Tasting menu at Yuzuki Eatery

by foodhoe on July 27, 2016

598 Guerrero Street, (c/s 18th Street), SF | 415.556.9898 | website

yuzuki1

Mr. K and I went to Yuzuki Japanese Eatery in San Francisco recently to check out their new six-course tasting menu that provides an introduction to their Washoku menu and the Izakaya style of eating.  We enjoyed their warm hospitality and ate our way through six courses of traditional Japanese cuisine along with the sake pairing as guests of the house.  I loved being served an elegant Japanese meal that isn’t sushi, tempura or ramen!  The owner Yuko Hayashi, a native of Osaka, graciously welcomed us at the door.

yuzuki_interior

Washoku loosely translates to Japanese cuisine and the approach to achieving nutritional balance and aesthetic harmony at the table; always with attention to ingredients, presentation and taste. It is associated with a respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources and a sense of seasonality plays a very strong role.  Yuzuki embraces this and the philosophy of sustainability by using cedar chopsticks from Japanese plantations that are grown in an environmentally supportive manner, the cloth table napkins are made of cotton from Japan, they recycle their  cooking oil and even recycle the bonito flakes used for making their dashi broth base into dog treats – I love it!

yuzuki_hashi

I aways order Japanese pickles when I see them on the menu. The Tsukemono ($8) are house-made “Nuka” (rice bran) fermented vegetable pickles, they are mellow with a lively zest that perks up your tastebuds.
yuzuki_pickles
One of the key characteristics of Washoku is that it highlights the flavors and textures of the ingredients, and the Zaru Tofu ($11) exemplifies this beautifully – fresh tofu made in house from organic soybeans using a process that takes several days.  The elegant presentation is minimalist and spare, a serene mound of fresh tofu served in a traditional bamboo basket (Zaru).

 

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They recommend that you taste the tofu plain first, which is nutty and sweet.  The only condiment is a tiny cup of sparkling sea salt which really brings out the subtle flavors and creaminess.  We were served a melon scented Daiginjyo Hakuro Suishu from the Take no Tsuyu brewery in Yamagata prefecture.  It was cool and luscious, perfect with the clean mild flavors of the zarutofu.

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Dinner at Calavera 2.0

by foodhoe on July 11, 2016

2337 Broadway, Oakland | 510.338.3273 | website

calavera_bar1

I am lucky to have friends with connections because I got to tag along when Brenda who writes Bites & Bourbon was invited to dine as a guest of the house at Calavera in Oakland last month.  We went to check out the changes in the menu since Chef Sophina Uong (@girlslantee) took over the kitchen last March, just 6 months after the restaurant opened.  They aim to provide the very best Mexican region-inspired cuisine combined with the rebel spirit of Oakland and we were so excited to sample Chef Sophina’s unique spin on this.  The restaurant is very festive and upbeat, airy because of the high ceilings and is full of  brightly colored Oaxacan folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures (alebrijes) collected from the team’s travels, as well as many skulls or calavera, the restaurant’s namesake and a photo montage of Oaxacan agave fields behind the bar.

calavera__barart

Chef Sophina Uong grew up in Long Beach, CA and has worked in many notable Bay Area restaurants in the last 25 years, both in the front of the house and in the kitchen at Lulu’s, Zare, Citizen Cake, Absinthe Brasserie in SF.  She was the opening chef-partner at 900 Grayson, worked at Maritime East in Berkeley, Waterbar in San Francisco then was executive chef at Oakland’s Picán where she attracted a following for her eclectic cooking style and dedication to supporting small, organic, local farms; and most recently at Revival Kitchen + Bar in Berkeley.  She frequently participates in competitions like the Lamb Jam and Cochon 555 Heritage Fire, and is actually going to be on tomorrow night’s episode of Chopped (that’s Tuesday July 12)!  The restaurant is proudly going to host a viewing party too btw…

Our server came by with menus but told us that Chef Sophina had already planned a tasting menu for us, so we just sat back and enjoyed our cocktails, a margarita that is called the Salt Air ($13) because it is topped with a frothy Oaxacan salt foam, a molecular gastronomy feat that the team learned while working with José Andrés.  A very modern drink made with Milagro blanco, luxardo triplum and lime served in an old fashioned coupe glass that is the perfect vehicle as it holds a thick layer of that lip smacking foamy salt air.

calavera_saltair_marg

We went completely gaga over the Shrimp Coctel, tender shrimp all creamy and cool mixed with corn, pineapple, gypsy peppers, coconut milk, a little habanero kick and then it was topped with crisp shrimp shell chicharrones.  What?!  We swooned over the delicious decadence…

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Pizza at Slice House in Walnut Creek

June 14, 2016
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1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Walnut Creek | 925.448.8077 | website Last week my friend Christina who writes the delightful East Bay Dish, invited me to come along for a media preview of Slice House, which opened up earlier this month.  Occupying the ground floor, it joins Teleferic Barcelona and Rooftop Restaurant & Bar in the […]

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A Spring dinner at Lungomare

June 9, 2016
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1 Broadway, Oakland | 510.444.7171 | website Last month I tagged along with my friend Brenda (of the sassy Bites & Bourbon blog) who was invited to dine as a guest of the house at Lungomare in Oakland.  The restaurant is named after a magnificent seafront promenade in Naples, Italy which is famous for having some of the most panoramic views […]

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The blingiest mac and cheese at Mac Daddy

June 2, 2016
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1453 18th Street, SF  94107 | 415.872.6670 | website Well, hello there!  First I took you to grilled cheese heaven, and now it’s time for mac and cheese heaven, which can be found at Mac Daddy, a cool new spot that opened recently in Potrero Hill by restaurateur Jocelyn Bulow (Chez Maman, Papito) .  It’s a tiny cafe with only 14 seats, […]

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Oakland’s Cat Town Cafe is featured on PBS: Shelter Me

May 24, 2016
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You may know that I am pretty much a crazy cat lady…  I live with four inside kitties, have a garden cat and yes, I even feed some strays.  So when I heard that Oakland was going to have the first cat cafe in the States I had to go check it out!  I took this photo […]

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American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

May 15, 2016
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2400 Harrison St, SF | 415.926.5076 | website ** this location is now closed but there are 2 other locations in the city I recently found myself in grilled cheese heaven, which is also known as the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco, a cozy neighborhood gathering place where you can enjoy the exceptionally well crafted sandwiches of national grilled cheese champion Heidi Gibson, […]

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