CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Friday, April 22, 2005

Hot and Heavy


The food here in Thailand is fucking unbelievable. I will have pages of posts when I get home, but for now, I'll just say that I haven't had a bad meal yet.

I can see why the Thais have a snacking culture; It's hotter than balls so you really can't eat more than a few bites in a sitting. But they are damn good bites.

I haven't had nearly enough street food while here, so I'm trying to up that quotient before I get back. Our stomachs seem to be handling whatever we've been giving them, so I think it's time to get trashy.

The bad news is that it is the hottest time of the year in Thailand. The good news is that the strawberry slushy things are great. So are the noodles. And the curry. And the everything. And it's all so cheap!

Off to find myself some grubbins. I'll be home in a week, with some tasty stories and (can you believe it?) pictures.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fit To Be Thai'd

I'm out. Off to get my whorin' on in Southeast Asia. I hope to post to all you lovelies while I'm there, but if I get too caught up in all the culinary delights to post, you can be sure I'll have pages to report when I get back.

Be slutty here in SF for me while I'm gone. Wouldn't want my tricks to get lonely. And I wouldn't want you to go hungry, lovin' you like I do.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Price You Pay for Being a Restaurant Whore

When you are a restaurant whore, food poisoning is your STD.

I'm just saying.

That said, you need to accept that it comes with the territory.

Even the best restaurants forget to wipe down a counter once in awhile so what can you do? You just eat what you like and hope for the best.

I won't name names, because I know it can happen to the best of us, but let's just say that my slutty ways have caused my abdomen to seize up in pain on more than one occasion.

So what you do hope for is that it passes quickly so you can move onto your next trick. In the meantime, stock the fridge with ginger ale and keep a bucket by the bed. You'll be back in action in no time.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Ti for Two (Ti Couz -- San Francisco, CA)

When I was in college on the east coast, and dating my darling hubby, he spent a summer working here in SF. He called me on the phone one night and the conversation went a little something like this:

HIM: We're going to some crepe place after work.

ME: Huh?

HIM: Yeah, weird, I know.

Ah, the ignorance of youth. Neither one of us could fathom that there could be an entire restaurant devoted to crepes outside of France. We were stupid fucking idiots, because the restaurant in question was Ti Couz. It's pure dumb luck that it's the first crepe restaurant either of us ate at, as we could have had a totally crappy experience at some other so-called crepe joint. Instead, I got a midnight phone call after Jon's first visit, gushing about the deliciousness of it all.

So when I finally moved to SF in 1998, I begged to go there. Every day. Until we'd been here about a month and we finally went. Considering we could walk there, there was really just no excuse for not going sooner.

So seven years later, I think I've been about 3700 times. Here are a few of my favorite things:

The Citron Presse. That's French for make your own lemonade. You get a glass with lemon concentrate, a bottle of sugar water and a carafe of regular water. You can mix at will. You can also make it last a really long time if you want to. We have one friend who goes through an entire bottle of sugar water during a visit. Ew.

The Salads. I'm partial to the simple green salad with organic greens, but I have known people to take BART from their downtown offices just to get the seafood salad for lunch.

The cheese plate or the cheese/meat plate. It's always changing but no matter what you get, it goes great with their crusty bread.

Any crepe at all, but I'm partial to a few in particular. The "Complete" (pronounced com-plet). It's got an egg (scrambled or sunny side up), cheese (gruyere) and ham. Very traditionally French. I also like the mushroom, cheese and almonds and the shrimp and mushroom. Jon loves the scallop and tomato and the "Totale" is also very popular, with tomatoes, cheese and mushrooms. All of these come in a buckwheat crepe, and all but the Complete have a tasty sauce (seafood, mushroom, etc.).

And then there's desserts. Their dessert crepes are made with white flour (as opposed to buckwheat) and get a nice artery clogging swipe of butter. Almost all of them come with a fatty bo batty wallop of chantilly cream as well. We had a special a few years ago that involved coffee ice cream, chocolate and almonds and it's pretty much all we order. But when I CAN tear myself away from that climax inducing treat, I'll go for one with berries, or just lemon and sugar. Their Crepe Suzette ain't too shabby either.

The only complaint I have about Ti Couz is that I can never figure out when the hell they are open. They change their hours so damn often, that I need a flow chart to keep track. And I hate it when my tricks are fickle.

During the one year that Jon and I spent Christmas in SF, we went to Ti Couz for lunch on Christmas Eve. And despite the fact that our friends and families were elsewhere and that it was just the two of us, it felt more like Christmas than ever. And even though I can't figure out when they are open, they get mad props for working a day that most people have off and for doing it with such love and good cheer (really, they rock). It was the best Christmas Eve meal we've ever had (as opposed to the Midwestern eats we're usually subjected to in Minnesota -- where neither of us has ever lived by the way. Jon's family really likes their traditions).

