All’onda

A week ago I went to All’onda for some ‘Japanese Venitian fusion’, and it was pretty good/ok. I ordered the kabocha squash side and the cavatelli. The squash was a little on the sweeter side from the raisins but it complemented the saucy, cheesy pasta.  Although, it might have been a little too saucy and cheesy… We shared the olive oil cake for dessert (which is the only thing I didn’t like). 

Aside from the food talk, I loved the upstairs seating area. The ambiance is great. I also really wanted these striped napkins. The side squash. Where can I get this dish?And the saucy, cheesy pasta. Now I’m hungry. 

Come over for dinner – kabocha squash farro salad

FullSizeRender(2)I am scared of gourds. I am scared of how hard they are to cut, how to cook them properly and their overall mass just terrifies me. Yet it’s October so I thought I would face my fear head on and buy a damn kabocha squash from the Fort Mason Farmers Market. How did it go? Well…

FullSizeRender(1)Pretty well! I kept it easy and roasted the squash in the oven then tossed it in a farro salad. Here’s what I did:

1. Cut the kabocha squash into 1 inch thick wedges. Add salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool.

2. At the same time, cook 1 cup of farro on the stove top and let boil for 10 minutes. While they cooked, I chopped up tomatoes, chives, basil and shredded 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. I also made the vinaigrette (1 tbsp. dijon mustard, 1/3 cup sherry vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper).

3. After the farro is done, I put in the tomatoes, chives, basil, cheese, 1 cup of arugula and dressing and tossed all together. I then cut the cooled squash into 1 inch bite size pieces and mixed. Delicious! I’m looking forward to tackling more squash recipes this fall. I’m thinking a pumpkin cookie is in my future. Happy Autumn!

-Nikki

Come over for dinner – it’s Pizza Night!

My family makes homemade pizza ON.THE.REG. We can’t get enough. It is super tasty and practically guilt free since you know everything going in/on the pie. Well, homemade is only half true. But shhh, I’m sharing my family recipe. We prefer the Trader Joe’s dough, Trader Joe’s sauce, Trader Joe’s cheese and just for kicks, Trader Joe’s veggies, too!

You can choose between the herb crust, whole wheat, and white. Tonight, we got one of each.

These are the few simple steps to our tasty meal.

  1. Spice it up. Add plenty oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to the sauce. For me, the spicier the better. I add more than enough C.R.P.photo (4)
  2. Flour flour flour. Sprinkle flour onto the counter (today, we put foil down) and knead the dough. It is best if the dough is left in room temperature for a bit to make it easier to knead. Once it starts behaving, i.e. laying flat without curling back up, you are ready to transfer it to the pizza pan. Be sure to do one final round of stretching it out to the ends once the dough is on the pan. We like it to be thinly spread before it bakes.IMG_6284
  3. Par Bake. Bake the dough at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it is mostly baked, to get it crispy. Tip – if you poke a few holes in the dough with a fork, it keeps it from bubbling. We talk about getting a pizza stone all the time but we really don’t need one with the way our dough comes out. After the par bake, add a sprinkle of olive oil down on the dough to keep it moist.IMG_0578
  4. Sauce it up & Top it up. Leave some extra sauce on the side for the crusts if you don’t spread it all the way out. Add ample veggies and cheese. Veggie pizza in our house always includes jalapenos, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Today, the bell peppers are minced for some reason. And for cheese (the most important part), we use two different types. Sprinkle some Quattro Formaggi from TJ’s and their shredded mozzarella onto each pie.
    photo 1 (10)Here you can see how the dough curled up a bit.
  5. photo 2 (9)Bake. Broil. Eat. It only takes about 10 more minutes to bake and a quick 1 minute broil to get the crust extra crispy and the cheese golden brown. photo 3 (9)Enjoy!

-Sheena

(Black Seed) Bagel

When I think of the finer things in life, bagels are pretty high on my list. Correction, New York bagels.  NY Bagels are one of my favorite things to eat, whether its for breakfast, a snack or even as a late night bite (yup). One of my go-to traditional boiled bagel spots in NYC is ess-a-bagel on 21st street/1st ave. For $1.25 and a 25 minute wait, you can get yourself the most satisfying, warm, delicious breakie. Its tried and true, and will always remain one of my favorite spots. I go for the everything but always steal a few bites of my fiance’s onion. Fun fact: Nikki and I used to live next to the midtown location and would go there together for weekend breakfast circa 2009-2010! We’re both obsessed.

