Bloody mary – Barracuda Sushi

Bloody mary - Barracuda Sushi
Spicy bloody mary with vodka and special house made bloody mary mix, garnished with lemon and cucumber. $8
Barracuda Sushi, San Francisco CA

This bloody mary was pretty good. It could have used a little more spice for my taste but it had a lot of flavor and substance.

Hyena graffiti mural
Hyena graffiti mural, SOMA.

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Cocktails – S.i. Pub

Cocktails - S.i. Pub
Long Island iced tea and gin and tonic.
S.i. Pub, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

After full days of walking around in the sweltering heat, cold drinks were very much needed to relax and unwind at night. S.i. Pub is actually where we witnessed a street fight break out between two motorcyclists because they got into an accident. It was kinda exciting – I’m not gonna lie, lol!

Adult badminton game
Adult badminton game, Cong Vien 23 Thang 9 Park.

Spicy salt and pepper chicken – Chelu Bar & Grill

Spicy salt and pepper chicken - Chelu Bar & Grill
With sauteed onions and bell peppers, served with vinegar sauce. 238 PHP
Chelu Bar and Grill, Manila PHILIPPINES

I was really confused by this dish. When I saw the menu item, I didn’t expect it to come out with a mound of sautéed vegetables on top. Oh well, it still tasted fine. And dipping anything in a vinegar based sauce is fine by me!

Cocktails - Chelu Bar & Grill
Margarita and mai tai. The cocktails here weren’t very good at all! It was definitely better to stick with beer.

Quirino statue and sleeping homeless person
Quirino statue and sleeping homeless person, Manila Ocean Park.

Beer and cocktails- Cafe Thi

Beer - Cafe Thi
Tiger beer and Saigon beer. I liked all the beers I tried in Vietnam. They were all the on the light side and super easy to drink.
Cafe Thi, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

This bar had some great cover bands play beginning at 10pm! They sang a nice variety of songs that the entire crowd could get into. The acoustics in the place was pretty bad though.

Cocktails - Cafe Thi
Margarita and gin and tonic. The cocktails in Ho Chi Minh as a whole weren’t very good, but Cafe Thi did make a pretty good margarita. It was weird that they served it in a small martini glass though. I need my booze! :)

Bonsai planters
Bonsai planters along the Saigon River.

Seafood fried rice in clay pot – Bamboo Garden

Seafood fried rice in clay pot - Bamboo Garden
Fried rice with shrimp, calamari. 114,000 VND
Bamboo Garden, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

Seafood fried rice in clay pot - Bamboo Garden
This dish was OK. The seafood was actually pretty tender and flavorful, but the dish as a whole was kinda boring. They actually just scooped the fried rice into the clay pot before serving. I thought that it was gonna be cooked in it so that there would be crispy rice at the bottom, but that didn’t happen. :(

Cocktails - Bamboo Garden
Caipirinha: dark rum, lime, and sugar. Two for 85,000 VND
Long Island Iced Tea: tequila, gin, rum, vodka, triple sec, coke, and lemon.

Saigon Opera House
Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theater of Ho Chi Minh City).

Rooftop cocktails – Rex Hotel

Planter's Punch - Rex Hotel
Planter’s Punch: Bacardi light rhum, triple sec, lemon juice, pineapple juice, soda. 220,000 VND
Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

So this was probably the most we spent for cocktails while in Vietnam. We really wanted to check out the rooftop bar though (and get out of the scorching heat). The Rex hotel is historic and it was quite relaxing up on the roof so I really didn’t mind too much about spending a little more for drinks here. My Planter’s Punch tasted pretty weak and not as sweet and vibrantly colored as those you would find on a Caribbean island.

Gin and tonic - Rex Hotel
Gin and tonic. 240,000 VND

Salted peanuts - Rex Hotel
Salted peanuts.

Table centerpiece - Rex Hotel
Table centerpiece.

Rex Hotel rooftop view
View from the Rex Hotel rooftop.