I think the best testament to Ti Couz is this: Our friends, Ben and Corinne are Parisian. They lived here in SF for awhile. The only French restaurant they could stand to eat at was Ti Couz. Three times a week.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Friday, April 08, 2005

Coming Soon

It would really be great if I could get my head out of my ass and figure out how to do something other than simple posting. Jon has assured me he'll help me with this. Here's what you can expect in the near future (and by near future, I mean before June):

Cuisine Catergories

Price Categories

Type O' Restaurant (ie, romantic, trashy, etc.)

Location Categories

Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see, m'kay? Sweet.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Oh Yeah...

I forgot to mention that my first Mesh article was published about a month ago. You can read it here. And for some reason, my first (but not middle and last) name is missing from the article. Go figure.

And if you want to go to from now on, it should point you right back here. "Should" being the operative word in that sentence, since Jon told me it would. Plus, it's less to remember.

Peace out.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Here's a Tip

When your favorite four star restaurant in SF (Campton Place) has a food and wine event with one of your favorite vineyards in the world (Dr. Burklin-Wolf), you go. But you should also drink a fuckload of water before you pass out on your husband's arm at home. I, my friends, did not do this, and now I'm paying for it.

But it was so worth it.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, April 03, 2005

It's Christmas! It's Christmas!

This is my favorite Sunday of the year, when I wake up and discover that the Chronicle has published their Top 100 Restaurants list, which in our house, is simply referred to as "the list." Like all other years, I agree with about 80% of their selections. It's time to get out that highlighter, bitches!


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Friday, April 01, 2005

One Night in Bangkok

T minus two weeks until I leave for Thailand and I'm so excited that I can barely fucking breathe. The best part about it is that our hotel in Bangkok apparently has one of the best noodle shops in the city, and it's open 24 hours, so you can bet your ass that the first thing I'm going to do when I get there at 2 in the morning is hit that.

Woo hoo!


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

The Grubbin'-est Place on Earth (Disneyland Dining -- Anaheim, CA)

So I'm a big, fat hypocrite. I shop blue. Try to patronize mom and pop businesses. I'd rather eviscerate myself than eat fast food (due to their politics and human rights violations, although the shitty food certainly contributes to that one). I buy my groceries at Rainbow and Whole Foods (a.k.a. Whole Paycheck). I use hippie cat litter. But, my friends, I have one great weakness. And that weakness is Disneyland.

It goes against my better judgment, but I just can't stay away. In fact, Jon and I were annual passholders for two years. We didn't renew this year because, well, they raised the prices for the fucking 50 year anniversary and they currently have about 2 goddamn rides open (I mean, really, closing space mountain for two years is just unacceptable). Despite not having an annual pass anymore, we still make the pilgrimage at least twice a year. And when we go, we get there when they open and don't leave until the last possible minute, running between the parks like freaks and collecting crazy amounts of fast passes so we never have to wait in a line (side note: fast pass is one of the only systems in the world built for smart people. Most things are built for the lowest common denominator, making it a world for fucking idiots). After three days there, I get what I call "Disney sickness," which is basically the shakes, combined with other signs that your body is going to completely shut down on you any minute. Because we clock at least ten miles a day when we're there, I contend that it doesn't matter how much I eat, because I'm workin' it.

Fortunately for us, Disney Dining has improved. It's no longer only shitty hamburgers and pre-packaged ice cream novelties (although, I can slum with the novelties from time to time). Here's a guide, for your own little excursion to the devil's playground:

Best Food and Drink Experience: This would have to go to the bar at Ariel's Grotto, formerly the Wolfgang Puck sponsored Avalon Cove (he pulled out after about 3 months), located in Disney's California Adventure (DCA). Jon calls this his favorite ride. The best thing about DCA is that they have a liquor license. And this bar (shout out to bartender Lisa) has the strongest damn drinks ever, with Disney-esque names like "Riptide Tea" and "Shark Attack." They also serve some relatively decent lobster nachos (with real cheese, because if I ever get that fake cheese crap on my fucking tortilla chips I will stand on the friggin' table and throw it back at the kitchen). These drinks will knock you on your ass. Try having a couple and then heading back over to Disneyland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean (hereafter referred to as simply "Pirates"). Suddenly, it's the most fun ride you've ever been on, as opposed to the ride you use to take a nap on after lunch.

Best "I need something healthy" option
: They now have kiosks that have vegetables and dip as well as apple slices with caramel dip. Jon and I love those veggies. They're surprisingly fresh (and relatively cheap). They help counterbalance the pound of cotton candy that I usually manage to eat in my first ten minutes in the park.

