Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sleepless in Seattle, Or Should I Say Hunger-less?

It's May! Where does all the time go? Last month, my pal Janet and I set off for an extended weekend in Seattle. It was such a fun little town filled with lovely treasures. We stayed at an airbnb between capital hill and downtown--so our location was prime time. Pike Place Market and all the local eateries were just stepping stones away. I can't even begin to tell you how much food and drink was consumed those three days. And good news...I took lots of photos!

It was an easy two hour flight. Janet and I decided to uber from the airport to our spot to save some time. When we arrived, we got our keys from the lockbox from the gate and followed the directions from airbnb. Turns out they gave us the wrong apt # because we spent five minutes trying to get into an occupied unit. Cue the mini panic attack! I called our host and luckily she directed us to the correct unit. We set our things down, freshened up and headed down to Elliot's Oyster House for happy hour!!!


We got so lucky with the weather! There was a little bit of a sprinkle at some point during our stay, but we could have made it without an umbrella. Oh and by this time, 3PM Friday, Elliot's happy hour was way crackalakin'...of course we endured the hour wait while sipping on cocktails. 




We were seated at the bar where all the oyster shucking action was taking place. The selection = out of control! They probably had 20+ in variety. Unfortunately, at happy hour price it's whatever they were shucking at the moment. Still delicious nonetheless. The appetizers were decent. Somehow I really liked the calamari, lots of legs and very tender with a lemon aioli. The Elliot red ale paired wonderfully with the food. And this concludes round one of our food adventure. 


As you can probably already tell...this is going to be a lengthy play by play blog...Anywho, we tried to burn off some of the food...and fast, because reservations for dinner was at 8PM. So the next few hours consisted of shopping and walking around nearby shops before setting home to get ready for dinner. 

 

The Purple Cafe was such a cute restaurant. The wine staircase and rustic decor screamed first date or GNO. Us girls decided to start the night with the artisan cheese plate with a wine pairing. The cheese was to die for! After this course we actually got pretty full already, so when the lobster mac and cheese and brussel sprouts came out we were all cheesed out. It made for great left overs though. I definitely recommend both cheese dishes. Skip the sprouts, though. 


Dinner was over before 10. We headed home to drop off our leftovers and had to force ourselves out of food coma to go out. Decided to swing by a nearby bar called Montana. Super interesting scene. They were playing 90s hip hop and the crowd was 85% urban lumberjacks. Had a pop there and called it a night. Bright and early to continue the foodie tour! 

Any bar that has Fernet on tap is good in my book.


Day 2, we had a full day planned. Pike Place Market, Gum Wall, and Space Needle. First stop: Le Panier for coffee and pastries. I think this was my favorite place the entire weekend! The flakey breakfast pastries were sooo good. I took home a box of 6. The pistachio cream eclair was unique--such a treat! I definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting. 



The market was definitely the main attraction. I felt like we could've just gone there everyday...wait...Check out the cute fruit and vegetable tags: 'Pleeza No Squeeza!' Not pictured: 'Big Ass Grapes'. 


My second favorite meal of the weekend: Pike Place Chowder!!! BELIEVE THE HYPE. New England clam chowder all the way. All the other flavors were good as well, not as memorable though. The scallop chowder had a very strong lemon thyme flavor, which I didn't mind, but Janet wasn't that big of a fan. 



I absolutely loved the local speciality deli/craft food stores! Seattle is HUGE on beer and hot sauce. How can you hate that? We snagged a few snacks and some organic brew from Oregon.

This photo was snapped on our way to late night happy hour at Japonessa. 


 From the top of Space Needle

In front of Molly Moons Homemade Ice Cream Shop

This was a huge fatty moment...after the food excursions at Pike Place (La Panier, chowder, snacks from the market...) we picked up some tacos and fries at Pike Street Fish Fry. Hung out for a little, then had oysters and geoduck at Taylor Shellfish Farms. Yup. That happened. Then ice cream. Then Japonessa. #treatyoself

Our last morning consisted of buying goodies to bring home. We took the tram back to the airport, which was actually super convenient. The train is underground by the market and it took us straight to the airport. For a great bargain too, $2.75! *Traveler tip*

Stuffed bellies and fond memories. That's what I live for. Stay tuned my friends! Eat, drink, & be merry! ;-)













Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun in the Sun: 808 Edition

Aloha my fellow bloggers!

Yet again, it has been a while since my last blog and I apologize for the noncommittal behavior. I wish eating, traveling, and blogging could be my full time job! But I digress…on today's episode of Breakfast with Beans--we will be reminiscing the warm Hawaiian sun and it's ono grindz.

Awesome view from our condo - whale watching included!

