Monday, April 28, 2008

One-Minute Movie Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Reasons why you should see Forgetting Sarah Marshall:

The Plot…
Hilarious
Great one-liners
Sarcastic
Romantic
Ridiculous
Raunchy
Original
Full Frontal Male Nudity (enough said)

The People…
Beautiful women: Mila Kunis & Kristen Bell
Jason Segel, who wrote the screenplay and starred in the film
Great cameos: Bill Hader


In San Francisco, about a month before FSM was even running commercials or trailers on television; billboards, taxi cabs, buses, and so on were plastered (literally) with ads for the movie. However, the signs read like this “I always hated Sarah Marshall” and “You do look fat in those jeans Sarah Marshall”. At first I had no idea who Sarah Marshall was, all I know is that by the time I saw the fifth or sixth advertisement—I just had to find out! I searched the web for Sarah Marshall and found out it was a movie, written and starring one of my favorite actors! I was stoked. You might be wondering the reason for this little anecdote. I just think that the marketing team for FSM did a phenomenal job to say the least. They had me wanting to see the movie before I even saw a trailer, that’s impressive!


Trust me it is absolutely worth the $10.50 to see it in theaters, I might even see it again!

Even Rotten Tomatoes rated FSM: 85%

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scrumptous Crispy Chicken Recipe!

Another school year is quickly ending. Final exams are approaching, and it is time to finally do everything that I had been putting off all semester. After a long week of endless hours in the library, the last thing I wanted to do was get dolled-up and go out to a restaurant. Friday was spent lounging on the couch, watching the Food Network, and attempting to both recover from the previous week and prepare for the next. By about 6 p.m., I think I had seen just about every Food Network star doing what they do best—cook. It was ideal. I had no energy to dine out, but after watching hours and hours of cooking, I had more than a few ideas for a delicious meal!

The recipe is extremely basic and easy. The entire meal only takes about 30 minutes to make, complete with an appetizer.

Ingredients: Boneless/skinless chicken tenders
All purpose flour
Garlic & herb seasonings
Butter
Plain potato chips
Asparagus
*Optional: Grand’s Flaky biscuits

Steps
(CHICKEN & BISCUITS)
1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Melt 1/2 stick of butter, pour into bowl
3. Combine 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of seasonings into large serving dish
4. Crush potato chips into a separate serving dish (fun for kids and boyfriends!)















*For the above ingredients, you will only need enough to cover the chicken tenders, so you are welcome to eyeball the amounts. Also, make sure to keep them in separate dishes.

5. Take chicken tenders and dip them first in the flour
6. Next in the melted butter
7. Last, completely cover the tenders with crushed potato chips8. Place the tenders into the oven on an un-greased cooking sheet for 20 minutes, or until
the chips are golden brown.
*If you are also making the biscuits, place them in the oven with the chicken.



(ASPARAGUS)
1. Preheat a griddle, with the burners on high.
2. Wash the asparagus and lightly coat it with olive oil or butter
3. Place the asparagus horizontally on the griddle and season them with garlic salt
4. Cook time is about 8 minutes, 4 minutes on each side

Well you are basically done! Just place the asparagus on a plate and top it with fresh Parmesan cheese. Grab the chicken and biscuits out of the oven, and you have yourself an amazing and quick dinner. Next time you don’t feel like dealing with the masses and would rather have dinner alone or spend some time at home with a loved one, try out this recipe!

Hope you love it!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Holiday for the Hippies!

Voicemail: Hey darling, it’s your father. I am with your sisters and they wanted me to call and make sure you were celebrating 4/20 in Golden Gate Park. (Laughing) They said San Francisco was probably a big cloud of smoke today. Well I hope you’re having a great day and I guess…be careful.Well that was by far one of the most ridiculous and funniest voicemails I have ever received, especially because it was from my dad. I cannot believe my dad called to make sure I was celebrating 4/20…does he not understand what that is? I mean he couldn’t possibly have been calling to make sure I was getting high? But I tried to look at it from his point of view: his baby daughter (me) went off to college and she is no longer that sweet little girl who tells daddy everything. The result: dad will bring up just about anything he thinks will spark a conversation. I guess it makes sense.

