after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Rounding out the Holidays in SF

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t says:  Because we pre-Holiday’d on the east coast, g and I were prepared for a relaxed time here in SF for real-Christmas.  Wanting to jazz it up and try something we had never made by ourself, I scoured the Safeway coupons until I landed on a one-day sale of NY Strip Roast.  I was determined.  We were going to roast a big-ass hunk of meat and not overcook it.  Mission: Not-Overcooked commenced …


I realize now that I don’t have the typical blog-worthy extreme-close-up view of the roast.  And while this herb-and-mayo-crusted Strip looks like medium-well here, it was a perfect medium in real life (I know, I know – blasphemy to have medium and not medium-rare!).  Accompanied by some broccoli and parsnip as well as a parmesan-Brussels-sprouts stuffed baked potato, g put on a wonderful show, having cooked the entire meal by herself (I did pre-cut all the ingredients the night before so she could pretend she was on a cooking show – I worked during the day on Christmas).  That meat with the 2010 Tor Rock Syrah that you see above (review here) was absolutely incredible.  g and I have cooked a fair number of meals in our time, but only a handful of times have we stepped back and gone, “damn, that’s like restaurant-quality  good”.  This was one of those times.


We also did a dinner out at Nopa for our “splurge” Christmas meal (not on Christmas).  Defrayed by j’s generosity, g and I were super-excited to finally make it there (I had to make a reservation at exactly when the reservation window opened).  While normally we’d be happy to not BYO, we felt like for Christmas, it needed to be special.  Additionally, it was our 9.5 year anniversary!!!  So g and I pulled out our last bottle of Alexana Block 7 from our 2013 visit to OR, and the restaurant fairly charged us corkage.  For the record, the wine was fabulous – drink it if you got it.


Brussels sprouts.  The “it” food of 2010-2012.  Fry it up, toss something salty on it, and boom: instant praise.  Who knew?  But now those venerable sprouts have lost their sex appeal – people prepare Brussels sprouts at home with little effort or thought, making it as commonplace as broccoli.  Well these aren’t those sprouts.  These are Sprouts 2.0.  Persimmon and a slightly sweeter sauce with nutty (pecan?) accents for texture and savory, it was a celebration of the taste of the Brussels sprout, not a masking with bacon or soy sauce.  Amazing!


A parade of dishes included a papparedelle (perfectly composed – every aspect), the best duck breast I’ve had in years, and, the surprising star of dinner: broccoli.  Yes that’s right.  They had the audacity to serve us broccoli (we had the audacity to order it).  And out in came – these huge staves of broccoli that sang out kind of like how the Brussels sprouts did: celebrate me – I’m broccoli, damnit!  I don’t know how they did it.  The char was perfect, the breadcrumbs were perfect, and to this day, that lemon-anchovy sauce has mocked every next time I’ve made broccoli at home (they should bottle that sauce!).  Nopa really nailed it – now I understand why the waitlist is full!


But wha would life be without another ramen post?  Enter Waraku, a ramen joint in Japantown.  With the tonkotsu deluxe in front of me, I dove into a creamy soup base.  While the texture of the silky broth was great, I have to say that after having been to so many ramen joints, this bowl was a bit unremarkable.  The veggies were of “meh” flavor/crunchiness.  The meat was “fine”, with appropriate texture, but didn’t pack the punch I was expecting.  The noodles were a bit bland.  Now this is me being a bit nitpicky.  If this was a nearby place, convenient to home, I’d eat there all the time – it’s not a bad bowl at all!  It’s just not my favorite!  I hear that Ramen Yamadaya, the newcomer around the corner, is also all-the-rage!!  We’ll have to try it!


We did also venture some Korean shave ice at a next-door Korean cafe.  It was a nice frozen treat, but could have used a bit more red bean to fix the proportion a bit.  We’ll do some more shaved ice investigation.


g and I were gifted a Feastly meal featuring Shio ramen (thanks again, j!!).  With two home-turned-professional cooks behind the helm (an adorable husband-and-wife team), we were excited to taste the “lighter” “subtle” ramen that is Shio (a first for me!)


There were a few introductions, including a torched Caesar salad – which added a nice charred flavor to the romaine.  I might have to blow-torch all my salads.


This ramen was delicious.  The highs include a wonderfully vivid broth, accented with a few pickles and scallions – quite nice.  The ham and chicken slices (sous vide) were oh so buttery smooth.  I think that really, the weakest component was the noodle – it was a bit thick and a bit bland.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

21 January 2017 at 9:09pm

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