Tag Archives: indian
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!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Morning: Went to Twitter with Yufei and had breakfast there, which consisted of a delicious bagel (it was Bagel Monday!) topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and tomatoes and cucumbers, and some fruit and yogurt. Then I went shopping downtown for a few hours, before coming back for lunch at Twitter (I’m such a moocher). Seriously, this places is awesome.
Afternoon: Lounged around and then met Yufei for dinner at Tandoori Mahal. We got chicken samosas, rice, naan, chicken tikka masala, and lamb korma, and it was all delicious!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Morning: Slept in, had leftovers for lunch.
Afternoon: Went to the Cartoon Art Museum, which had exhibits on Archie, The Green Lantern, and the art of Howl, as well as a permanent exhibit on the history and progression of cartoons and comics.
It was a nice little museum, plus it was pay-what-you-want day, so it was definitely worth the visit! They had a nice little gift shop too, with some pretty cool stuff local comic artists too.
And a starter of spicy mini chicken drumsticks. For our entrees, I got the individual sized paella and Yufei got the grilled sirloin:
I was a huge fan of my paella, while Yufei’s steak was just okay. We finished off by sharing a warm chocolate molten cake, which was so good! Overall a great meal, our server was very nice, and I really liked the place!
We came back after dinner and decided to watch a movie at home. We ended up seeing The Adjustment Bureau, which I had high expectations for since I found the premise fascinating and it got pretty good reviews. But we were both disappointed by the movie. For me, I just felt like I kept expecting it to get this point that would just blow my mind, and it just never got there and all of sudden it was over. Oh well, there goes an hour and a half of my life.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Morning: I walked over to the School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific to check it out. The walk was pretty much uphill the whole way, which caused me to take way longer than the predicted time on Google Maps. Anyways, the school was really nice, and I even talked with one of the admissions people. The only thing is that they want me to take more biology labs (ugh). Sigh… we’ll see. My walk back was decidedly more pleasant, offering me views like this:
And I got lunch at Gallery Cafe, half a block from Yufei’s place. Cute little neighbourhood cafe.
Afternoon: Tired from my morning walk, I just took it easy until dinner time. We met up at Passion Cafe, a nice French bistro in a pretty sketchy part of town. We got a grilled chicken salad, Yufei got a burger, and I had a calamari.
The salad was great, Yufei liked his burger, but my calamari was a little bit over-fried. Regrettably, we didn’t really order anything French, although our waiter did have a discernible French accent and that’s always a good sign. Perhaps next time!
After dinner, we went to a nearby theater to see Cowboys & Aliens, which I found to be okay, and Yufei loved it (of course, since it was his pick – my turn the next night!).
Thursday, August 4, 211
Morning: Umm… I don’t think I did anything.
Afternoon: Another day in SF, another dental school visit. This time, I decided to check out the Dental School at UCSF. UCSF consist only of graduate schools in the health sciences, and it is located in a cold, windy, misty part of town. The campus is considerably bigger than Pacific since the dental school is kind of lumped together with everything else, so I couldn’t really see much. But I did talk to admissions and got some info. Gosh, this dental school business is getting pretty serious!
For dinner, I met up with a friend from Columbia who lives and is interning in the city. We went to the Ferry Building:
After dinner I met up with Yufei to go see my movie of choice: Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while. The cast was amazing, and they all gave great performances – what a refreshing role for Steve Carell! Really pleasantly surprised by him. There seemed to be too many story lines in the movie at one point, but they were all brought together in an unexpected, hilarious yet heartbreaking twist (honest haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in a while). A realistic look at love that is at times funny, at times agonizing, but ultimately heartwarming and optimistic – highly recommended!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Morning: Not much until lunch, which I had at Out the Door at Westfield Center, one of 3 locations for the less formal eateries spawned from The Slanted Door. I started with a half portion of the spring rolls with a really yummy peanut sauce:
And for my main I got the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken:
It was good but somewhat unremarkable, which is probably no unexpected for such a simple dish. Anyways, pretty good meal!