Anyway, yes I was in fact at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park with the other thousands of people who were celebrating 4/20. If you are not familiar with 4/20, it is a (discreet) term used to reference the use of cannabis or marijuana. On April 20 (4/20) thousands of people gathered in GGP and I am sure many many other places to celebrate! Do not think that the only people who showed up to Hippie Hill on 4/20 were a bunch of stoners and pot-heads, while that is mostly correct…other people, from all walks of life came to enjoy and observe cannabis day. It was a beautiful day in San Francisco, a little windy but otherwise sunny and nice. Even if you are not a smoker, 4/20 in Golden Gate Park is a great place for people watching and relaxing.

At 4:20 on 4/20 everyone that had gathered in the park stood up and cheered, and of course smoked: a joint, a blunt, a spliff, a piece, a bong…you get the idea. A huge cloud of smoke hovered over the dancing, singing, cheering hippies. However now it is 4/21, the holiday is over and it is back to reality!

video

Saturday, April 19, 2008

There is no place like Home!

Most people can probably agree that nothing compares to a great home cooked meal. That is exactly the concept that Home Restaurant, in San Francisco’s Castro district, has built their menu around. Home is open until midnight, seven days a week and its menu, which is full of home-cooked inspired favorites is sure to satisfy any craving.

Everything from the menu to the ambiance at Home is extremely comforting. The inside of Home features a full bar, complete with a dinning counter, a main dining room with big red booths (classy though, not tacky), and an enclosed patio with another bar and a wood burning fireplace. The staff is super friendly, almost as if your mom was actually delivering the food to your table!

The menu is made up of comfort food with a gourmet twist. For example, the Duck and vegetable spring rolls with spicy chili dipping sauce; which by the way is delicious. Other options include: Sloppy Joe dip with sour cream, red onions, and corn chips, Niman Ranch meatloaf with potato puree, gravy, and brown sugar carrots, and Wild mushroom ravioli, with zucchini, truffle oil, mushroom reduction, and parmesan. Those are just a few of Home’s menu choices, they also have macaroni and cheese, that is too die for, and decadent honey corn bread.

I suggest you share! Although a few of the entrees do sound (and taste) super delicious, there are a bunch of appetizers and sides that are perfect for sharing with friends or family. While dining at Home, my friends and I ordered about six of these different small plates, and were more than satisfied and stuffed.

If you insist on ordering your own thing, I know some people don’t like to do the whole sharing thing…at least order the Mac’n’cheese for everyone to taste. The pasta is always cooked perfectly, the cheese is hot and stringy, and there are little breadcrumbs on top that make this dish Amazing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christmas lights year round, magnetic walls and letters, 200 different bottles of wine...What's Not to Love?

Q is a fabulous inner-Richmond restaurant that serves American comfort food with a twist and features an expansive wine list with over 200 hand-selected California favorites. Q is located on Clement Street, and the people dining there are as eclectic as the restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful. As for ambiance, Q is on the loud side. The great food brings in large crowds, which means a ton of people talking; and the kitchen is out in the open, so you have all the noise of cooking. All of that noise is topped off with music; however, the tunes are very recognizable and classic, you know… songs that everyone seems to love. Etta James…At Last, enough said.

The interior decorations are a cross between a child’s playroom and an industrial plant. The bottom half of the walls are magnetic, and come fully equipped with magnet letters for your enjoyment and sheer amusement. The daily specials and desserts are written on a huge section of a chalkboard wall. Christmas and chili pepper light-strands hang from the ceiling and on the booths; there is even a tree in the middle of the big table in the back, which is of course covered in lights.

Don’t think the decorations stop there. One half of the ceiling is painted midnight blue and a huge moon, craters and all, completes the illusion of a night sky…inside! All of these things may seem overwhelming, but they actually give the place a quirky and comfortable feel. Once you get over the embellished interior and focus on the food and wine, I know you will be satisfied! One suggestion, come hungry because the portions are pretty big.

The extensive and versatile wine list, of over 200 different wines as I mentioned earlier, was created by Q’s chef/owner Andrew Gillen. He has even taken the time to pair his favorite wine selections with specific menu options.

The lunch and dinner menus focus on classic American favorites. A few examples: Macaroni and Cheezy with Tate R Tots, Grilled Harris Ranch Angus Meatloaf on Mashed Potatoes with Country Gravy and Braised Vegetables, and Ultimate Vegan Grill-Grilled Squashes, Corn On The Cob, Yams, Portobello Mushrooms, Carrots and Onions with Marinated Beets, Black Beans, and Wild Rice Pilaf. My absolute favorite dish at Q is the Potato Croquettes appetizer, which is served with asiago cheese, rosemary, and smoked tomato salsa. No exaggeration I order it every time I am there! It’s just that delicious.


