Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Dinner at Eva

The Cruisers suggested that we go to Sunday Dinner at Eva earlier this year.
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Eva Restaurant is named after Chef Mark Gold's grandmother, who inspired him with her warm home-cooked meals.

Sunday Dinner costs $35 per person and includes five family-style courses and wine.
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You have the option of red or white.

Little gem lettuce, green goddess dressing.
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A simple start. Good enough but not terribly interesting.

Chicken harissa, peas, crème fraîche.
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Outstanding flavor and amazingly juicy. Very very good.

Braised brisket, natural jus, mustard, broccoli, garlic, lemon, olive oil.
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Fine but not impressive. Should have been more tender.

Root vegetable gratin.
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A pleasant side.

Tableside coffee from Kenya.
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Excellent and strong. Don't miss this if you like coffee.

Apple tart.
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Enjoyable but, like most of the other dishes, not mind-blowingly so.

The dishes above served all four of us. After we finished our tarts, we were still hungry. The meal we'd just devoured wasn't satisfying. Nothing was bad at all, but, aside from the chicken harissa and Kenyan coffee, nothing was really noteworthy.

To be honest, I've had better meals prepared by Ms. Cruiser herself!

We walked to Milk.
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We knew our night would end on a sweet note here.

Mint chip ice cream sandwich ($4.50).
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Do you like macarons? Do you like mint chip ice cream? Do you like chocolate? If your answer is "yes" to all three questions, prepare for heaven.

The Brownie -- double fudge brownie with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, pecans, whipped cream ($6.50).
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Too much chocolate for me and my allergies, but the rest of our crew liked it.

The Blondie -- white chocolate blondie with vanilla ice cream, butterscotch and pecan praline ($6.50).
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Loooooved this. My fave. I'm not allergic to white chocolate!

Large hot vanilla ($3.25).
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This is what every allergic-to-chocolate girl needs when everybody else is eating chocolate. Like a warm hug for your esophagus.

Any night with the Cruisers is a good night, but Milk helped make up for a somewhat lackluster meal at Eva. Yay for sugar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Farmer in the Tenderloin

As I was taking photos of farmerbrown (25 Mason Street, San Francisco), a homeless woman asked me for money.
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farmerbrown's interior bears no resemblance to its neighborhood. Dark but warm and inviting. A healthy clamor.

I met volenti and EastSideFluffy for the first time here, and, yes, I brought my camera.
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I took pictures only of food. Sorry. I know what they look like, and you don't.

Complimentary warm corn muffins and strawberry butter.
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Like dessert for an appetizer. Oh, yeah.

El Caballo Loco ($9). Vodka, fresh muddled kiwi and cilantro, shaken.
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Tartastic. Tartablous. Tartful. Really enjoyed this even though I had no idea what made it a crazy horse.

Bring the Beet Back ($9). Beet gin, homemade kumquat marmalade, fresh berry nectar.
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volenti sipped this happily. The swig I had was sweet and delish.

Seafood jambalaya with red snapper, mussels, and prawns ($19.95).
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My nibble of volenti's dish was pleasant. Ok, it wasn't just a nibble. I swiped a full shrimp.

Rocky Range fried chicken, hamhock greens, macaroni and Tillamook cheese ($16.95).
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I had high hopes for my pick. Perhaps my hopes were too high. The chicken was ok. I wish the skin had been crunchier. The mac 'n' cheese was so very sad. The shredded cheese on top wouldn't melt, no matter how much I asked it to. Oddly, the greens were probably the best thing on the plate, and I don't even like collard greens that much -- proof positive that pig makes everything better.

Crispy cornmeal catfish, hush puppies, candied yams, pickled onions, garlic yellow beans, homemade remoulade ($17.95).
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Winner, winner, catfish dinner! EastSideFluffy triumphed with her meal. The fish was crisp and tender, and the yams were sugary nuggets of joy. Easily the best entree on the table.

Lemon cheesecake with kumquat jelly ($7).
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Rich, dense, heavy, creamy. Kumquats provided a nice contrast. The three of us didn't even make it through half. Weaksauce.

Real deal red velvet cake ($7).
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Moist and sexy. Yes, this cake was sexy. We couldn't handle the sexy. We only got through less than half of the sexy. I mean, did you see what we ate before this? Not sexy.

farmerbrown needs some tweaking. I had to salt my mac 'n' cheese. That's a problem.

Thankfully, neither EastSideFluffy nor volenti needs any tweaking. Each is enjoyably salty on her own.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Word on the Street


I went to Susan Feniger's Street twice during the summer last year. This post is long overdue.
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I loved the decor. Of course, I did. It was orange.

Sadly, though, I did not love the food, which is probably why I delayed this post so long.

