Tag Archives: dessert
Since getting our own apartment and not having to deal with school after graduating from college, I’ve been cooking and baking more than ever before. Even then though, I’m kind of a lazy cook. If the recipe requires too many complicated steps or asks me to buy too many ingredients that I would never use again, I probably won’t make it. Despite these limitations, I’ve tried and succeeded at a lot of new dishes over the past few months. If you’re like me and enjoy simple, delicious, and wholesome recipes, then you’re in luck! I’m going to share a few of my favorite things to make and eat lately (in no particular order).
These are so delicious and baking is a great alternative to deep frying. I don’t have all the spices specified in the recipe, but you can season these fries however you want!
I got this recipe from my friend Jin, and I’ve made it a couple of times already. Yufei really likes this dish too. They’re a little labour intensive to make, but I find it fun to make these cute little cabbage packages.
And they taste so good! Very homey and perfect for a cold day.
I LOVE peanut butter. Kraft is my favorite brand but they only have them in Canada for some reason. Wahh. Sad face. Anyway, the recipe of course works with any kind of peanut butter. They get kind of crispy on the outside when baked, so good.
All foods are cuter when they’re tiny, right? These mini apple pies baked in muffin tins are no different. They’re actually kind of time consuming to make (especially if you want to make them all pretty like I do), but they’re so worth it! Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
I would make these way more often if portobello mushrooms weren’t so darn expensive. I don’t know why I have a fascination with pizza dough alternatives (see my previous post on this subject), maybe because I love pizza but am trying to eat healthier? Anyway, these portobello “pizzas” are so delicious. I skipped the leek in the original recipe and added some Italian sausage, but you can use whatever topping you like.
I baked cupcakes (ok so I cheated and made them from cake mix – but they were on sale!) and wanted to make a simple frosting without using powdered sugar, which I didn’t have. I found this recipe that uses regular granulated sugar, flour, butter (I replaced it with margarine), milk, and vanilla. It was easy to make and tasted pretty good! I think it tasted even better the next day for some reason. The texture and flavor were just better.
I also don’t have a piping bag so I did the old ziplock back with a corner cut out trip. Turned out pretty good, right?
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these recipes! Let me know if you try any of these! They’re all tested by me for their simplicity and deliciousness. If you want more recipes like these, follow my recipe board on Pinterest! I only pin stuff that I would actually consider making, so anything on my board passes my criteria for lazy yet health-conscious chefs. Happy cooking!
Yufei and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on the Monday after this year, and it was fantastic! I made us brunch with pancakes, eggs, toast, and chocolate covered strawberries in the morning:
Yufei got me flowers. Aww…
And at night we went out to Dixie for dinner. We had a voucher for a 5-course dinner with wine pairings for two, which was a great deal. The restaurant is located in the Presidio, surrounded by trees. It was dark when we got there, but I can imagine that it’s a pretty setting. The interiors of the restaurant was warmly lit. It was also really spacious, which I liked, and we got seated in a booth.
The kinds of food they serve I guess can be classified as new American with a southern twist. We started off with some canapés, which included hush puppies, deviled eggs, cured ham, and pickled okra.
The first course was a sunchoke panna cotta with smoked oysters, crispy fried brussel sprouts leaves & dandelions. Since Yufei does not eat shellfish, they made his without oysters. We were a little disappointed that they did not substitute something for the oysters, but oh well.
It was an interesting dish, unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I liked the crispy brussel sprout leaves, which kind of reminded my of kale chips. It was an interesting blend of textures and flavors. In the back of the photo you can also see their bread service of the night, a wild rive lavash flatbread served with black eyed peas. It was really good!
The next course was acorn grits with a soft poached egg, duck skin crackling and sea urchin butter. This time they replaced the sea urchin butter with regular butter for Yufei.
I should have taken the photo a few second earlier before the butter shavings all melted. They looked really pretty. It was a pretty good dish, not too memorable though.
Here are the first of the two wine pairings, a sparkling wine and a sherry. The last wine we got was a Malbec (not shown).
The next course was my favorite, the chicken fried quail with king trumpet mushrooms, spiced pecans, and bourbon butter. It was crispy and delicious and left me wanting more. But it was a 5-course meal after all so I guess the serving size was perfect.
And the final savory course for the night, grass fed beef with a red wine, mushroom & coffee sauce.
This was Yufei’s favorite course (not surprising since he’s a big fan of beef). I don’t really eat a lot of red meat but the portion was small and I enjoyed it. It was tender and pretty flavorful.
After the savory courses, we were presented with a small citrus granita palate cleaner before dessert. I kind of wanted a full serving of this, haha. So sweet and refreshing!
The dessert course, a banana foster soufflé with malted milk chocolate ice cream.
It was a nice light dessert to finish the meal. The little espresso cup the soufflé came in was too cute!