Q is more than worth venturing out to. The food is great, and comforting. The wine will never stop flowing. And I promise, the magnetic wall and letters are always great entertainment!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stories From The Throne Room (a.k.a. the bathroom)

Hey everyone! I am currently writing an article about bathroom idiosyncrasies and other anecdotal stories you may or may not have about a bathroom experience, especially public restrooms. To give you an idea of what I am looking for, here are a few questions to consider.

Do you always go to the bathroom with friends or do you always go alone?

Do you always use the same stall or sink?

Do you have any sort of bathroom ritual?

Are there bathrooms you avoid or prefer for any reason?

The story subject is pretty open, and will essentially be as creative and interesting as the stories/anecdotes people are willing to tell me! If you have a great story, please comment. If you aren’t comfortable commenting in this public forum, please e-mail me at genieegrl22@aol.com. Thanks so much, can’t wait to hear your stories.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Parent's Pick: Piperade

Dining out with my parents and their friends always proves to be an interesting experience. The conversation is that much more educated and the wine that much more expensive. On Saturday night my boyfriend Ryan and I, met my parents and four of their friends at Piperade, for (as expected) a spectacular meal and intriguing dialogue. My mother’s directions to this restaurant were shaky at best, she told me it was on Green Street between Union and Battery. Basically Green and Union run parallel, so that was impossible, and because I trusted an out-of-towner with the directions, I drove around for an extra half and hour trying to find this hidden gem. Piperade is actually located on Battery between Green and Union, at the base of Telegraph Hill and on the edge of the Financial District.

Piperade is not only the name of a fabulous restaurant it is also the name of a dish from the Basque region, which borders France and Spain. This signature dish combines tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, and eggs. Unfortunately, no one in our party of eight ordered it; however, we did try just about everything else on the menu—all of which were amazing. The menu offers small plates that are great for sharing, and entrée size meals. A few of the small plates include: warm sheep’s milk cheese and ham terrine, piquillo peppers with goat cheese, California raisins and moscatel vinaigrette, and whole prawns with garlic, parsley and lemon. The bigger plate options featured: marinated lamb chops with thyme and aged sherry vinegar, bistro steak with caramelized shallots, gascon fries and portobellos, and (of course) Pipérade with sautéed Serrana ham and a poached egg.

The wine list at Piperade is not at all overshadowed by the delectable food. There are nearly 200 wines on the extensive list, and they are proud to feature Basque wines from France, Spain, and California. Emmauel Kemiji, Master Sommelier at Piperade, seems very passionate about the wine and is proud to serve wines from boutique wineries and artisans. The wine at our table never stopped flowing, between the reds and whites, Roses and Pinots, each sip was as refreshing as the last.

The ambiance at Piperade was fabulous. A huge chandelier, made from wine bottles, lit the restaurant perfectly. The wooden chairs and tables gave it a comfortable feel, while still being upscale. The bar was bustling and the service was great. Piperade is open for lunch and dinner, and there is also a sheltered outdoor patio! I have nothing but great things to say about this place, which as you know isn’t always the case.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life is a Beach.

The beautiful beach. The blazing sun. The dreaded bikini. All of these things are so familiar to us. I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be than on a beach, or anything that I would rather do than lay on it. And that’s exactly what I did this weekend; yes, all weekend. As finals creep closer and work gets stressful, a relaxing weekend at the beach was the perfect medicine. If you have ever spent any time in San Francisco, you know that the weather is unpredictable at best. The temperature has been known to drop 30° degrees and the fog rolls in so heavy, the city seems to disappear. And anytime the temperature is above 60, people crowd the parks and beaches as if they haven’t seen the sun in years. This weekend it felt more like the Bahamas than San Francisco, the wretched fog and wind were no where to be found for three entire days! A few of my favorite beaches in San Francisco are Ocean and Baker beach. Baker beach has the feel of a local’s beach, just a bit bigger. It is about a half-mile long and at the North end, there is a well-known nudist beach. It has an amazing view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The parking at Baker however, is quite a hassle. Whenever we go to the beach during the day we tend to head to Baker, it seems less windy. The beach is the perfect place to do just about anything: relax, hang out with friends, play football or volleyball, read a book.
Ocean beach, however is the clear choice for a late night bonfire. Ocean beach is a lot bigger and the ocean seems almost endless as it collides miles away into the sky. On a warm night, like Saturday for example, people flock to the beach for fires, live music, and s’mores. The night scene at the beach in San Francisco is probably exactly how you would imagine it…sort of an extension of the sixties.
Fires were raging all up and down the beach Saturday night, and as my friends and I wandered from one to the next, three things remained constant. A fire (obviously), food, and music. Some of the fires were huge, and others were much smaller. Some of the food was gourmet, and of it…not at all. Some of the music was live, with guitars and drums and dancers; and other music blared out of boomboxes. All of it was great.



