Friday, September 30, 2011

Pig N Chik - Emory

Pulled pork platter with cole slaw and hush puppies.

A new outpost of Pig N Chik opened recently not far from my house at the corner of Briarcliff and Clifton. One evening I decided to try it out. Although I am glad to have a BBQ place in the neighborhood, the food did not impress me. The pulled pork was decent but not memorable and the grilled wings were very plain. The banana pudding - made with a moon pie - was unique but also not as good as homemade. For Atlanta BBQ I still prefer Fox Brother's and have also recently enjoyed Sweet Auburn BBQ's food truck.

Grilled wings.

Banana pudding with a moon pie.

Pig-N-Chik on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Poquito - Latin American Cuisine in San Francisco's Dogpatch Neighborhood

Churrasco - most delicious steak EVER! Grilled beef with a fried egg on a bed of rice, sweet plantains and spinach salad.

While in the Bay area recently, I truly enjoyed my visit to Poquito, a Latin American Tapas Bar in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood. Poquito was a highlight, not only because of the unique Latin American flavors but also because of the excellent service and variety of dishes offered. The above steak was excellent, something I would order again in a heartbeat and I am not usually a steak person. The sweet plantains and Spinach salad with cheese and dried fruit only added additional bursts of flavor to the mouthwatering steak, paired perfectly with a fried egg and delicious rice. Yes even the rice was better than usual.

L to R: Habas Fritas (fava beans, fried and salted); Chulpi (Ecuadorean corn kernels); Tostado (crunchy corn kernels, the Andean version of popcorn). Order one of these for an authentic South American start to the meal - great paired with drinks also.

Street sign.

Full bar.

Dining room.

Arepa con relleno - plain arepa topped with pork fritada, green onions, sweet plantain, cheese and white beans. Cheesy and delicious.

Shrimp tacos on jicama wrappers with pickled slaw and guanabana balsamic reduction. I LOVE the use of jicama instead of a tortilla - makes it healthier and adds a wonderful crunch to the delicious shrimp taco.

Homemade Hibiscus Cooler - yum. Other non-alcoholic drinks offered: Guanabana, Blackberry, Guayaba, Naranjilla or Lucuma smoothies as well as Hibiscus soda and Guava and Mango Nectar. Poquito has a full bar as well.

Shrimp Ceviche, Ecuadorean style. I love ceviche and this did not disappoint. The Eduadorean style was full of tomatoes and adding popcorn and tostado enriched the crunch factor.

Empanadas: 3 varieties are offered. These cheese and bean ones were delicious.

Empanadas de Aire con guayaba - sugar crusted empanadas with guava & cheese filling. Although stuffed I had to try these and again, a new delicious flavor. These would be great for breakfast with a cup of coffee!

Yours truly with co-owner Jason Yoo. Richard Vila is the second owner. If you live in SF or if you are visiting, this is a really neat place to try. I look forward to visiting again someday.

Poquito on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gourmet Brunch with Friends at their Home

Quiche, chocolate bacon waffles and fruit.

While in California we were treated to a lovely delicious brunch at the home of friends. The food was excellent and the hostess showed me how she grates bacon and chocolate into the waffles to give them a unique, rich flavor. We are available anytime for another meal - well anytime we are in the Bay Area again!

Smoked salmon blini with capers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Korean BBQ in San Mateo

Chicken on the grill.

While in California we were also treated to a wonderful Korean BBQ meal by our friend Jose's parents. Delicious!

Yum - marinating steak.

Cooking the delicious steak.

Palo Alto Farmer's Market and Half Moon Bay

Blowing in the wind at Half Moon Bay.

While in California we also checked out Half Moon Bay and visited the Palo Alto Farmer's Market. The market is full of fresh foods, delicious prepared items and my favorite: free samples.

Making naan at the Palo Alto Farmer's Market.

Pear & Chocolate Crepe with Whipped Cream.

