Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coast to Coast Roadtrip Day 1 | Hurricane, Utah | Zion Deli

Roadtrip: Day 1 | Hurricane, Utah

Well, folks, it really happened! I just returned from an absolutely epic coast-to-coast roadtrip. Our travels began in San Francisco, California and swept northeast to Boston, Massachusetts. We saw gorgeous lands, waters, and skies, and came across some delicious and unique meals.

The first leg of our trip descended south from the bay, through Bakersfield, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Arizona; and finally ending in Hurricane, Utah. The next morning, we trekked through the breathtaking Zion National Park.

Emerald Pools

Zion Deli

After a few hours of hiking in 95 degree heat, we naturally went in search of some good local eats. We were lucky to stumble upon Zion Deli in it's picturesque location.


Turkey Sandwhich, extra pickles.

The sandwiches we devoured at Zion Deli were astounding. Sure, we were ravenous after our hike, but it cannot be disputed that the ingredients were as fresh as could be and they even managed to read my scribble of "extra" next to the pickles. It was also fun to make by checking off your desired ingredients on their nifty made-to-order sheets:

Funny sign by the register


Nick & I in Zion National Park

A tree that spoke to me

Cranberry- Jalapeno Preserves

I found this interesting Cranberry-Jalapeno concoction on the Zion Deli shelves. I am still curious as to what this would taste like!

Utah amazed me. The rich red iron in the land against the healthy green trees on the mesas made for an unbelievable view. Combine that with jutting mountains, deep canyons, and the puffiest of clouds, and it feels like a dream. I plan to go back and continue adventuring there, and I recommend everyone do the same!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Alphabet Dining, Letter M: Marlowe

For letter M of Alphabet Dining, Alex and I traveled down by the Cal Train Station to the hip Marlowe in Soma. 


Duo of Ahi Tuna

To start, we ordered the Duo of Ahi Tuna, which consisted of carpaccio and conserva, English cucumber remoulade, apples, olive, and anise hyssop. This dish was fresh and scrumptious, with crisp apple slices in fry-like strands. It was a beauty to look at and delicious to taste.

Warm Deviled Egg

Alex ordered the Warm Deviled Egg, with aged provolone, pickled jalapeno and bacon.

Baked Oysters

Our next dish was Baked Oysters, New England Chowder in a shell. I had never before tried baked oysters, and as an oyster fan was very excited to do so!

The baked oyster was absolutely divine. It was crispy on the outside, and oyster-soft on the inside. If I had to say anything, I would go a little lighter on the seasoning so as to retain more oyster flavor.


Marlowe Burger

For our main, we ordered the Marlowe Burger, with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, horseradish aioli and fries.

The burger was very, very good. We loved the sweet bun and bacon. Note: as you can see, this burger is no joke. You can split it and still leave full! 


TCHO Chocolate Cream Pie

For dessert, we enjoyed the TCHO Chocolate Cream Pie, with graham cracker & chocolate cookie crust, cocoa nib, and sea salt. I have a sweet tooth, especially for chocolate, but this dessert is extremely rich! To be fair, our waitress definitely did warn us about this. If you are already pretty full at this stage, I would probably opt for something lighter, such as the Vanilla Bean Affogato.

Overall Experience

Marlowe's service was impressive. Our water glasses were always full, we were seated promptly at our reservation time, and the waitresses and hostess were friendly. 

I appreciated their interesting menu, with TCHO chocolate, pork belly, and baked oysters which I had never tried before. The presentation was delightful, making even a simple tuna starter a work of art. 

NB: Marlowe is popular, so be sure to make a reservation before visiting!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Alphabet Dining, Letter L: Live Sushi Bar

Green Tea Tiramisu, Scallop Slider, Sushi Rolls

This week, Michelle and I ventured out to Live Sushi Bar for a much-needed catch-up sesh. LSB is a roomy sushi bar in Potrero Hill, with some unique menu items that we were eager to try.


Scallop Sliders

We were sure to sample the Scallop Sliders, comprised of a bun of scallops and cucumbers, with meat of tempura fried muscles and onions. These were refreshingly unique, with a darling presentation as though they were hamburger sliders. The only drawback was that once you remove the toothpick, these guys were difficult to eat neatly.  


Romeo + Juliet Roll

Our first roll was tasty and had a slight kick to it. The Romeo and Juliet Roll was filled with sake (salmon), avocado, and shrimp tempura, and topped with hamachi as well as a spicy unagi sauce. There was just enough spice in the sauce to give the roll a kick without overpowering the sake and hamachi.

Bergschneider Roll

We also ordered the delicious Bergschneider Roll, with unagi (eel), and avocado topped with sake (salmon). I always appreciate the full flavor of unagi, which nicely compliments the more subtle tones in the salmon.

Sweet Potato Roll

Out of curiosity, I ordered the Sweet Potato Roll. We both regretted my decision to do so, as this roll was exorbitantly void of flavor. 


Green Tea Tiramisu 

For dessert, we thoroughly enjoyed the Green Tea Tiramisu, although curiously we tasted absolutely no tiramisu whatsoever. It was a lovely green tea-flavored sponge cake. 

Overall Experience

All in all, we had a decent dining experience at Live Sushi Bar. The rolls were palatable (save the sweet potato roll of course) and the staff was friendly. 

