken tasted almost spicy it seemed until I realized it was heavily seasoned in pepper (perhaps something I would pick up on quicker if I was able to smell the pepper? ha!). The rice had tender red beans that tasted freshly cooked (none of that canisters of beans and rice chillin in the back pre-cooked all day taste), but the star of the dish was the fired palatanos. Platanos are a traditional Nicaraguan side dish consisting of a fried fruit that has the texture and taste of a sweet banana painted lightly with honey. They were so good that our table ordered an extra side plate of platanos. If you look closely at the picture you will also see in the bottom right hand corner a piece of curry goat that my friend, Nick, let me steal off his plate. It was my first time eating goat and I liked it. This piece of goat tasted tough and hearty like a piece of ribs.

Caribbean Cove was a cute little deal. If you like your chicken peppery, it is a must but I prefer the curry dishes (I tasted the curry chicken in addition to the curry goat). The portion size is HUGE and the price is reasonable (varies from $9-$12 or you can pay $17 to sample two dishes if you feel like splurging). They also sell Red Stripe beer, which is mos def a rarity and a plus in my book. Oh yah and a damn nice bonus is the complimentary delicious carrot cake the Cove gives out for birthday celebrations holla!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So I wasn't with Norey and Cha on their trip to Napa or Sushi House, but I've been to Sushi House a ton of times and its one of my favorite sushi restaurants, so I can't wait for Cha's review on that. Anyway, I wanted to post something but I don't have any pictures of food from restaurants I've tried recently. So I dug up this picture. Just your basic "from up top" view of an extraordinarily delicious meal from the party capital of Europe: Barcelona. Not only does its siesta (the afternoon nap in which just about everything except for restaurants, cathedrals and other tourist spots are closed from 3-5pm), the infamous Las Ramblas, its San Miguel, and the fact that its clubs dont open till 12, start poppin till 3, and close after sunrise, all come together beautifully to create an environment conducive to partying your ass off....BUT they got some food too! its cheap, its delicious, and pairs well with a jug of sangria and a cigarette to top it all off.

The dish that I ordered is the plate on the left. Yeah, looks like nothing but a sampler plater of cakes and breadsticks, i know. Actually though, its a tortilla sampler, and this ain't no Mexican tortilla because I know thats what you're thinking. Think of the Spanish tortilla as an omelet, quiche, or fritada, if you will. A ham and cheese one, A spinach one, and a potato and onion one. Of the three, my favorite was the potato and onion one, although they were all just great! I know you're thinking: "come on! its a freakin omelet!". But no, it tastes more than that. Reminds me of when my mom would always make these bomb ass scrambled eggs that I could never duplicate on my own. It was frustrating because I too was like: "come on! its freakin scrambled eggs". Little did I know that that shit was laced with MSG. MSG in my scrambled eggs! If you have no problem with MSG, I'd recommend substituting your salt and pepper for MSG and pepper. Anyway, these "tortillas" tasted as if they were laced with something more than MSG...something to the potency of crack cocaine. The cheese in the ham and cheese tortilla offered just enough saltiness. It was an interesting too because it wasn't the melt in your mouth cheese youre probably thinking of. Think of the cheese on a room temperature pizza. That's similar to its texture when its hot and cooked. Now think of the part of the pizza, which is usually near or on the crust, were the cheese is slightly burned, but not too much. That's similar to the taste.

The spinach one tasted exactly how it sounds.

The potato and onion tortilla though was interesting because the texture was a lot more potato-y than it looks. I thought it was gonna be a fluffy omelet with pieces of potato in the middle. But no, think of a fork tender potato in which you can feel hints of the sponginess of an omelet and just the right pinch of onion flavor. And don't forget the crack that makes its highly addictive, because you know I came back the next day for some. Oh, I forgot to mention something cool about Spanish food. It usually consists of tapas, which are appetizers, some of which are pickeled and some of which are salads. They're super cheap and you often end up ordering a ton of different kinds. Its real fun to just go to a tapas bar that has dozens of tapas, from mussels, to little chorizo sausages, to smoked salmon, to calamari, all on toothpicks on silver places propped up on stands. The waiter gives you a plate and everything is pretty much fair game. You keep your toothpicks on your plate and at the end the waiter counts all your toothpicks (there are no trashcans so you can't cheat and throw them away, unless maybe you stick them in your pocket, but thats just ghetto because shits already cheap there) and he charges you per toothpick. Anyway, I'm straying. The three sticks you see on top of the tortillas are actually breadsticks. The way the Spanish have there bread is rather simple, they take a tomato and rub it on the bread (which doesn't even have to be hot) and drizzle some olive oil on it. I like to think of it as the lazy man's bruschetta. After all, this is the country that promotes the midafternoon nap! Fuck toasting the bread and dicing the tomatos, when you can just rub that shit on some cold bread and still have it be good as fuck.

The sangria was nice and strong. Now I've had sangria at other places and it was sissy shit, except for Cha Cha Cha's which actually has some good, strong sangria. And their flan, just heavenly! I dont know about you, but Filipino leche flan is a bit too creamy and dense for me. My aunt actually makes flan, professionally. hah, yeah like she sells it, so professionally would be the right word I think. But yeah, she puts 12 egg yolks in one batch! I actually prefer the light, slightly jello-y Spanish flan that melts down into wonderfulness when it hits your tongue and you press it against the roof of your mouth like how you would with ice cream. Then you finish the meal off with a cigarette, right there, because you can smoke anywhere. And if you don't have one on you, you can walk 7 feet over to your right where theres a cigarette vending machine in the restaurant. I swear, the Spanish are genius! Everything makes sense. Naps, light meals, light desserts, all provide just enough energy and room for the strong Sangria during your meal and Absinthe later on for partying. And just when you feel like your food high and alcohol buzz needs a lift, you can get some nicotine in two shakes of a bunny's tale. Mmhmm.