Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Super Bowl 50 and San Francisco Dining

"Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."-Mark Twain 

It’s February.
It’s San Francisco.  And in case you missed it, there’s a football game that’s going to be played here.
Super Bowl 50 to be exact.
The area is buzzing with excitement. A hundred million people are expected to watch the big game on TV. And over the days leading to it, 1 million people are expected to rain down on our San Francisco Bay Area for the spectacle known as the Super Bowl. Security is included.

There are many things to enjoy here in our City; the sights, the bridges, the ocean, the multiplicity of cultures.  And of course there’s the food. You could probably eat out every night of the week your whole life and not exhaust your opportunities to dine.  With so many choices it would be easy to miss some great places to eat.  There’s a wonderful restaurant I’d like to share with you so that you don’t miss out.  I think you’ll find that whether you are a visitor or a local, a trip here for lunch or dinner will be worth your while.

The Mandalay SF
The Mandalay SF is the first Burmese restaurant to have opened in San Francisco. They did so in 1984 and brought to this City a new cuisine experience.  Burmese cuisine itself is a rich blend of influences that include Indian, Thai and Chinese.  Add to that the family’s own style and preparation and you have the Mandalay SF.  Thanks to a friend and co-worker who had been here before we were able to make the Mandalay part of our repertoire of eating experiences.

I’ve never been to Myanmar. So I’ll just say that the vibe is great.  There are plenty of attention holding knick-knacks. But you’ve got to love a place that keeps Christmas decorations up year round. I asked one of the owners about this and he said it was too much one year to take them all down so they just left them up.  Marvelous!

No complaints here.  They acted like 
they wanted us back.  And we have been. Several times. They accommodated us with both gluten free and soy free requests.  One of the owners, Sherry Dung has stopped by our table every time we have been there to ensure efficient and personal service.  She has a great story about how she joined her family in the restaurant business here in SF.  If you both have the time, ask her about it.  
By the way, don't forget to try the Mandalay Special Ginger Lemonade 

The Food
Rainbow salad
This salad is prepared with twenty ingredients and served with their special house dressing.  Don’t ask me to name them all. Instead look at the photo and see what you can identify.  We ordered it as an appetizer.  They brought it to our table and asked if they could toss it for us.  I think its called rainbow because of the array of colors that present in the dish.  But  it is also a rainbow array of textures and flavors.  We commented that we could go there just to enjoy that dish only and would be satisfied. Again, it’s great shared.

Mandalay Mango Chicken
Yum. Pan fried chicken sautéed with fresh mango, onions and green chilies.

Combination Fried Rice
Rich and ample ingredients. If fried rice were a classic song the Mandalay would be said to do a cover that is all their own. Their coconut rice is also killer. 

Salt and Pepper Prawns 
Deee-licious! Deep fried prawns seasoned with salt, pepper, spices, chilies and green onions.

For us, the Mandalay brings brilliant layers of textures, colors and flavors. Our word for it: Exspicomfo. 
That's pronounced Ex-spee-comfo. 
Exotic, spicy and comforting.

San Francisco makes another touchdown at the Mandalay SF.

Mandalay is located in the Micro-hood known as the Inner Sunset at:
4348 California Street
San Francisco.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Delightful Weekend

 “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” 
                                                                                                       -Orson Welles

Dio mio!
I hope you’re sitting down.  Because guess what? After a long hiatus I am back.
I trust that all has been well with your lives and that you have enjoyed many days of exciting adventures. I know that we have. During my time gone, we have had weddings, birthdays, SF Giant’s ball games, beach camping and general all around living. All punctuated of course with fine foods and delicious dining. So thank you for your patience and readership.
I’m going to share with you a delightful weekend my wife and I spent that included a pleasant outing out and about our City by the Bay, breakfasting some seasonal fare and a unique breakfast cookie.

The Pleasant Outing Out and About.
Did you know that San Francisco has an official flower?
Say hello to my little friend, the Dahlia.
The Dahlia Society of California hosts an annual Dahlia Flower Show in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Park’s Hall of Flowers. This was our first outing to a Dahlia show and much like a butterfly bouncing about in a garden on a spring day we moved from flower to flower in enjoyment.   For any visitor, it would be hard not to be amazed at the rich showcase of color combinations and petal arrangements.
In October of 1926 then Mayor Rolph and the SF Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that designated the Dahlia as the official flower of San Francisco.
And they couldn’t have picked a better flower to represent the cosmopolitan character of the City of San Francisco. The Dahlia’s history began in Mexico and in the early years of its discovery the Dahlia’s seeds traveled by explorers to Spain, France, Italy, Germany and England. These founding seeds gave rise to a diversity of beautiful hybrids.
Truly a cosmopolitan flower.
Okay, so here’s the food tie in with the Dahlia. This is after all a food blog. Originally the Dahlia was harvested by the Aztecs for medicine and food. The Aztecs used the tubers in their diets by eating the bulbous roots. Sounds like a lot of fiber to me. Growers today say that the bulb can be substituted for potatoes. Scalloped dahlia tubers?  French fried Dahlias? Tubers au gratin? Efforts were made in those early days to introduce the tubers as a new food choice in Europe, however these attempts were unsuccessful.
Some things you just have to acquire a taste for.

A Seasonal Fare
There’s nothing quite like a California peach.  It is one of our summer treasures here. But did you know? Peaches originated in China and have been cultivated as far back as 1000 B.C. From there peaches made their way west to Persia and there were discovered by Alexander the Great. Remember that guy? Alex the original G introduced the peach to the Greeks where it was a big hit. By about 50 B.C the peach had made it’s way to the Roman Empire where it was grown and sold at market. The Romans called the peach a Persian apple, and the name for peach in numerous languages to this day is the name for Persia.

There are so many great peach recipes but one simple dish that my wife makes that I love is her sliced peaches. She takes nice ripe yellow peaches and slices them into a bowl, sprinkles them with sugar and then shreds cheddar cheese over them. Simply scrumptious. We have a favorite room in the house that gets the morning sun where we will sit with coffee and sometimes eat breakfast. A perfect ambiance for enjoying this seasonal fare.   

Variations are only limited by imagination but for us have included yogurt, cottage cheese, granola or Mitchell’s ice cream.
I’ve eaten this refreshing dish for breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.
Oh and of course, dessert.
A Unique Breakfast Cookie
I have had chocolate cake in the morning. Popcorn for dinner. And waffles for lunch. So I have no problem squeezing in the right cookie for breakfast. Especially this cookie.  Our daughter shared the recipe with my wife who made a batch of these almond butter cookies. My wife likes referring to these cookies as flourless as opposed to gluten free because gluten free implies that something is missing to her.  However, there is nothing missing in flavor or texture with these flourless almond butter cookies. We did not have all the ingredients called for so as with all good quarterbacks, she made an audible at the line and substituted a few things in the recipe. She added chocolate nibs to the chocolate chips we had and used coconut sugar since she was out of the brown. The evening she made them I ate three and more fresh out of the oven.   The next morning we discovered they made a marvelous addition to the sliced peaches
Simply marvelous.

Almond Butter Flourless Cookies


1 cup Kirkland Smooth and Creamy Almond Butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (and chocolate nibs)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Mix the almond butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
3. Stir in the baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
4. Shape dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. The dough may be a bit crumbly, but just squeeze it together. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sea salt.
5. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, (until cookies start to brown at the edges). Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

All right my friends. 
It’s been great hanging with you. Now go out and discover your own delightful weekend.