The Ultimate Big Eats Recap

Ok, so I ate everything on the 7×7 Magazine 2012 list of “100 Things to Eat in SF Before You Die”…now what? Well, I thought I would take a minute to share a little bit about what I gained from the whole experience…other than an extra pound or two.

Overall, I would have to say I’m soooo glad I decided to embark on this journey. It helped that just about everything I ate was pretty awesome…not every single thing…but just about everything. But aside from the eats, I also had the chance to meet so many wonderful people and explore some new neighborhoods along the way. It did get a little stressful at times squeezing it all into one year…and maybe sometimes I just wanted to eat a Chipotle burrito and call it a night…but ultimately it was exciting to have a goal for the year, and I’m proud that I stuck it through to the end.

So I’m sure the most important thing you’re all dying to know is…what were my favorites, right? Here are my TOP 10…they’re not necessarily presented in any order, other than the Pork Belly Bun from the Chairman Bao Bun Food Truck, which was my very favorite #1 pick of all the eats! Here are the rest…

1.   Pork belly bun at Chairman Bao Bun’s Food Truck
2.   Morning bun at Tartine Bakery
3.   Clam chowder at Anchor Oyster Bar
4.   Dry fried chicken wings at San Tung
5.   A slice of cheese at Arinell Pizza
6.   Soup dumplings at Kingdom of Dumpling
7.   Langos at Bar Tartine
8.   Porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti
9.   Pho ga at Turtle Tower
10. Fried chicken sandwich at Marlowe

And, of course, the second question everyone wants to know…what didn’t I like. Let me just say, there was nothing on the list that I hated. I have so much respect for owners of and hard workers at every place I visited. Everything is on the list for a reason, and just because my palate didn’t love it, doesn’t mean yours won’t. And it’s not that I necessarily hate these things, it’s just that maybe there’s something a bit more delectable that could take its place…?

1. Korean tacos at Namu’s Ferry Building Farmer’s Market stand.
2. Ginger snaps at Miette
3. Coconut buns from King’s Bakery
4. Curry lahksa soup at Betelnut
5. Pickled eggs at Comstock Saloon

One of my favorite parts of the whole experience, though, was that when we would go to a restaurant to try a specific dish a dish, we would end up trying and loving a bunch of other stuff on the menu. There were a handful of these restaurants that I had never been to before, but, after such memorable meals, they are now in my “favorites” rotation, and here they are…

Bar Tartine
Banker & Baker
Flour & Water
Leopold’s

And now the ten million dollar question is…will I be taking on this challenge again next year? Well, considering that much of the list stays the same year after year, with only about a third of the names rotating in or out…well, I’m pretty sure it will be too hard to resist…also, considering my sever case of #FOMO, I’m thinking there’s a pretty good chance it’s a yes.

So there we go! If you have any questions about any of the places I visited, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to share my thoughts and help with any menu selections.

With that, I am signing off for the year. I want to thank all of you for taking the
 time to stop by Serving Seconds for a read. I’ve loved hearing from so many of 
you, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and comments. 
hope you all find lots of time for family, fun, and relaxation over the holidays. 

Have a safe and happy New Year, 
and I will see you in 2013!!!

XOXO

Big Eats {December}

Drum…….roll…….please…….I did it!!!  I am finished, done, done-zo, finito!  I managed to eat every little bitty thing on 7×7 Magazine’s 2012 list of “100 Things to Eat in SF Before You Die”.  All 100 items have officially been eaten and crossed off the list, and I couldn’t have done it without my co-diners this month Jenny, Phil, Leslie, Monica, Xen, and Kevin to help get me across the finish line.
As planned, I saved the most lavish, lengthy, and expensive meal for last, which was Benu. Appropriately, Kevin joined me for this final dinner (after all, he did enjoy 68 of these items with me), and we enjoyed a nice toast to commemorate the occasion. I must admit, I even got butterflies when I knew the final course was about to arrive. And our waiter, he was really sweet…when he asked if we were celebrating anything, we told him about the list, and he brought us out a celebratory dessert that’s usually reserved for birthdays. Why yes, thank you, we agree…definitely something to celebrate!
Oh wait, I’m sorry…before we carry on any further, can I just draw your attention to the coolness going on in picture #1 below? (In case it means nothing to you, perhaps this explanation may help). Ok, let’s continue…
1. Spaghettini with tuna heart at Incanto
2. Eggs in Jail at Outerlands
3. Tuna tartare at Bix
4. Spicy baby octopus stew at La Ciccia
5. Cracked Dungeness crab at Swan Oyster Depot
6. Omakase menu at Kiss
7. Seven flavors of beef at Pagolac
8. Faux shark’s fin soup at Benu
Tomorrow I’m planning to share a full recap of this entire experience…my favorites, my not so favorites, what I learned, what was painful, and (the question I get asked the most) will I do it again next year? But before we get to that, as with all prior months, I must pick a favorite, and for this month it has to be our meal at Incanto. Chalk it up to the amazing company, some great wines, a festive holiday evening, one great dish after another, and the tuna heart…well, it was amazing. We also ate pig ear, which might have inched out the heart as my ultimate favorite of the meal, but, alas, it was not on the list! It also didn’t hurt to have a photo opp with the Top Chef Master himself, Chris Cosentino.

Oh, and yes…another caveat is in order…Bix certifiably no longer serves their tuna tartar so what you see there in picture #3 is their amazing salmon tartar…which can only be enjoyed properly, with a classic martini right at the bar.

Ok guys, you haven’t heard the last of the Big Eat yet…
full recap coming tomorrow…

Book Club Christmas // 2012

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  One of mine is my book club’s annual Christmas dinner.  You might remember meeting these lovely ladies last year.  Each year, we gather in early December, forget about any book discussion, and simply enjoy ourselves over a decadent potluck feast and some festive beverages. This year, we were lucky enough to have the party at our friend, Dominique’s, gorgeous and cozy new home. She has the most amazing kitchen for hosting…the kind that you just want to hang out in all night…and that’s basically what we did! The only thing missing was our friend, Jennie, who was home sick that night!

Ann is our crafty member, who puts together the cutest favors for us every year! This year we were treated to a set of sparkly polishes, perfect for any holiday event.  (PS…how perfect is her handwriting? She definitely doesn’t need to rely on my trick for gift tags).

After dinner, we feasted on my peppermint ice cream tarts and had a moderately heated ornament exchange. How cute is my little owl ornament below? It was stolen from me, but I managed to snag it back!  Hah!
We also make a collective donation to a charity every year,

and I’m thrilled to say that this year’s donation is going to the SF Food Bank!
Merry Christmas, ladies!!  xoxo

Peppermint Ice Cream Tart

One of the things I get most excited about during the holidays, is the arrival of peppermint ice cream at the grocery store. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had a thing for peppermint ice cream. If an ice cream shop ever offered it, it was always my flavor of choice (well, after I outgrew that whole bubblegum ice cream phase). Sometimes I could track it down at non-holiday times of the year, but it never felt quite right eating it until December hit. This year, I decided to fancy things up a bit and turn my favorite flavor into a pretty little tart to share at my book club’s annual Christmas dinner. It turned out to be a delightful little treat that tasted just like Christmas.
Peppermint Ice Cream Tart
     Ingredients
  • 20 chocolate graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 gallon peppermint ice cream
  • chocolate syrup 
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 candy cane, smashed 
  • fresh mints leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 12 paper cups 
     Directions
  1. Break apart the graham crackers and grind them finely either using a food processor, or place in a ziploc bag and smash with a rolling pin or heavy pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the ground graham crackers with the softened butter, until fully incorporated (hands work best).
  3. Place two level tablespoons of the cracker mixture into each paper cup. Using a drinking glass, press down on the mixture to flatten and compress it. Place the cups into the freezer to harden the cracker crust (at least one hour).
  4. The next step will be to fill the cups with ice cream. Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 20-30 minutes before this step to soften. Once soft, divide the half gallon of ice cream evenly amongst the cups.  Use a small spatula to press it down and level the surface.
  5. Return the cups to the freezer to harden, about 3 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, prepare the whipped cream topping by combing the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. To serve, tear off and discard the paper cup. Place the tart on a plate, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and top with a dollop of whip cream and candy cane sprinkles. Garnish with fresh mint (optional).
     Serves 12
I used these mini panettone paper cups because I like the straight edges, and they can stand alone, but this would totally work with cup cake papers as well. Just be sure to put the cupcake papers inside a cupcake tin before filling so that there is some support around the edges.
PS…for ultimate Christmas-ification, 
listen to this song while eating it!