Tuesday, November 24, 2015


CUESA, of the Ferry Building's farmers market has been test running an off shoot market in the parking lot next to AT&T Park the past few Sundays. Since that is my one day off, it seemed like a good chance for me and the SO to wander over and check things out. Because I was still in all things pumpkin town, I meandered through the vendors looking for anything calling itself by that orange gourd. Sadly, the pickings were a bit slim for my quest, but we did managed to suss out 2 things, that while they may seemingly go together, would have been a real pumpkin overload had we tried them in one big mix. But, like (mostly) responsible eaters, we tried them separately and here's how they went down.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


That's right, you know I couldn't go to Trader Joe's and not get the pumpkin "toaster pastries". Yeah they can't call them pop-tarts because Kellogg's has that all copyrighted up. Ms. O said I should try them after featuring the pumpkin pie Kellogg's version, she really likes them. I did almost put them back when I saw the word organic on them. I mean, seriously, does one really need an organic pastry? Let's don't kid ourselves, you are basically eating a dessert and saying organic is just fooling yourself that you are eating something healthy. For this review I'm going to work off a comparison of the K tarts. While these may have that USDA tag on them, they actually have more sugar than the pop-tarts--about 2 grams more--though it doesn't taste sweeter. They are smaller too. The frosting on top is kind of sparse and the pastry part is also a light brown, like there is some wheat flour in it or something. There is also a little less filling in these. The pumpkin flavor is also not as prominent as regular tarts. They do give off a nice smell when toasted. The pastry doesn't have that shortbread type flavor that K pops have, it's more like plain pie crust. Overall, they were okay enough, but even with a slab of butter on them, I still prefer the original as opposed to these. I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just a pop-tart traditionalist, even when they do their wacky flavor combos. Ultimately I'd recommend just taking a pass on these, unless of course you are a Trader Joe's fanatic and want something "organic" to make you feel better about your breakfast choices. For me, I stopped fooling myself ages ago. 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Consider us gluttons for pumpkin punishment or maybe it was just over exuberance for all things pumpkins, but me and the SO did seemingly get many a thing of pumpkinness from Trader Joe's. Fortunately our skin has not begun to turn orange from all we've eaten, but that's not to say it won't seep out our pores in the coming days. If nothing else, I will say we definitely got our fill and more to last us through Thanksgiving and beyond. Getting on with things, here's is the latest round-up from our trip to pumpkin town.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The weather has finally turned chilly and fall is in the air! As is the eminent arrival of Thanksgiving next week. With that comes a parade of pumpkin related food things and the winning purveyor of many a pumpkin thing goes to Trader Joe's. On a recent visit, me and the SO were overwhelmed with the options, and like any good bandwagon jumpers, we piled our basket up with all things pumpkin! Were they any good? Well, I'm glad you asked. While we didn't get everything pumpkiny they had (I counted at least 30?) We did manage to snag enough to keep us in pumpkin town through Thanksgiving. Thus it is gonna take me at least 3 posts to get through it all for you. Because that's the kind of person I am.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I'm kicking off a week of pumpkin things since Thanksgiving is next week and because it seems everywhere I turn these days, there it is in nearly every food product configuration you can think of. And what better way to start than with the trashiest of places that seems to jump on every food bandwagon--McDonalds! They've been doing these little fried pie things for decades and this year they have brought out a pumpkin one. It's been ages since I've been to a McD's but one semi late night I was craving some french fries (because that is when it happens) so I wandered into my local one to get some. It was then I spotted this little (literally) handful on the menu and decided it would make a nice accompaniment with my fries. (Yeah, whateves!) Lest you think this is just any pumpkin pie, it is not. It's pumpkin filling down one side and, voila, cream cheese down the other (see below photo). Sort of like a deconstructed pumpkin cheese cake thing. Who knew McD's could be so culinarily experimental. It's odd though, because when I went to their website, the pumpkin pie they had showing didn't have this additional filling, just pumpkin. Looking at the ingredients, if you dare, it does at least say there is pumpkin in there and not just flavoring-shocking, I know. Does it taste like pumpkin, eh, sort of. Mostly what I get is brown sugar, cinnamon and more sugar. Not so much an overload, but still a noticeable bit. The cream cheese side is more pudding like than anything and not as sweet as the pumpkin side, so at least there is that offset, but only slightly. The crust is their standard pie one and isn't so much pie as, well, I'm not really sure. I was surprised this wasn't coated in the cinnamon sugar thing they do those apple pies in. Maybe it would have been better to do that instead of putting it all in the pumpkin filling. There wasn't much texture going on here either, it was all a bit soft. Might have been better if the crust was a little crustier. Is it terrible? It's mass produced, previously frozen, deep fried fast food, it is what it is. Could have been a little less some things and a little more others. Would I get it again, no. Should you try it? No, unless your drunk and feel the craving for something really sweet to go with your fries. Ultimately, if you are hitting up McD's, you are there for convenience and price, not a culinary experience, at least not one to write about. That's what I'm here for. 