After lunch, I walked over to the Asian Art Museum, where they were having a special exhibit on Bali, which was completely worth the extra $5. It was a beautiful and fascinating display of Balinese art, rituals, and performance, as exemplified by this amazingly intricate and elaborate offering made from rice dough, called a Sarad:
I didn’t realize how big the museum was and spent too much time in the Bali exhibit, and had to rush through the rest of it before they closed. But it was really quite a nice museum! I wish I had planned to spend more time there.
To celebrate the end of the work week, Yufei and I went down to Pier 39 to embark on the Happy Hour on the Bay Cruise from Blue and Gold Fleet! They had some snacks and a bar where you get one free drink – and I think I finally look past 21 since I didn’t get carded, ha! It was unfortunately too foggy out to go to the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, so we headed the other way and went past the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park instead.
The cruise lasted an hour and a half and was pretty fun, but afterwards we were still hungry so we headed to In-N-Out for burgers! Being in NYC exposed us to a lot of debate over Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out, so we had to try for ourselves! Granted, I’ve never really had a freshly made burger from Shake Shake before, only a somewhat small and unimpressive one in a take-out bag that’s probably not the best for judging. But the burgers at In-N-Out were decently sized, freshly made, and the value is excellent! The fries were just average though.
I wish they had more topping choices (like bacon!), but at just over $2 for a burger, you can’t complain. But I think Five Guys still wins overall for quality and variety and huge servings of good fries (and free peanuts!). And for best value, M2M still has a special place in my heart. (Wow, I cannot believe I just wrote this much reviewing burgers! This is all Yufei’s fault).
So this wraps up the work week! A special weekend post coming up!
As we made our way back from camp Friday morning, we stopped by an Applebee’s for lunch. After a week of eating cafeteria food on meal trays, my Cajun shrimp pasta tasted like heaven. Even the restaurant’s bathroom was a nice change from the shower curtained stalls at camp. After lunch we proceeded to our new hotel for the next 2 nights, a Hampton Inn and Suites near the airport. My room was actually ready when I got there and as soon as my body hit the bed, I took the most-needed nap I’ve ever had in my life. Then for dinner we were treated, once again, to pizza at Pie in the Sky. And after dinner, a much needed shower and laundry run.
Then Saturday was the the last day of orientation, where we had a camp overview, a talk by Dr. Langone (whom I am shadowing), a panel by past interns, and a review of some medical terminology. Then the interns went our separate ways to travel to their host sites all over the country.
I moved into my new home for the summer on Sunday, and it is awesome. It’s a dorm at one of the resident halls at Vanderbilt, but it’s really more like a one-bedroom apartment than anything else. I’ve got a living room:
A bedroom (the bunk bed is the only thing that reminds me that it’s a dorm):
An in-suite bathroom:
And a pantry (which I will never use) and a walk-in closet. I wish I could live here longer than just a month and a half so that I can buy more stuff to decorate it and make it cozy and homey because this is probably the best living condition I’ve ever had on and probably will have my own for the next few years. Sigh…
So after I unpacked and got settled in a bit, I decided to go out and get some food and other supplies. A trip to CVS with 4 things on my list turned into a shopping spree of 3 heavy bags of stuff (you don’t even realize the things you’re missing until you see them!). By then it was hot and I was tired and I really craved some type of Asian food or at least something other than sandwiches, so imagine my delight when I ran into an Indian restaurant that had a lunch buffet! It was almost 3pm by then and I was starving so I just had to go in. The food was great, the selection was pretty good even though they were nearing the end of lunch hour, and the meal only cost me $11.50 including tax and tip. The name of the restaurant was Sitar and I will definitely make my way back there during my stay.
After an unsuccessful attempt at finding a Citibank branch (turns out there are none in Nashville), I made my way back hauling all my stuff. I made another trip out later that day to get some groceries at a store about 10 minutes away. It was much bigger and the selection much wider than I was made to believe from the Yelp reviews I’d read; maybe that’s just the New Yorker in me again expecting every neighborhood establishment to be tiny. The cashier was very nice and friendly and called me New York when I told him that I go to school there, hahah.
So I pretty much looooove my new home for the next 7 weeks! Man why do my summer living conditions always beat Columbia housing? I’m never going to want to go back now…
After three midterms and a test over the last 4 days, I really needed a day off (even though I have an entire book to read AND a paper on it due Thursday). So Saturday began with a delicious homemade brunch with Yufei which consisted of bacon, potatoes, sunny side up eggs, and orange juice.