The concept is an interesting one -- gather street food from many different cultures and present it in a non-street setting in Hollywood. Execution isn't terrible. The problem?

Street food is better on the street. And not just on one street. On many different streets.

The first time I went to Susan Feniger's Street was for lunch with my brother.

Cantaloupe and beet agua fresca ($3) and tamarind ginger cooler ($3).
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Both were refreshing and sweet. A little *too* sweet. That is my brother's this-is-too-sweet face. Not really. Just pretend.

Japanese shizo shrimp wrapped in shizo, nori, and crispy dough with ponzu, grated radish, and wasabi ($12).
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Nice crunch. Pleasant enough.

Paani puri -- small tastes of spiced potato, chutney, and sprouted beans in crispy puffs of dough dipped in yogurt-cilantro water ($6).
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I liked the flavors of this dish, but, when the menu says, "small tastes," it isn't kidding.

"Half salad and dumpling plate" -- half size of any salad and tea cake/dumpling plate ($14.50). We opted for the Korean rice salad (brown rice, soybean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, nori, daikon, tofu, and sunflower seeds in a spicy sweet sesame dressing) and the kaya toast (toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam served with a soft fried egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper).
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Decent but tiny.

I wasn't impressed with our lunch in terms of bang for our buck. The food was ok, but I left unsatisfied. Mind you, not dissatisfied. There is a difference. I was willing to give Susan Feniger's Street another try.
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I returned to Susan Feniger's Street a few weeks later for dinner with Mr. Monkey and the Cruisers.

Sanbitter sunburst -- lemonade of Italian aperitif bitters and citrus juices ($3).
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Excellent. So much better than the previous two drinks I'd tried with my brother.

The four of us shared two orders of the Around the World in 7 Courses ($40 per order) and two orders of the five-course Globe Trot ($35 per order). Prices I've listed are what dishes cost a la carte. If you do the math, the multi-course meals are the way to go.

Millet seed puffs with marshmallow, fennel, curry, coriander, cumin, and black currant.
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These tasted like chewy Rice Krispies treats with an Indian flair. I must say that I prefer Rice Krispies treats. The consistency of these puffs just didn't feel right, and they got stuck in all of my teeth.

Full order of kaya toast ($11).
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Good repeat dish. It's delicious when you eat the sandwich and egg together -- creamy and sweet mixed with rich saltiness. But, really, $11? I can get a similar snack at Tea Station for next to nothing. You ain't foolin' me, Feniger.

The kaya toast was followed by paani puri ($7) and Japanese shiso shrimp ($12), already described above in my lunch with my brother.

All-American salad -- assorted lettuces, shaved fennel, bacon cracklings, cucumber, tomato, boiled egg, and St. Augur bleu cheese tossed with homemade thousand island dressing ($9).
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It was a salad. Whoop-de-do.

Scandinavian beet and apple salad -- slow-roasted beets with apple, black currant, watercress, toasted walnut, and millet croutons in a juniper vinaigrette ($9).
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This was more interesting and slightly more worthy of our time, but it was still just a salad.

Spinach varenyky -- small pan-fried Ukrainian dumplings filled with spinach and a light layer of salted cheese served with sour cream, fried onions, and lemon marmalade ($9).
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Now we were getting somewhere. Crispy, juicy, lovely. Order these if you visit.

Moldavian meatballs -- ground beef and kasha meatballs simmered in a sweet and sour tomato sauce with dill sour cream ($10).
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These looked better than they actually tasted. Ever eat a meatball? Yes? Then these will be perfectly familiar to you.

Mini beef kobe beef dogs with sweet and spicy chili and white cheddar sauce ($10).
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Tasty, but you could make your own at home just as well.

Assorted vegetables and pickles.
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Tatsutage fried chicken marinated with soy, mirin, and sake topped with spicy kewpie mayonnaise sauce served with pickled vegetable slaw and chilled soba noodles ($16).
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The chicken was very good, but when is fried chicken really bad? You can get this at almost any Japanese place. For a lot less, of course.

Japanese shio ramen soup with clear spicy broth, sliced roasted pork, shrimp, assorted garnishes and yuzu kosho hot sauce ($15).
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If I shell out $15 for ramen, it'd better be amazing. It wasn't. It wasn't bad, but it was a pale facsimile of anything you could get at Daikokuya or even Orochon, and it cost about twice as much. The only thing noteworthy about this course was the Papyrustick chopsticks.

Turkish doughnuts spiced, fried, and simmered in a cardamom rose syrup served with sour cream and rose hip jam ($8).
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Please, please, please let dessert be good. Boo. I didn't wish hard enough. Again, not bad, but not great either.

Susan Feniger's Street is kind of like L.A.'s poor-man version of momofuku ssam bar. If you've read what I said about momofuku ssam bar, you already know that's not a compliment.
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