memorial weekend love

6:04 PM sians 0 Comments

besides having a three day weekend, here are some things i loved about this weekend :)

one | despite having really heavy pouring yesterday, christina, lyle, teng and i had a yummy lunch at purple pig. one thing i can say about purple pig is that they are consistently delicious :) my second visit and i had some familiar dishes and ones that are new and didn't disappoint my taste buds.

the one thing that dampened our spirits was our walk back to our apartment when it started raining cats and dogs that even the umbrella didn't keep me from being drenched.

taken from:

two | weather wise, today was a lot better. sunny and in the 80s.

and being able to wear something other than jackets and jeans was a welcomed change.
three | h&m and forever 21 shopping :) gotta love these kind of days :)
four | doing some reading in my favorite chair, enjoying the sun while i am at it :)
five | lovely, sweet, fresh cherries. been obssessed with fresh cherries since i had them at chez panisse and i got these at a steal too. get in my belly, cherry! :d yummmmmmmmmmmm!
six | i restocked some of my favorite frozen foods from trader joes (for days when i am lazy to cook which is often these days).. one of which is this mushroom ravioli with mushroom truffle sauce. mmm... (but then again i am a sucker for anything truffle)
it's back to work day tomorrow but i sure am gonna try to enjoy the rest of my monday holiday..heee! oh and looking forward to friday when i see my friends in evanston! :)


chez panisse

11:55 PM sians 0 Comments

i first heard about chez panisse when christina raved about the food from her last visit to san francisco last year at this berkeley restaurant, founded by alice waters. both her and her bf received alice water cook books for christmas after their dinner at chez panisse.

from my quick lil research on chez panisse, i found that it was one of the top fifty restaurants in the world from 2002 to 2008, peaking at 12 in 2003 as listed by Restaurant magazine. michelin guide echoed the sentiment by awarding its one star rating in its guide for san francisco bay area dining from 2006 through 2009. ryan and i definitely wanted to try the cuisine and were determined to fit a dinner reservation at chez panisse which we made a month ahead in our one day trip to san francisco last weekend.

there are two levels - the top level is the cafe and the restaurant located downstairs. the restaurant serves a four course prix fixe menu but if you prefer ala carte, the cafe might be a better choice. we wanted to try the restaurant where its menu is updated weekly to reflect the use of seasonal ingredients. we looked at the offerings on our dinner menu ($95) and was quite excited with the set menu which sounded really promising and delicious.

chez panisse's decor leaned towards the vintage old school look, clad in wooden panels all around the room. the room was dimly lit but we could still see the chefs working hard in the brightly lit semi-open kitchen which i thought was cool. dress code is smart casual, just so you know if you ever decide to try this place out :)

they started us off with an apéritif which is an alcoholic drink that is usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. to be honest, at this point we weren't really as hungry as we should be because we had a snack at dynamo donuts (which will be a future post). the apéritif was a sparkling white wine infused with saffron and lemon and it came with mini pastry of parmesan biscuit with cumin. i can't give an accurate assesment of the wine but i liked it. the biscuits were tasty but the predominant flavor was definitely the cheese with a very subtle hint of cumin.

first course | pacific king salmon carpaccio with capers and nasturtiums

this was such a lovely presentation of salmon carpaccio. ryan was particularly excited cos he hasn't had good salmon for a while now. when he saw this photo, it said it reminded him of a sea of salmon. hehe. garnished with slices of radish, diced cucumbers, capers and nasturtiums which are edible flowers then topped with a creamy aoli and drizzled with olive oil. the salmon was fresh and paired with the other ingredients it was really very good. i have to say the best bites were with the capers (classic pairing).  it was an awesome light and yummy way to start the meal.

second course | sheep's milk ricotta gnocchi al pesto

this might have been my favorite dish of the night surprisingly. the gnocchi was featherly light but didn't really have a big flavor on its own but it pairs so well with the sweetness of the pureed peas and the pesto. we can't quite remember what the white puree was but it had a savoriness that contrasted the sweetness and rounded the dish so well. such a lovely dish. yummm!

third course | spit-roasted becker lane farm pork loin with rapini greens and spring onion rings

the main course. when the dish arrived, the pork loin was succulent and moist  although a tad salty which i think was from teh jus. it still had good flavors all around that we finished the slices of tender meat despite us being stuffed (totally our fault for snacking on donuts three hours before dinner). the rapini or better known as brocolli rabe was probably the weakest link on the dish cos it was close to being dry and almost stringy but the onion rings were light and crispy. but we had to save some room for dessert!

fourth course | bittersweet chocolate fondant with kirsch ice cream and roasted cherries

the waiter promised us this was the best course of the meal to which ryan concurred. at first, when i read fondant, i was imagining that icing-like substance for decorating cakes but it actually means lava cake. the moist and warm bittersweet cake had a depth of flavor contrasted by the kirsch vanilla ice cream. kirsch is brandy distilled from fermented juice of cherries. the cake itself had a good balance of bitterness and sweetness. my favorite part was probably the cherries which our waiter said was the first pick of the season. it was sweet and uber tasty. ryan was so kind to offer me some of his cherries which made me very happy :)

the service was friendly and prompt. our waiter was more than happy to let me take photos of the food and at the end of the meal offered to take a picture for us. 

