Tag Archives: dinner
Day 2 of our San Diego trip started with us getting a quick bite of breakfast at 7-11, and then it was onto the bus to take us to SeaWorld! We did most of the rides (except for the really kiddie ones).
The Skytower offered great views of the whole park and the surrounding areas:
We also saw almost all of the animal exhibits, like this cute beluga whale:
And this walrus:
And this turtle:
There was this cute duck couple walking around while we had lunch. The male was following the female the whole time. So adorable.
As for shows, we saw Blue Horizons:
And Sea Lions Live:
The sea lions were so cute and funny!
And of course One Ocean with Shamu! (Fun fact: I play Shamu during a skit in English class in grade 12. I cannot recall what the skit was about and why Shamu was in it.)
We stayed pretty much until the park closed and took a bus back to our hotel. By then it was getting pretty late and I was starving. Good thing Yufei booked a dinner reservation at Salvatore’s that night, since it happens to be our 4 and a half year anniversary.
Salvatore’s is a very nice Italian restaurant. We were seated next to the piano player and we really enjoyed the music throughout our meal. We were also given 2 glasses of complimentary Prosecco after we were seated! Such a nice surprise. Their bread was also nice and warm and crusty.
We shared an appetizer of tomato, avocado, and mozzarella cheese, which they actually put onto 2 separate plates for each of us (a nice touch):
For my main dish I ordered a linguini pasta with crab:
It was hearty and spicy and really yummy. Yufei got veal:
We were too full at that point for dessert, so our meal ended there. It was a wonderful dinner – great food, service, and ambiance!
Yufei and I took a quick 3 day, 2 night trip to San Diego a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to go since the baby panda was born at the San Diego Zoo, whom I had been watching on Pandacam since the very beginning. So on the second week of April, we finally flew down to San Diego for a little vacation.
After we arrived, we took a bus to our hotel, dropped off our bags, and headed out. We had a quick lunch and then walked over to Balboa Park. We took the day pretty easy and just walked around the park, enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful scenery.
We thought about visiting one of the many museums in the park, but it was rather late in the afternoon at that point and we didn’t want to pay for admission then have to rush through the museum. In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t do the museums and just relaxed.
In the late afternoon we took a bus back to our hotel (the walk was pretty long on the way there) and checked into our room. We stayed at the Keating Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. The location of the hotel was pretty convenient, close to bus stops and has lots of restaurants and nightlife around the area. Our room was pretty barebones, what I would describe as industrial chic. They had all the necessary amenities though and served its purpose for a short trip.
After we rested a bit in our hotel, we headed out to get some dinner. I was in the mood for Mexican food, and we went to Fred’s Mexican Cafe, which was within walking distance to the hotel. The decor was interesting, very tropical and resort-y.
We had to wait for a booth, so we sat at the bar and ordered some blended margaritas. They were okay, a little weak and watered down. We got a booth a little while later. They brought some warm tortilla chips with salsa and they were delicious. Yufei ordered a carnitas burrito for his dinner:
And I got the baja fish tacos:
Both were pretty good and satisfied my Mexican craving for then (I’m kind of obsessed with fish tacos right now). After dinner we walked back to our hotel and rested for the night to get ready for day 2 of our San Diego adventure!
A few weeks ago, Yufei and I had a wonderful dinner at Pasion, a Latin American restaurant on Irving Street. I have ridden the train past Pasion countless times on my way to work, and I’ve always been intrigued, so it was nice to finally go eat there. Inside the restaurant, the atmosphere was cozy yet modern. A little after we were seated, we were presented with free jello shots. It turns out that they have different specials each day of the week, and Thursdays happen to be free jello shot night!
We started off with some drinks. I ordered a house sangria and Yufei got the Pasion colada mojito, but we ended up switching drinks because I loved Yufei’s cocktail. It had passion fruit puree in it and I’m a huge fan of passion fruit. It was just delicious. I liked it so much that I ended up having two of these throughout the meal. Just writing about it now makes me want to go back and have one right now!
We got an appetizer to share, a salad with dungeness crab, avocado, and potato. It was pretty good; I had my crab fix, haha.
Both of our entrees were fantastic. I took our server’s suggestion and ordered the grilled ahi tuna, with coconut risotto, sautéed spinach, pineapple chimichurri, and aji amarillo beurre blanc. It was so good. The fish was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The risotto was creamy and the pineapple give the dish a nice fresh kick. All the flavors and textures went really well together and it was such an indulgent and satisfying dish.
Yufei ordered the grilled estancia rib eye steak, with plantain chorizo hash, fried egg, cabrales demi glaze, and chimichurri. Can you tell he likes his protein? Haha. It had some of the steak and it was delicious. Yufei cleared his plate so I assumed that he liked it as much as I liked my entree.
Overall the meal was amazing. Loved the food and drinks, great service, and free jello shots. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again soon but the prices are a little expensive. But I definitely think that it’s worth the splurge once in a while!
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.
For our 4 year anniversary last month, Yufei and I decided to go to Half Moon Bay for a nice little weekend getaway. I had just come back from New York and really welcomed the trip. We drove down from San Francisco on Friday morning. The drive was along the coast and the view was absolutely beautiful. We stopped by the Taco Bell in Pacifica for lunch – most scenic fast food restaurant ever! We also made a stop at another beach along the highway and took some photos.
We stayed at the gorgeous Mill Rose Inn, which was just so lovely. They had a beautiful garden full of blooming roses!
After checking in and dropping off our stuff, we went out for a walk in downtown Half Moon Bay. It’s such a cute little town! We were just in time for the annual pumpkin festival that was happening that weekend. We saw California’s biggest pumpkin:
The thing was humongous! Definitely can see it being turned into Cinderella’s carriage – ha! After walking around and getting ice cream, we drove to the beach.
We hung out at the beach for a while, then went back to the inn to rest a bit and watch a DVD. The inn provides tons of DVD’s that you can borrow and play on the TV’s in the rooms. Then it was dinnertime. I made a reservation at Cetrella, a restaurant within walking distant. It was a very nice place, great ambiance, with a live piano player and singer. Food and service were both excellent as well. It was very dark in the restaurant so I couldn’t really take photos (didn’t want to be that annoying person who keeps using flash).
After dinner, we walked back to the inn, which was equally magical at night. They had all these lights on their trees in the backyard – reminds me of Christmas!
The next morning, we had breakfast in the dining room (you can also choose to have it delivered to your room). They served champagne as well as a really yummy orange banana smoothie.
For food there was a pumpkin crumble, frittata, this nutty banana toast, and watermelon.
After breakfast we checked out, put our bags in the car, and went downtown to check out the art and pumpkin festival. There sure were a lot of people flooding into this tiny town! There were booths with artists and merchants selling their goods, food stands, etc. There was also a Halloween parade, where we saw this amazing Spongebob costume:
We had to get back in the early afternoon because I had work in the evening (boo). We had a wonderful time in Half Moon Bay; the weather was gorgeous, the Mill Rose Inn was lovely, dinner was decadent, we got to visit the festival, and most importantly, we got to spend it with each other and celebrate our 4 years together!