It's the end of December..the weather is getting a little bit dreary in San Francisco, but nothing compared to our friend the Polar Vortex on the East coast. Climate change is turning fellow Americans to trusty travel engines for tropical getaways. In other words, 55 degrees F was too much for me to handle, dampening my poor soul. The mister and I immediately booked our flights to Maui for Valentine's day week! Muchos romanticos. We couldn't refuse the sweet deals! And what a great decision that was.

Now, the 411 on the yummys! With so few blogs, it may seem like I am frequenting the same restaurants or food categories, but I promise it's for good reason. I am on a very special quest to try every Morimoto flagship in the US and share it with you all. Already crossed off the list: NYC, Napa, and now Maui…which leaves Honolulu, Boca Raton, Philly and soon to be Vegas.

Grapefruit Nigiri Cocktail

Tuna Pizza

Spicy King Crab Legs

Oyster foie gras with uni

Assorted sashimi and nigiri

Morimoto Maui had a very similar menu to Napa (with an island twist). Located inside the Andaz resort, this Morimoto was a lot smaller in comparison to NYC and Napa. I kind of liked the intimate dining area and the outdoor bar. I wonder if Chef Morimoto hand picks his sushi chefs? Everything we ordered we had already tried at different locations, with the exception of the foie gras oysters. The oysters were baked with a unagi or teriyaki glaze topped with a piece of foie gras and uni. Too be honest, it was too much of a good thing in one bite. I could hardly tell what was going on because there was too much going on. Disappointing to say, but I think Maui is my least favorite of the three locations. Our assorted sashimi was lackluster. The star of the night was the local steamed abalone, absolutely divine! We did have a lovely evening here though and the service was spectacular!

I don't think Maui is very well known for the food, but we did enjoy the island flavors. I think my favorite meals on the island came from trucks! Leoda's Kitchen and Pie shop was another favorite.
Mini banana cream pie!


Here I am on our first night (that "skinny chi" cocktail was to die for)! 


Breathtaking views of the sunset at Honu Seafood and Pizza (don't knock it til you try it!)

We got so lucky with the weather here! It was a little overcast a few days and low humidity--just the way I like it. On Valentine's day we hiked the Halealaka crater. Lovely views all over the island, whether it be waterfalls, beaches, oceans…etc. Is it bad that after an entire week on the island, we didn't want to leave/weren't homesick? 



Until next time my friends! XOXO




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New York Eats: part deux

Sometimes I fantasize about living a life 2 parts fabulous and 1 part scandalous just like Sex and the City. Here I am, Carrie Bradshaw, leading a band of readers with juicy secrets of the female psyche, but the juicy secrets are really restaurant hotspots and travel ramblings. This was our second trip to NYC in 3 months! But every time we leave the magical city, I always feel like there is so much territory left to cover. The second time around, we managed to stay away from Morimoto and tried a few new spots. My favorites from this trip: L'artusi and Pearl Oyster Bar. You can't leave NYC without going to an oyster bar!!!

And so it begins--the mister and I packed our bags for an extended weekend. We had an extra day this time, but inadvertently used it as a recovery day after our first night there (woops!). Drinks and a quick dinner at Buddakan was exactly what we needed to get the night started (Sex and the City style!). The drinks were phenomenal! I love that NYC has a later curfew than we do out here in the Bay Area as well. More time for us trouble makers.

Blue point oysters and little neck clams

The amount of picture taking on this trip has got to be worst than any other time. I should really invest in a fancy camera so that I am obligated to take better photos! The food at Pearl Oyster Bar is amazing times 10. The not so little clams were surprisingly soooo delectable! Very clean, fresh tasting. The lobster roll that everyone loves there is also a must. It may look a bit intimidating with the large heap of shoe string potato fries, but dear lordy the creamy lobster chunks are to die for!

Of course, we couldn't leave NYC without some ramen, and we visited both totto and ippudo on this trip. If asked again which won the battle? I would have to say Totto wins this time! Ippudo's broth was somehow diluted and not as amazing as the first time around. This trip, we tried the new Totto down the block on W 51st street for a late night fourth meal after drinks at Press Lounge.

Beautiful rooftop view at the Press Lounge

We also tried to get into The Standard on a Friday night with very little luck. Was able to admire some views while in the ladies room though. Wish I had more photos to make this blog a little more colorful and interesting...we will meet again soon, NYC. Cheers and a late happy solstice, holidays, and New Year to all!




Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Los Angeles, Pasadena, SGV

Happy Autumn, friends!

My all time favorite season of the year. This means football parties, layered clothing, comfort food, friends, family, and holiday festivities! Which by the way, who's going to the 43rd Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin festival this year?

