SF Day Date

When I think of vacations, I think of out of the country trips. I rarely, nay… never, think of stay-cations. Staying in the area is actually a really relaxing getaway. I’m just a girl who’s always on the go, always booking up my weekends, and wanting to travel elsewhere.

My husband is the complete opposite. Ask him where his favorite vacation spot is, and he’ll tell you San Francisco… (we live in the Bay Area and that’s a 45 minute drive away).

Since he’s been traveling for work every week from Wednesday through Saturday, he was able to get Monday off. So stay-cation it was (which also meant fill our belly day)! We slept in and then set off to the city around 11am to catch a late lunch at Cotogna at 1:30pm. On our drive there, we decided we could just spend some time walking around the city.

First we went to Japantown for some fresh mochi at our favorite little shop called Benkyodo. The mochi is made fresh every day! When I first moved to San Francisco, MG and I came here every other weekend to buy mochi. My favorite ones are the fresh fruit ones – strawberry and blueberry. They are so soft like a baby’s belly, or clouds in heaven, or puppy paws. I think you get it… And I think you can tell I love mochi.

Mochi

Then we found parking in the Financial District and set out on a delicious lunch date. The pasta is tasty. The steak though… Amazing. I’m very picky with my steaks (being from Texas and all), but I’m also a stickler for it being seasoned correctly. Many restaurants over-season their steaks, with sauce or butter. But simple is the best to get the yummiest steak taste. Anyway, Cotogna does it right though it comes with a hefty price of $95. Worth it for our stay-cation!

Cotogna

Cotogna

After lunch we drove over to my old neighborhood, Outer Richmond. We got a milk tea to share at Purple Kow. I kid you not, best milk teas. The line is usually out the door, in the cold, but thankfully it was 3:30pm and those high school kids are still just getting out of school. We got our orders in, sat around, and watched as the kids piled in.

Purple Kow

Then we headed over to Ocean beach to sit around and enjoy the scenery. When I lived there, there were evenings that MG and I would just sit on the beach and drink some wine. I even brought dinner once to have a nice little beach picnic. One time we had too much caffeine, and we just ran along the shoreline for a good 15 minutes at night. Many memories are associated with Ocean beach, great memories.

Beach

We ended the evening with one of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area, Shanghai House. I used to eat here at least once every 2 weeks. Every time my parents come to visit, it’s a must on the to-do list. Their xiao long baos are fan-fricken-tastic. And they make my favorite pan-fried pork buns (the best I’ve ever had). Their chicken wings are twice-fried. Every dish is so delicious and authentic. Promise me that if you’re ever in the Bay Area, you’ll try this small mom-and-pop shop out. Really delicious and hence that’s why it’s in my top 5 favorite restaurants ever.

Xiao Long Baos

Panfried pork buns

Then at home, we put together a shelf for the garage and organized (so married life…). And when it was midnight, MG decided to start cleaning his keyboard, key by key. Great timing… I left him to it and 30 minutes later “Jay… I need help!” I find him sitting on the carpet, using his phone’s keyboard picture to try and place every key back together. Wife to the rescue!

photo 2(1)

Cleaning keyboard

That ends our stay-cation in SF. That’s also why I said this means that our bellies would be filled; we ate through the entire day!

This day date was a great reminder that it’s important for married couples to work on your relationships. Days seem collide together. First it’s me always on my phone. Then it’s MG always on his laptop. And that’s how you start to drift apart. It just happens and no one can be blamed. A day date was exactly what we needed, especially with him traveling so much now.

What are you favorite places to go in the Bay Area? Also, what do you do on a stay-cation (I need some ideas instead of eating my day away for our next one)?

Love and for food,
Jay

  

Saturday Fun and Sunday Relaxation

Saturday started out with morning brunch with my main squeeze so I knew it would be a good day!

He’s been traveling a lot for work. When that happens we try to schedule some day dates on the weekends to catch up. He surprised me by taking me out to Oakland for some Chop Bar. The food is a mixture of  new American and Mexican. Brunch was okay, but I want to try it for dinner!

We did a bit of home decor shopping and then went home to get ready for a boat party (yup, another one. Previous yacht party post here)! I know, I’m so fancy! Just kidding.

My church celebrated their 10 year anniversary this past weekend on a boat! It was a good time chatting up with friends and eating a nice BBQ dinner. Plus, the view of the city always makes my heart skip a beat.

City

Sailing

Main Squeeze

As if sailing wasn’t enough, we went out clubbing afterwards. When in Rome, San Francisco… does that work here? I can’t go back to normal clubbing now that I’ve experienced VIP bottle service. We had to do it the right way! Which means, bottle service yet again!

Blurry

This picture only means one thing; 2 bottles means a great night for this photographer! Yeah right. Do you even know MG? It was just too dark. Hahaha!

In the end we finally got a good pic. Except two of my girls are missing… because they are “resting” on the couch. Thehehe

Cosmo

All that meant Sunday was a day for church, napping, and hosting dinner for our friends. Excuse our mess! I just can’t keep the house clean.

On the left you have the girly girls painting nails and the crazy boys tickling each other. On the right you have Pastor Josh playing guitar with an audience.

Sunday

It was the perfect end to my weekend.

