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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Tag Archives: dinner

Slowly but surely, I’m catching up on blogging! Here’s another restaurant review summary for this past winter.

We took a weekend trip to Healdsburg at the beginning of the year and ate at Spoonbar. Delicious way to start 2015! The chicken wing appetizer:

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Pork tenderloin and riblet:

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Next up we have Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant. We discovered this Muslim Chinese place a while ago and it has since become a favorite spot for us. Super authentic and amazing food! The beef pancake and cumin lamb are some of our favorites:

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The crack fish was on point too! Covered in a thick layer of chili oil:

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We also tried their hot pot recently and it was fantastic as well. If you’re looking for authentic northern Chinese cuisine this is the place to go!

For this year’s Restaurant Week, we hit up 2 places. First we had lunch at Spruce. I really liked the space that the restaurant is in! Reminded me of a lot of places back in New York. Food was great and service very attentive. Pork loins:

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Scallops with ham and broccoli Romanesco:

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For our Restaurant Week dinner we chose Isa, a French restaurant in the Marina. Salmon carpaccio appetizer:

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My duck breast entree was fabulous:

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the food was great but we were not too happy with the service. We waited forever for our food and had to ask about our orders multiple times. They also did not discount our glasses of wine on the initial cheque even though we ordered them before the cutoff time. All of this made us think that they simply forgot to put in our order until we checked with them much later. Kind of put a damper on a otherwise great meal.

Next we have the Fly Trap, a Persian restaurant recommended by a Persian classmate of mine. We had a mini Columbia reunion here back in February. The food was all wonderful but sadly the only thing I managed to take a photo of was the baklava:

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Another ramen joint! We had wanted to go to Ramen Dojo but it was closed that day so we decided to go Himawari instead. It was pretty good!

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Lastly, Statebird Provisions! Yufei had been here before but I hadn’t, but I had actually unknowingly walked past it countless times going to and from my dentist! There’s no sign or anything on the outside so the only way you’ll know it’s there is the line that starts forming 2 hours before the doors even open, since reservations are notoriously difficult to obtain. We arrived about an hour before they opened and were still seated in the first batch they let in. The definitely food lived up to expectations and the dimsum ordering/serving style was fun. One of my favorite dishes of the night was this pork belly citrus salad:

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The desserts were great also – ice cream sandwiched and white chocolate parfait:

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Their menu changes all the time so I definitely want to return someday! If only it wasn’t so hard to get a seat there!

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So I’ve been putting off blogging about our epic Iceland trip for a while now. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, I just haven’t had the time, Second, I’ve been reluctant to do it because I feel like writing about the trip and sharing it with the world would somehow cheapen the amazing experience that it was. But I’ve since decided that that was a stupid idea and that I would love the chance to re-live this journey through blogging.

It was hands-down the best trip I’ve ever been on and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. We basically spent 8 days driving almost 1700 miles around the whole island. We saw waterfalls, glaciers, craters, geysers, hot springs, the northern lights. An abandoned ship, an abandoned plane, an abandoned natural hot water pool. Sand of black and ice of blue. And lots and lots of sheep. And miles and miles of desolate, unspoiled beauty. Some days we ate like kings, while others we had to resort to nothing but granola bars and cup noodles for meals. Everyday we had to stop ourselves from stopping the car every 5 minutes because there is such breathtaking views at every turn. Everything about the trip just felt so authentic, like this was what traveling should be about. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

So let me start recapping it with our first 2 days, which we spent in the capital city of Reykjavik.

We took a redeye flight from SF, with a layover in Boston, and we arrived in the morning in Reykjavik. We had to wait in the airport for a couple of hours to take a bus to our first destination – Blue Lagoon. Our first photo in Iceland!

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I was so glad we decided to stop by Blue Lagoon right after our flight. It was on the way to the city and it was the perfect way to relax after a long flight. The color of the water was the most unreal opaque light blue.

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We were there when it just opened so it wasn’t too crowded yet.

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After relaxing for a couple of hours and grabbing a quick lunch at the cafe, we were on our way to Reykjavik! We stayed at an Airbnb and it was in a pretty accessible location. We bought 2 Reykjavik Welcome Cards at the visitor center, which gave us bus access for 2 days and some discounts at museums and restaurants. It was a really good deal and we actually ended up using the bus quite a lot for the 2 days. After settling down a bit at our Airbnb, we headed out to check out some art museums. Unfortunately the first one we went to didn’t have any exhibits at the time, so we went to the next one on our list, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum. It was a small museum but had some really interesting stuff in it, and a nice sculpture garden outside.

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After that we took a bus to The Pearl, a mall with a dome and a 360-degree observation deck at the top.

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It offered some great views of the city and surrounding areas. We also sat in a cafe and enjoyed some hot chocolate. The glass dome looked pretty cool from the inside!

