Monday, May 12, 2008

Frjzt Fries, Not French Fries

In the heat of finals, I have barely been able to find the time to shower or sleep, much less a night out to discover a great new restaurant or relax with my friends. Before last night, Coke, caffeine, and water, were the only things running through my veins and attempting to fill my stomach over the past 13 days (not that I’m counting). My sleeping habits at the moment are also far from healthy; and I’m honestly shocked that my body isn’t trying to shut itself down, due to my blatant disregard for its needs. Realizing that I had also been ignoring my duties as a blogger, I knew I at least had to grab some grub from a new eatery in town (new to me that is, not necessarily new as an establishment). I only had about a half an hour, because studying for two final exams and writing a fifteen-page analysis of a television show, doesn’t exactly give me a lot of time to enjoy anything except the occasional (and necessary) nicotine fix.Although I didn’t have time to dine-in, I was more than satisfied with my take-out selection from Frjtz, a Belgian Art Teahouse. And no, not just because I haven’t eaten a decent meal in a few weeks. For less than twenty-five bucks, my boyfriend and I were able to enjoy every last bite of the savory crepes and perfectly delicious fries from this Hayes-Valley establishment (note: there is also another Frjtz located on Valencia, in the Mission). Located on Hayes Street in the sassy Hayes-Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Frjtz’s menu features fries, huge salads, and sweet/savory crepes. The Belgian fries, which are clearly the most sought after menu choice, are available in two sizes (small or large) and accompanied by your choice of any of the 20 original dips.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what would differentiate Belgian fries from the more classic French fries. According to Frjtz Belgian fries are: washed cut potatoes that are blanched in a lower temperature oil, then fried in a much higher temperature to achieve natural crispness without adding extra starches. Traditionally served in paper cones with a variety of dipping sauces!

The dipping sauces at Frjtz cover quite a range of flavors including: pesto mayonnaise, curry ketchup, Thai chili ketchup, ginger orange mayo, and creamy wasabi mayo. The list clearly goes on; however, instead of listing the other fifteen flavors for you, I simply request that you head to Frjtzs yourself, and find the dipping sauce that excites your taste-buds.

Frjtz also offers a variety of Belgian beers, wines, and cocktails. My absolute favorite beer is Stella Artois, which they even serve in the Stella glass. The ambiance of this fried potato haven is laid back, and you can even watch the crepes being made. The items on the menu are also named after famous artists, places, and such; which are great fun to read and try things solely based on the name. The Da Vinci crepe is my and is filled with mozzerella cheese, pesto, and tomato.

Anyway, I strongly suggest taking a trip to Hayes-Valley to enjoy great fries and yummy crepes. Even if you only have twenty minutes or so to spare, you can order to go and be back to work or school or wherever before you know it!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Are You a Sports Fanatic?

I think I started playing basketball before I could even walk. See I was my Dad’s last hope. I have two older sisters, neither of which were necessarily blessed with the athletic gene my dad was praying for. My oldest sister Elizabeth is the artsy type, not to mention that she has a 140 IQ! Meghan, the middle, was as athletic as she could have been considering she never rose above 5’2”. I’ll give it to her though; she was aggressive as hell, and way better than I was at soccer.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was my dad’s last hope for a basketball star, since having a son was kind of out of the question. Even though my sisters weren’t necessarily great at basketball, my dad sent them to Doug Collins a basketball summer camp every year. Don’t feel too bad for them though, on their camp evaluations they always scored very high on coachability and sportsmanship (haha, sorry Meg and Liz). My dad talked the camp director into letting me come, even though I was three years younger than the youngest age group, because my two older sisters were there. I may have been little, but I definitely held my ground, and lucky for my father I fell in love with basketball.

I spent my summers at basketball camp, my weekends playing pick-up games with the neighborhood boys, every day after school I watched Pistol Pete, an instructional video on dribbling skills, and the every winter at Chicago Bulls games with my dad. I played year-round on three different teams, and probably played more basketball games in a year than most people play in a lifetime. I think I spent more time in my driveway (see photo) and in gyms than anywhere else in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it. However, by my junior year of high school, I had undergone two major reconstructive knee surgeries and dislocated my kneecaps on countless occasions. My love for the game was becoming overshadowed the realization that if I kept playing, I most likely wouldn’t be able to walk by the time I was thirty. And the next step, knee replacement surgery wasn’t something I was ready for at seventeen. Bottom line…I quit. Yes, my father was devastated, my whole family was, even more so—I was devastated.