Lately, my bagel game has changed and I’ve been craving the hand-rolled, wood-fired delicacy that is Black Seed. Last weekend I found myself in NYC for a special occasion- literally there for 48 hours- and HAD to make a trip to Black Seed. (For the record, I’m supposed to be living in New York but this summer I’ve been spending more time in LA.) Their bagels, priced at $11 (for lox) and require at least a 45 minute wait on Sunday morning, are better than delish because of the crispy outside (wood-fired, get it?).

I enjoy the whole experience of going to Black Seed. It is a tiny spot on Elizabeth Street that makes you feel like you’re stepping into a Euro cafe with a few high top tables and a small bench outside. I love how the menu is written on a stained mirror – it looks Parisian rustic chic. You can see the huge wood-fire oven in the back and best yet, they serve Stumptown coffee. My go-to is the everything bagel with veggie cream cheese. AND a side of avocado, of course.

I recently learned that Black Seed now makes pizza bagels!! The best part is that they are only served at night. How genius is that? It is high on my list of things to try.

Black Seed-Sheena

What’s Cookin’? – Shutterbean’s Honey Mustard Fried Chicken Sliders

I like to wander blogs and magazines for dinner inspiration. One of my go-to’s is Tracy Benjamin of the beautiful blog, Shutterbean. She’s a Bay Area food and photography blogger who makes healthy and sometimes indulgent, simple food that is really beautiful. Her step-by-step photos and lighthearted writing makes each recipe seem totally within reach.

This week she shared scrumptious looking sliders. I don’t eat a lot of chicken nor am I a huge slider fanatic but what I am is a honey mustard LOVAH. And I also figured, if I’m going to cook chicken, it might as well be fried. I think they’d be great for an easy night in or next time I host book club. I think I’ll add avocado to it.

Here’s the link to the recipe and a photo that’ll make you drool. I’ll share my own version when I get around to making it!

shutterbean 9.8

 

Meals I Love: SPQR

A great meal for me is characterized by a warm ambiance, excellent service and top-notch food. All of these factors in harmony are what I love about going out to eat. It’s not just about the food. At SPQR in Pacific Heights, it’s hard to complain about any of these components. I’ve been twice, and the first time I had no expectations and was blown away by the unique, flavorful dishes. The second time I had high hopes and was once again, in awe of it.

It’s a small restaurant but all the staff, from the front of the house to the dishwashers move in sync. It’s like watching a show. The best part to witness this all go down is at the Chef’s counter. Your food is prepared and plated in front of you with skill, speed and precision. It’s so much fun to watch.

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It’s a changing menu but a few dishes seem to be constants. To start, the Chicken Liver Mousse is phenomenal. It’s rich but light at the same time. If you dig pate, it’s a must-order. It would also behoove you to order a salad. They’re not your average butter lettuce piles. We ordered one with crispy onions and broccoli. It’s sounds odd but the mix of textures and temperature made for a great start to the meal. Ooh and look how pretty.

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The pastas here are really the stars of the show. They’re non-traditional combinations but feel comforting and homey. The most recent time I went there were 4 of us so we could share everything. Up first was the squid ink pasta with uni. What’s not to love

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These eggplant ravioli with burrata and tomatoes did not disappoint. Fresh and elegant.

photo 3

My favorite dish was probably this risotto with peking duck and complimentary black truffles. What’s better than black truffles? FREE black truffles. Maj props to the chef for hooking us up all the way.

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Our fourth pasta dish was a wild mushroom stuffed ravioli that had piles of mushrooms on top. It was absolute heaven and evidently too delicious to even stop and photograph. SPQR is such a special place because it’s beautiful, well-executed food without any pretense.

Fun fact: SPQR is Latin for Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, referring to the government of Ancient Rome. It is used as the official emblem of its municipality and if you go to Rome today, you’ll see “SQPR” on everything from a coat of arms to manholes.

Ferry Building Saturdays

Saturday mornings are full of promise. When I wake up it always takes me a few seconds to remember it’s the weekend and I can do whatever I want! What I usually end up doing is heading straight for the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. It’s my favorite way to start the weekend. I like to put a podcast in my ears, lace up my sneakers, and begin my brisk walk towards the Embarcadero. I always start with coffee, usually Sightglass. It’s a San Francisco original and so delicious. I get the Vanilla Cold Brew with whole milk… shhh.. it’s really good; it’s creamy and luscious, like having dessert for breakfast.

8.16 sightglass

Coffee in hand there’s really only one option for food: chilaquiles from Primavera. It’s probably my favorite breakfast item in the whole world. Super fresh and they never skimp on the avocados. Ask for extra pickled veggies, too.

8.16 chilaquilesIf I ever leave San Francisco I will miss the Ferry Building Farmers Market the most. There’s no better place for great food and discovering and supporting local vendors. It’s my happy place!

8.16 ferry bldg 2