Cheri was in town and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with her. We geeked it out on one of the days and went to electronics markets, photo stores, a radio shack, and the Apple Store (I know we just fell right into that stereotype.)
And one of the food related places that we went to was the Blue Bottle Coffee Company, which is considered by many San Franciscans as having the best coffee in the city. They have two locations. One is in the Ferry Market on the pier and the other is on 66 Mint St. (corner of Jessie).
Cheri and I went there and we discovered they had a $30,000 dollar siphon coffee system. We just had to get that. We ordered a pot ($12.00) of their Ethiopian Yiracheffee bean and the barista went to work. You can see the process written next to the pictures above.
So...does this system make a better cup of coffee?
Yes. It makes a very delicate cup of coffee that is... in stasis. It's a coffee that is in limbo. It's the Lucifer Morningstar of coffees. This coffee is in the perfect state of perfection and ordinary and every second's exposure to the air and the elements changes it back into the basic elements of the earth.
At first sip the coffee clearly has notes of blueberry and by blueberry I mean blueberry. It has that slightly tart mangosteen smear with echoing note of sun. Then bitter notes from coffee ring out and then calm into bass notes as you swallow.
The coffee when it is first out of the siphon feels reanimated.
The longer it sits, it gets earthier- this is not bad by any means- but it loses that initial spark.
Also, Cheri called me a coffee snob because she thought that I would judge her for wanting to put cream and sugar into her coffee. I didn't even say anything, but she just assumed that I would. (OK, I would have judged her, but I wouldn't have said anything to her face.) So, she labeled me a "coffee snob" and she wrote a note that said she is a coffee snob "in training."
Blue Bottle Coffee has great coffee and Cheri is a wonderful San Francisco guide.
Cheri, thank you so much.
I love southern BBQ, chicken, pork cracklings, pinto beans, collard greens, and biscuits. Sure I was born in Korean and adopted by Yankees (I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware), but my stomach is all Union Jack.
My parents and I drove 14 hours from Delaware to Florida and on our way we stopped at Carolina BBQ & Chicken. It was recommended by a local named Anita that worked at a roadside gas station.
The tables were filled with locals, so you know that this is a good place. We ordered big ole unsweetened ice teas with lemon and then went right for the buffet.
Carolina BBQ & Chicken has crisp southern chicken and lots of slowly cooked pork. It's got all the things that a southerner would be proud to eat such as catfish, chittins, grits, pies, mustard greens, collard greens, etc.
I'm sure there are better places, but this place ain't bad for a roadside stop. Oh, and just to note. They don't appreciate Yankees snapping pictures of the food. I almost got kicked out taking these photos.
Address: 500 West Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA 23847
It was pretty good, but is this a burger that's more hype than substance?
It's pricey at $6.99 for the regular hamburger. This price doesn't include fries, drink, or tax. The meat isn't thick, but it is juicy and with a distinct beef flavor. It should because they raise their own cows. This is the main selling point for Taylor's. They raise the cows on vegetarian feed (so the burger is sans mad cow) and the cows don't receive antibiotics or growth hormones.
The egg bun is thick and does a good job of sopping up the flavorful juices. I think it was a little too thick and took away from the meat. I agree with limited amount of toppings on the burger. Taylor's hamburgers only have lettuce, pickle, and "secret sauce."
Now the secret sauce is clearly "Thousand Island Dressing." Now, do you think McDonald's used the Taylor's burger as inspiration for their Big Mac?
Overall, not a bad burger but not a burger I would rave over. I heard the sweet potato fries and the garlic fries are amazing, so should I go to a burger joint and order fries? I guess I could pretend to be vegetarian.
I have rewritten my review on La Plancha for the magazine. You know what, sometimes it is really embarrassing to see the punctuation and spelling errors I make. When I write for my blog, it is with a free flow approach in mind. When I blog, it's just like "wow, that's fun, I'm going to write about it."
REVIEW: La Plancha
By Dan Gray
Behind the Hamilton and tucked away to the right of Saint Ex is La Plancha. La Plancha is a high-end Spanish steak restaurant that has been around for many years. I've heard about this place for ages, yet had not gone. In general I have found western style restaurants serving meat inferior to Korean Restaurants.
Over at Yuhwa (near the Hyatt Hotel) the steak I got was a disk of dried meat with an overly syrupy mango sauce. Outback is just god-awful. VIPS, or Seven Springs- don't even get me started. The one I had at Mignon, which is near Zelen (right up the hill from La Plancha) was quite possibly the only other steak place I would recommend. Their tenderloin was cooked well and of excellent quality, but a bit over priced at around 38,000 (excluding tax).