Friday, November 13, 2015


I'm meandering the aisles at the Treasure Island Flea Market, taking in the wares and minding my own business, when what to my wandering eye should appear but A CRONUT! Wow, I hadn't really thought about these things since the craze swept through town then out over a year ago. During that maddening time, I bought and ate more than my fair share of these mostly flaky, sugary glaze encrusted treats. At the time, I felt sure I'd had my fill of 'em and had moved on to other more tantalizing pastries of the moment. But like a moth to a flame, I found myself being drawn to We The Minis booth and their promise of 3 desserts for $9 to see if I needed to rekindle my affair with to this once popular concoction.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It's just another vegan Sunday in SOMA StrEat Food land! Honestly, me and the SO don't necessarily mean to come here when it's all vegan, it just happens that way since Sundays are our one crossover off day. Nevertheless, it's become my goal to find something vegan that is both tasty and, well, tasty about sums it up. This time around we are snacking it up with No No Burger since I hadn't been down the faux burger route, I thought it would be interesting to at least try.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Cinnamon rolls, yes, they are a favorite of mine, and while I normally prefer some kind of cream cheese icing on them, I was still drawn to this particular one from Acme Bread to give it a try. The thing about Acme is they make batches a few times a day on some items, others get made in the morning and sit in the case until bought. Things like this always pose a problem for me as you never really know just how long something has been sitting there, thus when you get it, I kind of have to base my opinions on what I'm tasting in the moment. For the size and at just over $3, it is a relative bargain for something in the Ferry Building. And in the grand scheme of cinnamon rolls, it's decent enough that I didn't hate it. But, I also wasn't wowed by it either. The bread here is in the flaky vein of a croissant, though having probably sat out for awhile, parts were on the hard side of things. While you can taste the cinnamon, it probably could have benefited from a bit more to ramp up flavor. Of course, for me, this is also where some sort of cream cheese topping could have come in to help cover up any short comings in the roll as a whole. I'm sure when it's warm and fresh out of the oven, it would be soft and cinnamon croissant like. Plus the smell of a fresh baked roll would only enhance the taste senses. While I wouldn't personally get one of these again, I won't say don't try it. This falls into the category of baked morning buns that are best served with coffee as a compliment as opposed to something you get to fulfill a sweet dessert craving you may have. But I'm not dismayed as I will continue my quest to try as many cinnamon rolls as I can to find the best ones, because that's the kind of person I am. I eat the sweets so you don't have to. Your welcome. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