There were a couple confusing points to note in our meal as well. We were looking forward to trying the unique uni (sea urchin), which is actually served in the spiky sea urchin exterior. Unfortunately, they claimed to be sold out at 8pm and urged us to come back on a weekend to try it. Maybe we would have if they warned us not to order the sweet potato roll, or if their "tiramisu" cake had even a hint of tiramisu flavor. I would not say to avoid LSB, but there is no need to go out of your way to dine here.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breakfast in Monterey Bay

Breakfast Omelette, French Toast, Morning Fruit Bowl

With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.
Sylvia Earle 

French Toast 

One foggy weekend, Nick and I took a quick drive down to Monterey for some good old-fashioned seal watching near Pebble Beach. It was refreshing to step out of our city routines to adventure along the beach and stare into the infinite ocean. 

We stopped for some delicious breakfast at a great place called First Awakenings

I went with my go-to favorite breakfast plate of French Toast, and was not disappointed! Our waitress was kind enough to offer me a split plate of both Cinnamon Bread and Thick Sliced Texas Style, since my morning brain couldn't decide between the two. I enjoyed the rich flavor of the cinnamon style, but prefer the thick-cut Texas style in the end. It was pillow-y, soft and sweet. Perfect breakfast!

 Morning Fruit Bowl

I asked for a side of fruit and First Awakenings impressed me with this generous portion of fresh strawberries, bananas, kiwis, cantaloupes, and pineapples.


Nick ordered the Ham & Cheese Omelette, served with a side of hearty homestyle potatoes and an English muffin. This was a delicious savory dish, with generous portions just like my fruit bowl!

Overall Experience

With friendly, easy-going service, generous portions, and just walking distance from the majestic Pacific Ocean, we enjoyed our dining experience at First Awakenings. The only drawback we encountered was the long wait for a table- about 45 minutes on a Sunday morning. At least you can take a walk along the beach while you wait!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Coming Soon: Coast-to-Coast Roadtrip!

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you in on some exciting news: I'm taking an EPIC cross-country road trip starting Monday, August 19. It will be a coast to coast trip, and of course I will be blogging the everything along the way. For one week, Chow Down by the Bay will pretty much be turning into Chow Down Across America, so keep your hats on! 

Also, if anyone has ideas of must-see sights or must-try bites along the way, let me know! Can't wait to share my foodventures with you all :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chez Maman: The Sequel

Chez Maman san francisco
Shell Escargot and Beef Tartare 

I returned to Chez Maman West in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood with Rayna for dinner last week, and we were absolutely blown away! 

Chez Maman West

Chez Maman san francisco
Escargot de Bourgogne

It all began with Escargot de Bourgogne, with parsley, butter shallots and white wine. I love escargots, and this plate was especially fun because the escargots were huge and came in their giant shells which you usually do not see in restaurants! 

Chez Maman san francisco
Escargot de Bourgogne

Just look at that shell! Epic Escargot.

Chez Maman san francisco
Rayna happy with her Escargot de Bourgogne

Chez Maman san francisco
Beef Tartare & Quail Egg

This dish was an absolute flavor adventure: beef tartare (raw beef), dijon mustard, capers, shallots, toast points, all topped in a darling quail egg. The dijon offered a great sharp kick to the beef, and the tiny quail egg gave a sophisticated feel to the palate. 

Chez Maman san francisco
Les Moules Provencale & Fries

For our first entree, we noshed on these tasty Les Moules Provencale, complete with tomato concassee, basil, garlic & bell peppers with a side of french fries. These mussels were light, elegant and seasoned just right. There was no overwhelming fishy ocean flavor, rather a big bucket full of juicy goodness. 

Chez Maman san francisco
Les Moules Provencale & Fries

A close-up of another aspect of Les Moules which I enjoyed: The many bright colors! From the dark black shells, to the light meat, the bright red tomato and healthy green basil really stood out. The bucket it was presented in was simply darling as well!

Chez Maman san francisco
Grilled Salmon

I can safely say this Grilled Salmon took the cake as our favorite savory dish of the night! The salmon was so soft and buttery, perfectly pink inside and full of immense flavor. The roasted fingerling potatoes were a great solid touch to juxtapose the light fish, and they had even more flavor that kept you coming back for more. Their garlic flavoring whisked Rayna and myself off to the ballpark, with happy memories of garlic fries. The entire dish was surrounded by fines herbs creme fariche, which was a perfect sauce to the fish and potato plate. As full as we were at this point, the food was just so good our tastebuds were overriding our full stomachs!

Chez Maman san francisco
Cinnamon Pain Perdu 

We had this slice of heaven to top it all off! Cinnamon Pain Perdu, with marinate fresh berries, apple syrup & chantilly. If I were to liken it to anything, it would be an amazing pillowy french toast. This dessert was created with the perfect blend of sweet deliciousness and healthy fruits! 

Our dinner at Chez Maman West was an epic culinary adventure. The owner David was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and thoroughly involved with our dining experience. We felt very special from the moment we arrived, and our stomachs felt very special throughout the meal! We ended in a happy french food coma. I would highly recommend this authentic French pocket of San Francisco dining to anyone in the city!

Chez Maman on Urbanspoon
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