Over the weekend we made this “Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert” for our family! Growing up, this was one of my favourite Chinese desserts, and I’d always get so excited whenever one of the Chinese restaurants we went to served it at the end of our meal :) I was ecstatic when I found a great recipe for it on Wantanmien’s youtube channel HERE. It tastes so good, and the addition of watermelon, mango and honeydew makes it very refreshing and perfect for the summer! I followed her recipe pretty closely, but I omitted the salt (I tried it with the salt before, and we didn’t quite like it), and instead of using white sugar we used yellow rock sugar (which is common in many Chinese desserts). I multiplied the recipe by 6 to make enough for 7 people.
When I first found Wantanmien’s youtube channel, I became obsessed with all her videos as she clearly explains how to make many of my favourite Chinese dishes and desserts with incredible precision (e.g. Hong Kong pineapple buns, mango pudding, sticky rice). If you haven’t seen her channel before, check it out HERE. Her videos are in Cantonese, but if you click the “CC” button you can see the English subtitles, and you can see the ingredients in English in the description box as well. I’ve tried a few of her recipes, and they’ve all turned out great! Can’t wait to try more :D
We went to Vancouver for a couple days last week and I made these “Granny Stripe Headbands” as gifts! Aren’t they pretty, especially with the layered flowers as embellishments? Working on these granny stripes reminded me of the “Granny Square Blanket” that I had so much fun making for Myla last summer :) You can find the free pattern for the headband HERE on “Tangled Happy”. I absolutely adore this free flower pattern HERE, and it’s a great way to dress up a hat or headband!
I’ve traveled to Vancouver many times throughout the years as I have family who live there. This, however, was Myla’s first trip and I was a bit nervous… She did very well on the flight though!
I thought I would share about some of the delicious food we ate in Vancouver! Ryan and I always LOVE stopping by the food court at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond for some of our favourite dishes, so we went as soon as we arrived. The crispy chicken wings are incredibly flavourful and piping hot as they make them fresh each time- we saw many tables enjoying this dish. The Hainanese Chicken is so moist, tender and delicious with the special rice. We always get these two dishes whenever we visit this food court!
We love shaved ice, and I am so happy we decided to try out “Frappé Bliss” (also in the Aberdeen Centre food court) that specializes in Taiwanese shaved ice! The first time we went we customized our own dessert with milk shaved ice, coconut milk, condensed milk, and rice balls. This was sooo good and it was my favourite dessert of the whole trip! We went back towards the end of our trip and ordered “The Garden of Eden”, consisting of mango shaved ice, mango ice cream, strawberries, kiwi and mango. This shaved ice is especially delicious because the ice itself is flavoured (without adding extra syrup or flavouring) and so finely shaved that it is very light and fluffy!
We always stop by Daiso when we visit Aberdeen Centre as well. I stocked up on cute packaging as I love giving away crocheted goodies in these adorable bags :)
That night our friends took us to “Sushi California” for some well-priced, delicious sushi! Look at how thick those slices of sashimi are! Vancouver never disappoints with its variety and freshness of sushi!
The next day we went for afternoon tea at the “Truffles Café” in the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. I looove going for high tea as it’s always such an elegant affair. The sandwiches were delicious and the view was lovely- I imagine this place would be very popular in the Spring and the Summer when the flowers and trees are all in bloom!
In the evening we went to “Sura” for some delicious Korean dishes! This was some of the best Korean food I’ve ever had, and the decor inside was beautiful. The chab-che and grilled beef were sooo yummy…
For lunch the following day our friends took us to a little French place called “Salade de Fruits”. It reminded me soo much of the French restaurants we visited in Paris last year! The waiters, waitresses and much of their clientele were all speaking French, so we knew this place was very authentic! I had their mussels and fries and they were very tasty. As you can see, there were generous portions as well!
After lunch we took a stroll towards Granville Island. Vancouver is known to be quite rainy, but we are very thankful that it was sunny and clear for most of our stay!
We enjoyed this beautiful view with our strollers :)
We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called “Sandbar” on Granville Island, and it was situated under the Granville Bridge! I had the most delicious ahi tuna that I’ve ever tasted, but I didn’t get a picture of it unfortunately…Myla started crying so we had to eat quickly!
