Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer Food Series Part 2: Napa and San Francisco

Continuation from the last post...

After we took our exam in LA, we took a road trip up to Norcal for an extended weekend trip. I ate at way too many places, to the point that I don't remember the names of some of those restaurants, but here are some highlights. 

Bone-in rib-eye and Trifecta Freeze iced coffee at Harris Ranch. During our drive up to Norcal, we stopped at this place which is the biggest beef producer and largest ranch in California. They have a steakhouse on the ranch, and we stopped by for a steak. Between me, Khoi, and his sister, we split a 24oz ribeye and could barely finish the thing but it was fantastic.


Wine tasting at V. Sattui Winery. The day after our drive up, we went up to Napa since I had never been before. Napa is such a pretty place, and good food and good drinks makes everything a gazillion times better than it already is.

I shared some of Khoi's wine flight, but I really liked drinking the grape juice (and the sweet wines that tasted like juice).

Dinner at Ad Hoc. We wanted to pick somewhere special to celebrate on our trip, and Ad Hoc had been on our bucket list for the longest time (we've even tried to DIY their fried chicken at one point). We made reservations almost a month ahead of time and dining here was probably the most excited I've been in awhile. Unfortunately I dug into the food too quickly without recording the menu, so I have no idea what the food we ate was actually called...

Dranks ^^

An insanely decadent salad with the most fantastic croutons I've had in my life.

Short rib with bone god this was insane.

Creamed corn, 'twas so darn rich.

They had an add-on family style fish dish. I don't know what kind of fish this is or how they prepared it, but it was fab.

Beer biscuits and chez o.O almost everyone who knows me IRL knows that I greatly dislike cheese, so this was an odd and slightly disappointing post-dinner course...

...but the peaches 'n cream dessert course was worth in. My god it was so worth it.

San Francisco

Brunch at Lord George. After our Napa explorations, it was time for some brunch n' drinks and some city culture. We chose to dine at Lord George, since it has good reviews online and was close to the SFMOMA. The food there was delicious standard brunch fare, but what was truly fantastic was sitting under this enormous ridiculous painting of who I presume to be Lord George.

Art at SFMOMA. This popular modern art museum had recently reopened after a long period of renovations, so we booked advanced tickets to check it out. Unfortunately Khoi was too full to appreciate the modern art, hence puzzled expression above. 

Snacks on the LinkedIn building balcony. One of our friends who works there sneaked us up, huehue.

I still have about three more posts in this series to wrap up my summer food and travels, so stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Food Series Part 1: Birmingham and LA

These past few months have been a whirlwind. I finished my third year of school back in May, took a month off to stay with my parents in Birmingham and prep for Step 2 CK, then flew to Los Angeles for Step 2 CS. After exams, Khoi and I took a road trip up to SF before heading back to school. School has been incredibly stressful, as I was working 70+ hours/week during some rotations, but I also had some chiller rotations during which I was able to fit in a NYC trip.

 I've been MIA for some months now, but now I have a conglomerate of photos collected over months to share through several posts. I'm going to be posting them over the next few weeks, since I'm almost done with applications for residency and my schedule is calming down.

Birmingham, AL

TBH there isn't too much fun things to do in Birmingham which makes for a better study environment, but I did get to eat some amazing home cooked food, example above. My mom is the true master chef as she doesn't even use recipes.

On one of my study breaks, Khoi and I ventured out to Saw's BBQ. I've been there before previously for their pulled pork and such, but their ribs are on a whole nother level. Also these are some enormous dudes -- I was hungry and I could only eat one rib before I started to feel full t.t

3+ weeks of studying and 2500+ practice questions later, Khoi and I finally took our tests. My parents treated us out to dinner afterwards at Ocean, which was a pretty snazzy place. We ordered the creme de la creme appetizer -- their seafood tower -- and it was everything I had hoped for and more.

Los Angeles, CA

After we landed in LA, Khoi's family took us out to dinner at Jazz Cat, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. It's essentially a combination of hot pot and shabu shabu, in that everyone gets their own little pot with their own delicious broth (unlike shabu shabu, the broth isn't just water). It's one of the most satisfying meals ever, and it's hard to describe the experience unless you live it.

Ice cream for dessert after dinner at Chelo Creamery. This is one of the most unique desserts that I've had, but the wait was insane (40 minutes for ice cream???) so I'm unsure whether or not it was worth it.

And here's how they make it:

A video posted by Helen S. (@helennmelon) on

In the same area but on a different day, we got our korean food fix at a restaurant called Junkabok. They specialize in dishes using sous vide pork, and everything was incredibly soft and tender. They also had hot pot, and since hot pot is one of my favorite foods, I was a happy camper. 

We also got our poke fix at Pokicraze...

Our ramen fix at Ramen Yukino Ya...

And our Thai food fix at Thai Nakorn...I'm getting so hungry reviewing all these photos as I post them.

After a few days of chowing and pretending to study (because let's be honest, CS doesn't require much studying), we took our test and came home to a lobster feast from Newport

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

March/April Recent Eats

Hi everyone! Once again I've been MIA -- school has been crazy busy. The food at work has been catered for the past two months, so I've been saving money by not buying lunch... only not really since I've used it as an excuse to eat out more (such guilt). I'm now finally done with third year, and I'm currently studying for a board exam, but it's a couple of weeks away so I figured I'd post some recent eats during my study break.

Happy hour at Kona Grill. They have a really great deal with all sushi and appetizers for 1/2 off until 7PM, and it's located at a really nice mall so it's always a fun occasion for a Friday night date. And their passionfruit creme brulee, man oh man.

Fried ice cream at El Vaquero. Okay so posting about eating at this place akin to posting about Bob Evans or Denny's, but I absolutely have to rave about their amazing fried ice cream. This thing is freaking like $4 and it's enormous and filling. And you can get some cheap beer for $2, plus the free chips/salsa that they serve you. It's not the healthiest meal, but when you feel like eating dirty, this is how to do it.

Miso ramen at Fukuryu. The ramen here itself is pretty stellar, even though we had to get something else other than what we wanted. They had no Tonkatsu...and I was talking to some friends who ate here previously, and they were also out of Tonkatsu (so do they ever even make Tonkatsu??). Also, their green tea soft serve ice cream was pretty sad. They have a lot to work out, but they are new in town and I'm willing to give them another try when I have a craving. 

Pork belly cassoulet at The Crest. Khoi and I ate here for brunch after exams, and it was quite tasty. I would've taken a photo of his food too (he ordered the sweet potato hash) but our two dishes were plated the same so I figured one pic is enough. I've heard stellar things about their lunch special and their shrimp and grits, so I think it's definitely worth a revisit. 

Sushi night at home again after a trip to Tensuke Market. This time we even bought an uni boat huehuehue.

Spaghetti with fried eggs recipe by Mark Bittman. Okay so this is likely the saddest photo of DIY food that I've posted on this blog in its four-year history BUT it's surprisingly tasty yet fast. All the more to prove that Mark Bittman is a genius. 

And a couple of tiny life updates...

I voted for the first time as an American citizen!!!

We're finally done with MS3!!!

I'm probably not going to post again at least until I'm done with my tests at the end of this month. I'm going to be in LA for part of my boards, and then heading on a road trip to NAPA(!!!) so hopefully I'll have more tasty food pics to share then.

And last but not lease...the craziest cocktail of 2016