I shut basketball out of my life for a while, all my dreams of playing in the WNBA or even college for that matter were destroyed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t have to be playing to still enjoy the sport. Basketball was such a huge part of my life for so long and it was hard to forget. I couldn’t play anymore, at least not competitively (and if you know me, you know that’s the only way I do things), so I started coaching grammar school girls. I now coach two teams, a seventh grade varsity team in the winter and a fifth grade club team in the spring. It’s fun, it’s hard, and it’s frustrating as hell, which sure gives me a lot of respect for every coach I ever had. It doesn’t completely fill the void of all the amazing years I spent on the court; however, it’s a pretty good replacement.

Last weekend, I found myself at Jillian’s, a huge sports bar in the Metreon down on 4th Street in San Francisco. In the heat of the NBA Playoffs, the jumbo screens made Kobe and Shaq feel like they were in the same room. Above the bar is a floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall television, with over ten different screens. Each one featuring a different sport, the playoffs were smack in the middle on an enormous screen. Outside of ten and twelve year old girls, I hadn’t watched many basketball games in the past year. I was just watching the Lakers take on the Jazz, entranced by the jumbo-screen, and suddenly all the memories of state championship games and national tournaments come rushing back.

The food at Jillian’s is basic bar food, but a bit more upscale. The menu includes items like buffalo wings (which were delicious, and not too spicy), calamari, burgers, and even a philly-style cheese-steak. Jillian’s is a bit pricy, considering they are serving bar food, not upscale cuisine. The bar is enormous, I am certain they could make you any drink you requested. The enormous dining room has hardwood floors and velvet booths, a large mirror covers the entire wall of one side of the room. (Great for undercover people watching!) There is also a billiards room, which is great if you have no interest in watching sports. And Jillian’s transforms into a full-on club at night.

All in all, I guess I am trying to say that if you have any interest in sports that Jillian’s is a great place to watch any number of games, tournaments, and other competitions. The NBA playoffs are always exciting, regardless of if you are supporting one of the teams or not, and Jillian’s is a great place to hang. If you’re looking for a place to chill and indulge yourself in the playoffs over the next few weeks, this place is great. After the playoffs don’t write off Jillian’s because there are always a great games to watch, between baseball season, football season, and basketball season there is never a dull moment in sports. Bottom line: I love food, I love basketball, and I love watching sports. Jillian’s…job well done.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Eddie's Cafe: Cheap and Fast

Eddie’s CafĂ© is a great, fast, and super cheap little diner located in the heart of NOPA, a neighborhood in San Francisco. Perfect for that greasy food you crave after a long night of drinking and partying. Eddie’s is not exactly gourmet, actually, it’s not gourmet at all, but they serve breakfast all day (always a plus) and service is beyond friendly (no, not in a creepy way).

Eddie’s is located on the corner of Fulton and Divisadero, and from the outside, I’ll admit it looks a little run-down. Once inside however, Eddie’s has great charm. The ambiance is set by a little jukebox in the corner playing great soul music; including, classics by Etta James, Ray Charles, James Brown, Carole King, and Little Richard. There are also bouquets of beautiful flowers set on random tables. And Eddie’s has hundreds of collected coffee mugs from all over, which they serve coffee and tea in. Eddie’s is small, there are only six booths and about that many stools at the counter, so you might have to wait.As the food goes, like I said it is nothing special, just classic breakfast food: pancakes, eggs, hash browns, biscuits, bacon, omelets…the usual. The menu is pretty limited, but everything on the menu is cheap! Eddie’s also offers the following classic sandwiches: BLT, grilled cheese, bacon egg and cheese.

My boyfriend (Ryan) and I often head to Eddie’s on the weekend to both recover from the previous night and because we know the two of us can eat for about $15. On my most recent adventure to Eddie’s I ordered a grilled cheese and French fries, which were both piping hot and cooked to perfection. Ryan ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy considering there was nothing left of it within minutes.
All in all, Eddie’s isn’t where you want to take someone your trying to impress or somewhere to expect a five-star meal. However, Eddie’s is fast, comfortable, friendly, and best of all cheap. I would absolutely recommend Eddie’s to anyone I know, especially after a rough night.

Which coffee mug will you get?