All posts tagged “photograph

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Liholiho Yacht Club

Liholiho Yacht Club may have been the peak of my food adventures. Yes, it was THAT good. Nothing can beat it. (Yet?)

Liholiho is another restaurant that is largely famous because of Instagram. However, unlike Media Noche, Liholiho not only serves food that is (almost) too attractive to eat, it tastes f****** BOMB.

The space is larger than I expected, with a completely open floor plan. The kitchen sits in the center, and underneath the restaurant is its sister bar (with food), Louie’s Gen-Gen Room. The restaurant has wait times up to 3 hours (even on a week night!) and reservations can only be made a month in advance and fill up right away, so I would recommend making a res for a random night and going for it! Otherwise, line-up at 5pm and you’ll most likely be seated in the first round.

Liholiho offers a multitude of Hawaiian/Chinese/Indian fusion dishes, from small appetizer size bites to larger entrees with meats and fish. I had done a bit of research before my first meal here, and ordered the Tuna Poke and Beef Tongue Bao to start, as well as a fruity, tropical cocktail.

The Tuna Poke, served on a nori cracker with sesame oil and radish, was phenomenal. It was a generous serving of fresh tuna, and was a light snack before we dove into heavier foods. Get it.

The Beef Tongue Bao, however, might’ve changed my life. I might have an unhealthy obsession with bao (Chairman!!!!), but this bao was unlike anything I’ve tasted. I love beef tongue, and this one was tender, juicy, and there was SO much. It was wrapped up in the soft, warm poppy-seed bao bun like a little cloud, and topped with kimchi and cucumber. It was sweet, it was sour, it was juicy, it was HEAVEN. Get it. Twice.

After the smaller plates, we ordered a couple of medium sized plates.

*Disclaimer: these photos are from two different times, I did not eat all of this in one sitting. Although I probably could have.

Below is the Tuna Belly Misoyaki, with apricot, raddichio, and radish. It was good, sweet, and cooked well, but it didn’t stand out. Especially not after that Beef Tongue Bao.

Next is the Fried Rice with Bay Shrimp, Spam, and Abalone mushrooms. Although I was looking for the Spam & Rice bowl that is one of the highest Instagrammed dishes in SF, I didn’t realize it was off-menu (hint hint) and ordered this thinking it was the same. The shrimp fried rice, however, was REALLY good. I would order this again, as it was topped plentiful with shrimp and had a *tiny* kick.

Here, I redeemed myself. Look at how beautiful this is. I’m drooling. I never would’ve ordered spam before (especially in a restaurant), and have only ever tried it once in my life. However, Liholiho makes their own spam, and the (I think) Sriracha-Mayo drizzle, the pickled cucumbers, and the shower of furikake made this dish incredibly delicious.

This is a MUST when going to Liholiho (’cause if you don’t Instagram it, did you even go?).

One of two entrees we tried (one different occasions!) features the Whole Maine Lobster with preserved black bean sauce. A bit messy, but it was juicy and great! However, we were between the lobster and the next dish…

… which is honestly one of the best things we’ve ever eaten. This is the Grilled Short Rib with mushrooms, served next to the Escargot- Bone Marrow- Twice Baked Potato. It sounds like a mouthful and a weird mish-mash of ingredients but holy s***. The bone marrow potato goodness had escargot under the layers of baked potato and cheese, which melted in your mouth. The grilled short rib, which was topped with chimichurri sauce, was cooked so perfectly, and was so MOIST (I said it!), flavorful, tender, and everything you could ever want from beef.

This next part is crucial.

This first dessert was a chocolate thing with some ice cream and caramel. It was good but not memorable (clearly). It’s also off the menu now so it doesn’t matter.

THIS:

The grand finale of Liholiho Yacht club: the Baked Hawaii. It’s a Hawaiian spinoff from the Baked Alaska, which is an ice cream cake topped with a meringue, and usually torched with some sort of alcohol drizzle. The Baked Hawaii is a caramelized pineapple ice cream surrounded by a hive of ‘vanilla chiffon,’ a.k.a. marshmallow fluff, on top of a shortbread-y type cookie/cake thing (I have no idea but it’s good) and little pineapple chunks. Best dessert I’ve ever had. I love pineapple, ice cream, caramel, and marshmallow. You really can’t go wrong here.