The meal overall was very good. The food was great and the service was very attentive. We tipped generously and even with the voucher, it was a pretty expensive meal. Everything was great, but I’m not sure if I would pay full price to come again.
After we got back home, we exchanged our presents for each other. Yufei got me chocolate truffles and these super cute foldable figures of us from foldable.me! Aren’t they adorable and funny? (Foldable Yufei is even wearing the same purple shirt as in the previous picture!)
Thanks to Yufei for spending this awesome day with me celebrating our 5th Valentine’s Day togehter :)
Last month, Yufei and I went skating at the Union Square Holiday Ice Rink right before they took it down for the year. Afterwards, we decided to have dinner around the area. It was Dine About Town that week, which is SF’s version of Restaurant Week in NYC. We looked up participating restaurants in the area and settled on Anzu. We didn’t have a reservation, so it was about a 45 minute wait. Luckily, Anzu is located inside Hotel Nikko, so we sat in the beautiful lobby and talked while we waited for our table.
Anzu is described as serving California cuisine with Asian flavors, whatever that means. The Dine About Town menu has a few different choices for each of the three courses. For appetizers, Yufei and I both got the seared ahi tuna. It was pretty good, though the serving size was really small.
For my main course, I decided on the oven roasted king salmon, with scallion gnocchi, Japanese eggplant, pickled turnips, and kaiyaki sauce. I really liked this dish. The salmon was very crispy on the outside and very flavorful.
Yufei chose the grilled hanger steak with mushroom ravioli and port wine reduction. He replaced the side of broccolini with garlic fries (so typical of him…).
For dessert, I got the pomegranate crème brûlée with macaron cookies. It was an interesting take on crème brûlée since the pomegranate taste made the usually sweet dessert more tarte and sour. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the best crème brûlée I ever had.
Yufei dessert was a chocolate indulgent cake with grand marnier crème anglaise sauce.
Overall, the food was okay. Service was lacking a little (forgetting to bring my drink order, not refilling our waters, etc.). Even with the Dine About Town discount, we felt it was still a little expensive for a just-okay dinner, and we probably won’t be back again.
Phew, it’s been a while since I last wrote. I had been so busy the past couple of weeks: went to Napa, came back to SF, went to Boston for my Harvard interview, came back to SF, went to the Twitter holiday party with Yufei, and add to that work, house chores, Christmas shopping… But more on all of that later. This post is dedicated to the highly anticipated dinner at the French Laundry! Before actually talking about the dinner, I will say that I am very happy to be accepted at all 3 dental schools I had interviewed at (NYU, UCSF, and UoP), so I did earned my meal!
Yufei and I drove to Napa on the afternoon 2 Sundays ago. Our dinner reservation was at 5:45, so we had a couple of hours to walk around and explore downtown Napa a little bit before that. When we decided to drive to the restaurant, it was nearly dark. I kind of wish that we could have seen everything when it was still light out, but that’s winter for you. Still, the garden area looked quite charming in the twilight.
The restaurant itself was in a two-story building. We were greeted and seated in a table in the corner of the first floor.
As you can see, we were one of the first guests to arrive, but the dining room filled up to capacity as the night progressed. We were given the menus for the night: the chef’s tasting and the tasting of vegetables, both 9 courses. The wine list was on an iPad. We both decided to go for the chef’s tasting, but with a few substitutions for Yufei since he doesn’t eat shellfish. There were also a couple of courses that had a choice, but all the alternatives had a pretty hefty supplement, so we skipped on that even though it would have provided even more variety.
We got 2 glasses of sparkling wine to start, and waited for the amuse-bouches to arrive. They were the same ones we had at Per Se, the the gruyere cheese gougeres and the salmon cornets.
Both were delicious and just as I remembered them, though I wouldn’t mind having them more frequently than every 2 years! Soon after, our first courses arrive. I was so excited about the legendary oysters and pearls, a sabayon of tapioca pearls, oysters, and white sturgeon caviar. I had seen countless photos of this dish and I was finally about to experience it in person! The dish was much smaller than I had anticipated (I guess pictures can be deceiving after all); the center of the dish where the food was was around 2 inches in diameter.
The small size of the dish added to the delicateness of it, as did the tiny mother of pearl spoon provided to eat it. I really loved this dish. It was delicate yet rich, and all the flavors worked together perfectly. Yufei got the first course from the vegetable menu since he doesn’t eat oysters. It was a parsnip velouté with banana, pecans, and served with a spoon coated in maple syrup. I tried it and it was really good!
After the first course, we were presented with 2 different butters and several types of bread.
How cute is the little beehive-shaped butter? After the bread came the second course, salad of fuyu persimmmon with radicchio, broccolini, and red walnut.
