Christmas in San Francisco

I’m terrible at blogging, obviously. I can’t say I’m extremely busy because I still manage to  find time to watch terrible reality TV shows like Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After, which is so scripted but I will still watch because I am addicted to The Bachelor franchise. Anyways, I could go on but let’s get to what’s new – lots!

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Another Beautiful Weekend in SF

Packed weekend as always. On Friday, we threw a BBQ to thank all our camp counselors and volunteers this summer. We made turkey zucchini burgers, just like we did this summer with the kids! Check out this beautiful yellow watermelon.

On Saturday, Rachel, Elianna and I filmed our fundraising video to help get #allthemonies for Bay Leaf Kitchen! It was the perfect day to be filming. We are throwing a fundraising dinner in late October. There’s so much to be done. I’m trying not to think about it otherwise I’ll start digging a hole to hide in. 

Today, Chris and I went to Sunday Streets in the Mission. A really awesome street block party with local organizations participating. So many cool performances. We stuffed our faces with some pizza and cookie ice cream sandwiches. Swimsuit season is over for me, clearly.

Hope you had a nice weekend! 

Presidio Bay Area Ridge Trail

I think I’ve been teetering on the verge of being sick for at least a week now. Its pretty miserable. I have a cough that only comes at night right before I go to bed and I sound like Patty and Selma from The Simpsons. And last weekend when my friend Fauna was in town, I completely lost my voice and could barely squeak out any audible words. That was a fun time.

The silent hike – at the top of Mt. Tam.

At least this weekend I sound less like a chain smoker and more like Rachael Ray after a night of drinking. It’s a huge improvement plus I discovered how easy it is to make homemade ginger tea! Literally just ginger and hot water. It’s so soothing and feels great for my sore throat.

Chris and I went hiking again this past Saturday. This time we stayed in SF and headed out to the Presidio. We really should get out there more often seeing as how its in the city and super convenient to get to. We hiked along the Bay Area Ridge Trail which is about 2.8 miles out and back – very easy hike.

I loved all the trees we saw. It was very pretty and gave a mystical feel to the hike! If there ever was a place to hide something…perhaps a dead body, er I mean some object, this would be the place. Not that we are planning on that anytime soon/ever, but you know how these thoughts cross your mind.

Lovely dense forests, perfect for hiding or burying things.

And the trail led to the Golden Gate Bridge, which I still like to “ooh” and “aah” at like I’m a tourist. There is something about this bridge that I love to admire.

All in all, the hike was easy peasy and great for a relaxing weekend hike. Its definitely on our list of places to take out of town guests 🙂

Baking Demo with Yigit Pura and Tout Sweet

I have a major crush on Yigit Pura. Fortunately for Chris, I am not his type. I’m holding out to be Yigit’s bestie though. I am not sure if you are familiar with him, but he won Season 1 of Top Chef Just Desserts! And he’s freakin’ hilarious, charming and so talented. On Saturday, I went to Macy’s with my friend Ann to watch Yigit make a pasilla spiced cookie sandwich with pasilla chili-infused Scharffen Berger ganache with a cacao nib mudslide. Phew, that was a mouthful. 

It was as good as it sounds!

Luckily Ann and I got there on the early side and were able to snag seats in the third row. Seats filled up quickly too.

The event was hosted by Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker which is a local company founded right here in SF. Their amazing chocolates are made in Berkeley and sadly Ann says they don’t give tours anymore. We were given free samples however of the milk, bittersweet, and extra dark chocolate which was awesome!

The demo lasted about 45 minutes and Yigit took us through the steps to make his pasilla-infused ganache and cacao nib mudslide. And in his words, baking is a science, “not unicorn power.” Isn’t he hilarious? 

The steps are a bit complicated but that’s his style apparently. Yigit gave us a taste of the extra ganache he had prepared (hence the spoons in the picture above). The ganache he created was really unique tasting. You were immediately hit with undertones of the pasilla chili. He explained he wanted to add heat to the cookie but didn’t want to just add cayenne, which is what most people use to add heat and spice. Guilty. In my defense, I also like to use ancho chilies. 