Although it’s difficult to make a commitment for dinner a month in advance, this one is WORTH IT. I’m even making it easy for you and telling you exactly what to order so there’s no excuse. AND giving you the reservation link.

871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

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Handlebar Coffee Roasters

On a trip down to Santa Barbara for the weekend, I mapped a out a couple of cafés I could visit to get my caffeine fix – and to find a little piece of home. Handlebar Coffee Roasters, located on a side street off the downtown strip of State St., was exactly what I was looking for. With locally roasted coffee and a multitude of hot and cold drinks to choose from, as well as the long line looping outside the building, I knew I was in the right place.

While the café wasn’t necessarily large, it had outdoor seating, a large community table, and massive windows where light streamed in. At the counter, Handlebar sells small pastries and snacks, and on a shelf to the right, offers bags of coffee beans and teas, as well as different flavors of chai.

A macchiato for my father, a latte for me, and a hot chocolate for my little sister:



Everyone loved their drinks, and we regretted not coming here again the next day!
A direct quote from my father:

Handlebar > Starbucks (duh.)

Established by two bikers turned coffee roasters, Handlebar couldn’t go wrong! It’s definitely worth the visit and is only a short turn off of State St, downtown.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

128 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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La Note

La Note is one of the most highly sought-after brunch places in Berkeley. Boasting gourmet French cuisine, La Note most often has wait times of over an hour, and a large crowd waiting outside.

The food was phenomenal. La Note is mostly known for their French pastries, which you can order as a filled basket, and their incredibly fluffy egg dishes, all of which come with their garlic home fries.

Their pastries include croissants, coffee cakes, brioche, tartine, and baguettes. While the basket and a brunch plate might be too much, a select few are great to share – we ordered the Toasted Cinnamon Brioche with Lavender Honey and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Maison. I was completely taken by the Lavender Honey – the airy Cinnamon brioche dipped in the Lavender Honey was heavenly, with the Lavender leaving a subtle but lasting taste.

The main courses included a variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French brioche (fancy for French Toast), and smaller oatmeal cups. The dishes come with a side of home fries, with meaty garlic cloves as big as the potatoes, and combo dishes include the fluffiest, softest eggs you’ve ever tasted.

Above is the Les Oeufs Lucas, with Scrambled Eggs and Goat Cheese on toast and a side of home fries and roasted tomatoes. Below is the classic Two Eggs + Bacon dish, sunny side up.

I ordered the Cote Est, which was a combo plate with eggs, a pancake, and bacon or home fries. I asked the waitress for the “Swirly Pancake” after seeing multiple people enjoying them. Not only are they incredibly photogenic, but the “Swirly Pancake,” which turned out to be the Creme Fraiche pancake, was creamy and delicious too!

The coffee and eggs completely won me over, and the Creme Fraiche pancake along with the aromatic garlic and potatoes completed this incredible brunch meal. The atmosphere is perfect for family meals and cute dates, with the bustling but gentle wait staff and the romantic French environment. La Note also has a large back patio covered in greenery. This is a place I will definitely be returning to!

2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

 

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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    

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Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery

Only 3 weeks into its opening, Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery, a derivative of the Wise Sons Deli in the Mission, has accrued a large social media gathering and become an Instagram hot spot, attracting customers from all over the city. With its NY style bagels and drool-worthy Lox photos, its no wonder there was a large line outside of the building this weekend.


Of course, I ordered the Lox Bagel, open faced, on Sesame. Lox bagels are already my go-to for a breakfast splurge, and the photos I had seen only made it that much easier to decide what to eat.

The selection of bagels may seem limiting, only because they don’t have sweet options like Blueberry or Chocolate, but they do have the classic bagel staples, which go with any of the numerous shmears they have. The different toppings make up for the lack of bagel choices, ranging from regular cream cheese to almond butter, fruit, avocado, and smoked salmon shmears. For a bigger breakfast, they make sandwiches, such as the Egg & Cheese Breakfast sandwich, Veggie Sandwiches, and the Smoked Salmon sandwich.

They also serve Intelligentsia Coffee, a popular coffee company in NYC, Chicago, and LA.

