local kitchen & wine merchant.

i’m big on birthdays. last year i kinda went over the top celebrating my birth with two dinners and a brunch. so when my dear friend anne’s birthday rolled around and she said she wasn’t doing anything, i wasn’t having it.  i planned a little birthday dinner for her at local kitchen & wine merchant in soma. it was the perfect gathering of friends, the food was delish, and most importantly, the birthday girl had a lovely time. oh, and i tried the local hound (a ketel one and grapefruit concoction). best cocktail ever, y’all!

sunflower (and oolong tea) power.

i’ve been sick all the freakin’ time lately. it has been like an eternal curse of allergies and colds and whatever the hell else my weak immune system won’t fight off. as a matter fact, i have a post on my dashboard that i never published entitled “bedridden” from a couple of weeks back when i was really sick. i’m glad i spared you all on that major downer of a woe is me post. but anyway, my point is: whenever i’m sick i have to have this soup (this one or some spicy tom yum). sick or not it’s AMAZING! but when i’m sick it recovers my soul. the other night when we went to dinner i was feeling the pains of annoying allergies: itchy/sore/aggravated throat mixed with a mild headache (my state of being lately) but the soup really helped. let’s just say i downed the soup and oolong tea like it was noooobody’s business and felt much better!

hot/sour soup + oolong tea= my allergy nightmare survival kit

i really can’t believe that when i wrote this post about my favorite restaurants in the mission i neglected to mention sunflower. seriously, shame on me for that oversight! their food is so good and their lunch specials are super reasonable. whenever we go we always order the hot and sour soup (obvi), lemongrass tofu, and vermicelli. we have always gone to the mission location but this time we went to the one in potrero hill. it was really cool because we got to enjoy the beautiful views and watch the fog roll in from the hill. minus my headache, it was a good night with my awesome man. this weekend i think it’s due time that brian and i ride our bikes to the ferry building and maybe even check out the sutro baths. also, some major closet organization will be in order. once again, it looks like a bomb got set off in my room/closet. a ferocious and relentless clothing bomb.

sunday stew.

the ingredients! 

i LOVE these owl measuring cups my bestie anne got for me. thanks, anne! 

this weekend sf decided to have a sunny disposition. even though i was hoping for rain it’s always nice to have warm and sunny days in the city. despite the warm weather i still wanted to make some veggie stew and that i did! our friends amy and rachel came over to join us. so we all enjoyed dinner together while listening to black heart procession and fleetwood mac records. it was really nice and relaxing. the stew was delicious which made me quite happy! i also whipped up some virgin watermelon mint mojitos and they were super refreshing.

here’s the recipe for the stew:

2 containers of imagine organic vegetarian broth

2 leek stalks

1 onion

lots of carrots (7-9 depending on the size)

lots of red and white skin potatoes (6-8)

1 bunch of kale

1 bunch of chard

1 cup of green beans

2 cups of fresh corn

salt, pepper, and thyme to taste

the stew was hearty and healthy. success! :D

the mission district’s best restaurants.

tuna tartare (the best tuna tartare i’ve ever had!)

ensalada

yuca fries (these are too good!) 

roasted veggies and rotisserie chicken

ceviche  

cherries

i really need to put myself on an eating out ban because i go out to eat far too much. but it’s so difficult not to when there are so many great restaurants around every corner in my neighborhood! so i’ve been really thinking it through and trying to figure out what my absolute favorite restaurants are in the neighborhood and these are the yummy places i had to share with you all…

1. limon- i love peruvian food and i especially love all of the healthy options at this restaurant. their ceviche is excellent and from what i hear the chicken is awesome too (i don’t eat chicken so i will just have to take my friend’s word on that one). really everything i’ve had at this place has been phenomenal. the only thing about limon is that more often than not there is an extremely long wait. i have found that going during the day for lunch is best as far as avoiding a wait is concerned. seriously, this place is sooooo good. don’t the photos make you hungry?! there are two locations in the mission district: 1) limon restaurant @ 524 valencia st. sf 2) limon rotisserie @ 1001 s van ness ave. sf

2. weird fishthis place has been documented on the blog more than once (here and here). it’s a great place for both vegans and seafood lovers. everything is locally sourced and organic which is always a plus. they also have great lunch and happy hour specials! as a matter of fact, my husband, a few friends, and i will be treating ourselves to weird fish today for lunch! located @ 2391 mission st. sf

3. bar tartine (out of all the restaurants i’ve tried in the city, this one is my ABSOLUTE favorite- limon is a close second). this place has amazing food, wine, atmosphere, and service. i have an entire post about it here. brian and i went there for the first time a couple of weeks back and we are already planning a return with a bunch of friends! i can’t wait. reservations are highly recommended. located @ 561 valenica st. sf

4. tokyo go go (some photos here)- this sushi spot has a great happy hour from 5-7 monday thru friday which includes hand-rolls for $3.50, various appetizers ranging from 3-4 bucks, and well cocktails for $5. their sushi is really good- i recommend the fish taco sushi roll. it’s one of the best rolls i’ve ever had and i’ve never been to another sushi place that makes anything like it. also, the french pear martini is mmm! good (it’s made with grey goose- i’m sort of a vodka snob). it’s by far my favorite cocktail on the menu! located @ 3174 16th street. sf

so if you are traveling to san francisco and/or heading to the mission district you may want to check out one or all four of these gems. take it from this “professional” diner, you will not be disappointed!

