Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wild Kitchen Dinner by ForageSF

I'm extremely excited about this dinner. I've been wanting to participate on these underground dinners but never got the chance to do so. Last Sunday, I volunteered for this event and it was such a great experience. I had a glimpse of how it all came together and how it actually works.

setting up

guests starting to arrive

The location itself is very interesting. I walked in this huge space where there's some funky looking couches, interesting old artworks, cone lamps, mannequins, and even a bath tub in the dining room. The whole set up works really well with the whole concept of this dinner. It's such a character and it makes the dining experience more memorable.

Interesting collection

1st floor

bath tub in case someone needs to cool down

ForageSF does this underground dinners every month. The main concept is that the food that you'll eat are mostly foraged. For this particular night, Iso (founder of ForageSF) along with 20 other people went fishing Saturday and they caught hundreds of fishes mainly rock cod. The fish is one of the main component of the menu for the night. Another thing that made this night special was the participation of Hank Shaw. He was the guest chef for the evening. He's the author of the book Hunt, Gather, Cook which he was selling tat night. He hunted the duck that was served that night and foraged some of the ingredients as well. The idea of knowing where your food came from and how it was caught, made and cooked makes me appreciate the food even more.

Here are the pictures of the 8th course journey through wild food.

local caviar of herring with home made creme fraiche 

locally caught oysters with seawater sechuan peppercorn migonette

oil poached rock cod with crisp summer veggies and sea beans

sous vide duck gizzards with duck heart tartare  

rock cod bisque


purslane salad and summer greens with duck fat and grape verjus and fennel seeds

lemon verbena panna cotta with elderberry syrup and flowers

Monday, July 25, 2011

East Bay Food Fight

I'm loving the East bay food scene. We have Plum's late night dining menu, a bunch of local breweries, Bakesale Betty's fried chicken, Chez Panisse and many more. This event makes me fall in love with East Bay even more.

Line at Cocina Poblana for their Mole

Rudy's Can't fail cafe failed me with their salad. I'm hoping for some burgers since that's what they are good at.

East Bay Food Fight is a food event the showcase about 40 great restaurants around the east bay. They have tastings for each restaurants that should basically tell us what they're all about. I love the idea since I haven't eaten on most of the restaurants there and this kinda gives me an idea of what kind of food they serve and if they're good.

To make things more exciting there were 6 east bay chefs that fought Iron chef style. They cooked based on their given theme (Summer Picnic, Dinner date and Dessert Nostalgia). Another reason why I was excited is because Alice Waters, Anya Fernald and Gather's Sean Baker are part of the judges. I don't know what happened to Alice Waters but I didn't see her there so I was a bit disappointed.

The battleground

Judges tasting the food. "That's not Alice Waters" - line I kept on hearing from the audience.

Among the restaurants that I was looking forward to was Baywolf, Bocanova, Chop Bar, Flora, Pican, Five and Hibiscus. The food was good. I didn't find anything out of this world but they were good and satisfying food, nothing fancy. Home of Chicken and waffles were serving guess what? Chop Bar roasted a whole pig which is basically "lechon". Ozumo did a salmon salad. I wasn't expected Tay Ho's rice crepe dish but it was one of my favorite. I loved all the dishes from the Kitchen of Champions especially their bread pudding with rum sauce.

Here are the pics from the event:

Tay Ho - Rice crepe wrap with crispy shallots

Hibiscus - Fried plantains. I wish there's ice cream with this!

Hibiscus - Hibiscus drink

Chop Bar - roasted pig "Lechon". Crispy skin please!

Bocanova - Quinoa salad with summer squash and corn. I love this dish! fresh and tastes like summer

From the Kitchen of champions

Kitchen of Champions - N'Orleans Bread Puddin' with Rum sauce. This was very good!

Ozumo - salmon salad

with Edamame

Xolo - chile verde tostada

Kincaid's - Homemade corn bread with smoked tiger prawns.

The Grand Tavern - Duck pate with beet salad

Miss Pearl's Jamhouse - Jambalaya

Probably good. I didn't taste it. They ran out of Pork! :(
This was great event that benefits the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Kitchen of champions culinary program. They help out people get out of poverty and pursue their culinary dreams. I hope they'll do this again next year with more exciting dishes and great restaurants involved!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Food Truck Frenzy at the Rock Wall Winery

Besides the monthly antique fair in Alameda, I'm thrilled whenever food trucks come to the island. This is the first food truck and wine event at the Rock Wall Winery and all I can say is that it rocks. We went just to grab dinner not expecting anything. On the way to the winery is part of the experience. It's in the middle of nowhere. It's close to the naval base so you'll see huge ships around plus the winery has spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline.  As we enter this huge 40,000 sg ft. plane hangar converted into a winery we heard music playing. We were surrounded by wine barrels. There were couches, tables and chairs. It's a huge lounge area and in front of you were the food trucks.

Lounge area

Not your normal plastic table and chairs 

Love the setting

Emapandas. I think Red Ribbon is better. It's a bit overpriced for me too.

Flavored shaved ice

Pretty good funnel cake

Not a food truck but a food bus. There's seating inside too.

There's a handful of food vendors. There's the traditional $1.50/taco truck, a Cuban sandwich truck, emapanadas, shaved ice, hot dogs, funnel cakes and of course a selection of wines to pair with your food. What really got me excited was the Bacon Bacon truck. I didn't expect to see this truck at the event. There's a lot of buzz about this truck since It's SF's first Bacon truck. I checked the menu and everything has bacon in it.This is definitely where our dinner will be coming from.

SF's 1st.

Even the menu smells like bacon

We got the Pork belly sandwich and the double patty burger with bacon. It was pretty good. I liked the pork belly better because it has different flavor combination. The only thing we didn't like was the 1 hour wait time to get our food. 20 minutes to get our order and another 40 to get it. It's probably because they're new and they didn't expect that much people. It could also be that there only competition I think was the Le Truc food truck. There's nothing really exciting about the menu from the other food trucks so I'm guessing everyone's tummy were telling them to get some bacon.

1 hour to get your bacon fix

Burger with 2 patties, bacon and caramelized onions

Pork Belly with egg, caper aioli and arugula
This was a pretty cool event. Wine, food trucks, music and the view were the perfect combination for this great event and I'm happy it's here in my neighborhood.