Thursday, September 27, 2012

San Fran Eats

While we were supposedly in San Francisco to take photos, I was there, unsurprisingly, to eat. My focus was on Californian cuisine, emphasis on seafood, particularly wild Alaskan salmon, which is all over the Northwest but hard to find (affordably) on the East coast. 

Except for one lunch, literally every single place we went to eat had wild salmon on the menu. And it was as good as my aunt told me it would be. Although I need to admit...I did not order it a single time. Luckily, my aunt and I are both food-sharers.

If you are a food sharer, you know who you are...the person who orders based on what everyone else chooses cause you just know that you'll get a few forkfuls from the other person by trading some of yours. The very idea of someone who WON'T give you a bite goes against your very existence (or maybe that part is just me...)

Luckily I was with a group of food-sharers, so I got delicious bites of everyone's food and we shared appetizers, which allowed for us to try even more food, which, as you all know, is my goal in life. I think I came back 5 lbs heavier, and I think I'm perfectly fine with that fact.

And now, the food.

Lunch at the Stinking Rose, a restaurant whose slogan is "we flavor our garlic with food"

bagna culda, or "garlic soaking in a hot tub": garlic cloves, oven-roasted in extra virgin olive oil & butter with a hint of anchovy, served with focaccia. YUM

my lunch: clams with fresh black linguine in a garlic parsley shallot sauce

my aunt's lasagna, which was filled with wild mushrooms, roasted eggplant, garlic, peppers, 
onions and swiss chard and topped mozzarella & tomato cream sauce

our friends simple yet incredibly delicious fresh fettuccine with a sauce of garlic, parsley and butter topped with shrimp

my cousin's garlic braised boneless short rib with swiss chard and garlic mashed potatoes

Drinks and appetizers at Servino's in Tiburon

our view...just rubbing it in!

crispy Monterey squid served with aioli and spicy marinara

Not pictured: heirloom tomatoes with burrata and basil sauce

Dinner at Farrallon, a restaurant designed to look like an "underwater fantasy"...take a wild guess what they serve?

Not pictured: our appetizers since they didn't make interesting photos
I had a selection of West Coast oysters
My aunt and friend both had the "mixed baby lettuce" salad with apples and blue cheese
My cousin had the "little gem salad" with trout and peaches

Both my aunt and cousin had the grilled King Alaskan salmon, which was served with cream poached yukon gold potatoes, roasted pancetta and a white corn veloute 

Our friend and I both had the pan-roasted Alaskan halibut, which came with heirloom tomato ravioli, blue lake string beans and corn brodo (or broth)

Dinner at Scoma's Restaurant in Sausalito, which was RIGHT on the water and we pigged out at. PIGGED OUT.

Once again our appetizers are not pictured. What did we get?
chilled shellfish platter (oysters, clams, dungeness crab and shrimp) plus a side of oysters for yours truly--I'm a BIG oyster fan
   PEI Mussels steamed in coconut milk with garlic Thai curry - YUM

My main course was our waitress' #1 recommendation: California petrale sole crusted in parmigiano and grilled with capers in a lemon butter sauce

my cousin got the scallops parmigiano, which were also crusted and sauteed in a lemon beurre blanc sauce

my aunt (who clearly didn't wait until I took a picture to dig in...) ordered the salmon simply brushed with olive oil and charbroiled

our friend's meal with one of the specials--mahi mahi crusted in macadamia nuts and grilled, served with pineapple and pepper salsa. #thiswassogoodiwantedtostealit

my cousin and our friend both got the cheesecake with raspberry sauce for dessert

my aunt had the zabaione with fresh fruit

All of this food could easily have taken up two posts and now you know why I loved San Fran so much! I can't wait to return and eat even more--next time I'd like to try some of the smaller (read: cheaper) restaurants and food stands. Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

San Francisco Photo Highlights

I just got back from an absolutely lovely trip to San Francisco with my aunt, her friend and my cousin. We had so much fun! But mannnn let me tell you how tired I am is ridiculous. I am not ready for the real world, yet here I am!