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Afterwards, we headed downtown for our dinner reservation at Grillmarket. We knew that we might not eat too well for the rest of the trip so we splurged on our 2 dinners in Reykjavik. We got bread with the fluffiest butter and smoked salt, a couple of appetizers, and for entrees Yufei got the Meat Gourmet, which was a trio of 3 different meats with sides, and I got the Fish Gourmet, with 3 different types of fish and sides.

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AND we had ice creams and sorbets for dessert. It was such a good meal. After a well-deserved good night sleep, we got up the next morning and went to Hallgrímskirkja, a really cool-looking church not too far from our Airbnb.

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We paid to go up to the tower, which had some nice views of the city. I love all these colorful houses!

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We then went to the National Museum of Iceland, which we got free admission to with our Welcome Cards. It had some really interesting exhibits on the history of Iceland. Then we grabbed a quick lunch at Bæjarins beztu pylsur, a famous hotdog stand. I love the crispy onions that’s in all the hotdogs in Iceland.

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Then we went to the Kolaportið Flea Market. There were lots of vendors selling food, vintage clothing, books, antiques, and other knickknacks.

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We also bought a slice of meringue cake that I was seeing everywhere. It was light and delicious and now I kind of regret not having more of it when we were in Iceland!

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Our next stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhus. It was another small museum but I quite enjoyed the sculptures, paintings, and interactive art there.

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Next up, we took a bus to the unique Icelandic Phallological Museum.

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I’m a fan of all kinds of weird museums and being someone in the medical field, I was quite intrigued when I found out about this place. It was again pretty small (I think you’re starting to see the trend here…), but there were preserved specimens of phalluses from all different animals as well as humorous poems, newspaper clippings, and art throughout the museum. A pretty interesting place to spend half an hour.

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After that, we took another bus to Harpa, a concert hall and conference center with a cool design along the water. There were lots of couches and chairs around for us to relax and admire the honeycomb-like walls and ceilings of the building.

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Finally, it was time for dinner! This time we decided to eat at Fish Company, where we got a 10% discount with the Welcome Card. We both chose the 4-course Around Iceland menu, with each course featuring ingredients found in different regions of Iceland. This was the lamb course.

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Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Thus ended our stay in Reykjavik. The next day we start our epic journey around the island!

Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland
Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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I fail at blogging. I thought about just giving up because there’s just TOO MANY THINGS I need to catch up on, but they’re all such good things that I just must share. So here’s to me trying my best to post the events from the past 4 months, starting with our LA trip over Labor Day weekend.

Started at Getty Villa on our first day. Due to the draught they drained all the fountains, so what you see in the background is just an empty fountain painted blue.

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Dinner at The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. Delicious flatbread appetizer. There was a wedding happening at the beach/restaurant at the same time so we got some live entertainment out the window as we ate!

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Afterwards we walked on the beach and watched the sunset.

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Santa Monica Pier.

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LACMA the next morning! Holy crap this place was huge!

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Lunch at Bottega Louie. Their portobello fries are delicious!

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And of course I had to buy some macarons there as well.

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Another sunset on the beach.

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Dinner at Tsujita. Had tsukemen ramen for the first time ever and it was amazing. The broth was sooo rich and delectable.

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Part 2

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Finally have a bit of a lull in D2 year! I have a lot to catch up on on the blog. First I’d like to a quick food summary for the later half of the summer.

1. 5A5 Steak Lounge

Yufei and I went here for dinner after I took my boards! They were running a prime rib dinner special at the time, where for $39 you get a soup and salad, a 10 oz. prime rib, and a side. Really great deal and excellent food!

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We also chose to get desert, which was great as well.

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2. Hakkasan SF

Yufei wanted to come back here for his birthday dinner and I happyily obliged. We tried their Pipa duck which was really good, but I wished that the serving was larger.

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I also got their selection of house made macarons for dessert. It came with 7 different ones! Enough for dessert and breakfast the next day (don’t judge me for eating macarons for breakfast).

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3. Shabusen

We were in Japantown and came across this place when looking for a place to eat dinner. It was just okay in terms of food and service. For shabu shabu I still prefer Nabe, which luckily is 2 blocks from where we live.

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4. Isla Restaurant

Technically it’s in San Bruno, but it’s the first Filipino restaurant I’ve been to (and won’t be the last!). Food was really good with generous serving sizes.

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We were really full already but had to get a halo halo for dessert!

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5. Outerlands

Been wanting to go to this Outer Sunset brunch spot for a while now, and we finally dropped by after a morning run to the beach. As expected, there was quite a long wait. But the food was on-point and I really liked the decor of the place.

Levain toast:
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Yufei’s dish… some kind of egg dish with rice and pork:

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Savory Dutch pancake:

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They ran out of the eggs-in-jail by the time we were seated, so I’d have to go back and try that!

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Yufei and I had dinner at Firefly back in July. It’s in a neighborhood we don’t go to often, but I needed to pick up the ceramics Jenny and I painted from the studio, so we met up for dinner there.

Complimentary bread with bean spread, very unusual.

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Yufei’s appetizer, a sweet a delicious corn chowder.

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My appetizer of shrimp and scallop potstickers. They were pretty good, but I still find it strange that western restaurants have Asian dishes for appetizer (spring rolls, etc.).

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Fried chicken entree for Yufei. It was a pretty big serving so he only ate half and saved the other half for my lunch the next day.

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My entree of sea bass. It was just okay, a bit bland and under-seasoned. I wished it had a more flavorful sauce.

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Cute little frosted jar on each table.

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Desserts: chocolate crepes and peach tart. They were both really good, a nice note to end the meal.

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Overall the food at Firefly was just average, with the soup and the desserts being the highlight. The service was nice though; they had forgotten Yufei’s beer order and comped it after we reminded them. Probably won’t go back unless we’re in the area again.

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Portland – Part 1

After spirit tasting, we stopped by a little bar/cafe/grocery store to grab a beer and watch part of a World Cup game. Then we took a bus to the International Rose Test Garden, a huge garden filled with blooming roses of every kind and color. It was beautiful.

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It was still much too early for our dinner reservation then, so we stopped by Powell’s City of Books for a while.

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It was a huge bookstore that takes up a whole city block, and we just browsed the books and read on a bench to kill time. Then we headed to dinner at Le Pigeon. We decided to get the 5 course tasting for a pretty reasonable $75 per person. Some of the highlights of the meal include the first starter, the Hawaii-Foie-O, with smoked foie gras, shoyu chicken, pineapple, and macadamian nuts.

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One of the entrees, a pork chop with endives, goat cheese, a delicious mustardy vinaigrette.

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And the second part of dessert, their famous foie gras profiteroles with caramel sauce and sea salt. It seems strange to me at first to use foie gras in a dessert, but it was really good. Glad Gotta take advantage of foie gras whenever I leave California!

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And I just had to share these cute little chocolates with a pigeon print we got at the end of the meal. How adorable!

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We were totally stuffed at the end of the night. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in a day before (and not very healthy either, with doughnuts, fried chicken and waffles, and foie gras). We decided to work off some of the calories and walked back to our hotel across the river.

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The next day was our last day in Portland, and we had a few hours in the morning before we left. We walked to see the statue Portlandia, the second largest bronze statue in the US after the Statue of Liberty.

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Then we walked around a mall for a bit, bought some souvenirs for my parents, and got frozen yogurt. Then we packed up and went to Union Station because we were taking Amtrak back to SF! Yufei is kind of obsessed with trains and had been really looking forward to the journey back. We had a roomette, which had a bed on the bottom that converts to 2 seats, and bed that folds down on the top.

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The train was pretty nice, with a lounge car with windows for views, a dining car, and even a small theatre. The food onboard was just ok (breakfast was probably the best meal I had) and I didn’t sleep very well on the top bunk (I felt like I was about to roll off the narrow bed whenever the train turned even though there were barriers preventing falls), but it was an interesting experience overall.

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Our Oregon trip was a wonderful getaway and I was so sad when it was over. Thankfully it won’t be our last travel adventure this summer. Stay tuned!

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After we left Bend, we drove to Portland and arrived in the afternoon. We returned the car (you’ll have to wait to see how we got back to SF!) and took a train to downtown. After settling down in our hotel, we went to explore the city a bit. We took a nice walk along the river and in the park along the shore.

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And we had dinner at Saucebox, a pan-Asian restaurant. The restaurant was kind of divided into 2 halves, with one side with black walls and dim lighting, and the other side with white walls and a more airy atmosphere.

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We got seated on the white side and got some delicious cocktails to start. I got their soft shell crab buns, which were really good.

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Yufei and I also shared their pupu platter, which came with a variety of appetizers. We especially liked the Korean baby back ribs.

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After dinner, we just went back to our hotel and rested for the next fully packed day in Portland. We went to Voodoo Doughnuts first to get some doughnuts for breakfast.

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The line was pretty long when we got there but moved fairly fast. We got a Portland cream doughnut and a voodoo doll because it was just too cute. Both were delicious!

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We took a walk through the Portland Saturday Market afterwards, where there were tons of booths of handcrafted items and food.

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Then we made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a classical Suzhou-style garden. It was beautifully done and it was such a peaceful place to get away from the city.

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Then we took a bus across the river to get lunch at Screen Door.

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There was a wait, as expected, which was fine with us since we were still full from the doughnuts. So we took a little walk around the neighborhood and stopped by a park for a bit before heading back. Once we were seated, we decided to get Screen Door’s famous chicken and waffle:

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And also an omelet, which we regretted ordering after seeing how humongous the chicken and waffles was.

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We impressively ate most of the food (it was a LOT of food), all of which were delicious. We were super stuffed afterwards though!

Our next destination was Distillery Row, an area with a bunch of distilleries. We saw this cool sun halo on our way!

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It was kind of hard to find the area at first, but once we found the first one, they were all in the same few blocks.

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We visited and did tastings of all kinds of spirits at 3 different distilleries. It was a cool new experience for us since we’d never done spirit tasting before!

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Portland – Part 2

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