I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival last week. After years of living in the Bay Area, you’d think I would have made it out there before now, but I haven’t. There was always some sort of excuse to miss it.
I’m glad I finally went. The event has all of the community charm of a county fair minus the crazy fried foods and farm animal smells. Instead, you’re left with garlic. So. Much Garlic.
When I started this blog, I set out to write primarily about food and music. Several years passed, the interests that inspired me tended to change, and, well, I started writing about anything I felt like writing about. Leave it to Noise Pop to create an event that brings me back to my focus. Noisette, which was held at Public Works in San Francisco last Saturday, was an event dedicated to sampling food prepared by some of the city’s finest chefs while listening to great music. Really, who could ask for more? For the price of the regular admission, you were given a punch card to sample nine dishes, all while listening to music or drinking to your heart’s content.
Unfortunately, my arrival to San Francisco was slightly delayed so my partner in crime and I did not make it to the event until about an hour into the event. For the food, this wasn’t a problem as the plates were being served throughout the event. We did miss the first performance, however.
So, I try to post at least once a week but lately things have slipped by me. For better or worse, I’ve been quite the busy bee these days.
I can’t believe eight years have passed since my first year of college. I’d like to think it wasn’t long ago, especially since I don’t feel like I’ve done too much with my life since then. Maybe I’m exaggerating about that last part. April 18th marks an important day for me as it was the 8th anniversary since the boyfriend and I first held hands. Perhaps that’s overwhelmingly and disgustingly cute, but what can you expect from a dorm couple who’s still hanging in there? It gets weirder when I say that it was Chris’s roommate who declared that the day of our anniversary. It’s been a fun eight years and I hope for many more. But really, who wants to hear about that nonsense?
We celebrated this year at Espetus, a churrascaria (otherwise known as a Brazilian steakhouse). I’ve never gone to a churrascaria before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In all honesty, I was expecting something along the lines of the smoky barbeque house of any all you can eat Korean barbeque joint. But alas, it was quite a different experience.
The meal started with an assortment of appetizers. We were presented with cheese bread, fried polenta, fried bananas, and empanadas. We devoured the empanadas. I tried not to eat too much of the cheese bread, but really, I couldn’t resist. Loved the fried bananas. Actually, the polenta was great too. I could have had a great meal just from these appetizers, but there was more.
Our next stop was the salad bar and buffett. I tried not to spend too much time there as I wanted to spend more time with the meat. However, did try a Portugese sausage and pork dish and some basque salad.
But one doesn’t go to a churrascaria to eat buffet or appetizers. No, no, no. I have had my fair share of AYCE establishments from my aforementioned Korean roots. So while I did not think the task would be easy, I also thought the idea of sampling all of the meat selection would be too difficult. Hah. I surely had much to learn. In spite of the many breaks we took to catch our breath, we did not even make it through their entire selection. It is quite the experience. The food was wonderful, though. Although I was not disappointed with any of the meat I tried, my favorites were probably the pork loin and the sirloin steak. I also loved the grilled pineapple.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get great pictures of the key part of the meal. I have a few, but you’ll have to put up with my messy plate. But we’ll have to make do.
2. Pork Loin
1701 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
I reviewed Mama’s on Yelp, but I think it’s worth a post here. I figure I’ll be doing some overlap between this blog and Yelp anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, I met up with some friends from the dorm days (Shadowfax. I speak fondly of my Shadowfax friends). One of my friends was visiting on a rare trip from Korea and she set up a brunch date. One lesson we learned from the day? It’s been far too long since we’ve all seen each other. We had so much to catch up on.
Getting to Mama’s was a bit of an adventure. We woke up at some ungodly hour that usually doesn’t exist on Sunday mornings (6:30) and got into the city around 9. We decided to walk from the Montgomery St. Bart station to Mama’s. It’s quite a walk in itself. It’s more when the Google Maps iPhone app decides to lie to you and take you all the way up to the touristy part of Lombard Street. What we thought was the line for the restaurant was actually tourists snapping photos of the curvy street. Oh great. Did I mention that it was an uncharacteristically gorgeous and sunny day in the city? Needless to say, we were kind of gross by the time we got to the restaurant. Not the best way to meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a couple of years. On the upside, we worked off some of the food we were going to eat.
The wait for the restaurant was quite long. While I am growing to accept the fact that you have to stand in obscene lines to eat anything good in San Francisco, I was also very hungry from my accidental morning work out. I also prefer the lines where you can write your name down and disappear for a while. They are just so much more convenient. All in all, the wait was about an hour and a half. We had to wait about twenty or so minutes after that to get our food. It was a lot of waiting, which leads to the inevitable question: Was it worth the wait? I still prefer Brenda’s French Soul Food, but I think it was.
I tried the bloody mary. The first sip of that bloody mary was a shock to the system as it was an overwhelming influx of spice. I’m pretty sure there was more Tabasco than vodka in the drink. However, being that I have been raised as a Tabasco fanatic, I didn’t mind.
We had a great system going for this restaurant which allowed us to sample a lot of the menu at Mama’s. We essentially just family style-d it, but it must have been kind of amusing for people to watch the assembly line that we had created to get a sample of each dish on each person’s plate.
My favorite dish of the day was the Dungeness Crab and Avocado Omelet. Apparently they only offer it on the weekends and at almost $20 is one of the more expensive items on the menu. Nevertheless, it was so delicious. This picture does not do it justice.
I also loved their french toast. It was absolutely amazing. We tried the sampler in addition to the chocolate one (beginning of the entry). I really liked how they used a lot of different breads for the toast too. If you go, I highly recommend smothering some jam on it too. That jam was delicious. The fruit tasted so fresh.
The Florentine omelet was pretty good. I enjoyed it, but unlike the previous few dishes I mentioned, there was nothing overly spectacular about it.
We also tried the salmon benedict. Love smoked salmon. Found out I’m not that big of an eggs benedict fan. Who knew?
All in all, although I really liked the food at Mama’s, I have yet to find a breakfast place in SF that wins my heart over Brenda’s. It may have just been the wait, so I would like to come back and try Mama’s at an off-time. One thing that did stand out was the service. The people at Mama’s were genuinely nice and helpful. It isn’t that the service at Brenda’s is bad or the people unfriendly (Brenda’s has great and friendly service), but there was a certain charm that the people at Mama’s had that I really loved.