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Yacht Partay!

What did you do this weekend?

Oh me? You know… the norm… just went to a yacht party. That’s all. Boarded in gorgeous Sausalito. Curled my hair. Wore heels (not my running shoes). Typical fancy schmancy stuff. You know me!

Yeah right! My normal weekend is eating a lot. And a fancy weekend means hosting a LAN party. Saturday was a special occasion, our friend’s birthday bash on a yacht. It was fun to get dressed up for a reason and hang out with friends.

You know it will be a glamorous day when you start the day off with homemade brunch!

Homemade brunch
Rib-eye steak eggs benedict with bacon and a hash brown. We used the leftover steak from our Valentine’s dinner. Yum!

I’m taking reservations for brunch at the Lam house. Call me! Just kidding.

Back to the yacht… San Francisco Bay is always such a beautiful sight. Seeing Golden Gate Bridge never gets old, and sailing under it gives the bridge a whole new perspective.

Bridge
Amirite?

GangThe gang – we’re having fun! I promise!

Johnson
GQ – He’s single ladies!

Dan and Jess
My roommate, Jess, and Dan

Jay and MG
Me and my Mingus

MG
Whoa, that guy is handsome  <3 <3 <3

We drove by a scenic spot to look at the Bridge too. This foggy city honestly has my heart.

View

After the yacht party, four of us went to the city to have dinner. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Limón Rotisserie, which is Peruvian food. The food is delicious, and the the dishes are affordable (~$70 for four of us, that’s under $20 a person). We then headed over to Hayes Valley to shop around and get dessert at Smitten ice cream. Smitten is a made-to-order ice cream shop in a shipping container. The ice cream is your typical gourmet ice cream with a really creamy texture. It’s about the experience and watching them make the ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

Smitten

Saturday was a fantastic day! I take for granted how beautiful San Francisco is, and it’s days like these that remind me I should be ever grateful to be where I am.

Take a moment and count your blessings. What are you grateful for?

Happy Monday!
Jay

  

Chorizo Cioppino Recipe

Cold weather means snuggling with your special someone, in my case my cat. Cold weather also means lazy weekends and a cup of hot chocolate while wrapped in a blanket. It also means hot soup to warm your body!

Yum

What’s one of the best soups around? Cioppino. SF is famous for this because of the abundance of fresh seafood. But going to a restaurant for a bowl of cioppino can sometimes mean a lunch or dinner of $25+. Ouch.

Instead, here’s a recipe so that you can make a HUGE pot of cioppino and eat it for a week for around $40. It’s a great meal by itself, and since you’re making such a large pot of soup, it’s great for dinner parties too (if you’re selfless and want to give up some of your soup!).

If you love seafood, this recipe will make you drool!  It seems like a long list of ingredients, but I promise this recipe is so easy to do and so worth your time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 medium onions (chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley (minced)
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounce) plum tomatoes (chopped and undrained)
  • 2 bottles (8 ounce) of clam juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cup white or red wine
  • 12 clams (when picking fresh clams, make sure they are closed)
  • 12 mussels when (picking fresh mussels, make sure they are closed)
  • 1 pound of shrimp, head on and unpeeled
  • 1 pound of bay scallops
  • 1 pound of salmon – can substitute halibut or cod
  • 3 packs of chorizo (10 ounce packages)
  • Salt and pepper for tasting

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a stock pot. Add the chopped onions, minced garlic, and minced parsley. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about 10 minutes).
2. Add both cans of chopped plum tomatoes, clam juice, basil, thyme, oregano, and wine.
3. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. While the stock is simmering, wash the seafood. If there are any mussels or clams that are not tightly close, dispose of them. Also, discard clams and mussels with cracked shells.
5. To clean seafood, soak clams with pepper to get out sand and grit, then let them soak in salt water for 10 minutes. Clean mussels by running through cold water and debeard (pull out the little fuzzies/stringy bits that are stuck on the shell). Rinse the scallops and shrimp in cold running water. I also like to cut off spikes and whiskers from the shrimp. For the salmon, debone and cut into bite sized chunks (easy to understand image below).
6. When your 45 minutes are up. Add chorizo and boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. I find that the chorizo adds a nice spicy and salty kick to the soup, so salt and pepper is not necessary.
7. After 60 minutes have rolled on by, add the seafood into the broth. Boil and reduce heat to low to a simmer for 8 minutes or until clams and mussels are open and shrimp curls up. DO NOT OVERCOOK your seafood or it has a rubbery texture. Remember that seafood continues to cook in the broth after stove is turned off.
8. Ladle the cioppino into soup bowls, grab a big spoon, and feast! Don’t forget the toasted bread!

BrothThe color of the broth is so pretty when cooking

SalmonThe bones are located in a horizontal line where my finger is placed. If you lightly push against the meat, you will feel all the bones lined up

Deboned salmonSimply take some tweezers and pull the bones out one by one along the horizontal line

SeafoodAll my seafood rinsed, cleaned, and prepped

Chorizo Cioppino
A mouth-watering meal for the cold days!

To-go
If you’re nice enough, you’ll let some friends have a taste of your concoction!

Have you ever had cioppino? What soups are among your favorites?

Enjoy and keep warm,
Jay