All posts tagged “japanese

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Samovar Tea Lounge

Samovar Tea Lounge is a great place for brunch, lunch, or a long afternoon tea. Whether you are visiting the the SF MOMA and need to relax your legs, or you’re looking for a loungey place for a quiet afternoon, Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of delicious food and exquisite teas.

My favorite dish on the menu is the Salmon & Egg Bowl. It has two scoops of brown rice, cooked salmon, two poached eggs, and a lemon ponzu sauce. It’s simple, healthy, and filling, and reminds me of Japanese comfort food.

My favorite drink at Samovar is the Masala Chai, which has the deep spice taste of real chai (not the overly sweet nonsense from Starbucks).

One of the other dishes I enjoyed is the Duck Scallion Waffle, a savory waffle that made a great brunch meal.

Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of sandwiches, like the Tea Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich, as well as salads and small plates. They also offer a full afternoon tea, complete with the multiple tiered plates, and although they are on the pricier side, include a pot of tea (most teas a la carte are $10+) and a selection of tasty sweets and savory items.

As far as a more classic brunch goes, they also offer toasts, with toppings such as chocolate and sea salt (basically Nutella), peanut butter and banana, avocado, salmon, etc.

While they are delicious, the portions are a bit small for the price. I love Samovar Tea Lounge for a relaxing Sunday afternoon treat, and appreciate their idea of elevated comfort food, a lot of which is based on Japanese home cooking. The great location (in the middle of Yerba Buena Gardens) and the view of the Financial District make this a great spot for a spot of tea. 😉

730 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

 

 

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Cassava

Cassava is truly a gem tucked into the corner of Balboa and 36th in the Outer Richmond. The amazing duo Chef Kris Toliao and Yuka Ioroi created Cassava as a unique space that serves California cuisine with a Japanese twist, focusing on a variety of different grains and spices. They have an amazing dinner menu, with dishes like Duck Confit with Heirloom Polenta, Oven Roasted Mary’s Chicken, and my favorite Seared Chinook Salmon. While dishes can be ordered by the item, Cassava also offers a prix fixe dinner menu at $42 per guest, which currently comes with these delectable courses:

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I had the incredible pleasure of being invited for dinner and every single dish was amazing! The items change seasonally, but I still remember the pumpkin panna cotta I had during the fall of last year. I recently went back to Cassava for brunch, and had just as amazing of an experience that I had for dinner.

For an appetizer, we ordered the baked burrata and poached egg, with celery root puree, sautéed swiss chard, and brussels sprouts that is spread onto a crisp toast. The dish is full of garlicky goodness and warm cheese that literally melts in your mouth.

Above is the Barbecue Pork Ribs “Hash,” with potatoes, quinoa, and a poached egg. The dish is well balanced with greens and tomatoes, and the spice mixture reminds me of the tastes of curry flavor and za’tar.

The Pork Shoulder and Fried Egg Open Sandwich is one of Cassava’s greatest creations, with a juicy 12 hour braised pork shoulder, arugula, olive tapenade, and a fried egg served on top of a large hunk of bread. The portions are generous, and the rich pork flavors make me want to eat this for every meal!

Along with the American and Californian dishes, Cassava also pays homage to classic Japanese dishes, such as the traditional Japanese breakfast. It comes with rice, pickled vegetables, salmon, miso soup, and a poached egg in dashi. I don’t eat rice often for breakfast, but this healthy and well balanced meal is a standard breakfast in Japan. I loved every bit of it, and could not get enough of the salmon! Mixing and matching each component of the meal gives you the ability to enjoy each item in multiple different ways.

Cassava is full of amazing flavors and dishes, always using the best ingredients for a fresh and healthy meal. I would go here for any meal, and definitely recommend it for your next brunch or dinner date!

Big thanks to Yuka and the Cassava staff for always being so friendly and hospitable 🙂

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3519 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

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Hawker Eats

With the giant Ramen boom in the Bay Area, it’s difficult to figure out which ramen shops are really worth trying. Many places threw authenticity out the window, and created Western twists of the classic Japanese comfort food. Hawker Eats in the Richmond, however, successfully kept the authentic flavor while introducing slight changes to their menu, creating rich broths and decadent toppings in their noodle soups.

Hawker Eats, crowd wise, can be a hit or miss. There are about six or so tables, and it’s a toss up on when it is super busy or easy to snag a table. Either way, it’s worth the wait!

They have a wide range of appetizers, from Takoyaki (Fried Octopus Balls) to Wagyu Beef, as well as Seared Ahi Tuna, Greens, and other bites of meat. Their full menu offers dishes such as Japanese Curry, Izakaya style skewers, and multiple different Ramen choices with a variety of toppings. The Takoyaki tasted just like the Takoyaki Mom&Pop stands in Osaka, the Ahi Tuna was dripping in a delicious Ponzu sauce, and the Wagyu beef was just… perfect.

Below is the K.O. Ramen, the classic Tonkotsu broth with Pork Belly, Pork Cheek, a poached egg, and garlic sesame oil. As a ramen addict who sticks to the classics, this ramen flavor pleased my desire for authentic broth, but had an extra layer of flavor from the garlic sesame oil and the juicy portions of pork. I would’ve ordered and eaten 5 of these if I could!

Underneath the K.O. Ramen is the Spicy Miso Ramen with tender slices of duck (my favorite!), Brussel Sprouts, corn, and a poached egg. This ramen was definitely erring on the Westernized side, with the unforgivingly red broth and the heaps of non-traditional toppings. The duck, however, was flawless and rich in flavor, and the broth wasn’t overly spicy, giving the noodles a nice kick.

While I do admit that I am hard to please when it comes to ramen, Hawker Eats definitely met my expectations, and the fact that it hasn’t blown up on social media (like Mensho Tokyo in SF and Orenchi Ramen in SJ) makes me hope that it will continue to stay a delicious secret 🙂

1650 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121