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Lovin’ Mornings

13 Nov

I can’t even remember what I wrote in my last post … That’s a bad thing, I know. But I’ve got more updates on what I’ve been doing and baking lately!

 

One thing I have learned is that non-expired yeast is ALWAYS better than expire yeast even if the expire yeast has just been expire for 2 weeks. Ick. Not only was this bread made out of expire yeast,  but I didn’t have enough flour so there went my idea for a simple white bread. To come out with 4 cups of flour, I used 2 cups of unbleached flour and 2 cups of oat bran flour. While reading the BreadMan instructions, I noticed that it said oat bran was used to “enhance the texture of the bread” and it made no mention of it being the main source of flour. But oh well, I was craving bread and since I was too lazy to buy any proper ingredients and hand-knead the dough, all the mixed-matched ingredients went into the BreadMan’s bucket and the BreadMan did the rest of the work.

Homemade Oat Bran BreadI don’t think that I hated the bread. It did have an awkward sour-ish taste – was it the yeast or oat bran? But the end result was edible and when toasted with butter was delicious. But let’s just say that I’m glad to have store-bought artisan bread again. :)

So today I went back to St. Anne’s to help out – okay, now I remember what I wrote about last time ^^ – and anyway, after I chopped the carrots, peeled the potatoes, diced the apples, and sprinkled lemon juice over the apples, I was able to make Mexican Wedding Cookies! I’ve never made these before so I don’t know if they turned out the way that they were supposed to, but I’m kind of proud of them! Check ’em out:

Raw Mexican CookiesMexican Cookies FinishedWhat do you think? Did they turn out well for a first-timer’s Mexican Cookies?

Anyway, I just love the weekends. It’s always great to relax and do whatever I like during the mornings. Have I mentioned that I really really enjoy mornings?

Cran Apple MuffinCoffee and Mixed Berry Muffin

10 Things I Love About Flipper’s in Hayes Valley

18 Apr

Flipper's Sign

Flipper’s, A Gourmet Hamburger Place

482 Hayes St, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
(415) 552.8880
Online Menu

There’s no denying it. Flipper’s is truly “a gourmet hamburger place”.

First of all: every single the burger is made of charbroiled ground chuck. And, all the unique burgers (with the fries/salad) are under $9. A decent price for some food that isn’t very common.

Second: you aren’t limited to just any plain old burger, cheeseburger, or “Big Mac”. The burgers come in so many different varieties with all unique names, like The Granny Flip (burger with eggplant, jack cheese, and tomato with their famous pesto sauce), the California Sunshine (a burger complete with aged cheddar cheese, avocado and alfalfa sprouts), and the Maui Treat (burger with Canadian bacon and pineapple with a teriyaki sauce glaze).

Mediterrean Chicken Burger

The Mediterranean Flavor Burger with eggplant, garlic and tomato, sauteed in olive oil

Not a burger fan? Then they also have chicken breast, turkey patty, veggie patty, and tofu patty available.

(Have I got your mouth watering yet? How about that imagination? The varieties are endless!)

Three: Their curly fries are so flavorful and crispy! I’ve been to some places where the fries are so dull and lifeless I feel bad for the poor things.

Four: Flipper’s serves breakfast all day and brunch specials until 4 pm! For breakfast, you can choose some kind of combination of two eggs (any style), sausage, bacon, or choritzo, and breakfast style potatoes with toast on the side. Their brunch specialties do seem to be various benedicts and florentines. The short and full stack of pancakes with optional blueberries are also on the menu as well as traditional french toast. And of course, there are omelets (the Greek, Denver, and Salsa are just a few).

Five: Got kids? They have a kids (12 & under) menu too. From what I saw, I believe there was a small burger (chicken, beef, or turkey), chicken tenders, breakfast special (pancake, egg, meat), and something else.

The Morning Blast
The “Morning Blast”: two eggs scrambled with chorizo, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and cheddar

Basically, a condense version of the full menu.

Six: Crepes, crepes, crepes. A small list (6, I think) of different savory crepes: chicken, eggplant, and vegetarian to name a few. The dessert crepes include the strawberry, Nutella, apple and cinnamon, and banana varieties.

Seven: When the weather is nice, Flipper’s has an outdoor garden area with sturdy tables and chairs shaded by personal umbrellas that you can eat in.

