I have an uncanny way of attracting Foodies as friends, most of them are chefs, or at the very least aficionados, so either way always in the kitchen or eating. I somehow never thought of myself in the same category, more like a fortunate taster that just happened to be in their vicinity. It only JUST occurred to me that, "OMIGOD, I'm a Foodie too!"
I know this sounds kinda far-fetched in light of my many food posts, foodporn photos on Instagram & endless check-ins on Foursquare, but it's true. Maybe I thought I had to reach a certain caliber before being allowed to say it out loud? Whatever the reason, I am ready to cop to it. I mean, I AM in the kitchen every single day and I make everything from scratch. Everything. Just like how I was raised. I feel like a first timer in group, "Hello, my name is Teresa and I am Foodie."
I have been in California celebrating my birthday in March. I like to celebrate all month long with as many friends and restaurants as possible, especially those Foodies I mentioned earlier. Yes, feasting has been what I have been doing since I wrote to you last. I am aware that Gluttony is a Cardinal Sin. Just so you know. (After this, it's back on the jogging trail. Seriously. I mean it.)
Here is a round-up of my latest tastings in the SF Bay Area and Amsterdam. Enjoy!
*Interested in a review? Send me an email.
SAN FRANCISCO & MARIN
This is a casual place with very nice food. I had just come from the spa, so I did not want to eat too much, but I needed to eat right away. After all that detoxing, I felt in need of some healthy food. I was at Kabuki Springs on Geary and the kind staff pointed me across the street to this little corner place.
|Cooked Shrimp Sushi|
Izakaya means Japanese Bar and I always like to sit where I can observe the chefs at work, especially sushi chefs. They are so meticulous and clean and they make the food so beautifully. Reminds me of my trip to Japan.
|The Frozen Persimmon sauce|
|I always order Roasted Chicken.|
|The New Kitchen|
It was really fun drinking cocktails, eating great food and reminiscing about ol' times. Tosca is right across the street from the famous City Lights bookstore where I used to wile away the hours reading heady novels and dreaming about a life abroad. Tosca, it was just like how I remembered it, but now with FOOD! Perfect.
The Roasted Chicken for two.
|Roasted Beet Salad|
An intimate lively cafe, and of course, when you know the Chef it is always fun to get little surprises sent out to the
table. Yes, chefs understand the meaning of tasting.
|The Crispy Egg|
I really enjoyed just sitting there watching all of the people and the tables are so close you tend to accidentally eavesdrop, which in California is fodder for the casual group conversation. (Very un-Dutch.) It is also fun to peak over at the plates next to you to see what everyone is eating.
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio w/Crispy Egg
Roasted Beet Salad
|Casual atmosphere, chic food at the Blue Plate|
State Bird Provisions
|My Birhday Desserts|
|Christine, Tera & Stuart|
By the way, it is really fun to go out with chefs because they are so totally into the food, the menu, the plates, the chef coats, etc. all you really have to do is sit back and r e l a x. They are Excellent at ordering and tasting wine as well. It is an honor, when they know you so well, that they order for you AND send away offensive items. "She doesn't like it." Yes, I love that most of all. That is my favorite.
Caviar and Oysters from the Cart
Again, no reservations possible, so be prepared to wait if necessary.
|Grazing is popular in California|
There is a welcoming bar and fire pit and lots of seating, so no problem if you want to have a large party. This is where I celebrated my birthday with family. We enjoyed several shared starters and some great plates. California always has top wines and the service was good, but it usually is in Marin.
I like the fact that this place is within walking distance from my house in Sausalito and I suspect just meeting for drinks is probably fun too. I will try that the next time I am in town. I think it is what the new owner is craving as he wants to get that party vibe back in town. A refreshing walk along the waterfront after dinner is essential.
|The view of San Francisco at the foot of the Barrel House.|
The Butcher (Secret Speakeasy)
|How we looked before going in.|
It was so exciting to arrive on the night of yet another birthday celebration, this time in combination with Mr. Man's birthday as well. We had best friends and new friends in tow, including Chef Rikard Andersson and Nicolas Castagno, Barista Extraordinaire, both of Scandinavian Embassy. At last, WE got to sashay through and over to the magical freezer door. We pressed an unmarked button and gave the password. Silence. Then the door slid open and we were greeted by a model type hostess. The door closed. For an uncomfortable few minutes we were trapped in an elevator type metal cubicle with a glowing computer on a tiny stand. (It was very James Bond.) She took our coats and stashed them in a secret closet. She double checked our reservation and whispered into an intercom. The dress code was Elegant Chic. She looked us over. Pressed a button. A door silently glided open. We were inside at last!
We were led past the bar to the living room style section, including the good chair. We enjoyed imbibing (majorly) and indulging. They make large and delicious cocktails. The food was not as super fantastico as I had anticipated, it is more good food that goes with drinks. However, Rikard said he thought the food was better than he had expected, which surprised me. There was really nothing to complain or rave about. We had a great night and everyone else in the place seemed to be doing the same, it felt a bit gangsterish. We had our desserts at the bar, and just in the nick of time, because the music started jumpin' and suddenly the whole place was swarming with beautiful party people. FUN!
The Lobster and Giant G&T's
Rikard & Nicholas
|Sit by the fire or at the bar.|
Come to find out Castell is an institution in Amsterdam. Why had no one ever told me about this place? I could have been gnawing on ribs all these years! Am so happy I know now and so, I thought you would also like to know. Check it. It's like a 1970's man cave.
What I always order at Castell:
Ribs w/baked potato, served w/delectable BBQ sauce.
Salad (required for digestion)
I have been dying to go to Little Collins for ages. They are famous for their brunch. It's been new in the neighborhood for quite awhile now, but as it is on the other side of the park, I forget about it and like a zombie only go to the cafes on my street. So, to me it's still New. I was enjoying a bit of a must-have sunny walk through the park on Saturday and was not quite enthusiastic enough to run, so instead I abandoned ship and headed straight out of the park and directly over to Little Collins
|Eggs on Sourdough.|
The place was packed and you could hear the Expats babbling away in English, a good sign that it wasn't going to be the usual Dutch fare. Yay! They were totally packed. The place was buzzing and all the tables in the sunshine were taken. Hmm. I opted for the incognito table in the back where I could observe everything.
First of all, they have a full bar and drink menu. These people are not kidding. I wish I would have wanted a Bloody Mary because they looked awesome. The vibe has a masculine, but elegant flair and I just can't wait to go back for a full on brunch with friends or meet for cocktails.
The only thing I tried (so far):
I remember when you couldn't get a scrambled egg to save your life in Amsterdam, let alone an omelet. Now new breaky places are opening left and right, literally. Praise the Lord, is all I have to say. I don't eat bread or cheese, so Dutch food does not appeal. Eggs on the other hand I can eat at any time.
After sleeping way too many hours, I awoke starving. I decided I needed an omelet and I was hoping to get something similar to what I get in California, basically a sexy spinach, mushroom 3 egg omelet, some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a coffee the size of my head.
Seemed popular with young laughing couples. The menu is carved on wood, so not that easy to read, but no matter, there is a great selection and you can also construct your own omelets. The only thing I didn't like was being told I couldn't have a booth, even though the place was not full and that my omelet arrived on a piece of bread. Everything in Holland is served ON plain bread. I tend to forget that. The omelet was good, however, and I would have it again. Overall, a friendly place with decent service, decor was iffy.
The only thing I tried:
The Popeye *Sorry no photo because I was so hungry I forgot to photograph it! It was perfectly made, with leafy spinach and great cheese that was all melty and yummy.