Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day: Things I’ve Learned From My Father

I’d like to say Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there today. In my own 23 years of life, there are twenty-three things that I’ve learned from my Dad about the food world. Hope you all enjoy!
  1. Never mix coffee and pineapple, ever.
  2. Cilantro is a Mexican’s favorite herb.
  3. All beef hotdogs, never a good thing.
  4. You CAN eat bread pudding for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  5. You can and should also eat gelato at least once a day.
  6. Tortillas are good with everything.
  7. Appendicitis is not a stomachache.
  8. Pea soup = young midgets throwing up on you.
  9. Cookies that look like dog food are still dog food.
  10. In case of an emergency, always stock up on condensed milk.
  11. Always use a compost pile, just remember to keep it clean or else you’ll end up having furry friends.
  12. Melons on the side of the road with a FREE sign on them are a steal.
  13. Never finish a whole batch of cherries in one sitting, bad news all around.
  14. Omelets are a staple for dinner.
  15. Fish Tacos from a “stand” (aka young child) in Ixtata takes a steel stomach.
  16. Six hot dogs and one jelly donut everyday is perfectly healthy for a young boy of ten years old.
  17. Watering down one’s cranberry juice is a great way to save money.
  18. To help your kids grow, give them cod-liver oil (sorry, Michael).
  19. You should never force your daughter to drink her coffee with curdled half-and-half.
  20. Mold can be simply cut off.
  21. Don’t ever go on a 20-mile bike ride followed by inhaling a blueberry pie with your friend.
  22. John Madden’s Turducken is pretty good and I highly recommend it.
  23. And lastly, if your apple juice has a worm in it, don’t complain; mail the worm back to the manufacturer.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! We hope that you have an amazing day and enjoy some good food. We look forward to having more foodie stories for the future.

Love,
Your kids

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Agave Viejo

The other day while walking to San Pedro Square on my lunch break I noticed that one of my favorite classy lunch hangouts, Speido Ristorante, had sadly closed its doors. But, in its place was a trendy looking cantina and tequila bar – Agave Viejo. Apparently Speido’s San Mateo location is still open and Agave Viejo is a “sister location.”

While attending the free Music in the Park last night, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to hang out with some friends and venture to Agave Viejo. Happy hour lasts until 7pm so we made it just in time for a round of blended margaritas. The waitress showed up with an oversized shaker – very cool. But, then we realized, how are we suppose to pour our BLENDED drinks in a shaker? Hello, these aren’t cocktails on the rocks. Our mysterious waitress went missing, so we had to visit the bar and ask for a pitcher. The bartender looked at my friend like she was crazy -- I’d like to see him pour the margaritas into our glasses.

After our waitress arrived, she seriously had no idea what was on the menu. She didn’t know what “well drinks” were and hadn’t tried anything on the menu aside from the enchiladas suizas.

We all ordered and waited and waited…the chips and salsa were good.

Then, we got our food. I ordered my traditional Mexican staple – traditional enchiladas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy for the sauce. Once again, maybe it’s because I’m picky (please see my Manuel’s review) or maybe it’s because I am spoiled with my grandma’s cooking or maybe these just sucked. The sauce was very similar to the enchilada sauce that you would get at Chevy’s – very dark red with almost too much chili powder and not enough salt (haha although, I did polish off my entire plate since I was suffering from starvation). There was also a side of rice and pinto beans – nothing special, once again I ate it.

THEN, the check came. Drinks were suppose to be $4 dollars each, with 4 people our drink total somehow came out to $16.25, where the extra quarter charge came from, I have no idea. Perhaps it was for using both a shaker and a pitcher?

THEN, my friend got a taco salad and was charged extra for chicken (even though the chicken was included), our waitresses response: “Oh yea the menu’s weird, someone else asked me about that, but yea the chicken is extra.” Oh hell no – give me the manager. Manager looked, basically said his waitress was an idiot for charging us and re-did our bill.

Now, I have never worked in a restaurant before and have never been a waitress. And, I understand this girl was probably new since this place just opened. But, if you are new at your job (regardless of the industry), you should probably go to work PREPARED. Familiarize yourself with the menu, prices, variations that the cook can do, how the food is prepared, etc. Don’t give me some BS answer about “oh yea the menu’s weird” – so what she is really saying is “yes, I also made the same mistake to that table, but that sucker actually paid the extra bucks.”

I guess this isn’t a real review – more of a rant! Bottom line – people need to make sure they are hiring *smart* people, since they are always a reflection of them. When you look dumb, so does your boss.

Bottom line – food was mediocre, atmosphere was awesome, waitress – see above.

Information:
Name: Agave Viejo
Address: 151 W Santa Clara San Jose, CA 95113
URL: http://www.agaveviejous.com/
Pricing: On average $10-15 bucks for dinner; most Happy Hour drinks are $4 dollars.
Byte Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Weekish: A Recap

I know most of you have been dying for updates. So here is a brief re-cap of things I’ve been working on and reasons for while I’ve been social and haven’t had the time to update the blog...

Top Chef Masters: No surprise, Mr. Hubert Keller ended up making his way to the Top Chef Masters circle with his hearty dishes that were creative and seasoned. I mean, the guy made Mac-in-Cheese for college kids in a real dorm room. He got major kudos for improvising - I mean seeing a Frenchie run back and forth to the men’s restroom using the sink and shower to make sure his pasta wasn’t overcooked was priceless.

I am excited to see which four chefs will be competing this week…

Reminder: Top Chef Masters is on Wednesday’s at 10 pm on Bravo.

Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend: Last Sunday, I attended Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend. First off, if you attend this event I strongly recommend that you go early to avoid the crowds. There was a range of people that attended from hippies to families to young people like me looking for some free food. Overall, it was super fun – the ENTIRE Sunset HQ is open where you can walk along the hundreds of booths to see what vendors are selling, eat amazing food or check out Sunset’s kitchen and ask questions about how recipes make it into the magazine.

Hopefully, you don’t get suckered in like my mom and end up stopping off at all the booths to talk to each sales guy/girl.

It was fun to go early since you were able to easily make you way to the free samples of Tillamook cheese, jello, meat, olives, olive oil, etc.

My Mom picked me up a copy of the “Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook” and I was able to meet Cindy Pawlcyn, the chef of Mustards Grill in Napa. A pleasant woman with some great looking hearty recipes – I can’t wait to try a few out.

After mingling around and getting some food, I saw some kids walking around with ice cream. I figured I couldn’t pass that up since I wanted to make sure I got my dairy intake for the day…. KICKS Cookies and Ice Cream had a little cart where I was able to get a fresh cookie ice cream sandwich. KICKS prides itself on the fresh cookies (made daily), no artificial or trans fats and natural ingredients. KICKS is located in the heart of Willow Glen on Lincoln Avenue, in between Coe Ave. and Fruitdale.

The only disappointment to the day was the “Sunset sale” in which they claimed to have leftover products from photo shoots and such – instead it was a booth with a bunch of garage sale looking junk that wasn’t appealing at all.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Events: Great American Food and Music Feast

Basically there are a few reasons why I love summer:

1. Because seasonal food is the best
2. Because it's typically hot outside so I can go tanning
3. Because you can usually combine both 1 and 2

As I was getting ready for work I saw a commercial for the "Great American Food and Music Feast." Basically think Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay mixed with food at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

Once again, how can you go wrong with BBQ, Flay, Fieri, music and a Best Burger in SF Challenge (however, this is taking place in Mountain View -- biased, I think yes).

Tickets are on sale now and range in price from $26 bucks to get this...$531 bucks. The heifer ticket includes backstage passes to meet Bobby and Guy.

Details:
When: Saturday, June 13th at noon
Where: One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View 94043
Price: General admission: $26-531
URL: LiveNation.com

And, DON'T FORGET -- this weekend is Sunset Magazine's "Celebration Weekend"!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Katsuya

A Foodie in L.A. – Part 3 of 3

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting my final posting for LA – welp, here it goes:

Okay, I have to admit, this is not the first time I’ve dined at Katsuya. So, I had to make sure that my previous pre-conceived notions of this amazing place wouldn’t affect me. Hmm…a bias, I think not…

There are three Katsuya locations – Hollywood (where I ate), Brentwood (where I previously ate) and Studio City. Also, look out for other locations in Vegas and Miami that will be opening soon.

Katsuya is actually a Hollywood hotspot, with famous stars such as Audrina Patridge, Rihanna and Jay Z, Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria and Tony Parker eating at the joint.

Guys – be sure to dress LA-ish, aka you’ll be a winner in tight jeans, a button down and extra points for neon and Ray-Ban’s. Girls – if people confuse you for a streetwalker, you pass. Iunfortunately did not get the memo as I looked around and saw 40-year-old wannabe cougars resembling Stiffler’s mom prowling around in their tight and short clothes. Seriously, how hard is it to get a bigger size ladies?
If you haven’t guessed already, Katsuya is a “Japanese” restaurant. But, you won’t find a traditional bento box on this menu. It’s Japanese food, with flair.

Upon entering, we waited by the bar. My party of seven huddled around these high glass blocks with a knife in it – very trendy, just squished. The entire restaurant was decorated with bright red paintings contrasting with white tables. Even though we made reservations, this was Hollywood, so we waited 45 minutes to get our table.

Katsuya is family style, so ordering a lot of dishes is a must. Since we had a fairly large group we ordered a variety of dishes, including: Creamy Rock Shrimp Tempura, Kobe Style Filet with Foie Gras Plum Wine Soy Sauce, Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Seared Albacore with Garlic Soy Lemon Butter, Japanese Mushroom, Asparagus and Shrimp Tobanyaki, Lobster Dynamite.

Every dish was amazing – each was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of seasoning. Hands down, my favorite dish was the Lobster Dynamite. It was a dish our waitress had recommended and proved to be a table favorite. Think a traditional Spider Roll, but substitute the softshell crab with Lobster and mix it with the creamy-ness that you get in a California Roll, in one word: delish.

The second best dish was the Creamy Rock Shrimp Tempura. They were little shrimp cooked tempura style (battered and deep fried) smothered in a spicy orange sauce. What I loved was that the shrimp wasn’t so crispy it was hard to bite into, instead it was cooked to a nice consistency and the shrimp inside wasn’t chewy (which happens to a lot of tempura).

In a close second – the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna. Essentially, the rice is cooked to a “crisp” (with a nice brown to it) served with a spicy tuna (resembling a a tuna-tar-tar on top of the crispy rice). Then for presentation, a little pepper slice sits on top.

Overall, all the dishes were superb.


Alright – the verdict.

Basically, this place almost gets a perfect score. In fact, I went back and forth with it. Instead, it gets 4.75 bytes out of 5. I know this is “so LA” and perhaps I am a Nor-Cal bumkin, but does anyone ever want to wait 45 minutes for a table AFTER making reservations? If so, you are probably crazy. And, I did think it was a bit pricey, but I guess that’s just the price you pay to potentially see famous peeps.

Information
Name: Katsuya
URL: http://www.sbeent.com/katsuya/
Pricing: $15-20 lunch special; $25+ per dinner dish
Address: 6300 Hollywood Blvd. , Los Angeles 90028
Byte Rating: 4.75 out of 5