Monday, May 20, 2013

Cafe Sapore in Burlingame brings you back to Italy

Caffe Sapore in Burlingame is a great quaint cafe that brings a taste of Italy directly to the bay.  Full of delicious Italian inspired sandwiches, Italian wines, homemade pasta sauces/soups, homemade gelato, and an amazing Italian imported hazelnut bomboloni. 

I met the owner Lisa Root when I was traveling in Florence and she told me about her cafe.  She's really cool and her food did not dissapoint. 

To start we had their delicious parma prosciutto panini which was awesome.  Accompanied with an Italian danasi coffee, it was a great way to start off the day.  To breakup the day we had a glass of Montepulciano Italian red wine which was quite nice.  To end the lunch, we finished with their famous Italian imported hazelnut bomboloni with their hazelnut gelato.  When the bomboloni came out it was warm and had an amazing hazlenut aroma.  As you cut in it oozes out with delicious hazelnut filling.  It was a great way to end the lunch.  I would recommend caffe sappore for a quick dessert break, a solid parma sandwich, or an unpretentious local Italian dinner while enjoying some good Italian wines. 

TTT approved.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Florence Italy brings good chianti wine, amazing beef, and awesome gelato

I love Florence.  It is full of awesome sites, delicious beef, and some great gelato.  The people are chill and it's my favorite place to spend a few days in Italy.


Arno River

My first meal in Italy was at Trattoria de Giorgio.  What a great value restaurant as you get a primi, secondi, vegetable, wine, and water all for 13 euros!  Most places charge 13 euros just for one pasta dish!  It's full of locals and families.  They don't pick up the phone for reservations and you will just have to wait in line by the door until someone invites you in.  I ordered handmade truffle pasta with mushrooms to start, braised porkshank in tomato sauce as a second, and swiss chard as the third.  Both were pretty good and are probably the best meal in Florence you can get for 13 euro's. 

Trattoria Da Giorgio
Address: Via Palazzuolo, 100, 50123 Florence, Italy

Handmade truffle pasta with mushrooms
A huge braised pork shank!  I couldn't finish it all

After dinner it is a must to try Gelato in Florence.
Ricotta Cheese and carmelized fig gelato

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seared Day Boat Scallops over Spring Vegetable Risotto

Seared Day Boat Scallops over Spring Vegetable Risotto

Ying loves scallops, so for our second year anniversary I cooked her seared scallops over a spring vegetable risotto.  The risotto consisted of sweet corn, carrots, asparagus, fava beans, and finished off with pea tendrils  and parmesan cheese!  The sweetness of the scallop worked really well with the risotto.  As for the scallops this was the first time i cooked them correctly.  The trick is to make sure they patted dry, season with salt/pepper, and sear on high heat for 2 minutes each side with a high cooking temp oil.  Finish off with some lime zest and pair with a good botte of chardonnay! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Santouka Ramen at Mitsuwa best in the bay?

Santouka Ramen - One of the most famous ramen chains delights the world with creamy tonkatsu style ramen and serves delicious pork cheek meat.  Just look and you'll find them in Japan, Singapore, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong!

My experience at Santouka in the San Jose Mitsuwa japanese grocery market was welcomed with a long line and anxious security guard making sure you don't block the flow of traffic.  The ramen is definitely worth coming to if you can also combine some japanese grocery shopping.  I got the spicy miso Toriniku(pork cheek) ramen and Ying got the salt flavored ramen.  The broth was incredible and had a very nice depth, milky thick consistency from the pork bone/marrow, salty, balance from pickled plums, and some tasty bonito.  They claim to boil their pork bones for 20 hours to develop their milky tonkatsu style broth.  Unfortunately the rest of the bowl ingredients were just subpar.  The bamboo shoots, fungus mushrooms, and noodles were just okay.  The Yakiniku pork cheeks along with other ingredients are served on a separate plate from the Ramen Bowl.  However a star was that the pork cheeks were tender, fatty and oh so tasty. They do not serve an egg with their ramen which to me is a must.  Orenchi is still the best Ramen (total package), but the broth at Santouka just can't be beat.  TTT approved especially if you can add in some shopping =).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chef Leez Authentic Thai Bangkok Cooking School

Chef Leez Cooking Class in Bangkok Thailand

What to do in Bangkok Thailand?  How about Chef Leez Thai cooking class!  Over our two week India, Thailand, korea, Singapore trip, this was the most inspiring experience we had.  Definitely TTT approved and highly recommended if you go to Thailand. All recipes to the dishes listed below can be found on her website below.

Salty, Sweet, Sour, spicy...  These are flavors that come to mind when you learn how to cook true Thai food.  Ying and I can never taste Thai food the same after tasting Chef Leez
true and original Thai flavors. Her cooking class was about 4 hours long and well worth the $50 cost as you not only learned how to cook the dishes but you also you got to eat them!  The food we cooked was better than the food we ate at restaurants.  She laid her class out very well and followed the below itinerary
- Short trip to local market to pick up and learn thai ingredients.
- Learn and Cook 8 dishes including Hot Chili Paste, Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, Green Curry, Pa-Nang Curry, Green Papaya Salad, and finished off with delicious Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango.

Local Market Trip
Aromatics - Galangal, long beans, lemongrass,
and cilantro (with the roots they taste different!)
China garlic vs. thai garlic vs. cambodian garlic.  Thai garlic is
 the small blue garlic in the middle and is the most expensive but also the most delicious

She's funny and was joking with others in the class
Keffir Lime Leaves Smell so good we bought our own tree!
  They are essential for thai food.

Tom Yum Soup

The first dish we cooked was Tom Yum clear soup.  It was bright, clean tasting, aromatic from the lemongrass , coriander and  keffir lime with a shrimp shell stock

Time to prep ingredients for the Tom Yum Soup
She made fresh cocounet cream with this tool

Key Aromatic Ingredients for Tom Yup Soup include
 galangal, cilantro roots, lemongrass, keffir lime leaves, chili 
Creamy tom yum soup also uses tamarind
paste, coconuit cream, and hot chili oil

The creamy soup was even better
Shrimp head oil and hot chili paste freshly made!

Pad Thai
Quite possibly the best pad thai we have ever tasted.  What we learned is that true pad thaio 

It's Pad Thai Time! turmeric tofu

The key flavors to true pad thai.  Tamarind paste, coconut sugar, and fish sauce.  It's not ketchuo and vinegar like the pad thai we eat in the states.

Add fried tofu, diced pickled daikon, and sauteed dried shrimp into the pad thai right after  you cook the egg

Chef Leez in action

The most delicious pad thai we've ever eaten and we cooked it =)

Pad Thai Ingredients
Shallots/garlic, Tamarind past+sugar+fish sauce, shrimp, rice noodles, egg, pickled daikon, fried tofu, dried shrimp, chives and bean sprouts

How does my pad thai look?  You'll notice it's mainly veggies and egg with very little noodle.

Ying's chicken pad thai

Mango sticky rice

Keffit lime is amazing!

Green Curry Paste

Difference between green and red curry paste is just green vs. red chili's

Papaya Salad using a mortar and pestle

So delicious  Perfect balance of saltiness from the shrimp and fish sauce, sweetness from the sugar, crunchy texture with the young papaya, keffirlime leaves/garlic for aromatics, and tomatoes for some extra juice/acidity

It was an awesome experience.  Chef Lee was reall cool and she loved to teach.  We left feeling inspired and educated on how to balance salty, sweet, and sour better.  TTT approved! 

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