For someone who is obsessed with Lox sandwiches, I was easily won over by the thick amount of salmon and the perfect amount of cream cheese, capers, and the sprinkle of dill. However, I felt like the bagel itself was a bit hard, and didn’t have the same fluffiness that bagels usually have. It could be that I’m not used to this style of bagels, but overall the sandwich was very tasty and worth waiting in line for!

I would definitely go here again, and it is gaining a lot of popularity – it’s been open for less than a month but is already on the list for many foodies in the city, and they’ve run out of bagels by 2PM most days!

1520 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
    

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Hollow

Though the alarmingly bright green color of Hollow is hard to miss, this hole-in-the-wall cafe is overlooked by many walking down Irving in the Inner Sunset.

The size of Hollow – only big enough to fit a couple tables and the barista station – suggests that it is more of a grab n’ go coffee stop, with a handful of tasty pastries that can be easily eaten on the go. However, it’s never TOO crowded, and while it can be a bit tight to sit in the actual shop, stopping for a minute to enjoy a hot latte in this cozy room makes for a very warm, homey morning.

Hollow offers a small selection of scones, croissants, and cookies, (and even Dandelion chocolate!) but their big seller is the variety of drinks. Aside from the usual Cappuccino and Latte, Hollow creates a number of different flavors, ranging from Artisan Dark Chocolate Mochas to Spiced Chai Lattes.

My friend and I ordered the Butterscotch Latte and the Matcha Green Tea Latte, and the cafe was calm enough to allow us to sit for a bit and sip our drinks.

The Butterscotch Latte tasted exactly as you would think – coffee, but very sweet and creamy, like a cream soda mixed with a vanilla latte.

The Matcha Green Tea Latte had the perfect amount of creaminess and spice, and I splurged a bit by adding a homemade vanilla marshmallow (just because I wanted to try it). The submerged marshmallow slightly dissolved and made the drink sweeter, though not by much, since the softened mallow didn’t fully dissolve before I finished my drink.

While this isn’t the place to come to with a big group of people, the fun variety of drinks and flavors is worth coming to for a to-go coffee or a quick sip in the morning. The Sunset District doesn’t have many cute cafes like Hollow, but its coziness and Harry Potter’s Cupboard Under the Stairs-esque feel makes for a very warm and inviting environment.

1435 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

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The Mill

The Mill, located on Divisadero in Hayes Valley, is my favorite cafe North of the Panhandle.

With its large windows and beautiful exposed dark red brick, it’s hard to keep from going inside. The cafe is large and open, with bright lights, window lounging areas, ornately decorated walls and shelves, and an intricately twisted rope structure dangling over the community table.

The Mill is known for their bread and coffee, a combination of Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread, who work together to run one of the best cafes in the city. Along with the rich creamy coffee that is brewed by Four Barrel, Josey Baker Bread bakes the most fresh and fluffy bread, with thick crunchy crusts and full of hearty grains. These breads can be bought by the loaves, but are also served as toasts – $4 for a thick slice of toast with your desired topping – all of which are incredibly delicious.

There are usually four kinds of toasts offered:

Dark Mountain Rye Bread with Cream Cheese and Salt & Pepper
Country Bread with Butter and Cinnamon Sugar
Sesame Poppy Bread with Almond Butter and Salt
Bird Bread with Butter, Honey, and Salt

My favorite is the Dark Mountain Rye Bread with Cream Cheese and Salt & Pepper. The cream cheese is made by The Mill as well, and is a thick, rich schmear, with a plentiful helping of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper topped onto this savory toast.

For a sweeter palate, I like the Country Bread with Butter and Cinnamon Sugar, which, while sugary, is not overpowering, and reminds me of a Churro-toast. I love cinnamon, so this is the perfect alternative to go with my latte when I am wanting something sweet.

The Mill was one of the first cafes I visited when I moved to the city, and still remains one of my favorites a year later, along with Jane. The combination of one of my favorite coffee brewers, Four Barrel, with the undeniably delicious toasts by Josey Baker, make for an amazing coffee shop, with the added perk of no wi-fi to force people to enjoy the beautiful company and establishment that they are in and take a break from their tech!

The Mill also serves one-of-a-kind pizzas on Mondays 7-9, made with unique and interesting ingredients (think Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley). I have yet to make it for Pizza Night at The Mill, but will be sure to update when I do!

736 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117