Monday, June 27, 2011

Organic dinner in the city

Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
Who says nobody has time to eat well even on a busy Monday night? 

The beginning of our week is mostly spent at work. Sometimes work continues when we get home and it does not slow down until Thursday.

For Monday night, I brought home a roasted organic chicken and organic french bread from our neighborhood Canyon Market. I put some butter and garlic and toasted the bread and served the chicked with streamed rice and seasoned sliced organic tomatoes we brought from the farmers market. We opened an organic 2005 Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon by Bonterra Vineyards. I wasn't surprised at all that the chicken was super tasty and not dripping with fats. Its flavor goes so well with the steaming serving of jasmine rice. The tomatoes, of course, is sweet, red and juicy and its fresh taste is enhanced further by adding a dash of dried Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and vinaigrette. But I was totally surprised about the organic wine and how good it is with a hint of clove, cinnamon and blackberries. This is the first wine that I sampled that is made from organically grown grapes. Its rich sparkling purple hue is such visual bonus.

Kikas Treats
We finished off the dinner with coffee and organic caramelized graham crackers in pure dark chocolate by Kika's Treats. The treats have a toffee-like taste and a creamy butter crunch. 

So who says nobody has time to eat well even on a busy Monday night? I guess, not in this household and it is not just any dinner.  It is organic dinner.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Organic Ice cream in the City - BiRite Creamery

Ice Cream at Dolores Park
The fog is now back in the city so we are back to the usual cool weather. However, the heat was turned up a week ago. Everyone was out in full force enjoying the welcome summer weather. The temperature was nearing 90F when we stepped out of the house which for me is the perfect sunny day. I was kind of hungry but I was craving more for something cold. Under normal circumstances, we would either go to Mitchell's on Valencia St. or Eggettes on Diamond St. for ice cream or frozen yogurt. Since we also wanted to hangout at Dolores Park, we went to Bi-rite Creamery to get our ice cream fix.

Bi-Rite Creamery
This place is known for their local and organic ice cream on organic cones. The queue can be quite long so be prepared to wait in line. Mijo and I each sampled a scoop of malted vanilla and a scoop of toasted coconut. The one I ordered came with peanut brittle and milk chocolate pieces. It was good though I can't tell the difference in taste between an organic ice cream from the others that are not. I guess I have to go back and try their other flavors and one of their ice cream pies and cakes.

Bi-rite Creamery and Bakeshop is on 18th St and Dolores St., across the street from the Dolores St. Cafe.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

French macarons in the city - Miete

Miette macarons
I first heard of Miette from my good friend Dinah. As a foodie, she's raved about the macarons being delicious without tasting ultra sweet. It didn't register at first because I don't see anything special about macaroons. (Yes, I thought it is the one with coconut.) One time, Karen, Dinah and I went for coffee at the Ferry Building after having brunch at Prospect. On my way to the men's room, I remember walking passed a pastry place in pastel colors, mostly in pink, and there was a long line. It was Miette. I thought "OK, I am going to give this place a try just because Dinah raves about it." I bought one cupcake and one macaron. I realized the macaron is not the macaroon I was thinking of. And Dinah is right on the money! Both cupcake and the macaron were very tasty, fluffy and moist without being sweet. By the way, the macaron tastes different from a macaroon.

Miette at the Ferry Building
Mijo and I did our produce shopping at the Ferry Building on Saturday and I remembered to drop by Miette to get a box of 7 macarons. That is one macaron for each flavor - rose geranium, pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate lavender, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. They were all chewy, moist, delicious, and the serving is just perfect for two small bites. They are also nice to look at. I believe the presentation is part of the Miette experience.  

Miette at the Ferry Building
Special mention goes to their Chocolate Lavender macaron. I never really got used to eating sweet food with hints of lavender because the taste makes me think of soaps. However, their Chocolate Lavender is a good balance of chocolate, cream, lavender and nutty flavor.

I tried one super moist cupcake before but I will explore it more the next time. And their cookies. And their shortbreads, and their caramels and licorice. Here is their website if you want to check it out.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Habanera in the City

Classical music in BART
I met up with mijo on Friday afternoon to window-shop for his Father's Day gift. We ended up not buying anything. 

Anyway, on our way back to our neighborhood to get ready for happy hour, we chanced upon this group playing Habanera with a modern twist. If you are not into classical music, their version is a good one to make you appreciate that genre. It made a bunch of commuters and gawking tourists to stop and listen. It made me stop and listen.

Where else can you hear free classical music performed live?  

Yet another reason why I love this city and summer is just starting!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Everyday Wines in the City - Perez Family Zinfadel and Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet

2003 Perez Family Zinfadel

Don Ezequiel Zinfandel 2003
For this week, we are tasting a 2003 Napa Valley Zinfandel by the Perez Family winery. This wine was given to us last Christmas by a family member of the Perez Family wine producers. (Thanks Ana and Anthony!) For food pairing, Mijo grilled some Salvadoran chorizos and skirt steak with Spanish rice.

Here are my notes.

Tasting Date: June 7, 2011.
Tasting Partner: Mijo
Wine Name: Don Ezequiel Zinfandel
Producer: Perez Family
Region/Appelation: St. Helena, Napa Valley
Grape Varieties: Zinfandel
Vintage: 2003
Alcohol: 14.7%
Color Hue: dark red
Aroma Intensity: medium fruity
Developments: full body
Aromas: cherry, clove, brown sugar, coffee
Dry/Sweet: medium sweet
Body: Medium
Acidity: medium acid
Tannins: medium level
Flavors: cloves, cherry

2008 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet

Koonunga Hill
We usually go to Shalimar, an Indian-Pakistani restaurant on Polk St., after attending church service at Freedom in Christ on a Sunday evening. For tonight, we decided to go there but order the food to-go. We uncorked a bottle of South Australian red, 2008 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet, to pair with the spicy food we brought home. 

It was a very good pair! Here are my notes:

Tasting Date: June 12, 2011.
Tasting Partner: Mijo
Wine Name: Penfolds Koonunga Hills
Producer: Penfolds
Region/Appelation: South Australia
Grape Varieties: 71% Shiraz, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 13.5%
Color Hue: dark red, purple
Aroma Intensity: medium fruity aroma
Developments: full body
Aromas: blue berry, cherry, glazed fruits, clove
Dry/Sweet: medium dry
Body: full body
Acidity: Smooth
Tannins: medium level, soft
Flavors: glazed fruits, cloves

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Musical in the City - The Blue Man Group

The Blue Man Group at the Golden Gate TheatreWe missed them in Vegas almost 10 years ago and then we missed them again in New York and Boston. When we went to Las Vegas for the Memorial Day long weekend, we ran out of time so we didn't see them once again. So when we came back to San Francisco a week ago and the Blue Man group was still in the city, we decided we won't miss them this time.

Golden Gate Theatre
The Blue Man group is not a musical but you'll hear intrumental techno rock music almost the entire show. It is not a play but there are mime performers who double as drummers, percussionists and keyboardists. It is sort of a theatrical comedy with audience participation and they employ the use of lights, digital screens and neon colored paints. They are really blue. Shiny blue.

The Blue Man GroupIn the beginning, we were having second thoughts about the show. It was like watching the Three Stooges on a big stage. At one point during the show, we got in one of our elitist-wanna-be moments - We are better and deserve more than this! Why are we even watching this? This is so not us! And then it got better with the next acts and we snapped out of our little better-than-thou moment. A good and fun entertainment does not have to be profound or deep.  It can be silly, infact very silly, sometimes.  We did enjoy the show all in all.

They have shows at the Golden Gate Theatre from May 24 to June 19.