This weekend was perfect. Between the weather and the company, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. And it was all so simple…a blanket, a ball, a few beers, and you’re golden. Next time the weather is good, where ever you live, I suggest you hit the beach!



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Less than Impressed!

Going to a new restaurant is always great fun, but sometimes it is nice to go to a place where you already know what to expect. That way you know the menu, you know the prices, and you can assume your experience will be as satisfactory as it was in the past. Rose Pistola, an Italian-style restaurant located in the San Francisco neighborhood North Beach, was one of the first places I dined in after moving here…almost three years ago (wow time flies!). Over the years, I have been there many times, with family and friends alike, and each time was as enjoyable as the last. My mom was coming into town for a Wallace Foundation conference, and I found no better excuse than to dine out at this old favorite.

Unfortunately, the service and the food were mediocre at best. Thankfully, we had 3 (or was it 4) bottles of wine to cushion the blow of what this place had become. The service was the first hint that our Rose Pistola experience was not going to be a good one. The waiter (lets call him Joe), a younger guy—about 30 or so, had more attitude that I think even he knew what to do with, and his indifference was blatant. Joe was less than amused by my mother’s witty banter (if you know her, you know exactly what I’m talking about), and he seemed bored while taking our order. Even when my mom asked for his wine recommendations, he was not only unhelpful, but he seemed annoyed. Our first two bottles of wine sat in the middle of the table, luckily we drank them fast or else they would have gotten very warm. And after pouring us refills from our fourth bottle, it disappeared and we were never offered its remains. Past the terrible wine etiquette, we never saw Joe again throughout the course of the meal—he never checked to see if we needed anything or made sure our meals were satisfactory. In regards to the food, two things stick out in my memory. My ($36) steak was extremely fatty and rare, which was not how I ordered it, and the peas in my boyfriends pasta Carbonara, were still frozen.

In the past however, I have had much more enjoyable experiences and much better food at Rose Pistola. Their rustic Italian style food satisfies all kinds of cravings. The menu has everything from wood-fired pizza and pasta to steak and whole roasted fish. In addition to that, Rose Pistola also has a full-bar and an extensive wine menu. Although, my most recent experience was not top-notch, I am not going to write this place off completely. Maybe Joe (our waiter) was having a bad night, and maybe I did not make it clear that I wanted my steak medium-well. Rose Pistola let me down this time, and my mom swore she would never dine there again. But lets face it, everyone is allowed to have a bad day…right?

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Cheap and Spicy Treat!

When my parents told me they were coming to San Francisco for the weekend, I was stoked. I was obviously happy to spend some quality time with my parents, but I was more excited knowing that we would be dining out all weekend! My parents had spent quite a bit of time in San Francisco long before I moved here, so they know their way around and know some great restaurants. My dad has had clients in San Francisco for more than twenty year and after spending so much time here, has lots of favorite restaurants, especially in the financial district. Although I am not a huge fan of any Asian cuisine, I agreed to step out on my comfort zone and join my parents and a family friend at Henry’s Hunan.

Henry’s Hunan has four San Francisco locations, which are all located in and around the financial district. My family and I dined at the Sacramento Street location in the heart of the financial district, which is obvious because the majority of the customers were middle-aged men in suits. The food at Henry’s runs circles around the décor, but do not let it deter you from enjoying the delicious food, the New Yorker Magazine boldly said it is “the best Chinese restaurant in the world.” Not only does Henry’s offer a huge selection of Chinese cuisine, it is super inexpensive. Our party of four dined for $38 dollars! As for the ambiance: the walls are stark white, it is busy and loud, and the tables and chairs could have easily been ransacked from an old convention center. However, once you get past the lack of décor, Henry’s will have you filled to the brim with fabulous food. The menu has a lot to offer, so it is best to share, that way you can sample a variety of different selections. A few suggestions: Marty’s Special, Kung Pao Beef (very spicy!), dumplings, and Diana’s Special Meat Pie (the most popular menu item).

