Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinderella Bakery and Cafe

SOLO DINNER: 06.14.12 @ 6 PM

Oh, Cinderella. I am the Big Bad Wolf. I did not blow your cafe down but I ate all your food. Well, sort of.

Armed with $16 Living Social  I went a  little bit crazy buying food for one since Enrique was away on a business trip.


Russian Meat Dumpling Soup
* I have been salivating over this soup since reading about it. Think Chinese wonton soup but crossed the border to Russia. Big meaty dumplings wrapped in pasta wrappers. The slightly thick  broth was so tasty with a note of lemony tang to it.  The portion will deceive you but this soup is so filling that I ate it for 2 nights! Oh, how comforting! I love this soup and will go back for more!!!!!

HEADCHEESE (Holodetz) $4

Housemade cooked beef, pig and chicken feet with spices
* I just could not resist! I love head cheese but try to  eat it only once in a blue moon in my attempt to be healthier. But  I just had to try Cinderella's. I read that a good headcheese is supposed to be tender, melt in your mouth and should NOT be firm chewy or rubbery. Cinderella's headcheese had a nice hint of flavor and just melted in my mouth while the meat tasted firm but still tender.  The portion was packed that I was only able to to eat  a third of it and sadly had to let it go since Enrique would never eat it.


*These Russian pancakes remind me of blintzes. What a delicious sweet way to end my solo dinner! This could have been the best blintzes I've had since they were freshly made and still hot even after 45 minutes later. Sweet soft cheese snuggly wrapped in think pancakes topped with savory sour cream and sweet raspberry jam. Oh, deliciousness!

COMPOT $1.99

* A cold sweet homemade Russian drink similar to the color of iced tea. It was made with prunes, raisins, etc. I drank a tall glass while waiting for my order and found it refreshing.


*A neighborhood cafe since 1953. Cute, European and cozy. On the day I was there, Russian was spoken all around by the owner and customers. The cafe is cramped and very small with a couple of tables and a counter seating  for 8  that will not be too comfortable for dining because you will be  eating "elbow to elbow." Sidewalk cafe was too chilly even when it was a beautiful warm day all over the Bay Area.

However there is something cozy and romantic about finding a little cafe in the chilly Richmond neighborhood in SF. While the rest of San Francisco was "suffering" in sweltering high 70s, it was cold and chilly on 5th and Balboa.  Being surrounded by homemade bread, pastries, spreads just inches from my nose was comforting eventhough I was huddled in one corner freezing my behind.


A delicious find! I will be craving the Pelmeni soup on a cold rainy day in SF. The ultimate comfort food--hot, meaty and filling! I will definitely be back for more.

MUST TRY:I had to restrain myself from grabbing the following but will definitely try them on my next visits:
-Marinated Fish Spread
-Eggplant Spread
-Siberian Style Pies with beef, egg, cabbage, etc.
-Piroski (baked or fried)

TOTAL: ~$21 (before $16 Living Social)

A scrumptious savory-sweet carbolicious comfort food. Cinderella's Russian offerings have definitely joined my "Favorite Meals of All Times!"

Cinderella Bakery and Café on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen

DATE NIGHT: June 9, 2012 @ 4:30 PM

As seen on  "Check, Please! Bay Area"  

Angeline's is BIGGER.

The last time we tried to have dinner at Angeline's in April, there was an hour wait. We tried again yesterday for date night and at 4:30 PM on a hot Saturday afternoon, Angeline's had plenty of space and no wait at all. By the time we finished dinner at 7:30 there were still plenty of tables. We secured a reservation just to be on the safe side.

Not only Angeline's has expanded its space through renovation, they are now open all day on weekends as well from 11:30 AM to 9 PM -10 PM.

Angeline's decor can be best appreciated at night where the chandeliers on the high ceilings, "antique" window grills on the brick walls, Mardi Gras artwork and tealight candles give Angeline's an exciting but eerie/gothic atmosphere. I try to imagine that the other customers as vampires having dinner. ;)

In the day time, it is a spacious and casual place to have lunch or early dinner. A long bar graces the back of the restaurant.

Enrique and I have been to Angeline's many times throughout the years and have almost eaten through their menu. My faves are the CREOLE-STYLE BARBECUE SHRIMP and VOODOO SHRIMP. He always comes back for the HONEY-BRAISED BARBECUE RIBS. They were always very tender and flavorful. 

                      Cornmeal-crusted fried oysters w/ garlic butter

* The batter was crispy, perfectly fried and was so light without  the slightest hint of grease. However, it was also very bland. It almost tasted like the chef forgot to put in the seasonings!  Even Enrique who does not use hot sauce and salt doused his with Tabasco, salt and pepper. I drowned mine in Tabasco as well. The oysters were huge and tasted fresh but breading was very bland. The GARLIC BUTTER had no hint of garlic and did not compliment the oysters.