Yes, I'm on a weird lobster binge, though merely coincidence (wink, wink), It was a bright sunny Sunday when I headed over to check out the Treasure Island Flea Market. I grew up haunting flea markets and such with the Mom, and while I don't buy things anymore, I still enjoy wandering the aisles seeing what personal possessions people are passing off as "collectibles." One thing the TIFM has going for it is the number of food vendors and trucks that partake in the action. Outside of Off The Grid or SOMA StrEat Food Park, it's one of the places you can peruse multiple trucks at once. This day was no exception and lucky for me, there a handful I'd not tried yet. After walking down the procession I zeroed in on Sam's Chowder Mobile to see if they could do lobster better than other folks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Mall food, it's not the same as I remember as a child, at least not at malls in the city. These days, they've tried to upgrade their food courts from the standard quick bite to go fare of yesterday. Or so it is at the Westfield in San Francisco where they've made the effort to look beyond your McD's and Panda Express'. I hit up that movie theater there on a fair number of occasions and, just because it's there, me and the SO also hit up the food stalls. Like any place, some spots have managed to do well and others have come and gone in the blink of eye. On a recent visit, a new place had popped up called Lobster ME, the "ME" sort of being a double meaning of both "me" and the postal abbreviation for Maine.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Canton Dim SumJu and Seafood Restaurant is only a few blocks or so over from me in the lovely SOMA hood. We'd been there before to try out the whole dining room, select from carts experience. Turns out, they have a spot just around the corner where you can get stuff to go. It is sort of on a side street and then you go down some steps into a basement like place that looks like a long narrow cafeteria. It's got that long counter with sneeze guard and metal railings as if you could slide a tray  down it while choosing your items. They don't necessarily do all the things they offer in the restaurant but it seems to be a place to get in quick for a lunch bite. Which makes sense as it is only open during lunch hours Monday through Friday. I popped in one day as I was weirdly craving a pork bun and picked a couple baked bbq pork buns and threw in a couple egg rolls to boot for around $6. The buns here are smaller here than other places, but they still have that soft and fluffy, slightly sweet taste of others. The pork inside is not as sweet and is in more of a brown sauce as opposed to bright red orange. Fortunately for me, they also don't have that miso roast pork flavor that's not my personal fave. In general terms they were okay. Not gonna say I bit into and was wowed by any means, but in the moment they did at least satisfy the pork bun craving I had. As for the egg rolls, they were filled with shredded cabbage and carrots and what I think was small bits of ground pork. They weren't the best I've had. They were a tad overcooked and greasy. Plus, they'd probably been sitting out for awhile as they were not exactly warm. They just didn't have that crispy, fresh cooked flavor. Sadly, I forgot to get some sweet duck sauce to dip them in, it would have been helpful to offset some of the blandness. I settled for some sriracha and the hot just perfectly overpowered everything. Well, sort of one out of two ain't bad. Considering there really are not any other options for dim sum in this part of SOMA, Canton's mini to go spot, is, well, good enough, for now. 

