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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: duck

I bought a Travelzoo voucher for Chouchou Bistro a while ago and finally made a reservation for dinner a couple of months ago (so behind on restaurant review blogs!). It wasn’t too far from our apartment so we walked there. It was warm and inviting inside:


For appetizer, Yufei got the Assiette de Fromages, which came on the cutest palette plate. It was so adorable I wanted to steal it.


I got the salade de crabe, which had avocados, one of my favorite combos with crab. There was lot of chunky pieces of crab in it and it definitely satiated my craving for crab for a while.


For his entree, Yufei got the filet mignon with truffle mashed potato and zucchini in green pepper corn sauce.


And I had the Cuisse De Canard Confit Wellinglton: duck leg confit with mushrooms duxelle, diced potatoes, cherry tomatoes in garlic, shallots, and parsley, with maple vinaigrette. It was interesting in that the duck was wrapped in this puff pastry (almost like a duck confit en croute?). It was delicious and the serving size was huge (but I finished it all!).


And we shared a dessert of crème brûlée:


The food and service were both pretty good, but without a coupon I’m not sure I would come back since I’ve had better French cuisine in the city.


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Yufei and I had a lovely dinner at Chapeau last Friday. It’s a cute little French bistro in Inner Richmond, a short bus-ride away from where we live. The dining room is lively yet intimate, and we got seated at a nice little table in a corner.


We both decided to get the prix fixe menu, where we get to choose our own 3 courses. After we placed our orders, we received bread and complimentary cauliflower soup served in expresso cups.


For Yufei’s appetizer, he got the creamy roasted chestnut soup, with duck fat croutons, crème fraîche, and white truffle oil. I had a couple of spoonfuls and it tasted really good (I’m a huge fan of chestnuts but had never had it in soup form!).


I got the trio of salmon (gravlax, tartare, and caviar), with egg mimosa, fried capers, crème fraîche, and micro herbs with lemon dressing. It was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented.


Our glasses of wine and pretty fresh flowers on the table.


For entree, I got the canard au miel & aux épices, which was a duck leg confit and pan seared duck breast, with celery root, braised bok choy, honey, and spiced duck jus. Yufei had the filet mignon, with pommes de terre Landaise, king trumpet and oyster mushrooms, and sauce à la Périgourdine.


We both enjoyed our entrees and I loved how mine had 2 different kinds of duck in it.

And for dessert, Yufei got the warm Valrhona chocolate cake with banana flambée, rum-raisin ice cream, and caramel sauce.


I got my go-to dessert at French restaurants, the Tahitienne vanilla bean crème brûlée.


I was so stuffed from the meal that I couldn’t finish my dessert, even though it was so scrumptious.

I thought it was so cute that they send the check to your table in a hat (Chapeau means hat in French).


All in all a wonderful dinner. I would love to be back!

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So I finally have a little break from studying (but not really because studying never ends in dental school, but at least I’m done with midterms). Sooo I’m going to try to catch up on some posts! This was from more than a month ago from our 5th anniversary trip to Napa.

Here we are wine tasting at Artesa Winery. The views were gorgeous and the wine was great. We ended up getting a bottle of the 2012 Albarino, which was our favorite from the tasting.


After that, we drove to Domaine Carneros for the Art of Sparkling Wine tour. Our tour guide was really knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the process of making sparkling wine.


We also had many generous pours to taste throughout the tour, which left us sufficiently and happily buzzed afterwards. They also had the most beautiful chateau and hedges.


After the winery visits, we went to our hotel and relaxed until dinner time. We had our anniversary dinner at La Toque. We went with the prix-fixe 3 savory courses plus dessert menu for our meal. Yufei had the Chef’s Garden Vegetable and Green Salad for his first course:


And I had the Cauliflower Horseradish Velouté with Maine Lobster and Tender Vegetables. It was so good to eat lobster again – I couldn’t even remember the last time I had it!


For his second course, Yufei had the Veal Tenderloin:


And I had the Beer Battered Alaskan Halibut:


Third course for Yufei was the Rib Eye with Fiscalini Cheddar Pearl Tapioca
and Rutherford Red Wine Sauce. I had a bite and remember it being really yummy!


My third course – Duck Breast with Fried Polenta and Huckleberries, also very good.


I can’t remember or find the exact names of your desserts anymore, but they were served with these little cute candles. I think Yufei had some kind of apple crisp type dessert with ice cream.


And I had a pavlova, which is a meringue dessert with a crispy crust and a soft center. It was really different but I liked it a lot.


