Over A Meal

When I first started traveling to different places and loving to try to new foods, I would yelp and get very excited about trying a new restaurant that has thousands of reviews. But on a trip my friend once said, “There’s good food everywhere you go.” I paused for a moment but didn’t believe her. But the more places I go and the more restaurants I try, I now believe what she said. There IS good food everywhere.

I have very high expectations for “good” restaurants, but sometimes I would leave disappointed. I think I can now pass on NEEDING to have a good meal whenever I eat out.

For me the part I really enjoy about having a meal is spending time with my friend (especially after a long week at work). If the food is excellent, that’s great! If the food is so-so, then oh well. If food isn’t important, then you may ask, “why do you have to go out to eat?” I think talking while you’re doing something makes the conversation less awkward because you are both doing something instead of staring at each other. When you’re eating, you’re both occupied and moving and if there’s an awkward silence, you can drink some water while you think what to say next.🙂

Today I got to enjoy a very nice conversation over a meal with my friend (who said that profound phrase). The food wasn’t great even though we had to make a reservation two months in advance. But when we think back to this meal, we’re not going to think about the food we ate – we’re going to remember the conversation we had this evening. Both of us are very busy, but when we get together there’s something deep that strengthens our friendship. I’m very thankful for that. I don’t think I can ever drive home without reflecting on everything we say, including today.

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Kokkari, April 2014

Cindy and I have been enjoying our 2014, but it’s definitely been a whirlwind. We can’t believe it’s already the second half of the year. We have another monthly dinner scheduled for tonight, but I didn’t want to head off to that before posting our update from the last amazing meal we had together at Kokkari. Kokkari Estiatorio to be exact.

Back in April, Cindy wouldn’t tell me which place we were headed off to – it turned out to be a well-known Greek spot in downtown SF. Below are the photos, but hopefully Cindy will edit this post and add more commentary around the food. My only note is that the octopus was amazing!

GRILLED OCTOPUS with lemon, oregano & olive oil

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ZUCCHINI CAKES with cucumber & mint yogurt dressing

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GRILLED LAMB CHOPS with lemon-oregano vinaigrette & kokkari potatoes

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And to finish off the meal, we ended with BAKLAVA…

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…and TURKISH COFFEE

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Southie | Oakland, CA

Right before Cindy took off on her epic trip to Taiwan & Toishan with her mom and aunt, we had the opportunity to have dinner together again. It had been a while, with the last “real” monthly dinner having been back in October. For the special sending-off, we decided on Wood Tavern, after having heard so many good things. Unfortunately due to our last-minute decision, there were no reservations to be had. So we headed next door to Southie, which is owned by the same owners.

First up was DUCK LIVER PĂ‚TÉ with brandied cherries, maldon salt, chives. My initial reaction was delicious. Though not a huge fan of liver, it brought back childhood memories of being forced to eat liver. It was smooth and tasty! And of course, the crostini itself was crunchy and chewy; perfectly toasted is how I’d describe it. For Cindy, the layer of pate was too thick.

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From there, we moved onto a FRIED CHICKEN CUTLET with chickpea purĂ©e, radicchio salad, and a chimichurri sauce. It seems that wherever we go, Cindy and I can’t say no to fried chicken! It was moist and tasty, but the star of our plate was clearly the chickpea puree and the simple chimichurri. The chickepee puree was reminiscent of a mashed potato dish, and it was refreshing to have the chimichurri with chicken when we’ve normally had it on red meat.

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Last but not least, we had BALLS & POLENTA which consisted of Niman Ranch beef-pork meatballs with a parmesan polenta. Meatballs were your standard tasty meatballs, but nothing special. The polenta was the perfect consistency and the amount of parmesan was just right. Cindy couldn’t stop eating the polenta!

IMG_20140218_195838After all of that, we couldn’t even think about dessert because we were so full.

TL;DR – I really enjoyed myself with the food. Cindy didn’t like as much of it as I did, but the both of us agreed it was a great restaurant with solid food. Check it out!

+Insider tip – there’a great candy store two doors down!

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Into the Himalayas

When Cindy and I saw that there was a Himalayan restaurant in town (or specifically Nepalese-Indian), we were a bit skeptical, especially seeing that it was combined with Asian Fusion…what? But we had a pleasant experience at Taste of the Himalayas this past week. I’ll pass it off to Cindy to update the menu reviews.

First up, chicken momos – “Steamed dumplings filled with minced chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Served with Tomato chutney.

IMG_4914Next was eggplant and mushroom in homemade Himalayan spices.

IMG_4915And to finish, a large portion of Garlic spinach noodles with Enoki mushrooms.

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Long Overdue – PORTLAND, OREGON

Even though Cindy & I have complementary (aka, opposite) personalities, we both enjoy many similar things in life – travel, good food, and of course, our wonderful relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the ability to serve Him together at Heritage Baptist Church. This sets us up for amazing vacations together. We balance each other out personality-wise, and we enjoy the same times of activities & sights, while making sure that everything we do is God-honoring.

The first trip of 2013 was Portland, Oregon & then a quick trip up to Tacoma, WA. Food adventures were very enjoyable, as Portland is known as one of the up-and-coming food destinations within the country (though the hiking activities were amazing).  I’ll let Cindy fill in the commentary about how the food actually was. Enjoy the photos!

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” -Psalm 34:8

IMG_2995afternoon snack: pistachio macaron & passion fruit iced tea

IMG_2999 IMG_3001 IMG_3005 IMG_3026IMG_20130628_111139chocolate beignet with condensed milk

IMG_20130628_111614 IMG_20130628_111742chorizo polenta with a fried egg = yum!

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Mm fried chicken biscuit with a fried egg and cheddar cheese – salty, buttery, yummy!

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AQ for Cindy’s 23rd Birthday

To celebrate Cindy’s birthday, we checked out AQ in the city. Thank you Cindy for being such a supportive, edifying, thoughtful & fun friend! I’ll let her add in the commentary for the food. All I (Flora) can say is…it’s not what you eat, but who you eat with. AMEN & AMEN.

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” – Proverbs 15:17

IMG_3713rabbit rillette (like pate) with sliced apples, arugula, candied walnuts

IMG_3716crispy pork belly braised in huckleberry sauce, topped with mushroom chip = delicious!

IMG_3718lamb chop with edible art

IMG_3719swordfish with prosciutto and spatzle with roasted seeds

IMG_3722rose macaron with jasmine tea – mm great way to finish a heavy meal

IMG_3725chocolate torte with thin/crunchy chocolate slices, poached pear, vanilla ice cream

IMG_3729apricot shortbread cookies

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Best Foods in Honolulu

Before going on the missions trip to Kauai, Jessica, Kim, Flora, and I stopped by Honolulu for a short vacation. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and snorkeled in ever-blue water! But we also ate some really GOOOD food!

Udon with tempura flakes, green onions and poached egg

Chirashi – rice, eel, shrimp, strips of fried egg

Ice Cream Mochi!

Mac n’ Cheese with a good crunch from the pita chips

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