Eight: The waiting staff is very friendly! It’s nice to walk into a place that’s very accommodating and smiling. Not to mention that the servers do not hover while you eat your food so you don’t feel rushed.

Nine: There is a restroom! Okay, so this isn’t the most important thing about a restaurant, but it does come in handy when  you need one, especially today when it’s very hot and we had plans to walk around.

Ten: Once you’re done eating, you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon in the beautiful, boutique-filled Hayes Valley, home to Citizen Cake, La Boulange Bakery, Stacks, and more. There’s also a small little grassy square with this giant metal art structure in the center where you can hang out afterward.

So I shared this place with you because I had a good experience going here. I felt very comfortable here and enjoyed the food. Amazingly enough, though the food had lots of exotic creative names, there was a sort of home-style feel to it. I liked the fact that there were different kinds of people there too: families, couples of all ages, and cute excited dogs outside.

I’m not sure where you are, but in San Francisco, it’s beautiful and warm, so if you’re experiencing the same thing, enjoy it! If your weather is slightly gray, I’m sure it’ll get better soon. Spring is here and summer is coming soon.

Hopefully I’ll get to write more soon. I haven’t actually been baking this weekend because it’s too hot! I’ll try to get back in the kitchen sometime this week weather permitting.

Until next time~

Out of the City: The Marin French Cheese Co & Pete’s Henny Penny, reviewed

8 Jan

Well as a last hoorah before I had to go back to school, my Uncle decided to treat my mom and I to a nice breakfast/lunch in Petaluma at this home-style restaurant: Pete’s Henny Penny. The ride up was nice enough with light traffic and the Golden Gate Bridge looking at spectacular as any bridge could look. I had my earbuds in listening to a mixture of Owl City and Taylor Swift (my two current favorites).

Pete’s Henny Penny, reviewed

4995 Petaluma Blvd N
Petalum, CA 94592

I have to say that I was delightfully surprised at Pete’s Henny Penny. Located just off Hwy101 and 116, this restaurant has no real competition except for Cattlemens Restaurant and Denny’s, which is right across the street from Pete’s. Why anyone would go to Denny’s except for Pete’s seems crazy to me.

Sausage Lentil Soup (cup size)

Pete’s Henny Penny is a wonderful, casual, home-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day. Best of all for those with children 12 and under, with one paying adult, one child (12&under) can order a free meal. There’s a special menu but it basically has all the typical foods like hamburgers, spaghetti, grilled cheese, breakfast items, and more. This restaurant is definitely dirt cheap – they serve a lot for the money. Your dollar will go far here.

Chicken Noddle Soup (yumm!)

This brings me to Pete’s next great point: large portion sizes. So maybe you’re traveling through Petaluma on Hwy101 and you want something to eat. You could go to Cattlemens, which I hear is a great steakhouse or if you have a craving for home-style meals, you can eat at Pete’s. Pete’s serves true American food like steaks, hamburgers, halibut filet, numerous sandwich varities, and great breakfast selections. The menu is so large, the portions so plenty, that you will leave stuffed and your wallet fuller. If you don’t want to have such a large portion, they even have specials that are half the size, and half the price. I think their motto should be “Have it your way” except I believe that that slogan is already taken. :P

A House Specialty: Fried Chicken - a must try!

As an added bonus, Pete’s customers and waiters/watresses are friendly and down to earth. The whole atmosphere is relaxing and casual. And now, Pete’s is open 24 hours! Great service all day and all night. It’s simply perfect for road trips. I am definitely stopping by if I ever go past Petaluma again. And as a rule, you must must must try their Fried Chicken. It is simply divine: crunchy, crispy, flavor-packed but not too spicy, and the chicken is moist and tender. Their Charbroiled Chicken is tasty too.

Another House Specialty: Charbroiled Chicken

The Marin Countrysde & M.A.L.T.