Rotisserie chickens at the market.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beautiful Wedding Cake

Beautiful wedding cake for our friends Jose and Suzanne. The ceremony and the reception were held in Los Gatos, California back in May.

Akaoni - Japanese Cuisine in Carmel by the Sea, CA

Fabulous sushi - love the spicy tuna roll.

When we were in the Bay Area earlier this year we dined at a fabulous little Japanese restaurant called Akaoni in Carmel-By-the-Sea. If the town name is not cute enough for you, the quaint shops, the fountains and the beautiful landscaping will make you wish you could stay longer. The sukiyaki brought back memories from my time in Japan, as did the "sosu" served with the fried squid. The sushi was also excellent, especially the spicy tuna roll.

Fresh squid dipped in panko and fried. Served with the famous "sosu".

Sukiyaki - a homestyle classic. Takes me back to my school days in Japan.

Chef at work.

The unassuming entry.

Akaoni on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rooster 14 Cookies: The story behind the magic

Rooster 14 Chocolate Chip Cookies - straight out of the oven.

If you live ITP, particularly in Inman Park, Morningside, Virginia Highlands, Grant Park or Druid Hills, you may have seen the giant Rooster 14 cookies that have a unique, raised ice cream scoop center. I first tried one at Savi Urban Market, where the cookie is sold more frequently than in any other retail location. The cookies are also available at all three Doc Chey's locations, Pizza Maddio's and several other locations which you can view here. Mail order is also available. I recently had the opportunity to watch Rooster 14 founder and head chef, Nancy Portaleo, at work actually making the cookies. The best part: I got a warm, straight out of the oven Rooster 14 cookie. I know you are jealous. I am drooling right now just thinking about it! I also learned some interesting facts about the cookie, its history and its future.

Nancy Portaleo, formerly a make-up and hair artist, began her catering company when her daughter was born. She caters mostly film and photography shoots and for dessert, she often includes her special chocolate chip cookie. After countless consumers inquired about this tasty cookie, she decided to create Rooster 14 so that more people could experience this spectacular cookie. The name comes from memories of her childhood home on Long Island: there was a rooster image on the side of her family's house and her street number was 14.

The cookie itself is saltier than most, with a shortbread base that I love. There is a trade secret involved - I literally had to leave the room during the dough-making process so I have no idea what it is! Portaleo uses La Vencedora vanilla, which she believes really adds to the taste - it is imported from Mexico and can be purchased online. Something about the cookie's ice cream scoop center just begs you to eat more. I did not inquire about the calorie count and I don't want to know! It is big enough to be shared and makes a wonderful gift. In stores the cookies are hand selected out of a glass jar - very nostalgic - and put in a paper bag. Portaleo plans to stay away from individually plastic-wrapped cookies in her effort to honor the past and be environmentally friendly. The cookies can also be delivered or shipped in cute boxes.

Owner/chef Nancy Portaleo forms the Rooster 14 dough balls. You have to get this right or the cookie will not come out properly! I even tried my hand at it and finally produced an acceptable scoop!

More dough. Yum!

The adorable boxes used for shipped orders. A Rooster 14 dozen is 14 cookies - now that's a dozen I'd like to receive!

The future of Rooster 14: Portaleo plans to debut a cookies and milk mobile food truck in the near future which will sell the original cookie as well as smaller versions called "chickie 14's" and even tinier "chickie fourteenies". She also plans to introduce several new cookie flavors and ice cream sandwiches. A quick preview of some of the projected cookie flavors: lemon shortbread, spiced pecan chocolate chip, peanut butter dipped in chocolate, chocolate dipped toasted almond with a caramel sea-salt drizzle. For the ice cream sandwiches, she plans: oatmeal buttermilk pancake cookie with bacon ice cream; graham cracker sandwich cookie with marshmallow ice cream dunked in chocolate and more! I will definitely post an update when the truck is up and running! I can't wait to try more.