It's been a while since my last post, but that only means more tasty travels to share! Over our short and very eventful weekend, we had less than 48 hours to indulge (consider this a sneak peak for our Christmas trip coming up!). We escaped the early AM fog in San Francisco and arrived in sunny SoCal Saturday morning at LAX. What brought us to town was the UCLA vs. CAL game that night.

There was no time to waste. Our first order of business was shopping and brunch in downtown Santa Monica. We played a little 'name that price' game in the Nike store on a 49ers Jersey...loser drinks a tequila shot with a vodka back (I won, of course). And it was a beaaautiful morning, which meant one thing: drinks on the deck at Sonoma Wine Garden.
Bloody Mary, empty glass of 1942 Don Julio, Hefeweizen to start the party.

I really have to get better at taking photos, but our drinks and food here at Sonoma Wine Garden was wonderful. Best bloody mary ever! Loved the horseradish kick they added with extra lemon and limes. Although yelp gave the place a 3.5, I would have easily given it a 4 with the added convenience of being at the mall. Oysters, chilled prawns, marghertia pizza, and truffle fries. Get it all!

After a few hours of drinks and chatting, we parted ways to our hotel in Pasadena to get ready for the game. Chris's cousin had the right idea in mind and picked up a special BevMo mystery grab bag on the way home aka turn up at the Rose Bowl.

Pregaming with the dudes we hate to love: Maker's Mark, Johnny Walker...

Drinking would never be the same without a few games involved. I was the loser this time around...Fun Fact: 1 shot is 45 ml. A mini has 50 ml. So five minis later, the three of us headed to Barney's Beanery for a few snacks and to catch a few games on TV. Two words: fried pickles.
At the Rose Bowl! Bruins win 37 - 10!

To end our crazy day, we had a late reservation for Bestia in Los Angeles. Believe the hype! The food there is amazing. They don't have many veggie friendly options, but the flavors and textures are phenomenal. My favorites of the night were the smoked mackerel crostini and spaghetti rustichella with sea urchin and squid ink bottarga. I can't get over how wonderfully flavorful everything was. The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente!
Spaghetti Rustichella (Sooo good!)

Bestia has a great set up with industrial decor that reminded me of New York. Would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone making a trip out to Los Angeles. Tapas/shared styled plates and hip crowd. Can't comment on the cocktails because at this point I was too stuffed!

You could only imagine the food coma I fell into when we got back to our room. We continued the good eats the next day for lunch before our flight back to SFO. It's appalling how much good food we ate in such a short period of time. We trekked over to SGV to try the famous lobster at Newport Tan Cang. It's getting old when I say "best ______ ever!" but really, that lobster was to die for. The restaurant is huge, but there was still a ~20 minute wait for a table at 1:30pm. We did some serious damage. That's what I call Sunday Funday!
Hot and sour soup, spicy basil clams, house lobster, salt and pepper shrimp, and garlic water spinach.

So that was our weekend in SoCal. Can't wait to go back! You'll definitely be seeing me in the gym this week. Stay tuned for more delicious updates coming soon! Or follow me on twitter for frequent updates. :-) twitter.com/stinebeans

Stay warm and carry on!


Monday, September 16, 2013

SF: Must Eats

Some of the grandest pleasures of the world: laughing and dining with loved ones.

There are too many good restaurants in this city so here are the details on some of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. The first of many being Ame.

For lucky Friday the 13th, we made last minute reservations for dinner. Fortunately we didn't run into Jason Voorhees, but we did have a frighteningly fabulous meal. Ame is located in the St. Regis Hotel and feels pretty low key/casual for a Michelin star restaurant. (Blog post on SF Michelin restaurants coming soon!) And as far as fusion goes, they do it right. The flavors stay true to their roots with very subtle new American/Western influence. I highly recommend giving this place a try. Great service, sleek decor, excellent food--a recipe for happy times!

Wall of sake at the entrance 

Heirloom tomato salad with burrata

 Amberjack crudo

 Taste of Ame Sashimi Bar

Broiled sake Alaskan cod

Everything we had was really tasty, but my favorites were the heirloom tomato salad, the cuttlefish noodles with uni from the sashimi bar, and lastly the broiled cod. I absolutely love heirloom tomatoes so this was a no brainer for me. One of the tomatoes were pickled and was perfect paired with the creamy burrata cheese. The fish had a fantastic broiled flavor and was cooked just right.

So as expected, it was just as good as the first time we dined here for Valentine's day earlier this year. Great place to take a date or have a nice dinner and chat with a few friends. I have to thank my wonderful bf for indulging me in my amateur foodie adventures.

I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend! Until next time...Tootles!