Archive for October, 2015

This Birthday Takes The Cake

trader joes cheese

I couldn’t have asked for a more delicious birthday. Here’s what was on the menu:

On Wednesday night a few co-workers and I sipped bubbly wine, nibbled on charcuterie, and viciously attacked some pizza at The Market. If you ever doubted that a grocery store would be a wonderful place to hang out, get yourself to this place immediately. And by immediately, I mean between the hours of 4pm and 7pm daily for the oyster happy hour of your dreams. Kumamotos for $1.50? I’ll take the lot!

Later that night, Harley and I had our first glasses of orange wine at Alta CA, a hip little restaurant with a wrap-around bar right on Market Street. Orange wine is my new favorite. The grapes are fermented with the skins on, making the wine refreshing and crisp like a white, but funky and musky like somethin’ else!

alta ca sf

Birthday day started with a climbing session and a Blue Bottle cappuccino. That first sip of cappuccino is just about my favorite thing in the world. (And at about $0.50 a sip, it’d better be!)

mission cliffs sf

The workday was sweet, especially because one of my restaurant partners, Guerilla Catering, came by to give us a churro bar. We’re talking fresh churros, hot dipping chocolate, dulce de leche, sprinkles, coconut flakes, walnuts…the works. Yum is right.

guerilla catering sf

For happy hour, @barry_sandwich himself made egg white Bee’s Knees cocktails and Harley and Kate made all my cheesy dreams come true with a literal cheese cake! (see above)


That night, my spirit animal, Dan, cooked a Pantry Raid themed feast! We ate brown butter and rosemary gnocchi, Bacon’d Brussels, roasted squash and cauliflower, and pork belly. Kinda like me, the meal was mostly vegetarian. For dessert, there was Bavarian Cream Cake from DeLessio Market & Bakery, which was basically just a giant cylinder of frosting and I’m not mad about it.

On Friday, my Dad came to San Francisco! We started the night with drinks at Terroir, which is a SoMa wine bar that feels kind of like your cool friend’s living room, but if your cool friend had even cooler more attractive live-in sommeliers to educate you about grapes but also offer you fine cheese and charcuterie. Are you on your way there yet?? Dad ordered an all-too-sippable Pinot and I was still on my orange wine kick and ended up with another dreamily funky pour.

Next stop was ICHI Sushi + Ni Bar, my all time favorite sushi spot in San Francisco. Tucked right on the border of Mission and Bernal Heights, you’d be surprised that it’s almost impossible to get a reservation here. Luckily, we scored a spot at the sushi bar with a front row view of our awesome sushi chef at work.

ichi sushi sf

All night, we sampled fish I couldn’t possibly name now. My favorites though, were the ocean trout nigiri and uni taco (yes, uni taco!). There’s no soy sauce here – each piece of fish is scored and doused with its accompanying marinade or sauce. The experience is so fun and interactive without a sniff of pretension. Please don’t eat sushi anywhere else if you can help it. I’m serious!

sf uni

The gluttony continued on Saturday at Mission Chinese – one of the restaurants I work with at Chewse with one of the coolest stories. This no-name Chinese restaurant partnered with chefs Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint for a pop-up. The two began churning out re-invented Chinese dishes (like Shmaltz Rice, Kung Pao Pastrami, etc.) until the place became so trendy that they were allowed to stay for the long haul. Mission Chinese has since become an SF (and NYC) food staple, and one I was excited to share with my Dad, since he’s recently become obsessed with New York’s Chinese food scene (shoutout Joe’s Shanghai!). We elected not to sprinkle our Mapo Tofu and 3x Cooked Bacon with the gratis MSG, but I’m sure we got our fill anyway. That said, I wouldn’t know…their food is so spicy that my taste buds have hardly recovered.

mission chinese mapo tofu

That night, we had a bonfire on Ocean Beach, but you can read about that here.

ocean beach bonfire

Sunday afternoon was spent with family at my grandparent’s home, nestled between the quiet hills and deer-filled forest in Woodside.

woodside ca

Dessert was a winner – Banana Cream Pie from Mission Pie. That flaky crust, springy custard, and rich whipped cream make for a treat that’s both decadent and light at the same time. Science, man. How do they do it?

mission pie banana cream

Looking back, I’m not sure how my body survived it, and I think it may be time for one of those gnarly juice cleanses. At my age, you gotta be careful what you eat. Wait, what’s my age again?

Rosemary Olive Tapenade

rosemary olive tapenade

I started writing The Pantry Raid at 17, when most of my peers were dining hall-dependent. The recipes I shared were a novelty to them and impressive to my older readers. I say this not to sound arrogant, but to juxtapose that with my current experience. By way of living in San Francisco and working at a food company, I now find myself surrounded by people whose culinary dexterity often supersedes my own. I may be the girl with the food blog, but I’m far from knowing it all. I have a lot to learn – about technique, intuition, vocabulary, ingredients – and am fortunate enough to have plenty of teachers.

picholine olives trader joes

So with that, here’s a new favorite recipe courtesy of my fellow diva and olive enthusiast, Gerard! When we made this tapenade the first time, it was paired with crispy homemade potato chips and whipped Cowgirl Creamery ricotta cheese. Let’s take a moment to appreciate that last sentence. Okay, great.

caper recipeeasy tapenade recipe

The second time around, I made a batch for an Ocean Beach bonfire. We served it alongside my Greek Yogurt Caramelized Onion Dip (this time caramelized with white wine) and a lot of kettle chips. Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam cheese made a surprise appearance (thanks, Dan!) and the two went great together slathered on top of torn fresh bread.

food network tapenadecastelvetrano tapenadekalamata tapenade

The lesson here is that this Rosemary Olive Tapenade is versatile in both flavor and application. Use it for dipping, spreading, dolloping, smearing, and whatever other eating verbs that you know and I don’t!

pantry raid tapenade

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

  • 1 cup Castelvetrano or Picholine olives (Whole Foods sells pitted Castelvetranos at their olive bar! Trader Joes sells pit-in Picholines at a great price!)
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1-2 glugs olive oil
  • Small handful fresh rosemary
  • Salt & pepper
  1. If your olives aren’t pitted, pit them! No need to keep things pretty – just do what you have to to get those pits out.
  2. Rinse and de-stem your rosemary.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short intervals until all ingredients are nice and chopped. Check often to avoid ending up with olive paste! Add a little more olive oil if the mixture seems dry. Add salt and pepper to taste. You’re done!
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