Friday, October 23, 2015


It seems I'm on a dim sum kick this week, but it's merely coincidence (riiight). Me and the SO were out and about on a random Sunday and decided to grab a quick dim sum bite in Chinatown while we waited for a MUNI bus to mysteriously appear. We walked through that tunnel up Stockton street into what I like to call the "real Chinatown" with all it's grocery stores teeming with people on a daily basis. We weren't looking for any specific dim sum place, we figured we would just venture in to whichever one we came across first. That lead us to Good Mong Kok Bakery. I can't say I hadn't heard about this place before. I'd seen lines out the door at this place on any number of occasions and seen some decent reviews online to boot. I think it is one of those spots that gets good tourist write ups which leads to lines and leads those of us who live here to find someplace else. Since we didn't have any particular place to be we decided to brave what looked like a relatively small line/wait and see what all the fuss was about.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. For me that constitutes getting on the L Taraval and heading over to the way other side of town, Outer Sunset/Parkside(?) way to try a popular dim sum/noodle/dumpling joint with Ms. O called Kingdom of Dumpling. I know, this town is littered with dim sum joints so why schlep all the way from Mission Bay to there? Well, she'd heard it was a pretty good place where folks line up/sign up to eat like it's brunch or something, thus it must be good, right? We decided to try and forgo any line standing/waiting and hit up the place during the week when they first opened. Seems a few other people had this same idea and we weren't the first ones there, but it was early enough that they pretty much seated us all at the same time.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The Plant Cafe Organic is a mini Bay Area chain with a handful of restaurants around town. There stated goal is to make it easy and affordable to eat local and organic. They opened a new spot in the Dogpatch hood recently. I'd not tried any of their locations before and when I tripped by this one I thought, let's see what they got. One glance at the menu right away tells me, their idea of affordable and mine are vastly different. Salads are $13 or more and sandwiches (with no real sides) fall into that $9 or more range that infuriates me. But, in the interest of at least seeing if the food was worth it, I decided to try a turkey sausage and white cheddar breakfast sandwich, which still set me back $8.75 plus tax. It's 2 scrambled eggs with turkey sausage, arugula, tomato and mayo on a toasted pan de mie roll. Positives: the roll was nice and there was enough mayo. Negatives: it's not a big sandwich for the price, there were just a few leafs of the arugula, the turkey sausage had no flavor and tasted like that ground turkey you buy at the grocery store. The egg, what can I say, it actually tasted dry, as in overcooked. It's almost as if they have a pre-made pan of sausage and egg made up that they then slice into squares, slap a piece of cheese between them, then microwave the heck out of it. This only serves to melt the cheese to a point of evaporation and give the egg a weird dry texture and pretty much no taste. Something a little milk or butter added to it while scrambling could have easily remedied. Some salt, pepper or seasoning of any kind would have been nice too. If I want a bland tasting overcooked egg and ground turkey sandwich, I can do that at home myself and save the money. Add in the fact, the place was relatively empty when I went, yet it still took more than 10 minutes for them to make this. This location is new and maybe they are still working out the kinks that may not be present at other locations. But considering cost, size and taste, I think I'm just gonna pass on other stuff. I mean for just a few bucks more, I can get a full pizza 2 doors down at Long Bridge Pizza and still have some left for lunch/breakfast the next day. With so many other choices in Dogpatch, it will be hard for me to go back to The Plant again.   

The Plant Cafe Organic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 16, 2015


Finishing off our visit to LitQuake's Eat, Drink and Be Literary fest this past Saturday, we just wrapped up the second panel on cookbook collaborations. A melding of chefs with the folks who managed to wrangle a tangible cookbook out of them. It was an interesting insight into the minds of Dominique Crenn, Thomas McNaughton and Anthony Myint and how they go about their own creative cooking process which doesn't necessarily involve written recipes. The writers then have to take the chefs creations and turn them into actual recipes folks can attempt to replicate at home. Lots of funny stories ensue about the collaborative process and something about a hot tub full of pasta. Chefs are so crazy! Once the panel is over me and the SO get back on the sample train.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Litquake is a literary festival that takes place in San Francisco celebrating everything book and written and stuff. It's been going on for 16 years now and I've attended random events with them over the years being sort of into that whole books and publishing thingy. This year, for the first time, they had an event that combined food and books called Eat, Drink and Be Literary. It's the first time I can remember them doing such a thing that in retrospect, seems like it should have always been considering what a foodie kind of town this is. Needless to say I was intrigued to see what they would do, so I plunked down the dough for tix for me and the SO and this past Sunday we headed over to Z Space in the Mission to try to be literary while eating and drinking.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