This place is great; not fancy, but great. It is cheap, the white rice is perfect, and the traditional Chinese tea is delicious and hot. As I said earlier, I am not a big fan of Chinese food, but Henry’s Hunan stepped up—I loved it! Touché.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Search and Find: a great new restaurant!

As you can probably tell, by reading my most recent blog posts, I love to eat out. But hey, what is not to love? Somebody else does the cooking, and more importantly, somebody else does the cleaning. Eating out also lets me experience new cuisines and new neighborhoods. I currently live in San Francisco, where I have quickly learned that each neighborhood seems to have its very own specialty. For example, the Mission District focuses on their amazing Mexican food, North Beach is an Italian’s haven, and China Town…. well, that’s a bit obvious.

To make sure I am not constantly eating at the same restaurants, I rely on things like Yelp.com and the Zagat Survey. Yelp.com is a great site where customers review restaurants, hotels, spas, and so on. The site has thousands of reviews for all types of restaurants in many cities including—San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Miami. There are over 4,100 San Francisco restaurants alone! The restaurants are split into different categories, which makes the site easy to navigate and find exactly what you are looking for. A few of the categories include: neighborhood, cuisine, and different restaurant features like romantic, delivery, or outside seating. The great thing about the Yelp website is, it is constantly updated, and the reviews are from real people. It also has photographs and a place to ask other reviewers questions about anything you might need to know for your perfect dining experience. If you are not into street reviews, Zagat is another option. The downside to Zagat is whether you want to book or want to be a member of their online survey—it costs money. The upside, I think, is the book and website are made up of professional reviews, so you avoid people ranting or raving and you just get the info you came for: price, taste, décor, and service. Those are just a few suggestions if you are dying to find a great new restaurant!Other options: the restaurant reviews in your local newspaper, citysearch.com, or even try watching the Food Network! Good luck on your quest, hope this helps.

The Grove- great for eating, studying, and people watching!

The Grove is an eclectic café on Fillmore Street, in San Francisco. If you do not know much about San Francisco, Fillmore Street is where you go if you are— about 30 years old, trendy, and (probably) wealthy. The boutiques, restaurants, bars, and specialty shops are all high-end; or at least they act as if they are.

The Grove is no different. The food at The Grove covers quite a range. The breakfast options are delightful. A few of the delicious bagel combinations include: Raul’s Bagel (scrambled eggs, melted American cheese, and thick-sliced bacon), Derek’s Bagel (hummus, avocado, sprouts, red onion, and tomato), and The New Yorker Bagel (smoked salmon, cream cheese, and sliced red onions). The bagels however, pale in comparison to the rest of the Grove’s extensive menu. Other breakfast options include—granola, oatmeal, French toast, breakfast burrito, waffles, and crab cakes. If you are more of a lunch person, the Grove offers hot pressed sandwich platters, salads, and a full entrée menu. For example, the Berkeley Bowl is an amazing (and huge) salad that features sweet tomatoes, carrots, English cucumbers, red onions, ripe avocado, roasted peppers, alfalfa sprouts, and garbanzo beans with homemade ranch dressing.

Although the menu has endless options for any craving at any time of the day, it is not the food that keeps the Grove packed from open to close. Looking around the café, food is not what covers the tables—it is laptops, books, and briefcases. It seems like since the invention of laptops and wireless Internet access, people have started to leave the comfort of their homes and head to a café or anywhere else they can find. I know getting out of the house to do work, helps me focus much more on the task at hand, instead of the dishes, laundry, and even the television. The Grove’s laid back atmosphere makes it easy to study and get loads of work done. They have an ample amount of outlets to plug in laptops, and they offer an Internet service with daily or monthly rate options. Most importantly, no one will hassle you if you sit and do work for endless hours and only order a white chocolate mocha.

The Grove opens early and closes late. I love this place. It has everything I need—a ‘homey’ feel, Internet access, and great food. Just a warning…the Grove is no secret so it tends to get really packed. But hey, who doesn’t love a little people watching?