So after we had breakfast-lunch at Pete’s Henny Penny, the Uncle took us through the Marin countryside where the farms were under the protection of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). The terms of the MALT consist of “an agricultural conservation easement [which] is a legal agreement between a landowner and Marin Agricultural Land Trust that prohibits non-agricultural residential or commercial development, subdivision, and uses or practices which would be destructive to the agricultural value of the land. The easement is recorded, and future owners are bound by its terms in perpetuity. The land remains privately owned and on the tax rolls.” The whole idea behind the MALT organization established in the early 1970s was to prevent any commercial development in that area. Personally, I’m glad that the Marin ranchers and environmentalists did this because without MALT, I would not have been able to see the beautiful, breath-taking landscape.One Lane Road in Main Countryside

Marin Farmhouse

Laguna District School Est. 1906

Laguna District School Est. 1906 - one room schoolhouse

It’s a beautiful thing that the MALT has done. I felt as if I had traveled back in time. Who knew Marin had these farms tucked and hidden away? I mean, it’s not often that you see a “Cattle Xing” sign.

The Marin French Cheese Co.

7500 Red Hill Rd., Petaluma, CA 94952

The Marin French Cheese Co.Well, when we finally neared the end of our tour in the countryside, we stumbled upon The Marin French Cheese Co. famous for its cheese tours. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday when we came so there were no tours. (Tours are usually Mon-Fri only).

I have to say that we were caught so off guard when we saw the giant sign sticking out in the distance. When we approached the sign, we saw that it was on a property that also contained a medium-sized man-made lake with picnic tables, a simple farmhouse, and then a long building in the back. The Uncle recognized it immediately.

“It’s the Marin Cheese Factory! I’ve only been here one other time about 10 years ago. I could never figure out how to get back here!”

He immediately pulled over and before I knew it, we were inside asking if they had their daily tours. Unfortunately, as I have said, they did not because it was a Saturday. Darn. But their store was very interesting too. The store was quaint and sold different kinds of cheeses that they personally make there as well as several shelves of jams and jellies, a small room with historical pictures of the cheese-making process and fresh bread and bread supplies. It was heaven.

Between the three of us, we ended up buying a small wooden cheese cutting board engraved with their logo, a small cheese knife, a tall glass jar with a sourdough starter inside, a bread bag, a tote bag with a cow on it, and one of their famous cheeses. We had crackers at home and we were planning to veg out that night with our new goodies. :)

James and Jellies at Marin Cheese Co.

Homemade Cheeses from Marin French Cheese Co.

French Bread at Marin Cheese Co.

Last Summer Getaway: Nick’s Restaurant (at Pacifica), reviewed

4 Sep

Well, as I’m sure you have realized by now, I’m not posting as much as I used too. But I’m making the effort!

About a week ago last Sunday, I went to dinner with my mom and Uncle. The weather was scorching hot and the city was just not the place to be. Where to go when the weather’s being a real bugger? One word: Pacifica.

Why go to Pacifica? It’s less than 35 minutes away, has good restaurants and shops, and the beach! (duh!) Need I say more? :)

My family and I have a personal favorite when we go to Pacifica though. We always head to Rockaway Beach, about an extra mile or two away from the heart of Pacifica. At Rockaway Beach, you can find a small little romantic town with small shops with some restaurants both fancy and casual. The cuisine ranges from American to Mexican to Italian. Regrettably, there’s not much in this area, but we keep coming back for big reason: Nick’s Restaurant near the Sea Breeze Motel.

Nick’s Restaurant

At Rockaway Beach, Pacifica
near the Sea Breeze Motel
Off of Hwy 1


Nick’s Restaurant is good for families and first dates! The tables have white table cloths and candles are automatically placed on tables when the sun goes down. There are large windows that face the beach which is perfect when the sun sets. The colors illuminate the room creating this really good feel to it.

Another great thing about this restaurant is that it has a full-service bar and dance floor equipped with a real stage for real bands. You can rent this space out for parties and events. It’s pretty cool since it’s separated from the fancy white tables. Check out the band calendar here.

As for the food, you will not (and I repeat) will not be disappointed. It’s impossible. If you are, well then, you’re just not human. I’ve come here for their breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I can honestly say that everything was really delicious, tasty, and well worth the effort of the drive down. I recommend their Onion Rings, hamburger, and any of the breakfast. Click here for their menus.

The last time I went there I was craving dinner. And since they have their own parking lot, which is another good thing, we were able to walk inside quickly. The only bad thing about this place is that it’s greatness is not a secret especially when you have tourists from the Sea Breeze Motel eating there. If you get there after 6:30 pm, you will have to wait. Come any time before then, and you’re set. Of course, once tourist season dies down, you can probably be seated in no time. We had to wait 30 minutes, but let me tell you, the food is worth it!

I and the Uncle ended up ordering their Chicken Picatta.

Chicken Picatta – $15 (roughly)

Two breasts of chicken served with wild rice, sauteed green beans, and capers in a delicious lemon sauce

Two breasts of chicken served with wild rice, sauteed green beans, and capers in a delicious lemon sauce

My mom ordered their Broiled Salmon Filet. Mhmm…good! Since they are near the ocean, they get all their fish fresh! Indulge in the goodness!

Broiled Salmon Filet – $16 (roughly)

Salmon filet served with wild rice, sauteed vegetables, and tartar sauce

Salmon filet served with wild rice, sauteed vegetables, and tartar sauce

Overall, I was not disappointed with their dinner! It was fantastic and worth the wait. With the view, lovely ambience and pleasant servers, you cannot beat Nick’s Restaurant at Rockaway Beach off of Hwy 1. It’s a bit pricey compared to the diner style Mexican restaurant next door, but it has good satisfying food. Plus, the entrees pretty much all come with their famous garlic bread! For a weekend getaway, you can always stay at the Sea Breeze Motel, eat at Nick’s, and then head to the beach to relax. :)

Hope you’re summer was/has been good to you! Enjoy it while it lasts!

Walking + Friends + Perry’s Restaurant = Great Day

20 Jul

I seem to have so much energy, don’t I? How do I get myself into these things? Haha. Yesterday I’m with my friend touring UC Davis and now today, I go participate in the annual Aids Walk. Between the two days, I’ve walked about 10 miles. I’ve got a blister on my foot now and a mean suntan to prove for it. I think I’ve gotten more exercise in the last two days than the last month and a half I’ve been at school. But no problem, today was so much fun.

I was a part of a team that raised over $900 for the Aids Walk. We had been planning to do this walk ever since April so we were excited for today. I unknowingly placed the two “walking” days together, but I’m still alive so all is well. I managed to survive the walk with all the volunteer cheerers and freebies – ice cream, fruit, granola bars, croissants, hot dogs, and hamburgers – all the way as well as afterwards. I don’t have any photos of the trip (I’m sorry!) because I forgot that I had brought my camera. All I can say is that it was a fun event and worth the stupid blister on my foot.

After leaving Golden Gate Park, about four of us decided to go get some lunch on Union Street near Filmore Street. It’s a cute area with endless boutiques, restaurants, cafe’s, and salons. The perfect “yuppy” area, I suppose. My friend recommended a place that she used to go to before: Perry’s. Apparently there was another Perry’s in the city at a hotel, but this was the original.

From the outside it hardly looked any different from all the other stylish cafes in the area so this made me wonder how it managed to stay in business. In fact, I wondered how any of the cafes stayed in business as each cafe and restaurant looked so good and appealing. My thoughts were confirmed as I saw at least one “For Lease” sign every block. However, I was sure that if Perry’s managed to survive a long time even during the drooping economy, it was must something special.

Perry’s Restaurant on Union Street, SF

Ambiance: Nice and quirky, much like like Caffe Italia. Cool historic San Francisco pictures and iconic figures like James Dean and sports related artwork. There is a outdoor seating, a bar inside with some tables in that room, a small hallway that leads to the back where there are more seats and a small outdoor area lit by sunlight. That’s where we sat. There’s a small upstairs for a few more seats and the restrooms. Definitely charming.

My friend claimed that it had been there for 40 years, and it was confirmed when we came to the table.

What we ordered:

Perry’s Club Sandwich – $10.95

roasted turkey with Hobbs bacon; plus a side of fries or sweet potato fries

The Baby Spinach Salad – $8.95
with pears, candied walnuts, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Side of Sweet Potato Fries -$4.50
Seriously, you need to try these. Instead of bland french fries, you get a sweet and slightly salty treat. Good for Perry’s, it served the fries without all the extra grease. These were so crispy!
The Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich – $10.75
with green and red peppers, slices of yellow squash, and mozzarella cheese, and pesto sauce (versus mayo)

Prices:
Reasonable (especially for the area), but definitely not cheap or what I consider a “bargain”.

Overall:

Good place to eat. But I’d like to check out the other cafes in the area as well.