Hanoi style beef noodle soup – Basil Leaf Asian Cuisine

Hanoi style beef noodle soup - Basil Leaf Asian Cuisine
Pho bo. Lightly stir-fried eye round steak, ginger and garlic served with fresh noodle. Small $7.50
Basil Leaf Asian Cuisine, Fremont CA

This soup was pretty good, but I didn’t like that the beef weren’t all sliced in cross section so that some of the slices were a bit difficult to chew. The broth had great flavor though!

Basil, sprouts, and lime - Basil Leaf Asian Cuisine
Basil, sprouts, and lime.

Vegetable and pork steamed dumplings – Shanghai Dumpling King

Vegetable and pork steamed dumplings - Shanghai Dumpling King
10 pieces $5.50
Shanghai Dumpling King, San Francisco

I still can’t believe how cheap all the dumplings are here! You get ten delicious dumplings for under six bucks! This is why I love these small, random dumpling shops in San Francisco. These dumplings were really good. I loved the sauce and the ginger/chive topping they add to the dish. Perhaps they were steamed too long though because the skins were super soft and fell apart quite easily.

Soy sauce with ginger - Shanghai Dumpling King
Soy sauce with ginger.

Bon Tempe Lake
Bon Tempe Lake.

Hainanese chicken – Epic

Hainanese chicken - Epic
Half chicken cooked Hainan-style, served with chicken rice, broth, ginger sauce and sambal. 450 PHP
Epic, Boracay PHILIPPINES

This dish was really good! I don’t think it was that authentic because it didn’t have that beautiful yellow color that most Hainan chicken dishes have, but it was no less tasty. I liked the presentation and the separate bowls of chicken broth. This dish was definitely great for sharing.

Chicken broth - Epic
Chicken broth, ginger sauce and sambal.

Large beach lamp
Large beach lamp, Station 2/3 Beach.

Pork sisig – Leslie’s Restaurant

Pork sisig - Leslie's Restaurant
Boiled, grilled, then sauteed pork meat with various spices, onions, ginger and calamansi. 299 PHP
Leslie’s Restaurant, Tagaytay PHILIPPINES

Mmm, pork sisig is SO tasty! Yeah, it’s not the healthiest thing to eat, but I was on vacation. I deserved to splurged a little (maybe a whole lot really).

Filipino dance performance
Filipino dance performance, Villa Escudero.

Soy sauce flavor spicy ramen – Ramen Dojo

Soy sauce flavor spicy ramen - Ramen Dojo
Roasted pork, fried whole garlic, kikurage mushroom, fresh green chives, quail egg, and chicken gravy (cooked ground chicken, chopped shiitake mushroom, chopped ginger, sesame oil, shredded red pepper). Ordered with extra pork and regular spicy. $11.25
Ramen Dojo, San Mateo CA

I’ve been on a ramen kick lately and this place has been one of the best I’ve visited! The soup is delicious and the chicken gravy is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had ramen where I’ve really noticed the chicken gravy before. It had an awesome chunky consistency and packed a lot of flavor. Maybe the gravy, if ever present before, was just been mixed into the soup at other restaurants. I’m not sure, but I feel like I’ve been missing out until now. Noms!

Garlic pork flavor spicy ramen – Ramen Dojo

Garlic pork flavor spicy ramen - Ramen Dojo
Roasted pork, fried whole garlic, kikurage mushroom, fresh green chives, quail egg, and chicken gravy (cooked ground chicken, chopped shiitake mushroom, chopped ginger, sesame oil, shredded red pepper). Ordered with extra pork and regular spicy. $11.25
Ramen Dojo, San Mateo CA

Wow, this was some of the best ramen I’ve had in a while! The broth was delicious and the “regular spicy” level was perfect. I think “extra spicy” would have been too much and the additional heat would have detracted from the flavor of the broth. You’d spend all your time sweating rather than enjoying the ramen. The “regular spicy” level was actually pretty spicy already! The pork was very flavorful and had a good amount of fat on it. Yum!

Cocktails – Town Hall

Haze on Howard - Town Hall
Haze on Howard: Belvedere Vodka, ginger liqueur, vermouth, blackberries, lime. $12
Town Hall, San Francisco CA

Oooo, I was excited to visit Town Hall for the first time since living in SF. I can’t believe I’d never been here before. These cocktails were pretty tasty. The Haze on Howard was refreshing and bright, while the Vieux Carre was on the stronger, harder side. The first time I had a Vieux Carre was at Jardiniere and since I’m totally loving whiskies these days, this is becoming a favorite of mine.

Vieux Carre cocktail - Town Hall
Vieux Carre: Inventeed by Walter Bergeron, The Carousel Bar, 1938. Redemption rye, Henessey, Dolin sweet vermouth, benedictine, peychaud and angostora bitters. $10

Diane and Alfred Wilsey Court

The Diane and Alfred Wilsey Court, de Young Museum.

Happy hour cocktails – Nola

Ginger julep - Nola

Ginger Julep: Bulleit bourbon, house made ginger syrup, Evolution lemon juice, muddled fresh mint, Bundaberg ginger beer. $6
Nola, Palo Alto CA

You never know how a bar is gonna pour when they have happy hour cocktails, but these drinks were quite large and actually had alcohol in them! Score! The bartenders at Nola were super nice and made great, tasty cocktails. Perhaps the sangria was a bit sweet, but I can forgive that for the enjoyable experience.

Saucy's sangria - Nola

Saucy’s Sangria: a refreshing house infusion of red wine, apples, oranges, lemons, limes, pineapples, agave nectar and fresh fruit juices with a brandy float. $6

Pink flower
Pink flower that I can’t seem to identify by appearance (Vasona Reservoir). Help, anyone?

Schmaltz rice – Mission Chinese Food

Schmaltz rice - Mission Chinese Food
Dressed in chicken fat, with cucumber, cilantro, ginger, green onion, fried garlic and hot sauce. $7.50
Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco CA

Ok, how can rice cooked with chicken fat not be simply amazing?! This was SO tasty. The rice had a softer texture with the fatty dressing and a lot more flavor. I can confirm that this rice had no chance and was quickly devoured!

San Francisco morning
A beautiful San Francisco morning. It’s great to be back!

Shanghai dumplings – Mama Ji’s

Shanghai dumplings - Mama Ji's
Xiao long bao soup dumplings served with sweet soy sauce and ginger. $3.75
Mama Ji’s, San Francisco CA

I love XLB partly because they’re SO fun to eat. People have always warned me of the ones served in aluminum containers though because the dumpling wrapper tends to stick and break, and I’ve learned first hand that this is certainly true. So when these arrived to the table, I was already skeptical. Low and behold, they did break and not because of my amateur chopsticks-handling. What I could eat in one bite was good, but I would have loved for them to stay intact.