Best "I'm so much cooler than you" experience: Club 33. Club 33 is a member's only club, and the only place inside the Disneyland Park where alcohol can be consumed (unlike DCA, where the whole park has a license). We were able to go because our friend's brother's law firm had a membership (got that?). It used to be Walt's private dining room to entertain the important peeps. It's very nice inside, the service is great and the food is better than most other park food. We've only been for lunch, where it's a buffet, but there's fresh seafood, salads, pastas and did I mention the alcohol? You can only go with a member (or if a member gets you in), but if you get the chance, do it.

Best "I can eat without a bird shitting on me" experience: The Blue Bayou. Right next to Club 33, this eatery is actually *inside* Pirates. It's a New Orleans theme and it's dark and quiet and usually has fewer kids than the rest of the park. Try the Mardi Gras salad and the jambalaya. It's good, not great, but still better than standard amusement park fare.

Best "I have a death wish" treat
: The Dole Pineapple Whip. This is smooth and tasty but it's located in the section we affectionately call "The Place Where All the People Are" or "The Busiest Place on Earth." This would be right at the entrance to Adventureland from Main Street. Some genius decided to make the entrance pretty small, and put the most popular ride (Indiana Jones) in there, while making sure that the bathrooms were right where you enter. Thousands of fucking people and strollers and oh-my-GOD-would-somebody-please-kill-me-now. Awesome. But that pineapple whip is tasty.

Best "It's raining and I've been here since 7 in the morning" dining choice
: The Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian hotel. Nothing picks me up when it's pissing down rain at ten in the morning like a Mickey waffle. Plus, Chip and Dale are there, so I mean, c'mon. They too, have a buffet, but I'd stick with the a la carte menu, where you can also get things like huevos rancheros.

Best kept secret
: The wine bar at the Disneyland Hotel. It rocks. The restaurant (Hook's Point) above doesn't suck either.

Best "must have protein NOW" choice
: Bengal Barbecue, right across from Indiana Jones. They have skewers of meat and/or vegetables. Simple and tasty. Plus, they have Mickey pretzels.

The "I'm pretending that I don't know" transgression: French fries from the Westward 'Ho wagon, across from Thunder Mountain (a.k.a. Death Mountain). Nice way to get your grub on. Until you read the fine print that the fries are provided by my arch-enemy -- McDonalds.

Best "We're with the parents and need a place to eat" options
: Catal and Naples, both owned by the Patina group and both located in Downtown Disney. Catal has got a Mediterranean vibe, while Naples is a pizzeria. Both restaurants are good at what they do, and while I wouldn't go there often if it were a local restaurant, they are great choices for your Disney experience.

Best "Must have coffee NOW" breakfast
: La Brea Bakery in downtown Disney. Go through the line, grab your coffee and a croissant and hit that park, bitches!

Best "Can I please get some real food now?" restaurant: Napa Rose, in the Grand Californian. They poached Chef Andrew Sutton from Auberge du Soleil in Napa. The first two times we went there, we were underwhelmed, but on our last visit, with Jon's parents, his sister and her boyfriend, we were pleasantly surprised, and impressed.

The bread is good, which is always a great sign. More impressive, was the wine list put together by Michael Jordan, who has somehow morphed into a middle aged white guy.

The wine list is huge. Jon and I found ourselves wondering who actually goes there and orders the $2K bottle of wine, but no matter. Our server (who I could expose -- but I won't -- as all cast members have to wear name tags. I will say that her name tag said she's from Anaheim) came over and I asked for a sommalier, because there was a Greek wine I hadn't heard of before. She told me *she* was a sommalier so I asked her. She had no idea about the wine. I said it sounded really interesting and that I was really impressed with their list. While I was asking about the wine list, Jon threw in a "You have a great list" comment and that was that. She turned her attention from me to him and only talked to him about wine decisions for the rest of the night. It was hands down, the most blatant display of sexism I've ever experienced in a restaurant, and from a woman no less. In the end, she was of no help with the wine at all telling us about a "really unusual" wine which turned out to be a Gruner Vetliner we'd had a dozen times before. Nevertheless, what we chose on our own turned out great.

Server lady was telling us all about when she was on TV and thought she looked fat one minute, and then throwing menus at us the next. Welcome to bi-polar server land. During dessert, she brought Jon's dad a plate that said "Happy Birthday" even though we had told several people that it wasn't his birthday, but we were, in fact, celebrating an award he was getting. Oh well.

The food seems to have found it's groove. Mine was the least exciting (grilled prawns with quinoa) but still decent. Jon was madly in love with his shortrib, and declared sister's boyfriend's rabbit to be THE BEST HE'S EVER HAD. What now? You mean better than the rabbit you had at French Laundry? The answer, my friends, was YES. Holy crap.

Um. OK.

The pheasant appetizer with chanterelles was also a huge hit, and Jon's mom really liked her Petrale Sole.

Overall, I'd go back again.

So if you find yourself in the Magic Kingdom, you've got some options beyond churros and turkey legs. Not that there's anything wrong with that either.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld