Monday, November 29, 2010

Fortune Cookies...

During our recent trip to SF I knew I wanted to eat in Chinatown and Yelp has become my go to for recommendations. I have heard of R&G's but wanted an alternative to the $40 salt and pepper crab and maybe something more like a local favorite and right away noticed the reviews for Hunan Homes. I was sold. I already knew I wanted Sizzling rice soup and orange peel chicken days before we even left on our trip. I also found a coupon for it so it was obviously the perfect choice.


Orange Peel Chicken

The restaurant was only a short walk from our hotel which was again, perfect. So far this was working our great. The food did not disappoint once we got there and were sat, with no wait. We started with the potstickers and the sizzling rice soup.  The sizzling rice soup was very good, but not amazing. The pot stickers came to the table lightly fried which was just perfect.  We had to make our own sauce for the potstickers, but our server pointed out all the sauce components that were already on the table so it worked out ok, not to spicy but plenty of flavor.  Potstickers were delicious.  Next we chose the orange peel chicken and Mongolian beef as entrees.  The Mongolian beef had a lot of great flavor but was just a little bit on the spicy side for me, the beef was juicy and not overcooked so I decided a runny nose was worth it.  The orange chicken was lightly fried and had a delicious sauce that was not too sweet or too spicy as orange chicken can sometimes be.  The chicken was tender and moist and had just enough orange peel taste.  We ordered the Yang Chow fried rice on the side, good, but not impressed.

The service was ok, not overly friendly but got the job done. Then something happened that I'll never forget. I took out the coupon and laid it on the table for our server to have as he prepared our bill. A few seconds later a different server came over and placed the bill on the table and seeming somewhat annoyed said that he had included our coupon. He did in fact, and we paid and even left a few extra dollars tip on top of the 18% included gratuity. Then we waited a minute or so. Our bill got picked up and we waited another minute. Are you kidding me, am I not getting a fortune cookie and little orange slices like every other table in this Restaurant?! Apparently our coupon was so grievous that they saw fit to rob me of my fortune. This hurt my Chinese food loving lil heart, but not enough to keep me from coming back if I'm ever in the area.  The food was overall delicious and i would love to try out some other offerings on the menu.  And a short walk through Chinatown allowed me to buy my own personal bag of fortune cookies!
Good fortune awaits me in my future.

Friday, November 19, 2010

From LA to the Bay...


One stawberry didn't make it in the pic
 Last weekend we took a trip up north to San Francisco.  Somehow in 24 hours we managed to do so much.  The Omni Hotel we stayed at was perfect.  The staff was nice and the financial district was a great location.  We arrived in our room to find pretty chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us.  I always write in the notes section when booking a hotel to inform them of a special event, but this is the first place that has actually done anything to c ommemorate our "anniversary" ;-) I was impressed.  After fully enjoying our strawberries we walked a couple blocks into Chinatown for dinner.  We ate at Hunan Home after reading great reviews on Yelp and also finding them on  The food was delicious, some of the best orange chicken we've ever had.  After a walk back through Chinatown we headed back to the hotel to knock out from a long day of travel. 

The lights of Chinatown
Ferry Building Farmers Market
In the morning we took a walk to the Farmers Market at the famous Ferry Building.  I have wanted to go to the farmers market every trip to SF and I finally made it.  We had a nice breakfast of an egg and bacon sandwich while enjoying the views of the water and Bay Bridge behind the Ferry Building.  On our walk back to the hotel we spontaneously jumped on a cable car and took it for a ride up the hill. 

We then took a little walk around the city; for some reason we feel the need to take the hills on foot in SF. We wandered around and found an eclectic dive bar called Vesuvio that may now be my favorite dive bar in SF (not that I know too many dive bars in SF, but for now this is my favorite). "This world-renowned San Francisco saloon located in North Beach just across from the infamous City Lights Bookstore, was first established in 1948 and remains an historical monument to jazz, poetry, art and the good life of the Beat Generation. Vesuvio attracts a diverse clientele: artists, chess players, cab drivers, seamen and business people, European visitors, off-duty exotic dancers and bon vivants from all walks of life."  We had to stop in and have a drink... it was sometime before noon, but we were on vacation time! 

Until we meet again...

After making it back and checking out of the hotel, we drove over to Coit Tower and soaked in the amazing views.  On our drive to Haight and Ashbury to make our obligatory stop at Amoeba, we made a slight detour by the famous painted ladies of SF... "whatever happened to predictability, the milk man, the paper boy, evening t.v." ahhhh, opening sequence of Full House!  On our way out of town we stopped in the Mission District to get an award winning burrito per the paper plaques hanging on the walls; award winning, maybe, spicy? definitely  Pheww... all in a day's travels!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Never Say Ooops Official Cookie

Vote for ME!
For as long as I can remember my mom has always asked me to help her out in the kitchen; whether it was snapping green beans or rolling meatballs and the holidays were no exception. My sister and I would help Mom decide what cookies to bake and help assemble the cookie platters to hand out to friends and family, always testing the cookies along the way. I learned a couple things over the years in that kitchen; meatballs are not frozen, cookies are from scratch and to never say ooops when you're baking. Now that I am baking my own holiday cookies I keep this lesson close to heart. This is the perfect never say ooops cookie because you can customize it however you like. You can use different pudding flavors or add ins and it tastes amazing every time. This lemon cookie with cranberries and white chocolate chips is my favorite variation and a sure holiday classic. The perfect ode to my mom and a pretty addition to our holiday cookie platters. Thanks mom :-)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 cups butter, softened
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
Powdered sugar for presentation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for about 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown, do not over cook.
4. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powerded sugar once cool.