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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: wine

Taking a break from studying for a very difficult quarter (more on that later) to catch up on blogging! This past Valentine’s Day, Yufei and I took an overnight trip to Healdsburg. From the moment I finished clinic it was a mad rush to get home, drive to the town, check in at the hotel, get ready, drive to dinner, find parking, and finally arrive at the restaurant (15 minutes after our reservation). We chose Barndiva for our Valentine’s night dinner and it was wonderful. We chose to sit in the patio, where we were the only 2 diners. There were so many heat lamps that the cold was not an issue at all (we had to ask them to move a lamp further away!) and it was lovely and quiet. The string lights were so pretty and it felt like we were eating in a secret garden.


We started out with some drinks – their signature drink for the night, Fruit as Love – infused kumquat vodka, Damiana syrup, fresh citrus, Prosecco and pomegranate pips. And some bread, which was so soft and buttery and delicious.


They had a special 3-course prix-fixe menu for the night. Yufei’s appetizer was fresh goat cheese, beets, warm croutons, and baby lettuces.


I got the lobster risotto with crispy fingerling potato chips and caviar.


I really loved the risotto. It was the perfect combination of flavors and textures. For the main course, Yufei got the beef tenderloin with dandelion greens, pickled onions, and Perigord truffles.


And I had the halibut with artichoke frito misto, saffron aoili, and fennel marmalade.


I tried both dishes and they were both excellent. And for dessert, They had a caramelized “banana split” for 2, with chocolate bouchon, cherry, almond, whipped cream, and mint chip and coffee ice creams.


It was the perfect finish to a great meal. Usually I’m a little skeptical of dining out on a busy day like Valentine’s Day, but our experience at Barndiva was great. The ambiance, food, and service all couldn’t have been better.


After dinner, we pretty much just passed out from tiredness and our amazing dinner (but not before watching some season 2 of House of Cards!). The next morning we headed out into the town of Healdsburg. We had a Groupon for wine tasting with food pairings at Thumbprint Cellars, so after wandering around for a bit we went in for our reservation. We each had a flight of whites and a flight of reds, with 2 different plates of cheeses, crackers, nuts, dried fruits, olives, spreads, etc.



The pours were quite generous and the food was a perfect accompaniment for the wine. We left with pretty full stomaches and a bottle of the unoaked Chardonnay.

It was raining lightly outside all day so unfortunately we had to spend most of our time indoors. We stopped by Snowbunny for some frozen yogurt since we decided to skip lunch.


Before we left town, we did one more tasting at Mueller Winery, since we got a 2 for 1 coupon from the Healdsburg visitors center earlier that day.


After that, we left Healdsburg and began driving to our next stop for the weekend.

Part 2


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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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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! 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 :)

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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.

For dinner we went to Triptych with a coupon from Travelzoo. It was a cute place that’s both a restaurant and an art gallery! We started with 2 glasses of sparkling wine:

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:

I really wanted to try Slanted Door, but the line was crazy huge, so we walked around for a bit before deciding on Gott’s. They had delicious chicken sandwiches and milkshakes!

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!

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