Monthly Archives: September 2012

Eating at Mt Everest

And by Mt Everest, I mean my favourite Indian restaurant in Berkeley. Definitely not as cool as eating on the highest mountain ever but eating here was still a good experience. Customers get to choose their level of spiciness for their dishes and I love how their spiciness scale is nearly always true to my expectations.

So here we got the usual Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Karahi, and not to mention their garlic naans.

20120910-224630.jpg

All that was good but what blew me away were the Chicken Momos. “Chicken what?” you ask. That was my initial reaction too and we took a bit of a risk ordering a side we had never really heard of albeit not completely unfamiliar. Chicken Momos are basically Nepalese chicken dumplings and as much as I hate to say this, I think they are better than regular Chinese dumplings. The chicken stuffings are just so juicy and delicious, and the Momos come with great sauce on the side.

20120910-224640.jpg

Looks like our leap of faith paid off ūüôā

Crazy for Crepes

Santorini Crepe @ Crepevine, Berkeley

20120908-211843.jpg

The Santorini crepe —¬†with its crushed pistachios, walnuts, brown sugar, coconut and cinnamon — is not your average sweet crepe and is a refreshing change from the berries and bananas and nutella that you usually find in dessert crepes. I now officially declare the Santorini as my favourite crepe in Berkeley!

Seafood from Venus

Steamed Tomales Bay Mussels @ Venus Restaurant, Berkeley

20120908-000323.jpg

Absolutely mouth watering and I love the spicy and flavourful coconut curry!  The curry beats the relatively mild ones I have had in Thai restaurants. The day I had this was also the day I learnt of the existence and wonders of fennel and trumpet mushrooms.

Pan Seared Albacore Tuna

20120908-000507.jpg

Frankly a vast disappointment but thankfully this was not my actual dish. The tuna was rather bland and dry, and that should not be the case for a dish carrying its price tag. Seriously, just go for the mussels. Full stop.

Kek Batik

20120908-000227.jpg

Kek batik, one of my favourite Malay cakes ever. To those unfamiliar with kek batik, this cake is a Southeast Asian fudge cake made from cocoa powder, Milo powder and Marie cookies. Credits to a blogger who posted the recipe online.

Something Salvadoran

The last ‘exotic’ cuisine I had with my friends who are constantly on a quest to try new things was at the Ethiopia Restaurant somewhere down Telegraph Ave in Oakland. As mentioned in my older post, we had a pretty good experience exploring Ethiopian cuisine. This time round, we decided to give Salvadoran cuisine a try.

Platano @ University Ave, Berkeley 

20120902-212857.jpg

One of the lunch specials at Platano consists of two pupusas and a chicken tamale. When I ordered the pupusas, I was under the notion that they were like tacos and but it transpired that pupusas were more like quesadillas or savoury pancakes. The pork and cheese pupusa was tasty but the cheese and Salvadoran vegetable pupusa seemed devoid of any cheese or vegetable. Not sure if I was eating them right but the pupusas were delicious when topped with the restaurant’s pickled cabbages and ‘hot’ sauce.

The first time I had a tamale was at Cal’s dining common and I did not enjoy it at all. Needless to say, I decided to give the tamale another chance to redeem itself because I thought that perhaps the dining common made severely subpar tamales. After today, I can officially say that I am not a fan of tamales — I am unaccustomed to the taste of corn dough and the dish was just too starchy and bland for my liking.

20120902-213140.jpg

Plantain and cream — more appetizing than it looks. I liked the plaintain on its own but not so much of the sour cream.

20120902-213755.jpg

The small avocado salad was not that small after all. Tried some of my friend’s salad and it tasted pretty good to me. Gotta love avocados.

Conclusion? ¬†Salvadoran food is somewhat exotic and is definitely not for everyone — here in Platano I had the very last tamale that I will ever have in my life, and my friend will probably never step through Platano’s door again because she did not enjoy lunch here even though I thought it was quite similar to Mexican food which she loves. I would not mind coming back for the cheese and meat pupusa and the pickled cabbage. Yes, the pickled cabbage in the jar.

Off the Grid: Southside Berkeley

This has been going on for quite some time already but I recently discovered that Off the Grid is now in Southside Berkeley every Thursday 5-9pm. Hip hip hooray for mobile food vendors selling delicious (and overpriced) food!

Off the Grid @ Telegraph Ave, Southside Berkeley 

There was a long line at the Koja Kitchen food truck so it was natural instinct to jump on the bandwagon and try to see what the craze is all about. Their Kamikaze Fries were really popular but I opted for the Chicken Koja Sandwich. I thought it was really interesting to have rice cake patties as buns and they work really well with the Korean barbecued chicken. I do not know how to emphasize how amazing the chicken is! So sweet and juicy that I am still fantasizing about it three days later.

This sandwich ended up being my appetizer because I realized I was still hungry after so I went down a block to Happy Valley restaurant for my main course. No picture here but the crispy spicy shrimp on the dinner specials menu is so good! It also came with sweet and cold tofu dessert after. Off the Grid + Happy Valley = Bliss

Cookie!

Chocolate Chip Cookie @ Specialty’s Cafe, San Francisco

Crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. Yummy in my tummy!

French Food for the Soul

Quite ironically, I have never had a proper French course before despite having been to Paris before (funnily enough, I ended up eating pizzas and lamb shanks instead crepes and baguettes). When confronted with a choice between two restaurants, one Italian and one French, I immediately jumped at the idea of going to the French restaurant to make up for lost gastronomic opportunities. That was how my friends and I ended up in Liaison Bistro.

Liaison is a great place to take someone for a romantic dinner — good ambience, and dear and delicious meals to impress your date with. The people who served our ¬†food were also very friendly and professional, and they were very descriptive in explaining the various items on the menu. My friends and I eventually settled on their three course meal and a plate of burger and fries to share between the three of us.

First course: Salad

I need to learn how to enjoy healthy salad.

Second course: Fish and Nuts 

I have no idea what fish this is, or how they cooked it, or what they cooked with it but all that matters is that this fancy fish was superb! I loved the taste and texture of the fish as well as the mild seasoning and nuts on top.

Croque Americain

Burger was alright but the french fries and garlic dip were super tasty, and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t like french fries all that much.

Dessert: Chocolate Thingamabob with Raspberry Sauce

Delectable. The chocolate and the raspberry sauce made an excellent combination.

Together with the 10% discount for Cal students, each of us ended up paying about USD 16. Not too bad for a three course meal eh?

Taco Party!

Fish Tacos @ Rubio’s, San Francisco

Brendas, We Meet Again

Brendas Soul Food @ Civic Center, San Francisco

Image

Image

Hangtown fry — an omelette with crispy oyster, bacon bits and scallions. Reminiscent of Singapore’s tasty oyster omelette ūüėÄ