As you may remember, my aunt and her friend were in San Fran for the Photographic Society of America's annual meeting (if you like photography, I highly recommend joining--I am a proud member!) My cousin and I flew out on Saturday to meet them so we could do additional fun and photo-filled activities that the two could not participate in during the conference.

On Saturday I got to see my college roommate for the first time since we graduated (I know, we're awful friends, but she moved to the West Coast and I moved to NYC and this was the first time we could see each other!) I also got to meet her boyfriend, who I've been dying to meet since they started dating so I could quiz him and make sure he was good enough for her -- don't tell him, but he passed.

Sunday was my responsibility; I got to plan the entire day for the four of us. We walked from our hotel in Union Square to Chinatown for the Autumn Moon Festival, then went to North Beach for lunch and trekked to Fisherman's Wharf to take a ferry to Tiburon. We returned in the late afternoon and went to dinner at a delightful restaurant in Union Square.

Monday we took QUITE a car trip across what felt like half the state (it wasn't) and to the end of the world (or at least it seemed like it). We took photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, went to Muir Woods to see the redwoods, saw an abandoned shipwreck and trekked down the equivalent to reach a lighthouse on literally the very tip of the Earth.

Below are photo highlights of some of these events...later this week I will post the many many  food pictures I took (the benefit of traveling with photographers is they don't think its weird that I want to take pictures of their food!)

Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown

Ferry pier at Fisherman's Wharf

Marina at Pier 39

an airborne sea lion jumping the floating docks at Pier 39

Forbes Island (with Alcatraz in the background)

Tiburon (where I got an absolutely gorgeous print for my apartment!)

The Golden Gate Bridge

The San Fran cityscape

the massive redwoods in Muir Woods

the SS Point Reyes shipwreck 

lighthouse at the end of the earth...with a few hundred foot drop to the sea

the 300+ steps down the lighthouse, which is so far down it is completely covered in fog

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Meal Planning

Yes, I know I am in San Francisco! But I can't leave my blog hanging! So I'm writing this lovely (and short) post from my iPhone. And, for the record, no, I am not one of the many people who will be trading in their iPhone 4S for an iPhone 5. My screen is plenty large enough, thankyou. I mean, how would I write this blog if it wasn't!?

Monday: dinner in Sausalito!

Tuesday: flying home from San Fran. Get food on the plane, but more likely I'll be eating an apple and a granola bar (my favorite flying foods)

Wednesday: back to the grind. also, need freezer food. chicken bundles it is!

Thursday: pretzel crusted chicken

Friday: apricot-mustard baked chicken

On Saturday I am going to watch one of my very best guy friends (and 7th grade boyfriend, for the record) get married to an absolute CATCH, dance my butt off at their reception, and have a general amazing time. Be jealous. Be very jealous.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday's Quick Pics

Tomorrow morning (BRIGHT and early) I will be going to the lovely city of San Francisco! Before I go, I wanted to post a speedy Friday Quick Pics so my lovely readers can see what has been going on the last few weeks...

Besides these pictures, I had the loveliest time at the Wolffer Estates in Long Island last weekend for one of my good friend's birthdays. I got to drink lots of wine in amazing weather and meet some of her best friends from home. Even better? A group of six girls, many of whom had never met each other, got along spectacularly for an entire day. Prettttttty impressive, and proof that we have sadly all grown up. 

this picture is, sadly, not from my phone, but one of the other lovely ladies

I also went home with two lovely bottles of cabernet franc, one of which is destined for my amazing parents house as a spontaneous gift for them being so awesome (Mum & Dad--if you're reading this, surprise!)

bloody mary's for game day

the BEST chocolate chip cookies

the absolutely INSANE electric zoo festival on Randall's Island
if you like techno, i highly recommend

mimosa's at my fave brunch spot

new bunch of flowers in my Santa Fe vase

no, this is not my apartment...this is my office. LOVING the new job, obvi

a cruddy picture BUT my new obsession (sorry sushi)--lobster rolls

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend--I'm sure I will!! Look forward to pictures of San Francisco (and, more importantly, San Francisco food.) I'm supposed to be going there to take photographs, but I'm really going for the food. But ssssh, don't tell my aunt!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pico de Gallo

I have to say, I am a huge fan of the prepared foods section of the grocery store. And I'm not just talking about the take home and reheat dinners...although, darnit, those things really are good. And so convenient. 