The cacao nib mudslide was my favorite part. He created a really rich, dense cookie base and added dried sour cherries to it which gave the intensely chocolate cookie a nice tangy balance.

Top to bottom: chocolate shortbread, ganache, cacao nib mudslide.

Overall, the event by Scharffen Berger was nicely orchestrated. I had so much fun watching Yigit bake!

Afterward, Ann and I headed up to the third floor to visit his newly opened store: Tout Sweet, which translates to everything sweet. I visited this store earlier on Fashion’s Night Out, and it was great to go back again.

The decor is very bold, bright and playful. It’s like a dream dessertland. I wanted to eat everything but restrained myself. This time I tried two of the macarons: the Sebnem and the Ken. Interesting names! The Sebnem was coffee-based and the Ken was milk chocolate with passion fruit. The cookie had a nice subtle almond taste to it and were chewy like a good macaron should be. They were definitely one of the better macarons I’ve had in the city.

I am looking forward to trying one of his tarts and cakes next time! Drool.

There were also a variety of breakfast type-items available which I believe are new to the menu.

Egg dishes! Swoon. 

I highly recommend Tout Sweet if you’re in the Union Square area. Yes, it is a touristy spot but in the name of science and unicorn power, you owe it to yourself to visit! 

Opening Night of SOMA StrEAT Food Park

What: Opening night of SOMA StrEAT Food Park. Seating for 100 people. Free WiFi, (do I really need this?) and 10 rotating trucks!

Where: Sorta sketchy neighborhood, 11th and Division, across from Costco…
When: Opens at 5pm for dinner. My friend and I arrived around 6pm.
Why: Food. In trucks. 
Who: There were some interesting food trucks there.  We decided to skip Curry Up Now since that’s close to work and also Sunrise Deli for the same reason. My friend Ann’s distaste for mayonnaise meant we skipped Mayo and Mustard. I’ve never really liked Ethiopian so we bypassed Eire Trea. Mr. Nice looked good but I wasn’t in the mood for anything on their menu which is mostly sausage. The Belgian waffles did look enticing from Golden Waffle but, we decided to pass. We tried the following places:
Tostada – The contrast of salty pastrami and sweet slaw was nice. Though there was too much cheese on the tostada which overwhelmed everything. I wish there could have been some heat or spice on here to complete the dish. 
Pastrami fries – The pastrami with the green onions was really good! The fries themselves were a bit lacking unfortunately. They kind of tasted like something you would make out of your freezer. 
Verdict: Order a pastrami sandwich. They seem to be well reviewed on Yelp. 
Left to Right: Moa-Fried Slider, chicken breasts, brined and coated in panko, topped with spicy slaw. I think I didn’t get enough jalapeños in mine since it was not very spicy at all. The chicken did have a nice briny flavor to it. Overall, I felt the slider needed some kind of aioli to hold it all together. BBQ Pulled Pork Slider, pulled pork smothered in BBQ sauce. It was sort of average. The meat was tender and the BBQ sauce was nice and tangy but nothing really made it a standout slider. 
Verdict: Skip. Unless you’re looking for an average meal. 

We ran out of savory things we wanted to eat so naturally it was time for dessert! And it was the best part of the night. 
Chocolate Sorbet – Ann was a fan. 
Strawberry Pretzel Pop, drizzled in white chocolate with pretzel pieces. Loved this! It tasted like fresh strawberries and the white chocolate added just the right amount of sweetness. The pretzel pieces were genius as it added a salty and crunchy dimension to the Popsicle. 
Verdict: To end your dinner on a sweet note with something light and refreshing, this truck is a must. I hear they have a Salted Caramel Pop…drool. 
Overall I would definitely come back especially if new trucks will be added to the rotation. It’s pretty cool that it is a permanent food truck park which means I could go whenever I want.