Then later in the afternoon, we decided to go to the Empire State Building. I’ve come to realize that when you know you’re going to be in a place for the next 4 years, you tend to put off visiting a lot of places, thinking that you’ve still got plenty of time. So here I was, 2 years into my stay in NYC, and I still hadn’t visited the iconic landmark. So it really was about time. There was a lot of lines to get through, but most of them moved pretty quickly, so we were at the observation deck not long after we arrived. The day was fairly clear, and the view of the city was beautiful.
Brownie points for whoever can find Columbia in this picture!
They had the cutest King Kong stuffed animal in the gift store!
After our visit to the Empire State Building, it was already nearing dinner time. We had brought with us a LivingSocial coupon for an Indian restaurant named Cinnamon not too far away, so we set off for the place. When we arrived, we were the only customers in the small restaurant. It made us a little skeptical, but it was still rather early for dinner. The decor was chic and modern, and everything looked super clean and immaculate. We were warmly greeted and seated, and were immediately served water and crispy papadum with 4 different sauces. For drinks, Yufei ordered a mango lassi and I got a mango juice, both of which were full of flavor.
We ordered samosas to start, I decided on chicken tikka masala for my main course, and Yufei ordered the lamb roganjosh. Both of the main dishes were delicious, the sauces especially, and I really liked that the lamb was nice and tender.
Halfway through our main dishes, we realized that our samosas still hadn’t come. We asked about it, and they immediately went to the kitchen to check on it. The hostess came over and apologized that she had forgotten. But a few minutes later, we were presented with 2 large, fresh samosas. They were so fresh, in fact, that they were too hot to handle, and we had a wait a few more minutes to have them.
After we had finished everything, we were so stuffed that when they asked us if we wanted to see the dessert menu, we said that we really have no room. However, after they cleared everything away, a waiter came over and gave us a free dessert on the house.
It was called rasmalai, a yummy cheese dumpling soaked in this sweet creamy sauce, and it was very very good. It was definitely an awesome meal: the food was excellent, the service was friendly and gracious, and I loved the look and feel of the place. If it weren’t so far away from Columbia, I would definitely come back often.
After dinner, there was still a good hour and a half left before the movie we were seeing that night, so we went to a nearby Border’s to kill time. They had nice comfy couches in there, and I cozied up with a graphic novel I’ve been wanting to read for some time now (my Art/text workshop has really piqued my interest in them). It’s titled Blankets by Craig Thompson, a moving, beautifully rendered coming-of-age autobiography. I only made it halfway through, but I really want to finish it sometime soon (as a poor college student, I’ll probably find another bookstore to do that).
Then we went to see Red, which was a fun and entertaining film, not too thought provoking, but I think I preferred it that way as my thoughts were already provoked enough the previous week. And that ended our lovely day out, and now I feel sad that I have to get back to school work for another week. Fall break needs to get here faster.
Yesterday morning we went to the Chongqing zoo, where I had hoped to see some pandas (because pandas are adorable and native to the region). But unfortunately it was a hot and humid day and most of the pandas the had were inside their shelters and only one was out napping.
Me by the entrance to the reptile hall
After the zoo, we went to an ancient town in Chongqing called Ciqikou (磁器口). It’s now mostly a tourist attraction where the streets are lined with shops selling local crafts and food.
It’s impossible to write about Ciqikou and not write about its food, so forget about what I said about one special food post. First I had a 糖葫芦, which is a long skewer of fruit (typically hawthorn) coated in hardened sugar syrup.
Then more lamb kabob :)
Then there was this very popular Indian roti shop where the charismatic Indian chef makes the roti in public and draws a huge crowd. We had the pineapple one and it was delicious.
There’s loads more specialty foods, like all sorts of spicy snacks, the famous Chen fried dough twists, cotton candy spun into the shape of lotus flowers, beef jerky, lots of different types of confectionaries… so much that I can’t possibly fit it all into one post. Ciqikou was definitely a great cultural and culinary experience and I can’t wait to go back again some day :)