I guess the persimmon was meant to be exotic, but as a Chinese it really wasn’t, haha. I enjoyed the dish but didn’t find anything too special about it. Next came the seafood courses. First, a sautéed fillet of Mediterranean lubina, with petit radish, edamame, ginger, and a scallion and matsutake mushroom porridge.
It was also kind of Asian-inspired, as with the persimmon salad, and it was quite good. The next course was lobster, so Yufei got another substitute, another fish course, this time a sturgeon.
I tried a bite of it and I was a big fan. It was very flavorful and meaty and delicious! I went with the original lobster course, the sweet butter-poached Maine lobster with grapefruit, sunchoke, fennel, and hazelnut.
The dish actually kind of reminded me of the lobster dish I had at Eleven Madison Park, maybe because they both had fennel in it? Anyway, another great dish! We barely ever go to seafood restaurants and I think the last time I had lobster WAS at EMP so I definitely enjoyed this yummy crustacean! The fifth course was the Four Story Hill Farm poularde with bacon, chestnuts, yam, and brussel sprouts.
This was another favorite dish of the night. The meat was very flavorful and juicy and I love chestnuts! Next came another meat course, the Elysian Fields Farm lamb ribeye, with carrot, petit onions, Tokyo turnip, peppercress, and naverin sauce.
It was a pretty good dish. At that time I was getting a bit tired of all the meat, and I’m not a huge fan of big pieces of red meat in the first place, so I don’t think I enjoyed this dish as much as Yufei did. We were getting pretty full, and that was the last meat course, so we decided to take a little break from the food and take a walk outside. They had a beautiful Christmas tree in the garden, so we took some photos by it.
(As you can see, I went with dress #1 from my poll earlier and I was very happy with it! #1 won out but a slim margin but I think it was a good choice. A friend said on my Facebook that the lace collar would look better in photos, and she was right!)
And here is the famous blue door (in terrible lighting):
After our little walk, we came back inside and continued our gastronomical adventure. Next came a cheese course, the reblochon, served with russet potato “gnocchi à la Parisienne,” celery branch, pruneaux d’agen, and black winter truffles.
It was a good transition course from the savory main courses to the desserts, which came next. The first dessert was a blood orange “mimosa” with champagne granité, brown sugar streusel, and fresh cream sherbet.
It was very light and refreshing, a good palate cleanser I suppose, before the final dessert. There were again 2 choices for this course, so Yufei got the chocolate torte, with Pearson Farm pecans, cinnamon whip, and banana ice cream.
I got the other choice, the bakewell tarte, with Rome beauty apple compote, pain de gêne, and toasted oat glace.
Both desserts were simple yet well done, a solid end to the meal. Except it wasn’t really the end, since there were still a couple more things! First we were brought this gorgeous wooden box full of housemade chocolates in a variety of flavors (passionfruit, coconut, salted caramel, etc.) and we could pick as many as we wanted. And then – the part I was really excited about – coffee and doughnuts! I loved the little cinnamon and sugar dusted doughnut balls and the cappuccino semifreddo so much at Per Se that I wanted to make sure we get them at the end of our meal here, so I asked our server at the very beginning to bring them to us. They were just as good as the first time I had them!
They also brought us a bowl of macadamia nuts, but we were so full at this point that we only ate a couple. They offered to bag them up for us to take home and we gladly accepted.
We were also given a little tins of shortbread cookies, as well the copies of the menu (with my personalized message of “congratulations Wendan” at the top) before we left. There was another beautiful Christmas tree in the reception area, so Yufei and I took one final photo in front of it before leaving for the night.
It was definitely a memorable meal and night! It was the most money we had ever spent on a meal, and maybe it wasn’t the wisest financial decision to spend half a paycheck on a meal when I’ll be neck-deep in student loans very soon, but I’m glad that we had the chance to experience the French Laundry. So lots of thanks to Yufei for an amazing dinner that I won’t ever forget.
P.S.: Since we had eaten at Per Se before the French Laundry, it was inevitable that I was making some comparisons during dinner. The quality of the food and service was comparable at both places, as expected. And it’s not really fair to compare a 5-course lunch to a 9-course dinner, but we were very satisfied with both meals. Overall I feel like Per Se had more of a modern and open feel, while the French Laundry felt more homey and intimate. Part of this probably had to do with the time of the day we ate and the lighting in the room (daylight vs. candles), but the different atmospheres were definitely also a part of the different visions for the 2 restaurants.
Wow, this post is way overdue! Since we’ve moved to SF, Yufei and I have not had a shortage of food outings. On weeknights when I work late and have no time to cook dinner, we usually just go to one of the neighborhood restaurants a few blocks away. We sure are glad that we live in the Lower Haight, with a ton of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Some of our favorites include Sushi Raw for Japanese, Wonderland for Chinese, Axum Cafe for Ethiopian, Tandoor on Haight for Indian, Chilli Cha Cha for Thai, Greenburger’s for burgers, and Danny Coyles for drinks. There are still a few places around we have yet to try, but we’re definitely happy with the amount and variety of food options near our apartment!