The interior of La Plancha has a Spanish Matador feel. There are little touches that make you realize this restaurant is special. The red walls make you crave meat. There is a little walled patio with green grass on the first floor. The entire restaurant has an intimate feel- perfect for a romantic evening. And when you get to the table, there is a nice selection of knives you can use to carve away at your meat dishes.
I remember getting seated was a bit of a hassle. My guest and I sat near the entrance for a good 5 minutes or so before I decided to take matters into my own hands and chase down a waitress. The second time I went, my guest and I just sat at a table of our choice and waited for the server to come to us. The service is polite, but a bit lackadaisical.
The first time, I ordered the T-bone and it came with a choice of side, a sauce, and a skewer of grilled vegetables. This came to 35,000 excluding tax, which is a bit pricey, but not unheard of for western style steak.
The T-bone steak was large a round, but thin in thickness. I’m sorry, but when I think T-bone steak, I expect a thick cut. I started to think I should have gotten a different cut of meat. That aside, it was well-seasoned, juicy, and grilled with skill. I asked for it to be medium, but I think I should have asked for medium rare because it was a bit dry by the end. I know it's not the restaurant's fault here, because once the meat gets to the table the residual heat will keep cooking the meat. So...a steak will come to the table medium and it'll end up medium-well by the end of the meal.
I got a bleu cheese sauce for my steak and it was quite nice. It had nice nuggets of bleu cheese and the sauce didn't overpower the meat. My friend got the balsamic and it gave a tart accent to the grilled cow. The other sauces they have on the menu are avocado salsa, pesto, lemon herb mayo, brandy and home made B.B.Q. The homemade B.B.Q. is smoky and piquant; the brandy is also a nice accent to steak.
The skewers were great as well. You get peppers, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes that are grilled just right. A moment longer and the heat of the grill would have reduced the vegetables to mush.
Overall, it is an excellent place for special occasions. You get real value at La Plancha when you go for the combination platters. On my second visit I got the combination for 2 and it came with a juicy Ribeye, grilled chicken, Sausage, Scallop, Shrimp, 3 kinds of sauces, and 3 garnishes. If you ask nicely, they’ll let you choose the garnishes. This platter is enough for three and almost enough for 4- if you order a dish like paella or an extra side to accompany it.
2 out of 4
La Plancha 02 790 0063
Price: Entrees start at 19,000, combos start at 45,000 excluding VAT.
Directions: Take the second left as you come out of Itaewon Subway Station Exit 1. Make the second right at the corner of a store called North Beach. It will be on your right.
I'm currently in Emeryville, California with my friend Matt Kim. He is an amazing photographer and about a month ago he was in Korea and he took pictures of the rice cake fair along with Robyn Lee of Serious Eats. Matt is a foodie, so he has taken me out to get some great California eats. He was also kind enough to give me a place to stay for a couple of days in California.
Cool. Thanks Robyn. Here is the post.
Kevin Cyr's chili burger at Chili King is like a mining excavation. You get a mountainous hamburger dripping with golden cheese over boulders of kidney beans, green jalapeños, and rubble-like ground beef. This mountain could be intimidating for some, so let me give you some advice.
1. First, use your fork to get through the mounds of chili. The chili, with the flavors of onion, peppers, and spices married together after slowly simmering in crock pot for hours, is exceptional.
2. If the fork becomes too heavy, you can use the french fries to pick through the chili.
3. Once you get to sesame-speckled bun, grab hold with both hands and don’t let go until you finish. This is a burger that needs to be wrangled.
To finish up the Seattle Foodie outing, the Dark Knight Critic took Noah and I to Poppy- a place famous for their desserts and their Indian influenced Thali's. I learned that a Thali is a Indian way of eating that has a variety of small dishes set on a round platter. Poppy has taken this concept and applied it to dessert.
The steam of the Orange Rhubarb Shortcake seemed to lift up float up this dessert to your mouth. I thought the orange would make this dish ordinary, but it did the opposite.
The mango ice cream was.
The Hot Date Cake was divine and so were the cocktails.
Strangely, the small side dishes on the dessert thali attracted everyone's attention. The pecans were perfectly roasted and salted and delved through the different senses of taste. The jelly thing was like the most delicious gumdrop ever. It was what I imagined that the real gumdrop forest in the board game Candyland would taste like.
The Nutter Butter took the cake. There were four of us at dessert and we could have eaten a checkerboard's worth of nutter butter if we could. Snapping through the crust perked up the ears and caused the glands to salivate. I never imaged an auditory sound could have such an effect, but it did. The peanut butterish caramel glaze on top was true art and what Michaelangelo would have used to carve David or Pieta if he was commissioned by the church to make a confectionary effigy. I would recommend you make your way there.