bar tartine.

i’m often asked what my all time favorite restaurant is in the city and to be honest, i was never able to give a definite answer- until now. the other night, to celebrate my growing another year older (hints about my exact age are in this post!), brian and i headed to bar tartine, which is now my favorite restaurant in the city. and since i’m on this trying to learn how to cook kick, i will need to get a hold of the bar tartine cookbook. every single item we tried was to die for. seriously!

they have the best bread ever! it comes from their bakery tartine. i mean to tell you, that bread is something else! they serve the bread with high grade olive oil mixed with fennel. there are no words!

i’m ashamed that i didn’t get photos of all the food and drinks we ordered. i was sort of a slacker this time. brian was really hungry and sometimes he (understandably) gets tired of waiting for me to take photos before we start eating. i’m one of those. hehe… it’s annoying.

this is the dish that brian ate as his main, but he let me try some. sunflower seed, peeled tomatoes, and avocado dip. DELISH!

these were the best brussel sprouts i have ever had! who would think to throw some mint in there? amazing! seriously, i couldn’t get over how fantastic these brussel sprouts were. i mean i think brian wanted to tell me to shut up at the table because i was ranting and raving incessantly about how much i loved them. he didn’t though- instead he saved the last bites for me. i love that man!

the pickled red cabbage was really good- savory and crunchy. we loved the hints of ginger.

this beet tart was simply scrumptious! it was vegan too… they just put the ice cream and meringue on the side for me. mmmm!

so going back to the thesis of this post, hands down, bar tartine was by far the best restaurant i’ve had in the city. every detail was satisfying and perfect! tonight we are heading to foreign cinema for dinner. let’s see how they measure up. perhaps, i will have a sf’s best list soon. :)

happy eating!

at home.

brian’s cookbooks/ measuring cups-anthropologie/ teacups-thrifted/ bowl-ikea

i’ve been quite the homebody lately. i’ve just been staying in reading, watching movies, figuring out how to cook, and organizing the apartment. i suppose this is all really quite therapeutic. anyway, here are some of the details from around our humble lil’ apartment.

1. fresh flowers: i really love getting fresh flowers and placing them in small vases throughout the apartment. i think that they add color to the space and make the apartment feel more lively. honestly, i don’t even care if they’re filler flowers. i just love the colors and the softness of the petals. and for five bucks at whole foods or trader joes, they can transform a room affordably. it’s all about the little things.

also, it was when i was buying these flowers that i was sent this wonderful surprise from my amazing friend amy!

2. cats: our cats make me feel calm and relaxed. they just lay around all day without a care in the world and when i get home from a stressful day they put a smile on my face and help me relax. i love my lil’ fluff balls.

3. cocktails: as i have mentioned before, i’m a vodka girl! however, this recipe from bon appetit allows for vodka, whiskey, or gin. although the one pictured is made with ketel one,  i made one with whiskey for brain and it was super yummy. it’s comprised of muddled mint, lemons, liquor of choice, and simple syrup (i used agave nectar). these cocktails are a labor of love but delicious!

4. snacks: when i went down to visit my friends chime and zuhair, they prepared the best snacks and meals. not only did everything taste amazing, but it was all aesthetically pleasing as well. i was inspired to make some snacks from the things i tried while staying with them. as i previously mentioned before- i fell in love with the goat cheese stuffed dates. they are great because they can really work as a appetizer or dessert. mmm, good!

5. kombucha: i’m totally obsessed with kombucha. this stuff can really break the bank especially when drinking them daily. so brian is soliciting the help of a friend to teach us how to make our own at home. we shall see how that goes. until that happens we will keep buying them by the case! i love em’, love ‘em, love ‘em!

6. cooking: i’ve decided to try my hand at cooking. saturday night i made dill salmon coupled with quinoa, kale, parsnips and carrots. it was good and healthy. i can’t wait to try some new recipes and hopefully i’m successful in making them. i tend to get a little upset when i ruin recipes. :( my goal is to keep trying even when i fail.

7.organization: i’m on mission organization in our apartment. i’ve really been trying to edit my closet and other random non-necessities in our apartment. the last photo is of the top our microwave which we use as a storage space for cookbooks, measuring cups, and produce. i like that we saved some much needed counter space! we need to save all the space we can.

summer lovin’.

my days spent at chime and zuhair’s house were full of relaxation, tasty cocktails, laughter, food and more food (figs from the backyard, artisan cheeses, freshly baked kale chips, homemade ice cream, freshly baked bread… all courtesy of my lovely chime), and me wearing pajamas all day! nothing says vacation like wearing pjs all day. now that i’m back to long days at work- those which have seemed endless as of late, i can’t help but reminisce about my vacation days that seem like such a long time ago. i’m left wishing i could go back to watching trash tv, eating homemade earl grey ice cream and blueberry tarts, and enjoying the company of two that i see far too little of. let’s just say my next vacation can’t come soon enough!

p.s. while staying with chime and zu, i was introduced to goat cheese stuffed dates. BEST THINGS EVER!