No, I'm talking about the little things that you could make yourself but, let's be honest, you probably don't have the time to. Like picking up roasted peppers from the antipasti area rather than roast or char your own because REALLY who even does that? Or a tub of guacamole because the idea of buying avocados AND a tomato AND limes AND red onion just seems shockingly overwhelming for something that oxidizes and turns brown so quickly.

One of my favorites, since I eat a lot of Mexican food, has become pico de gallo. Regular salsa from a jar? No thanks. Are those even real veggies? (yes, I know they are, but haven't you ever wondered when you're staring at four massive shelves at the foodstore if that is realllly all tomatoes?) But pico de gallo? Gimmegimmegimme. 

One day I had more time than sense (just kidding!) and decided it was a brilliant idea to make my own pico de gallo. And you know what? It kind of was. Unlike guacamole, which doesn't keep for very long, the combination of pico de gallo saves for a long time...I was eating it a week later...mainly because I forgot about it or I would have eaten alllll of it in about a day and a half. 

I'm not going to is a lot of chopping. A lot. If you're not great at chopping an onion, I don't recommend it, mainly because I don't want you to curse me and stop reading my blog. But if you are good, or if you have a group and someone is asking what they can do (it's pretty hard to mess up pico de gallo) or if you are just as obsessed as I am and want to try the homemade version, do it. It's delish.

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Clump of cilantro, diced
2 limes

In a bowl, combine your diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cut your lime in half and juice it over the veggies. 

Toss if your diced cilantro and stir to combine. I've done this twice--once putting the cilantro in at the beginning and then juicing the lime and once doing the opposite, and I like this version much better.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Meal Planning

This past week was one of my good friend's (and consistent blog reader - thanks girl!) birthdays. So before I get into my Sunday meal planning, I first have to say...

Ok, now on to the food. I have been aggressively pinning (find my pinterest page here) new recipes onto my "Food Porn" board and I have tons of new recipes to try. The problem this week is going to be more "which recipe should I try" rather than "what the heck should I cook?" And, as I'm sure many of you would agree, that is not a bad problem to have. So without further ado, the five winners...

Monday: Mexican pizza

Tuesday: roasted garlic and cherry tomato cappellini

Wednesday: chicken stuffed with ricotta, basil and garliv

Thursday: pesto and goat cheese pizza (with refrigerated pizza dough, obviously)

Friday: scallops with corn bacon hash

Exciting news--this Saturday (at some ungodly hour of the morning), I will be flying to San Francisco for the first time! I am quite excited to explore this new city and, obviously, pictures of it all are to come. If any readers have suggestions on where to go/what to see/what to eat, send me an email at or tweet me @seasaltnpepa

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Football Favorites

As you could probably tell from my Sunday Meal Planning post, I love me some football season.  I love going to games, I love watching them in a bar and I really love going to football parties -- the Superbowl obviously being the biggest.

In New York, because everyone's apartments are so small, we often go to bars. But sometimes we are lucky enough to have friends who have big enough apartments to host a group. Then you need to decide between the group of friends going to the bar and the group of friends going to the apartment...and the main question is, of course, what food will be there. 

Here are some of the usual suspects, and a few off the beaten track, that I would recommend for your football party this weekend...

A big bowl of this chili

these absolutely frigging adorable sliders and fries

these baked brown sugar wings with red pepper dip

if we're getting fancy, mini lobster rolls

these super easy baked cheese nuggets

buffalo chicken bites, for those who don't want to deal with bones lying around

corn dog bites? no brainer.

a bean and avocado salsa, for your vegetarian guests

little BLT bites

individually portioned seven layer dips -- no worry about double dipping!

a creamy jalapeno dip for the spice-lovers

and last, but not least, football designed oreo truffles. Because they're cute.