The next day we visited “Bella Gelateria” for their world-famous gelato! I had the salted caramel gelato. I wore this beautiful cape sweater that I bought the first day we arrived in Aberdeen Centre- I really love its beautiful pattern and design! It also pairs very nicely with my Momzelle nursing tank that I blogged about here!
For our last meal before we headed to the airport, our friends took us to “La Brasserie” for oysters! They were so fresh and tasty….I knew I wanted to eat oysters on this trip, and this definitely hit the spot! The Brasserie Burger that I ordered was also very good :)
Here are some other shots that Ryan took of beautiful Vancouver…
Vancouver Convention Centre
Granville Bridge (Ryan calls this photo “Daddy Long Legs” ;P)
Seagulls on Granville Island
Waterfront SkyTrain Station
We are so thankful to our good friends in Vancouver who brought us to all these wonderful food spots! They are big foodies and are always in the know of new restaurants popping up in their diverse city. Our friends have babies as well, so most of these restaurants were stroller and baby-friendly (“Salade de Fruits” and “La Brasserie” were the only ones that didn’t fit our strollers since they were smaller establishments). We had a great little trip to Vancouver full of good food and wonderful company :) Vancouverites, have you been to any of these places? What are your favourite food spots?
I can’t believe it’s the end of August already! I’ve always loved the summer, from all the wonderful festivals and the long hours of daylight to traveling abroad (in our case, to Tokyo at the beginning of June!). It’s been a great summer, and I’m thankful I’ve been able to enjoy the summer months in my pregnancy with enough energy. I thought I’d share some of our adventures with you through these photos!
It’s been a tradition ever since I was young to visit the exhibition whenever it came into town (known as Klondike Days or Capital Ex for us). Indulging in carnie food is a must, so we ended up trying “The Colossal Onion” (a delicious deep fried onion that looks like a blooming flower!), freshly cut and fried chips, cotton candy, a caramel milk chocolate apple (this has always been one of my favourite treats), and a corn dog. Don’t worry…we shared all this food among five people! This would’ve been wayyy too much for just the two of us!
One of the most beloved festivals here is called the ”Heritage Festival” in which 62 pavillions representing over 85 cultures from all over the world are featured to showcase Canada’s multiculturalism. Each pavillion makes their own specialty dishes and crafts and demonstrates different performances. This festival always happens during the first weekend of August, and it is always very hot since it takes places in an open park with little cover and shade! We braved the heat and tried some delicious food items. One of our favourite items was the “Mango’s Loco” from Guatemala, which is a mango on a stick rolled in lime juice and spices. Everyone was carrying these, and they were so juicy and ripe! You can try making your own with this recipe here!
It’s also been fun trying different recipes this summer too! Last month I blogged about our lychee frozen yogurt recipe. I decided to try making a pineapple sorbet as all you need to do is puree pineapple, add sugar, churn it and then freeze it! Sorbets, gelatos, ice creams and frozen yogurts are perfect for summertime :) We’ve also been eating a lot of fresh fruit, and I had to use up some blueberries before they went bad, so I found this absolutely amazing recipe here for blueberry muffins (they are aptly titled “To Die For Blueberry Muffins”!). The streusel topping is so delicious, and the muffin itself is very moist- I highly recommend checking this recipe out!
One summer day I had a baking date with my foodie friend Lillian who blogs over at “Beyond Umami”. We made madeleines, which are small French sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape. It was my first time making them, but Lillian brought all the necessary supplies and gave me baking tips along the way. Check out my piping skills and the beautiful finished products :)
I love love love Chinese desserts, from sweet tapioca soups and tong yuens to lian gao. Whenever we go to Chinese bakeries, I always search for “boot jai goh’s”, which are chewy Chinese pudding cakes with a delicious almond flavour. I’ve been trying to make some of these desserts at home, and I found a recipe for boot jai goh that I really like! You can find it here. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes, but this one is the best so far. Apparently if you’ve followed the recipe correctly, a “belly-button” in the little cake should form…thankfully they appeared in mine! Don’t they look yummy and nicely-shaped? I substituted yellow rock sugar instead of typical white sugar which gave them a more authentic taste!
I’m so glad I got to finally host another give-away this summer too! It’s always fun with the level of participation and hearing from people all over the world. Two of these prizes went to the US and one went to Australia!
Another exciting thing that happened this summer was the purchase of our sewing machine! Home ec was never offered at my school, so learning how to thread the machine and sew was a daunting task for me! I’m so thankful for sewing blogs, tutorials and youtube videos that made everything a whole lot easier. There were mishaps along the way, but it was fun trying out all these different stitches. Our first major project were the curtains for our nursery! I will show you the results once our nursery is finished, but I’m pretty proud of how the curtains turned out! I’m such a newbie at sewing and I can’t wait to try more projects! Do any of you pro sewers have any tips or ideas for good beginner projects?
We went to some fabric stories to look for patterns for our nursery, and look at this awesome sale on buttons we found- 2 bags for $1! I picked up these green and fuscia pink buttons to use on baby hats and future projects :)
At a friend’s birthday tea party this summer, everyone made their own fascinators! There were shoulder pads (for the base), flowers, lace, ribbon, tulle and plenty of materials available, and I thought it was such a great idea. Everyone’s fascinators looked so unique and beautiful, and group photos were cute with these lovely pieces adorning everyone’s hair! Here is the one I made! It just so happened this lace matched perfectly with my crocheted top :)
I love Broadway musicals, and I was disappointed when we were unable to get tickets to see Mary Poppins the last time we were in New York. I was very excited when I heard they were touring across Canada and making a stop here! The magical effects and tap dancing were wonderful, and I loved the choreography and performance of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!
Ryan is a big anime fan, and we’ve been watching plenty of anime shows and movies since getting married. One of the events we were greatly looking forward to attending this summer was the “Animethon”, and we went with my brother (another big anime fan)! I love seeing all the cosplaying and although we didn’t cosplay (I’m sure one day we will!), I wore my Hello Kitty glasses from Tokyo and ”Nerdy but Cute” Hello Kitty shirt! We watched some anime, browsed Artist Alley (so many talented anime artists!), watched the cosplay contest and some of a Smash Bros tournament and shopped around the Vendor Hall. While in the Vendor Hall, I got to try out the “Necomimi”, a set of battery-powered cat ears that supposedly react to brainwaves, making the ears wiggle. It was fun trying them out, but I couldn’t control them very well…plus they were a hefty price!
Trying to get into the spirit of all things cute and kawaii, this is the bag I carried around the Animethon: my popsicle/ice cream/dessert bag adorned with some Totoro keychains I got from the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, buttons courtesy of Oborocharms and my cotton candy amigurumi teddy from last year’s giveaway. I also picked up this absolutely adorable pink dumpling from the Vendor Hall of Animethon- wouldn’t this make a cute amigurumi? I’ll have to keep this in mind for a future project…
The other purchase I made were these kawaii buttons! Food looks so much cuter when they have faces :D I thought these all would make great ideas for future amigurumi too! Animethon was lots of fun, and one day we hope to go to Comic-Con in San Diego….it is definitely on our must-do list!!!
Thanks for joining me as I recounted my highlights of the summer! It’s a great way for me to journal and chronicle what we did over these past few months. I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant now, so our due date is fast approaching! We had our prenatal classes during the last weekend of August, and they were very informative as they taught us everything from breathing and relaxation exercises to swaddling and bathing baby. September is absolutely going to fly by (we will be having a baby shower too- so excited for that!) and then October will be right around the corner. I am very thankful for all of you who have been reading my blog and expressing your support and encouragement throughout the months! I hope you had a great summer too, and let’s look forward to the fall with new adventures ahead!
With the heat of the summer upon us, it’s the perfect time for ice cream and frozen yogurt! Last year, I blogged about our frozen yogurt recipe here and how wonderful it is being able to make our own frozen yogurt whenever we want with our Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment. We wanted to experiment with some different flavours, so we tried making a lychee frozen yogurt since lychee is so sweet, refreshing and light. We’ve made this lychee frozen yogurt many times for our friends and family, and they all absolutely love it! Some have asked for the recipe, so I thought I might as well blog about it!
Ryan and I got married in September 2010. Our wedding photographers, Anthony & Rina of Infused Studios did some one year anniversary photoshoots with us in November - December 2011 (and hence very much pre-pregnancy! By the way, today is the first day of my third trimester- exciting!!!). They are a very creative team who like to push their boundaries, so they proposed doing a food-themed anniversary shoot centering around our favourite recipes. They shot us prepping different meals, showcasing our life in our new house one year after our wedding! They created a recipe book for us with beautiful images as well as narratives that we wrote on what life is like one year after getting married. This book is such a great keepsake, and we are so thankful to have something so special to help commemorate our one year of marriage! We included our lychee frozen yogurt recipe in our anniversary cookbook, so I thought I would share some images from the shoot with you all!
Check out how smooth our lychee frozen yogurt looks!
Placing a lychee perfectly ontop!
We were joking that this is always how we place lychees ontop of our frozen yogurt…don’t you? ;)
We had a lot of good laughs on our multiple shoots for this anniversary cookbook. Anthony and Rina have become very good friends with us! It’s important to choose wedding photographers that you get along with since they will be spending so much time with you on your big day!
Here is the finished product with a cute little Spring Bunny in the back! This is a very refreshing and light treat :)
If you would like to try making some for yourself, here is the recipe! It is very quick and easy to make. Please refer to my previous frozen yogurt recipe blog post to see step-by-step photos and a description of what particular brand of yogurt we used HERE.
Lychee Frozen Yogurt Recipe
- Two 650 g containers of Greek or Balkan yogurt
- 2 1/4 cups of sugar (adjust to your liking)
- 2 cans of lychee, drained and pureed
1. Mix the yogurt and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the pureed lychee.
2. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
4. Enjoy soft yogurt now or freeze for a couple hours or overnight.
5. Add favourite toppings!
Hope you enjoyed seeing some photos from our anniversary shoot! Let me know if you will be trying out this recipe or if you have some other great frozen yogurt recipes- we are definitely interested in experimenting with different fruits and flavors! Enjoy the summer :D
Last week I blogged about an adorable Jumpin’ Jellyfish that I made for a girl moving overseas with her family (see the blog post here and this hilarious gif file that a reader made for me here). As her older sister flipped through Ana Paula Rimoli’s book “Amigurumi Toy Box”, she told me that she loved the hot dog the most because she loved food! Given how there were plenty of animals in the book, such as pigs, bears, ducks, tigers and frogs, I thought it was so cute and funny how she chose the hot dog as her very favourite!
I happily began working on this hot dog since I had never crocheted anything before quite like it! We began working on the sausage and stuffed him along the way. Look at that adorable little smile and mustard cheeks :)
The sausage was very quick to whip up!
Then we worked on the buns, consisting of the bottom part and the top part. Both parts are crocheted in an oval shape as you crochet around a series of chain stitches. Here are the bottoms of the buns!
And here are the tops of the buns!
I then sewed the top of the bun onto the bottom of the bun, ensuring I didn’t stuff it too firmly as the bun would puff out too much…
Both halves of the bun complete!
Now to sew them together along the inner edges…
Attached and ready for the sausage to be placed inside!
Have you ever seen such a happy hot dog before?
Hot dogs are definitely a summer staple food!
It’d be hard eating something so cute though…
I think someone’s trying to escape being eaten….
And here’s a pic showing the relative size of this amigurumi hot dog! Pretty true-to-life I think :)
This hot dog was fun to crochet since, just as the jellyfish, I did not have to attach any ears, legs, arms or tails! The assembly was quick and easy and unlike anything I had ever worked on before. Ana Paula Rimoli also includes a pattern to make a cute ketchup and mustard bottle to go with this hot dog (see set here). I know the Jellyfish and Hot Dog will be dearly loved as they travel overseas with these two adorable sisters. Enjoy them, girls!
Over the weekend, we went to an International Potluck at our church. We made some of our favourite Chinese dishes, and I thought I would share them with you! Both dishes are very simple to make, and we’ve made them countless times for dinner :)
At the top we have “Asian Lettuce Wraps”: the flavourful meat is sweetened by hoisin sauce and wrapped within lettuce leaves like a burrito. They’re a fun party food with a delicious crunch!
At the bottom we have a Shanghainese dish called “Stir Fried Sticky Rice Cakes (Leen Gao)” by Steamy Kitchen. Growing up, I always loved eating the sweet chewy “leen gao” for Chinese New Year. I was delighted to find this recipe for “leen gao” in a savoury dish and it is also surprisingly easy to make. I buy my sticky rice cakes (or “leen gao”) frozen from T&T, my local Asian supermarket, and soak them, as well as the dried Chinese mushrooms, overnight. Stir fries are quick and easy, and this one has a nice variety of textures from the chewy rice cakes to the crunchy cabbage and bamboo shoots.
Both dishes were a hit as we took home empty platters at the end of the night! It’s always fun trying out new dishes at potlucks and being introduced to different foods :) Remember to keep these recipes in mind the next time you want to try something new for dinner or for an upcoming potluck!
Chocolate-covered strawberries have always been one of my favourite treats, and they’re so simple to make! I made these for a friend’s surprise birthday party last week: they look pretty and elegant and they’re easy to eat since you can just pop them in your mouth! I followed the recipe here. Adding shortening to the chocolate prevents the chocolate from becoming too thick and makes dipping the strawberries easier. I simply lay my chocolate-covered strawberries down on wax paper to cool and dry rather than stick them upside down into styrofoam with a toothpick (as stated in the recipe). Try making these the next time you have a potluck or get-together :)
Whenever we visit new cities, I always love researching the best places to eat, shop and sight see. I rely heavily on Yelp and Trip Advisor, and I also love reading other people’s blog posts and looking through their photos as it feels as though I’m vicariously traveling with them! And so, I invite you to come along with us and see what we ate in the romantic and beautiful city of Paris. I absolutely LOVE French cuisine, so I knew we were in for a treat, and I could barely contain my excitement when our plane finally landed after our Translantic journey!
We were starving after we landed, so we headed off for lunch as soon as we checked into our hotel and dropped off our luggage. Our first lunch place was a quaint little restaurant tucked away on a small side street called “L’Ange 20”. This place was actually suggested to us by a blog reader after I asked for people’s recommendations before we left. I feel very blessed that people all around the world have stumbled upon my blog and I’m thankful that some took the time to give us suggestions!
L’Ange 20 is a very small restaurant where the tables are positioned closely together, but this adds to the charm of the restaurant. The prices are very reasonable, and it actually currently ranks #8 out of 7469 restaurants in Paris! It wasn’t too busy when we went for lunch, and our waiter was very friendly and accommodating. He presented us the menu on this blackboard after we sat down at our table.
After ordering, we chatted with Thierry, the friendly chef of L’Ange 20 who asked us where we were from and how we were enjoying Paris.
I ordered the duck with roasted potatoes, and this dish was very tasty and hearty. I scarfed this meal down pretty quickly!
Ryan had the pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes, and he was very satisfied with the meal. We ended up not ordering dessert since we knew we wanted to visit all the bakeries and dessert shops! We were happy that our first meal in Paris was at L’Ange 20, and we’ll definitely be returning in the future when we visit :)
Our first dinner in Paris was at a restaurant called “Chez Paul”.
It was a good thing that we made reservations in advance because it was very busy that evening. And yes, that is my fabric-lined cell phone cozy in the photo below! It’s nice being able to use something so functional that I crocheted, and I’ve received a lot of compliments whenever I whip my cell phone out of it :)
The menu was all in beautifully handwritten French. Ryan and I actually both studied French in school for quite a number of years, and we were thankful that it somewhat came back to us even though we hadn’t practiced in a very long time. Our waitress ONLY spoke French to us throughout the entire meal, and it made us feel happy that we could order and respond. All that hard work years ago in French class paid off!
Chez Paul felt like an authentic Parisian restaurant with its charming, intimate decor. The people seated next to us told us that this place was a favourite among the locals, and were surprised that we as tourists had found this place!
We started off with the classic French onion soup. I absolutely LOVE French onion soup, so this was definitely on my must-try list. It did not disappoint as the soup was deep and flavourful with the tasty onions and soft bread.
Mmm…behold the cheesiness! I LOVE cheese :) This was the best French onion soup I’ve ever had!
We also ordered some escargots with parsley butter to start off our meal. They were flavourful and chewy, and I definitely could’ve eaten more of these tasty little treats!