chez panisse features yummy classic french food which are solidly executed with precision and finesse. there was hardly any misses in the food. however, it was missing that special wow factor that excites the taste buds and the price was quite steep. nonetheless, it was still a tasty food experience.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

Chez Panisse on Urbanspoon


sunday noodles at takashi

10:12 PM sians 1 Comments

guess who won the time out chicago 2011 award for best cure for the average brunch.

sunday noodle brunch at takashi, of course :)

i've read great things about takashi which was reinforced by the fact that the restaurant joined the michelin guide one star 2011 recipient club. although the accolade is probably not specifically for the sunday brunch but it reflects the quality of the food at takashi so i went there with high expectations. 

it also might mean something when we spotted a celebrity chef at takashi. wanna venture a guess?

rick bayless was having sunday brunch takashi too! *gasp*  us being us, we got a lil too excited about it. lol.

what surprised me was probably the restaurant itself: it was petite but cozy with its modern/contemporary warm colored decor slightly influenced by asian culture. there were some tables out front but the weather was on the chilly side so we opted in instead. we were seated at the table next to the kitchen separated by a half wall and half frosted glass pane and facing the bar counter.

takashi had quite a few selections of noodles from buckwheat to udon to ramen. i am not quite sure why but i always end up being torn between two dishes that sounds so very delicious. but first we (christina, lyle, shantanu and myself) started off with some appetizers to share.

appetizer | chilled homemade tofu . bonito flakes . wakame . ginger-umami soy .

this was probably our favorite of the three appetizers we ordered. actually. we were pleasantly surprised when the dish was served to us since the first thing that came was the plain tofu in a bowl that was placed in a bowl of ice. then  we saw the other dish that had condiments such as the bonito flakes, cucumber, scallion, the sauce etc. we could eat tofu however we want it. the texture of tofu itself was smooth and soft but the flavor comes from the condiments you choose and the combinations of the condiments were delicious. it was such a simple dish but so fun just because it's up to you what you would like to have with your tofu.

appetizer | kinoko & yamaimo ponzu enoki & shimeji mushrooms . japanese taro root . citrus vinaigrette .

christina really likes ponzu sauce and most of us like mushrooms so we decided to give this salad a try. i don't think any of us were really huge fans of this salad. the dish was alright but the julienned taro root was a tad slimy and i guess that was enough to put us off.

appetizer | vegetable tempura tofu . shi-shito peppers . kabocha squash . green beans . japanese eggplant . tofu . warm dashi broth .

how can one go wrong with tempura and fried food. this was done really very well. lightly fried, crispy and not too greasy. and the warm dashi broth went so well with the tempura. no complains here. i was happy to eat it even weithout the dashi broth. out of all the fried stuff (i liked them all) but i think the kabocha squash stood out the most because of the sweetness contrasting with the savoriness of the dashi broth.

noodles | shoyu . classic tokyo style ramen . braised pork . barbeque egg . marinated bamboo shoots .

i really love warm noodle soup and i was particularly excited to try the ramen out. the broth was itself was delicious, warm and comforting (although i always loved soups a lil sweeter for this kind of ramen).  the three quarter boiled egg was cooked perfectly and the ramen had a great texture. but the biggest and main highlight was probably the meat itself. one phrase: O-M-G so yummylicious-tender-sweet-succulent-(insert delicious-like adjective here) braised pork. i had to say i was blown away by it. everything in the noodles were great but it was the meat took the spotlight here. i was sad when i was done with the braised pork although i was saving and savoring the meat till the end. hail to the braised pork!

noodles | miso . hokkaido style ramen braised pork . bean sprouts . sweet corn . wakame .

i didn't try this but lyle seemed to enjoy this and he agreed that the braised pork was uber delicious. he even told christina to save some for him (just in case) when they exchanged their dishes. 

noodles | niku-tamago toge . sliced rib eye beef . egg drop . fried tofu .

this was the other noodles dish that i was contemplating of getting. christina ordered this udon noodles and i tasted the soup and it was exactly how i love my soup to be - depth of flavor with slight sweetness. christina thought it was delicious and enjoyed this to the very last drop. i think she finished all the soup lol.

we were discussing about the noodles we both ordered and i said that my ideal ramen noodles dish would be what i ordered with all the ingredients it had but served with the soup christina ordered. mmm...and the more of the braised pork!

takashi is indeed the cure for the average sunday brunch. priced at about $13 for a decent bowl of noodles, the sunday brunch offers a cheaper alternative if you wanted to try the delicious offerings by the renowned french-japanese cuisine chef, takashi yagihashi.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

Takashi on Urbanspoon


short hiatus

11:14 PM sians 0 Comments

experiencing quarter life crisis.

taken from

(how i wish it was all that simple)

check back sometime :/