It's the return of junk food junkie and yes, I have a pop-tart fixation. It's like a tiny pastry packed with vitamins and stuff! Let's just forget about all the sugar and carbs and stuff. I grew up with these as a child and these plus a Diet Mtn Dew got me through 8am classes in college. Judge all you want, but that's the joy of being young and eating what you want, until the freshman 25 or 30 or so bring you back to reality. But I digress. It seems every time I hit the grocery store, Kellogg's is pumping out a new flavor. Some make sense like cinnamon roll, some don't--hello blue raspberry? But in the spirit of fall and Halloween and Thanksgiving et al, they've brought forth pumpkin pie! And surprise, there is actually pumpkin as an ingredient, not just pumpkin flavor. Granted it's like #20 or so on the list of ingredients, but still, it's there. And also surprisingly, it kind of does taste like pumpkin pie. Whether you heat it up or just eat out of the bag, the taste is pretty consistent. (and yes, I put some butter on it and that worked too) I'm totally giving this thing a thumbs up. Yeah, it's kind of a trashy kids breakfast treat, but, whatevs. If you read me regularly you know I've got the worst sweet tooth and really like some heft to my desserts and in a pinch, this pumpkin pie pop-tart works pretty well. If I'm laying around the house and don't want to make my lazy way to Happy Donuts 2 whole, long blocks away, I'll grab these and eat both in the bag, because seriously people, who just eats one of these and puts the other one back? I mean, why bother? It will just get stale and who likes a stale pop-tart? Just eat them both and we'll all be happier. 

Friday, October 9, 2015


Neighborhood boundaries in San Francisco can be a little confusing at times, I'll lay blame on realtors trying to sell outlier places in some "less desirable hoods" as they say. Also can be confusing when doing a walkabout round town like I am want to do. Edges keep changing it seems and sometimes I'm not sure exactly where I'm out. Such was the case when I came across Atlas Cafe in an area I think most folks will agree is mostly a quieter part of the Mission, that borders right on the edge of Potrero.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Indian food is one of those things that feels like you need a (drunk?) craving for and you only want to order it for delivery. Or maybe that is just me. Still, it's like Chinese food, you don't really go out for it and it tastes better delivered to your door so you can sit on the couch in your sweats and eat it while watching TV. Or, again, maybe that is just me. In any event, I do have a semi-favorite place to get stuff whether we are ordering in or want to grab a last second bite before hitting a movie at the Metreon. It's a not so little place on the corner of 3rd and Folsom called Cafe Chaat, or Chaat Corner or Chaat Cafe, whatever they are calling themselves these days.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I think I've said before, in some version, that even bad pizza is still pretty good. Though occasionally, some place tries to prove me wrong, and not in a good way. Every neighborhood has that little corner spot that has been around forever. The food is just good enough or not so terrible that they don't have a few fans and are a go to when you are too lazy to want to leave your hood or even walk more than a block to get something. Down my way, one of those places is South Beach Cafe. It does variations on Italian food, salads and sandwiches that don't cost too much in the grand scheme of SF things. They also do single serve pizzas which all run about $10. Not bad considering other options. When ordering these, it's best to call ahead as speed is not necessarily their forte. As for the pizzas themselves, well, you know, it's pizza. The crust is thin, but instead of being crispy, it suffers from soggy tip syndrome, which is surprising as they kind of skimp on toppings most times. Also, of all the ones I've had there, the crust never reaches that nice golden brown color. Probably why it always seems to taste just a little under done. The sauce is a bit too sweet for me, thus it's probably good they don't put too much on. And the cheese--there just never seems to be enough. Flavor in general also seems to be lacking. They could really use a kick of something--oregano, garlic, hot sauce? Anything to excite it up a bit. It's not the worst pizza I've ever had, but it is still far from the best or even the okay-ish. I sometimes feel like they could make just a few adjustments with the ingredients and it could be a more than decent pizza. As is, it's more of a--well they were close, I was hungry and I didn't see anything else on the menu I wanted kind of pizza. Not a ringing endorsement, but, when it's 9pm on a Saturday night and your are laying on the couch in your sweats nursing hunger pangs after a long day at work, then beggers can't be choosers as they say. Plus, it will be slightly quicker than delivery at least. To say me and the SO have done that more than once is, well, let's just not talk about it, ok? 

South Beach Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato