March 3, 2010

Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!

(Dancing tiger of Post St.)

This past weekend I went to the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade with my friend Kristin. The parade runs through downtown San Francisco and brings spectators from all walks of life. Thousands of people gathered in Union Square and set up camp on Post and Kearny to get the best view. Kristin and I made our way through the crowds and patiently waited for a good spot to open up. We ended up in the middle of Kearny behind a group of squatting kids and beside us a group of late 20-early 30 somethings drinking Heinekens.

We watched the boring politicians drive by and ooh-ed and ahhh-ed at the brightly colored floats. What I liked most was of course the dragons and lions but also the dancing elementary school children dressed in red envelope and tiger costumes! They were so excited to be part of the parade and kept bouncing around even after walking and waving for 2 hours!

After the parade, we met up with Jseid and headed over to Pomelo in the Noe Valley district. The menu had a mix of everything but the restaurant claims it's primarily Asian Fusion. I ordered the Lanzhou which had fresh egg noodles(more like udon noodles) stir fried with ginger, scallion and garlic topped with peppered ahi tuna, seared rare and drizzled with a miso-sesame sauce. The dish was great but it lacked any kind of vegetable!

Kseid had the Otsu which had cold buckwheat noodles with cucumber, scallion, cilantro and a spicy soy, ginger & sesame dressing, topped with pan sautéed tofu. The dish was just okay in my opinion (see post below for a better recipe ;) ).

Jseid had the Mazantol which was basically a spicy tofu sisig with chile peppers, garlic, red onion, soy sauce and lemon. The flavors were strong but delicious! Jessica got it right when she asked for a side of rice since the flavor of the tofu in the sauce could have been a bit much by itself.
Overall Pomelo had a nice living room ambiance to it with it's low lighting and small amount of space. I would recommend this as a great date spot as long as it's not too busy(we could definitely hear the intense conversation the couple next to us was having ha!). The server was nice enough and the servings were pretty large. I could tell the ingredients were fresh and also love the fact that the menu changes seasonally.

Saturday was just another reminder of why I love San Francisco.

March 2, 2010

Dang Cold Asian Noodle Salad

Hello Blog! No, I haven't been in a coma for 3 months. I've just been swallowed whole by 18 units, a 20 hour a week internship at the W Hotel, and a few more hours at the museum. Have I been cooking? Very rarely! But I'm back for the time being... don't go getting your hopes up about regular posts though. The dust is just starting to settle and I'm really only writing this to procrastinate even more on a paper that's due by midnight (it's that time of the semester where any form of distraction will come first).

Today I decided to skip out on my HR lecture to go to the grocery store. Yes, that's a luxury for me since my corner market closes at 6:30pm! I tried yesterday but they were bringing in all of the produce right as I walked up. Le sigh. Well, I picked up some beauties for a colorful and healthy noodle salad. I know the name is lame but it's Guy Fieri's, the man who still bleaches the tips of his spiky hair every other week(I'm sure some hairstylist is earning her entire living just doing his tips). If you want to learn more about this tool and his mullet before the bleaching, check it out here.

Back to the important part, the salad. I've had 3 bunches of soba noodles staring at me for the past 6 months and I finally decided to do something about it. After looking up some recipes, I settled on this one since it had a 5 star rating and seemed healthy enough. I've tried the whole peanut sauce with soba before and the results were never up to par, thus this soy/hoisin based dressing was perfect. The only time consuming part to making this is the chopping and this is precisely why I documented. ;) Guy actually adds some napa cabbage and bok choy but I figured there was already enough going on so I didn't need it.

Guy Fieri's Dang Cold Asian Noodle Salad

  • 1 package soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 5 green onions, bottom 4 inches, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 1/2 cup julienned bok choy
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, optional
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, for garnish

In a medium stock pot, boil water, add salt and cook noodles. When finished, place noodles in an ice water bath to cool. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, hot chili oil, hoisin and extra-virgin olive oil. Mix thoroughly and then combine prepared vegetables and noodles.

Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.

The results were great! The dressing is mellowed out by the olive oil and the different textures and colors are a feast for the mouth and eyes. I garnished with cilantro, sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, and some more sliced green onions. I plan on adding some seared firm tofu to the leftovers for tomorrow.