Tavern burger – Stock in Trade

Tavern burger - Stock in Trade
Angus beef, aged Grafton cheddar, two fried eggs, pickles, caramelized onions, aioli, toasted Acme bun and fries. $13
Stock in Trade, San Francisco CA

This burger had a lot of flavor but it was super cold and lifeless! It was definitely a service mistake and I’m kinda surprised they served it. Damn, I would have microwaved it myself to get a bit of warmth on the plate!

Tavern burger - Stock in Trade

Mimosas - Stock in Trade

Mimosas. This was one of the most bland mimosas I’ve ever tasted. Ew!

Coctails – Park Tavern

Country Lawyer - Park Tavern
Country Lawyer: Knob Creek bourbon, Zucca amaro, vermouth and bitters. $13
Park Tavern, San Francisco CA

Mmm, the cocktails at Park Tavern are pretty delicious! I have mixed feelings about my overall experience here though. Although the service was friendly and professional, they made some stupid mistakes that really detracted from the overall experience. Namely, they never brought us a dish even after I specifically asked if it was ever coming out. Our server ensured us it was on its way, but it never did and we were charged for it anyway! FAIL!

Alcatraz - Park Tavern
Alcatraz: Templeton rye, Averna amaro, and port. $13

Bulleit Manhattan - Park Tavern
Bulleit Manhattan: bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. $10

Buttermilk fried chicken and cornmeal waffle – Brown Sugar Kitchen

Buttermilk fried chicken and cornmeal waffle - Brown Sugar Kitchen
With brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup. $15
Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland CA

The most important question for this BSK review: “Is the food worth the wait?” I’m gonna say No. We arrived at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and didn’t get food until 10:15. Living in SF, I’m used to the long waits for brunch but the food has to deliver. BSK fell short.

Everything here was really slow, especially our server. We were seated right after the 2-top next to us at the counter, but our order was taken 10 minutes after theirs. They actually finished their meal before we even received food (very frustrating)! When they’re busy, you can wait up to 30 minutes for waffles. While the waffles are delicious, an extra 30 minutes is excruciating when you’ve been waiting so long already and feeling jittery from all the coffee. The fried chicken was just ok so the waffles definitely carry this dish. I think there’s plenty of great chicken and waffles elsewhere that don’t come with a 2-hour+ wait (and cheaper). This place doesn’t make my cut for a “destination” brunch joint. And there is absolutely nothing else at this location so you have no other options if you come here.

Mimosa - Brown Sugar Kitchen

Mimosa. $7.50
Pretty small and weak for the price.

Arepas de pernil – Pica Pica

Arepas de pernil - Pica Pica
Grilled sweet yellow corn pocket stuffed with slow cooked pulled pork, avocado, tomato, pica’pun, ajo aioli. Served with Pica slaw and taro chips. $10.75
Pica Pica, San Francisco CA

This was really tasty and very filling. The texture of the grilled corn arepa was fantastic and I liked that there were whole kernels mixed in too. The pulled pork was flavorful, and the crisp fresh Pica slaw was a great accompaniment.

Sangria - Pica Pica

Sangria. Red wine, passion fruit, apple, and Adriana’s special spices. Glass $7

Noe Valley
This is how people decorate their trees in Noe Vally, lol! Ok, maybe just this house.

Crawfish beignets – Brenda’s French Soul Food

Crawfish beignets - Brenda's French Soul Food
Spiced with cayenne, scallions and cheddar. $8
Brenda’s French Soul Food, San Francisco CA

Crawfish beignets - Brenda's French Soul Food
OMG, these were frickin’ amazing! These crawfish beignets are definitely heaven sent pouches of flavorful goodness. The filling is a cheesy gooey mess with chunks of delicious crawfish, and the beignet dough is wonderfully light and fluffy and covered in slap-yo-face spices. The addition of the scallions in the filling puts it over the top. These puppies are super rich, but you really can’t have just one! :)

7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat San Francisco: 100 Things to Eat + Drink Before You Die – 2012

Creole Bloody Mary - Brenda's French Soul Food

Creole Bloody Mary: garnished with creole spices and pickled okra. $7
Ugh, this bloody mary was a major let-down. IT was all tomato juice with no hint of alcohol and it wasn’t spicy AT ALL! It didn’t have any creole flavor and was actually bland. We had to add lots of hot sauce to make it somewhat decent. Lame!