Sunday Special

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After a nearly four hour hike to Mt. Tamalpais, my friends and I went to Sol Food in San Rafael. Yes, I have written about this Puerto Rican restaurant before, but we picked up food next door at Sol Food Bodega. You can order anything from the restaurant at the Bodega.

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My usual consists of the ribs from their rotisserie oven. Bringing them back in traffic to Oakland was probably not the best idea. They were a little dry this time around. Adding some of their homemade spicy vinegar jazzed it up, but still didn’t quite compare to the first time I had them at the restaurant.

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My friend ordered the daily special. Sunday’s special is the marinated roast pork. It comes with Puerto Rican rice and a Puerto Rican tamale. The marinated pork was tender and flavorful. The rice was cooked with pigeon peas and green olives. Their tamales or pasteles are cooked in banana leaves. This was a really great dish and made me curious what each day’s specials are. I really want to go back on Wednesdays when they serve arroz con pollo, or chicken and rice.

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P.S. If you like tart, their fresh limeade rocks!

Farewell to Foie

There are only two weeks left before California bans foie gras forever. Foie gras is fattened duck or goose liver. The reason for the ban is the inhumane method of force feeding the ducks in order to fatten up the liver. This process makes for a rich, buttery delicacy.

Last week a friend of mine forwarded a marketing email for foie gras ramen. Chef Hiro Sone of Bar Terra in St. Helena and Ame in San Francisco have added it to their menu until the ban. I became intrigued by this $24.95 bowl of ramen.

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I wasn’t prepared to eat at Ame, the fancy restaurant inside the St. Regis Hotel, but the bowl of ramen was also being offered at their bar or lounge. I came out to the City early today and wanted to try this “heaven in a bowl”. I texted my friend in Palo Alto who met me in San Francisco within an hour.

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Eric was our bartender/server at the lounge. He knew we came for the ramen and the more he talked about it, I got that if I wanted to look like I knew what I was talking about, I should be referring to it as “foie”. He sold me a red lager from Japan called Coeda that was to pair with the “foie”.

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Our bowls of ramen came out and looked delicious. It had a miso based broth, two wontons, grilled corn, and mustard greens. The perfectly seared “foie” lay on top. Was it the best ramen I have ever had? Probably not. I still heart Orenchi in Santa Clara, but I enjoyed everything about this bowl of goodness. It was simple, delicate, and filled my heart with happiness. The “foie” was awesome and surprising so were the wontons. I have never left a ramen bowl dry until today.

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Reminder: Only two weeks left!

Cupola Pizzeria: It’s No Mall Food

What a beautiful warm weekend in the Bay Area. It was also a weekend of celebrations as one of my closest friends got married and my best friend celebrated a birthday. With temperatures in the 80’s, it was nice to go to the City and cool off a bit to the mid-70’s.

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My evening ended with dinner in the City. You wouldn’t think that Cupola Pizzeria is part of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group. The restaurant is located in the Westfield Mall in Downtown San Francisco.

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Cupola is one of my best friend’s favorite places to eat. According to Yelp, she is the Duchess of Cupola, meaning she has the most check-ins. This month is Cupola’s one year anniversary and I finally paid my first visit.

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I was with my sister and another friend. We decided to order family style with each of us choosing one item. I chose the Margherita extra which has buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. We asked for this to come out first. The super thin, slightly charred neopolitan pizza was excellent. Like many other great pizza places, Cupola also cooks its pizza in a wood fire oven that was imported from Italy.

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Our two pasta dishes came out shortly after we inhaled our pizza. One pasta was the pork belly tortelli, with sage and braising jus. A slice of pork belly becomes the stuffing in their version of this pasta. It was not until my second tortelli that I really appreciated this dish. I was able to notice the pork fat, the hand made pasta, and the delicious au jus.

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The other pasta was English pea ravioli with abalone mushrooms, pea shoots, and grana padana. The ingredients blended well together. I really enjoyed this dish and recommend it for vegetarians,

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We agreed to share the Swanton Strawberries for dessert. This was strawberries, grappa, olive oil cake, and whipped creme fraiche. The cake was a like having corn bread with the consistency of cake. It is a great summer offering.

I don’t know why it took me a year to try Cupola, but it won’t be a year before I return. Happy Anniversary Cupola!

Go Fish: Vancouver

I got back from my trip to Vancouver and Seattle last week. My last visit to Vancouver was in 2005 for my cousin’s wedding, way before food blogging. Vancouver is well known for their fresh seafood. Back in 2005, my cousin took me to a place for fish and chips. As I was researching places to eat, Go Fish Ocean Emporium in Granville Island was slightly familiar. I added this to the must eat list.

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On our arrival by cruise ship to Vancouver, my friend and I decided to trek over to Granville Island from Downtown. The walk built up our appetites. I saw a food shack from a distance and thought that it could be Go Fish. It was and the same place I went in 2005.

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We had a choice of cod, salmon, or halibut for our fried fish. I chose halibut because it was the most expensive. I think 2 pieces plus fries was $17. Since this was only our first food stop since arriving, we decided to share it so we could eat other things that we hoped to stumble upon. As we awaited for our fish and chips to be made, we got thirsty for something other than water. My friend went back in line to get us a San Pellegrino Blood Orange drink. We hadn’t seen this flavor in the States. While waiting in line, she couldn’t resist a special on the menu and picked up a curry fish soup as well.

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Our halibut fish and chips came in a bamboo steamer with slaw and tartar sauce. I was never a fan of tartar sauce and typically go straight for the malt vinegar. This time, I tried the tartar sauce. Go Fish made me a fan. It was so good and way better than malt vinegar. The batter around the fish and the fish itself was perfect. The fries were excellent in both taste and texture.

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The curry fish soup was really nice. It was creamy, but not too thick. The curry flavor was unique for a soup, nonetheless tasty.

I couldn’t think of better food to be eating than this while sitting outside by the wharf. I loved the experience of this fish and chips shack. It should be on anyone’s must eat list if they are in Vancouver.