How cute is this photo that Ryan snapped showing the ambiance of the restaurant? Our awesome waitress who only spoke to us in French is on the right.
Ryan and I ended up ordering the same thing as we were both craving steak. We had the filet mignon which came with either béarnaise or pepper sauce. We both went with the traditional, creamy béarnaise sauce and were very happy with our choice. The steak was tender and cooked just the way we like it. The potatoes were tasty as well. Once again we did not opt for dessert as we still had macarons left from our Ladurée visit!
We knew we had to try some authentic French crêpes on our visit to Paris, and my research showed that “Little Breizh” in the St. Germain-des-Prés area would be a good choice as it actually ranks #4 of the 7469 restaurants in Paris. We shopped around the area as we waited for this restaurant to open, and there were some delightful little stores nearby.
This crêpe restaurant is run by young people from Brittany, where crêpes originated from, and they pride themselves on their fresh, organic products and old-fashioned recipes. Our waitress spoke good English, and she was very friendly and helpful as she suggested what the popular crêpes were and told us about their great lunch specials. Little Breizh had English menus on hand for those who do not read and understand French as well.
We ordered some apple cider on the advice of our waitress as crêpes are traditionally served with cider in Brittany. Cheers!
Their savory crêpes are made of buckwheat, so they are actually called “galettes”. I ordered the “L’Orée des Bois” which had grilled bacon, cooked mushrooms with cream and an egg sunny-side up as our waitress informed us that this was a popular one. It was absolutely delicious as all the fresh ingredients complemented each other well inside, and I loved how the buckwheat galette itself tasted.
Ryan had the ”Coquine St. Jacques” which was a galette with fresh scallops cooked on a bed of leeks with onion-cooked cream. These were by far the most delicious and fresh scallops I have ever tasted.
For dessert, we opted for the simple crêpe with salted butter caramel. It was absolutely heavenly with the homemade caramel and delicious thin crêpe. As you can see, we dove right in before remembering to take a pic of it!
Our last dinner in Paris was at a restaurant across from the Notre Dame called “Le Tournebièvre”. We crossed a couple of bridges along the Seine as we made our way to this restaurant on a rainy evening, and we had some difficulty locating it. People we asked along the way did not seem to know where it was, so we were very happy when we finally found it!
The decor was contemporary inside and once again we had a very friendly and helpful waiter who explained the menu clearly to us. Here I am reviewing some of the photos from our day :)
For starters, we had this puff pasty filled with goat cheese. Upon tasting it, the flaky puff pastry gave way to creamy, rich goat cheese that was absolutely divine (as I said, I’m a cheese lover!). The accompanying spinach salad was very tasty as well.
I ordered the fish (I can’t remember what it was called!) on a bed of vegetables. It wasn’t as tasty as the appetizer, so this was kind of disappointing.
Ryan had the pork tenderloin on rice, and we thought this could’ve been more flavourful as well.
To end off our meal, Ryan had the trio of chocolate desserts.
There was no way I could leave Paris without trying an authentic crème brûlée as it is one of my favourite desserts, and was definitely on my must-try list! The custard was light and creamy and the caramelized sugar was perfectly crunchy. This was my favourite crème brûlée ever :) It was a great way to end the evening!
I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along this Paris food adventure with us! Hopefully it will give you some ideas of where you might want to go if you find yourself in Paris as I always love getting other people’s suggestions and seeing their photos. Overall, the food in Paris was absolutely delicious, and the people were all so kind and friendly. Check out my other Paris posts to see what else we did (Paris Desserts & Paris Highlights). We miss you a lot, Paris… Until next time :)
Here’s another one of our favourite recipes we like to use when we’re in the mood for pasta! Michael Ruhlman’s Tomato Basil Garlic Pasta is so delicious and flavourful, and it’s a favourite of ours because of its simplicity. The sauce used to coat the pasta is made up of tomato water (chopped tomatoes release their water when mixed with coarse sea salt) combined with garlic and butter. Topped off with basil and parmesan, this pasta is near perfection. It reminds me of the pasta I often reminisce about when we visited Italy! Michael Ruhman even has a video showing how he makes this pasta on his page, so check out the video and recipe here!