After our meal, we also had a selection of candies and other sweets, and we were given a signed copy of the menu. (Funny story: our waiter asked us in the beginning of our meal if we were celebrating anything special, and Yufei told him it was our 5 year anniversary. The waiter thought it was our wedding anniversary and asked us what we owe our success to. It was too weird and awkward to correct him so we just went with it for the night. And I had to make up some BS “married wisdom” on the spot to answer his question. Hahahah.)



The next morning we decided to go to the Jelly Belly factory since it was really close to our hotel.


We went on the factory tour and got free small bags of jelly beans at the end! After that we dropped by Erickson Ranch for a little bit. IT was a cute little farm with fresh fruits and veggies and a pumpkin patch. I really wanted to get a pumpkin there but then we didn’t have a good way to get it back home from the rental car place.


They also had this chili roasting station and it smelled so good!


In the end we just ended up buying some fruits and a jar of homemade apple butter from their market. After that, it was time to go home. It was such a fun and relaxing weekend and the perfect way for us to celebrate 5 years together.

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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!

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Days 1&2
Day 3

Late start again to day 4 of our Montreal adventure. We decided to get bagels for breakfast/lunch at Fairmount Bagel.

I had an everything bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon and half a sesame bagel with just cream cheese, and both were delicious! Less dense and fluffier than New York bagels! After stuffing our faces with bagels, we took the subway to Parc Jean-Drapeau, on Île Sainte-Hélène. Here’s us (in increasing heights!) in front of the Biosphère, a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller:

We spent some time enjoying the beautiful sunshine in the park, then took the subway to Old Montreal.

It was late afternoon by then, and Yufei and I split from the group to get dinner on our own. It was still quite early so we grabbed a drink from a bar and also went to the liquor store to get a bottle of wine, as the restaurant we chose was BYOB. O’Thym, our pick for dinner, is a cute little French place tucked away in the corner of a quiet street. It was warm and welcoming inside; I especially liked the chalkboard menus on the walls and the simple lights.

The service was very friendly and the food was wonderful. I liked pretty much everything I ate/drank! We got complimentary soups to start (and of course lots of bread), and I got a grilled vegetable and goat cheese salad, which was very good:

Yufei got a rabbit liver appetizer (how adventurous!) which he enjoyed as well. We then each got a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet and vodka, which was delicious!

The highlight of my meal was my main course of duck Magret, so good!

We shared a molten chocolate cake for dessert – a wonderful way to end the meal and the night!

Day 5

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This past Thursday, Yufei treated me to an amazing lunch at Eleven Madison Park. It was a part of our agreement that if I do well on the DAT, I get to have a meal at a restaurant of my choice. I have to say that this lunch was definitely worth all the effort I put into studying for the DAT!!

The restaurant itself was beautiful and airy, with high ceilings, bright with natural light – just the way I like it!

We got seated by the window, and warm moist towels were brought to us to clean our hands – a nice touch. Then our server explained the menu format to us (even though we already looked it up online in anticipation of the meal): the menu comprises of a 4 by 4 grid of 16 different ingredients, and you choose 1 ingredient from each row for each of the 4 courses, allowing the preparation of the dish to be a surprise. I really liked the concept of this; I love surprises! So we picked out our dishes and patiently waited. But we didn’t have to wait long before a series of amuse-bouches started arriving at our table. First was a little bowl of warm and fluffy gougères. We were hungry so we ate it all before I remembered to take a picture -oops. Then came these little quail eggs on some kind of wafer-like disk with tiny pieces of bacon on top – I called it breakfast in a bite – with a delicious apple celery tea:

I loved how delicate-looking everything was, which was something that continued as the meal went on. Next was a smoked sturgeon sabayon served in eggshells (See? Delicate-looking!). It was creamy and frothy and tasty!

After that, bread was brought to the table, along with sea salt and 2 butters, a cow and a goat. I really really loved their bread (asked for another serving later in the meal); it was so light and fluffy, almost like a croissant. Also a big fan of the goat butter. And they warmed the butter knife! Another nice touch.

So after all this food, we finally got our first courses! I picked scallop as my main ingredient and got scallop marinated with celery and apple. It was good but nothing extraordinary (but they did manage to make celery palatable, which is a feat in itself).

Yufei picked foie gras and got it seared with oats and apple and something else:

For my second course, I chose lobster and got it with fennel puree and leeks. I really liked this dish, the burnt leeks somehow didn’t taste burnt and added an interesting texture.

Yufei picked potato for the second course and got these little nugget potatoes with bacon bits and black truffle (score! He loves truffle).