One of the fancier but still close to us restaurants that I really love is L’Ardoise. It’s a cute and cozy little French bistro that has great food, excellent service, and wonderful ambiance. We’ve been there twice now and have an awesome time both times. Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but it’s quite a small restaurant, with lots of rich, red decor, resulting in a very French, very intimate atmosphere.
Now the food. The first time we went, we ordered their appetizer special, which was a delicious salad with spinach, green beans, goat cheese, walnuts, and I forget what else.
Yufei got the filet mignon and I got the duck confit for our main courses, and both were really good. The only thing was that my duck was a little bit too salty, and I wasn’t sure if it was just that one night or not.
We also had the creme brulee for dessert and it was one of the best I’ve ever had! I had to resist the temptation to lick the dish.
Last time we went we shared a butter lettuce salad, and ordered the hanger steak (for Yufei) and coq au vin (for me). Again the food was wonderful! And of course we had to get dessert again. Yufei opted for the flourless chocolate cake and I was intrigued by the floating island. I’d never heard of it before, but the waitress told me it was made of meringue floating on creme anglaise served with caramel sauce and fresh strawberries. Sold! It was so light and sweet, and beautifully presented too.
Another great thing about L’Ardoise is their bread. I swear they have some kind of bread monitor, and every time our bread basket is even half empty, a server would sweep by and replace it with a fresh, full one. And they do this throughout the meal!
I have a few more restaurants around SF I want to review, and I thought about lumping them all into one post, but I think they deserve their own posts. So look forward to more of our food adventures!
I went on my first ever road trip for Spring Break this year! Yufei and I and 4 other friends decided to visit Montreal (no money for somewhere tropical), and it was quite a success!
We left NYC Friday morning stopped at Albany for lunch. We went to Yono’s as it was the best rated place on Yelp, and apparently the only 4-star restaurant in Albany. I had their lunch special of the day, which was a fish burger with potato wedges. It was surprisingly good for only $7! That’s Yufei’s pulled chicken sandwich in the back.
We were on the road again after lunch, and it was after sunset when we crossed the border.
It was quite late when we arrived in our apartment that we rented on Airbnb (which was absolutely superb), so we just got some poutine for dinner and then went out for beer at Benelux. It was a pretty cool bar that had a variety of interesting beers. We were all pretty tired after that so we went home and hit the bed.
The next morning, we got up and walked to Olympic Park since it was close to where we were staying. It was a gorgeous sunny day, though cold and icy.
I should have known better about the cold eastern Canadian winter and packed warmer clothes, as I’ve experienced it myself before, but I guess time makes you forget these things. Anyways, we were all super hungry after all the walking, and 2 of the restaurants we wanted to go to didn’t work out, and we were recommended to go to Romados for roasted chicken. We each got half a chicken with fries, and the chicken was amazingly delicious. Here are my friends devouring their meals:
Even though we were stuffed from lunch, we decided to drop by Juliette et Chocolat for some sweets. I loved their decor inside:
After a short wait, we were seated. Yufei and I shared a crepe with maple syrup and an alcoholic drink with chilled milk chocolate, Bailey’s, and caramel.
Others had various hot chocolates and coffees:
Everything was chocolatey and indulgent and delicious. The place was a little expensive, but I can see myself spending a leisurely afternoon there sipping on chocolate and munching on desserts.
After that, the guys went drinking and the girls went on a failed shopping trip as most stores were closed by 6pm on Saturdays. Dinner didn’t quite happen as we were still stuffed from chicken and chocolate, so we just chilled back in the apartment and then went out to a sports bar for beer and to catch the hockey game. And that concluded our first full day in Montreal!
Last Friday, Yufei and I headed to Nougatine at Jean-Georges for lunch. We sat by the window where it’s bright and airy just the way I like and readied ourselves for a 3-course meal! I got the tuna tartare with avocado and radish for my appetizer, which had been lauded by countless Yelp reviews and my friend who recommended the restaurant to me in the first place, and it was as good as everyone says!
Yufei chose the butternut squash soup with mushrooms, which was also delicious and creamy and excellent for bread-dipping.
For my main course, I got the black bass with spaghetti squash in a sesame broth with chili oil. It was also very very good. The skin was nice and crispy, and the sesame and chili gave the dish a punch of flavor. I didn’t realize it but both of my first 2 courses are quite Asian inspired!
Yufei got the cheeseburger for his main course, since that was the only red meat option on the menu (sorry honey!).
And for dessert, I got the pineapple upside down cake with basil ice cream and Yufei got the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Both were delicious!
Another great lunch! I must say I’m quite liking the lunch option at pricier restaurants!