You’ll never guess where I’m blogging from right now…MAUI!!! It’s absolutely beautiful here and the food has been amazing since I love seafood and sushi :) Responses to comments and questions will take longer than normal because of this ;) Be sure to follow me on twitter here to get my updates and to see the stunning view from where I’m blogging!
We recently visited San Francisco for the very first time and got to see the famous sites and taste the delicious food that the city had to offer. Thank goodness I packed thicker clothes since it was foggy and quite chilly and windy most of the time we were there. There were many unprepared tourists who were wearing oversized “San Francisco” hoodies to keep warm! Some of our highlights included visiting Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, riding a jam-packed cable car, exploring Alcatraz with its fascinating audio tour, walking down Lombard Street and watching “Billy Elliott” at the Orpheum Theatre.
I had previously researched some of the food hotspots to hit on yelp, but at other times we randomly chose places to eat that appeared good (i.e. they were frequented by many patrons or there was a long line-up outside). We stayed in Japantown at the “Hotel Kabuki”, which was connected to a Japanese mall (hence the number of Japanese places we visited). We had so much fun exploring the many Japanese shops (like Daiso and Ichiban Kan!) and eating the delicious food. I thought I would highlight some of the memorable food we ate in San Francisco in this blog post :)
New England Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl, Pier Market, Fisherman’s Wharf. I love clam chowder soup, and what could be better than eating it in an edible bread bowl from Boudin Bakery? The soup was delicious and it was fun scraping the sides of the moistened bread bowl when the soup was done. We really didn’t know where to eat at Fisherman’s Wharf, but we enjoyed Pier Market. This place was bustling, and we had a beautiful view of the harbour.
1/2 Dozen Oysters, Pier Market, Fisherman’s Wharf. I LOVE oysters, so I was really excited to try these. They tasted absolutely delicious- probably the best oysters I’ve ever had, but then again, I don’t live near the water, so it’s not often that I get to eat freshly shucked oysters. We ended up ordering more since they tasted so good :)
Hot Fudge Sundae, Nob Hill Chill, Hot Chocolate, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, Ghirardelli Square. We were told to try the hot chocolate and dessert at Ghirardelli Square, so off we went. The hot fudge was warm and rich and tasted so good combined with the creamy ice cream. I was definitely scraping the sides of the cup to get every last bit of hot fudge. The Nob Hill Chill was a great treat too (reminded me of Serendipity’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate). Their famous hot chocolate was rich with the perfect amount of sweetness. Even their little samples of chocolate were creamy and delicious. Needless to say, we bought some chocolate to bring back home too :) After this calorie overload, we hopefully walked most of it off as we trekked to Lomboard Street…
Udon, Suzu, Japantown. When it’s chilly out, nothing is more satisfying than a hot bowl of soup. This bowl of udon noodles was hands-down my favourite udon noodles and soup I’ve ever had. We knew that Suzu was popular because it was always full and had a constant line-up of people whenever we passed by. I now understand why. Their hand-made udon noodles had the perfect texture and chewiness, and the broth was deep and flavourful. Ryan thoroughly enjoyed the ramen noodles he ordered too. How I wish I could have another bowl…
Pistachio macarons, Miette Patisserie, Ferry Building. Macarons are one of my most favourite treats since they’re both so pretty and delicious at the same time. I love trying the macarons of different cities (I love NYC’s Bouchon Bakery) and have dabbled in making them myself (that’s for a future blog post :P). The macarons at Miette Patisserie were very unique in that all the flavours were of a similar colour, in stark contrast to the bright colours usually displayed behind the glass at other macaron establishments. I believe they use very fresh and mostly organic ingredients (and grind up whole almonds instead of using almond flour). The result was a deliciously chewy macaron with a fabulous texture, very different than other macarons I had previously tasted. I would definitely go back for more! The Ferry Building was a fun place to walk around with many unique food options available.
Dry fried chicken wings, San Tung Chinese Restaurant. I had heard about these wings on yelp, and they were indeed tasty. They were crispy and full of flavour, reminding us of the chicken at Bonchon.