For the main course, we opted for the duck for 2, because I had read about how amazing it was on Yelp and we both love duck anyway. They brought out the whole duck to us, and then proceeded to carve it by the table-side. The honey lavender glazed duck was served with fennel puree, and persimmons (I liked it), and some other things (this is the problem when you don’t have a full menu). It was absolutely delicious! The skin was nice and crispy, with various spices, including cumin (never thought that cumin and duck would go together!), and the meat was nice and tender.

The second part of the duck dish came as a duck let confit with whipped potatoes (sorry, forgot to take a photo), and it was very good as well. After the third course, we were made 2 small glasses of egg cream with an orange flavor twist. It was the first time either of us has ever had egg cream and we really enjoyed it!

After that, another mini dessert was brought to the table. It was a little goat milk cheesecake with melt in your mouth raspberry crumbles and some kind of sorbet. I LOVED this. I wish I could have gotten a bigger one!

And then, finally, our actual dessert course! I ordered coconut as my main ingredient, and I got this little melange of sweets, including coconut sorbet, passion fruit sorbet (can they read minds and tell what you like?!), coconut meringues, served with fresh papaya and mango and roasted coconut meat strips, and topped with caramel tasting crumbles. So good!

Yufei picked chocolate and got this chocolate mousse with ice cream and… who knows. All that matters is that it tasted good!

And then we finished up the meal with hot chocolate for Yufei and a mint lavender tea for me. Mignardises consisting of black and white truffled ice cream was served (forgot to take photo again!). The whole meal took about 2 and a half hours and every moment was perfect! Both the food and the service was excellent, comparable only to our experience at Per Se. All in all a fabulous meal! Thanks Yufei :)

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For the first time in more than 2 and a half years together, I was finally able to celebrate Yufei’s birthday with him! For the last 2 years, we were always half a globe from each other on the special day – first me in China and him in Canada, then me in Austria and him in New York. But this year we’re finally together in San Francisco! So of course we had to celebrate – with lots of delicious food!

After sleeping in until a luxuriously late hour, which is highly suggested for one’s birthday, we got ready and headed to Burma Superstar, one of an oddly large number of Burmese restaurants in the city. Neither of us had had Burmese food before, but I really wanted to try it out, so I took Yufei there for lunch. The place had great reviews online, and there was a line when we got there at past 1pm on a Monday morning – this place better be good! After about 20 minutes, we got seated in a corner of the restaurant.

We started with chicken samusas and a Burmese salad:

The sambusas were nice and hot and crispy and we both liked them. The salad had an interesting freshness to it, which I enjoyed more than Yufei. For our mains, Yufei got the nan gyi dok noodles, with flour noodles instead of rice noodles:

It had a nice coconut curry sauce and was really good! I stole a lot from Yufei’s plate. I got a Burnese chicken curry dish with tan poi rice:

The curry was delicious and the rice was very interesting – it had huge raisins in it! I’m always adamant about having dessert, so even though we were both quite full, we ordered a fried banana and ice cream dessert to share:

Which was a good call because it was so yummy! After lunch we decided to go to Golden Gate Park since we were nearby. We visited the California Academy of Sciences first (we are such nerds), where they had this really cool green roof:

The museum itself was pretty cool, but we ran out of time before they closed so we didn’t get to see everything. We walked around the park for a bit and then went to to Japanese tea garden.

It was quite a lovely place, but a little too crowded when we were there, which kind of takes away the serenity of the garden. But it was still a nice place to spend an afternoon. By then it was starting to get late and we hopped on a bus to go to dinner. I had made reservations at Frascati, a Mediterranean style bistro on Russian Hill. We were greeted warmly upon arrival, and they even wished Yufei a happy birthday (always a good sign when they actually pay attention to what you mention during the reservation). We were seated upstairs, which is smaller and more private than the first floor. We started with a couple of appetizers, the gnocchi and the duck confit salad:

Both were delicious! The salad had quite a lot of duck in it, which was great. And of course since we’re finally both legal, we each had a glass of chardonnay with our meal. Yufei ordered the duck breast for his main:

And I had the wild California salmon:

Both dishes were fantastic! And of course, we had to have dessert again at dinner, so Yufei got the affogato and I had the blueberry cobbler. Yufei’s dessert came with a birthday candle, which got blown out since it was a little drafty, but our server did his best trying to re-light it (and it was on the house!).

The meal was absolutely wonderful, the service was great, and we both had an excellent time. We were much too full and a little tired to go through with plans of hitting a bar, so we just walked home and watched a movie on the couch. It was a a day well spent – and I hope that I’ll be able to spend many more of Yufei’s birthdays like this!

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