San Francisco

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I just returned from San Francisco, a city that makes it very easy to gain five pounds from eating delicious foods and then torturously makes you burn it off by walking its steep hills. One such delicious food is Bi-Rite‘s ice cream. But that’s an obvious answer.

A turn off of busy, food-laden Valencia Street will bring you to Esperpento, a cozy tapas place.

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The Gambas Al Ajillo are tasty, full of garlic and white wine. But, surprisingly, my favorite dish was the Asparagus A La Plancha. With just a sprinkle of sea salt and a squirt of lemon juice, this simple dish stole the show.

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Other things I learned on my trip:

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Dining al fresco is the best kind of dining, particularly when wine, cheese, and local blueberries are involved ;

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Earth Balance Coconut and Peanut Spread is dangerously good (and even better when spread on slices of banana);

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The Mill, a new venture formed by Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread which was recently mentioned in Food+Wine, is fabulously simple with its thick slices of bread topped with favorite spreads like butter and cinnamon sugar.

If I can say anything at all, I know I ate well while in San Francisco.

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Poolville Country Store, NY

As mentioned many times before, going to school in upstate New York leaves much to be desired in terms of culinary experiences. On the one hand, I save a considerable amount of money. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how students can subsist on Ramen noodles.

However, I got a chance to visit the Poolville Country Store, a bed and breakfast that serves way more than just breakfast. As a birthday treat, my parents came to visit and took me to this quaint spot for lunch. They specialize in locally-sourced foods, and most of the menu items were vegetarian or pescetarian, both plusses in my book. (Although, it does make one wonder how you get fresh “local” seafood when you are hundreds of miles from the ocean.)

We were first served a few squares of blueberry crumb cake. Buttery, rich goodness.

Unsure of whether or not it was lunch time or breakfast time, I settled on savory tastes despite my two cups of coffee and this blueberry treat. We ordered polenta fries, smothered in gorgonzola cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Salty but so fabulous, this dish makes me want to experiment more with polenta. The shrimp and vegetable rolls were also fabulous, with a smattering of wasabi aioli that was flavorful. My only complaint was that the menu spelled “shrimp” incorrectly.My caesar salad was standard, though the (single) anchovy on top was appreciated. It’s unfortunate there weren’t more anchovies to really bring out the flavor. I had a large bowlful of lobster bisque which was delicious, though salty. Lastly, a taste of this crab cake made our meal complete. Moist, tasty rounds of crab served with lemon aioli were fantastic. All in all, a pleasant, filling, delicious experience…particularly for upstate New York.

 

Continuation of my Mexican Food Binge

Back in December, I met with the CEO and founder of a site called Tasted Menu. The concept is simple: eat a dish, post a picture, give it a rating. Unlike Yelp and other review sites, this site helps consumers narrow down the best dishes at a restaurant or in a city. You can also search for “best dish” or “best pizza” (Seared Petit Strip Loin at O Ya and Brussel Sprout Pizza at Posto, respectively). Currently, Tasted Menu is for just the Boston area, though plans of expansion are in the near future. A mobile app is also about to be launched. I think this site will provide some very valuable data to restaurants, perhaps even more so than just a general rating of a dining experience. I’m asking you to take a peek at Tasted Menu because, even if you don’t live in Boston, it will certainly whet your appetite. One of my more recent reviews on Tasted Menu is about Tu Y Yo in Somerville, which was an eye-opening and delicious meal.

Part two of my Mexican food binge, which, as stated before, began when I decided to travel to Mexico over my spring break. My boyfriend’s last night in town before heading off to school was honored with a meal at Tu Y Yo. This, once again, is not a “TexMex” place but instead serves dishes based on family recipes that have been passed down through generations. In fact, the menu states which family member created the dish, and the year they were created. A unique menu, I would say.

We started out with the vegetable tamales. These corn husk wrapped appetizers were interesting to open, particularly as each held a different filling. Some had corn, others spinach, and some unidentifiable. They were all good, though it was the sauce and the excitement over opening each tamale that made this dish worthwhile.

My carnivorous friends enjoyed these chicken-taquito like appetizers:

I ordered the Salmón Criolla, which looked unassuming, but was delicious. The fish was a little dry but the sauce was fantastic. The best part? The shrimp and potato cakes. Dense, flavorful, and chicken-nugget-looking, they made the dish special.

The finale of my meal was perhaps the best part. The Avocado Cheesecake sounded different, so I gave it a shot. It might have a graham cracker crust and a very subtle taste of avocado, but I thought this was delicious. Avocado has such a great consistency, so I’m not surprised to find that it makes a good cheesecake filling. I wish I could have an entire avocado cheesecake–I would certainly eat the whole thing.

On my trip to Mexico, I will be on a search for avocado cheesecake and at the very least, true Mexican cuisine.