Lychee frozen yogurt with multi-coloured mochi and strawberry, mango and lychee pop-pops, Moyo’s, Japantown. You all know how much I love frozen yogurt (I even make my own now with my recipe here). I loved the vast array of toppings that were available at Moyo’s. Never before had I seen “pop-pop’s”. At first glance, I thought they were tapioca pearls or coloured boba. I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into one and a burst of fruit flavoured juice/syrup exploded out. The mochi was chewy and sweet as well. I still prefer Pinkberry frozen yogurt, but I loved the toppings available here.
Bento box with seared albacore, Takara, Japantown. Takara was right outside of our hotel, so it was the first restaurant we saw. We decided to try it out for lunch, and within 10 minutes of opening, the entire restaurant filled up! We knew we had chosen a good restaurant :) They offered very well-priced bento boxes and lunch combinations with a variety of options. The above bento box with seared albacore, delicious and lightly-fried tempura, salad, Califoirnia rolls, deep and rich Miso soup and rice costed only $8.50 (bento boxes in other neighbouring restaurant were going for $11-13). We also tried their fatty tuna rolls (soo good!) and came back for lunch a second time. On the second occasion, I tried their grilled mackerel, which was also extremely tasty.
Japanese crepe (green tea gelato, red bean paste, matcha sauce), Sophie’s Crepes, Japantown. This place was always busy too, so we thought we’d give their sweet crepes a try. We totally forgot to take a proper food shot of this crepe because we were too excited to eat it, ha ha. It was fun watching them make the crepe and put in all the fillings. The gelato was delicious, but more importantly the crepe was amazing. The crepe was light with the perfect amount of sweetness and a delightful crunch to it (I find most other crepes tend to be more chewy and too soft).
Steak tartare, Cafe Claude, Union Square. After a busy day of shopping at Union Square, it was wonderful having dinner at Cafe Claude, tucked away in a small alley. The ambiance was romantic and cozy (and dark as evidenced by the picture above) as there happened to be live jazz music since we were dining on a Thursday evening. I absolutely love French food, and their escargot and French onion soup were both rich and flavourful. It was my first time eating steak tartare, and it certainly was a unique experience. The waiter prepared it table-side with a raw quail egg. It was strange thinking I was eating raw beef even though I eat sushi and sashimi all the time. I’m not sure if I would eat it again, but I’m glad I tried it out.
Custard tarts, Golden Gate Bakery, Chinatown. These egg custard tarts were famous and highly touted on all the food blogs. We heard there was usually a line-up around the corner, so we were very surprised when we were the only ones there. The Golden Gate bakery is very unassuming on the inside and easy to miss if you’re not specifically looking for it. I even questioned whether we found the right place (particularly since we were the only customers inside). The staff told us that they were currently sold out, but that they were making some new batches. We paid for a dozen to put a hold on them (just in case they sold out again when we returned!), went for lunch, and then eagerly came back to retrieve these famous tarts. Other tourists were there too at this time, and they tried to take pictures inside although the staff quickly pointed out their sign reading “No photographs allowed!”. Perhaps they’re worried someone will steal their recipe and methods? We took them outside and each tried a tart. The custard was smooth, silky and sweet, and the shell was flaky and light. They were indeed delicious and lived up to their hype :)
Bulgogi, YakiniQ, Japantown. Across from our hotel was YakiniQ with a sign advertising “All-You-Can-Eat Korean Barbecue” for $19.99. We upgraded to the $23.99 per person menu that included marinated beef (bul-go-gi), prime beef tongue and pork neck meat. We were really happy with our decision to pay more because the bul-go-gi was to die for! It was extremely flavourful and tender, and it seemed like the beef had been marinating for a very long time. This was our favourite dish at YakiniQ and we ended up asking for a few more orders of this.
Mixed fruits shaved ice, YakiniQ Cafe, Japantown. Next door to YakiniQ is their quaint Korean-style cafe. This shaved ice was a refreshing treat with delicious fruit, chewy mochi, and red bean topped with creamy ice cream. My mom tried their sweet potato latte which was very unique. They also have macarons here, but we were too full to try them out.
Have you been to any of these places? Or are there places you can recommend for the next time we visit San Francisco? I would love to hear your suggestions (e.g. better places for oysters, dessert, etc)! There are still many places I wanted to visit and try (like the Jelly Belly Factor tour and Bi Rite Creamery’s salted caramel ice cream), but I guess I’ll have to wait for the next time I visit the City by the Bay!