                      Signature barbecue shrimp over rice with beans

*I just love this comfort food of plump shrimp in tasty sauce that is not a traditional barbecue sauce (more like gravy) over rice. I end up always ordering this dish at Angeline's.

                    Boneless breast w/ mashed sweet potato, gravy & green beans

*Enrique who would rather eat and enjoy his food than describe it states "really good!"

*Enrique does not like sweet potatoes in general and did not enjoy his but I love mashed sweet potatoes and I love Angeline's!!!! This mashed sweet potato so comforting good, sweet and lovely. The ginger and vanilla made this side dish more special than others that I've had in the past.

                  Warm flourless chocolate cake with hint of cayenne and orange

*My first thoughts upon opening this cake that we took to go was, "this is too small." However, this cake was so dense and decadent that I could only eat a 1/4 each time. The cayenne pepper was pronounced but provided a nice naughty spicy bite to this cake that slowly sneaks into your palate.

~ BEIGNETS $4.95

*Just like what I had at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. I ate those fried delicious French pastries 7 days in a row every single day while vacationing! I found Angeline's beignets to be the closest in taste/texture to the ones I've had in New Orleans. Of course these fried French donuts came in a bowl of powdered sugar!

TOTAL: $80 including tip and 1 Iced Tea

Angeline's is bigger and better. A solid New Orleans-style cuisine in the Bay Area. A place to indulge in a comfortable, interesting and non-pretentious venue. Great value and friendly service. This was not our first visit and it will not be our last. We love Angeline's!

Gosh, I just got myself hungry for everything we had at Angeline's just writing and re-reading this review! Darn!

Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 16, 2012



In celebration of my beautiful friend Heather's birthday, we shared the following:
*An aperitif for the birthday girl which she enjoyed. Water for me who is on the clock.

ARUGULA SALAD WITH CITRUS W/ 2 CROSTINI TOPPED W/ GOAT CHEESE $8.75 *Nothing remarkable. It was pretty standard that you can get at any decent salad place.

BROCCOLI DI CICCIO AND MANILA CLAMS A LA PLANCHA $11 with  white beans, lemon zest, and garlic:
*A must get! Very tasty and very delicious! A simple dish nicely dominated by the flavors of the garlic. The flavors of the broccoli, juicy clams, garlic, lemon and EVOO just married each other in harmony.

*Another must get! Melted hot gooey cheese and sweet caramelized onion on nice thin crust. Very delicious!

Relive your childhood memories with Pik-Nik Shoestring potatoes -- only Zuni's are the adult version. A fascinating tower of potatoes cut very thin and short like Pik-Nik but less salty than the packaged version and more tender. Enjoyable to munch but we prefer the traditional french fries.

TAB: $61 including tip

A server who was very very pleasant and smiled a lot. I do not care to know my server's name usually but I wished I have known his name. A delightful presence during our lunch. Thank  you for your kind positve energy!

Zuni's architecture is a lovely brick and steel. Rustic and industrial. Multi-leveled dining spaces. It is very bright with glass walls all around allowing sunshine to come in.  A long contemporary bar, a rustic  dining area with brick fireplace and upper level where you have to climb the industrial stairs.

Very energetic and loud with mature looking crowd dressed conservatively for lunch. Formal-casual place.

A lovely lunch with simple yet well-executed dishes. A delightful professional server. Lots of sunshine.

* 7x7 Big Eat: Zuni's Roasted Chicken $48 is on the 7x7 SF Big Eat: 100 Things to Eat Before You Die.  I still cannot bring myself to pay $48 for a chicken!

ZUNI Café on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Morimoto Napa


A perfect day of decadence getting our tan on at the Francis Ford Coppola's swimming pool built the appetites of three ravenous sunburnt girls.

An equally decadent dinner at Morimoto was the perfect venue to wrap up this perfect day in the Wine Country.

Three very hungry girls: one's vegan, one's carnivore and the third one is an occasional pescetarian (me.)

VEGAN GIRL: "This is so amazing! This is absolutely delicious!"
She had the:
-OCTOPUS CARPACCIO $21 as her appetizer
-BRAISED BLACK COD (in ginger -soy reduction) $32 as her main entree

CARNIVORE GIRL: "These are too salty. Good but salty!"
She had the:
-PORK SHORTRIBS $32 as her main entree

PESCETARIAN GIRL (Me): *Slightly Disappointed* "These are okay."
I did not try any of my friends' dishes but I had the:

-BRAISED OCTOPUS $21 (with sushi rice and "refried black beans)
*The flavors and textures of this appetizer were made eclectic by the fried sushi rice squares which were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside like rice cakes; crispy "refried bean" chips" and the very soft octopus tentacles. Octopus meat is supposed to have a "bite"-- like al dente pasta. The octopus was like a spaghetti that was boiled a little bit too long. The flavors were interesting but nice.

CRISPY WHOLE FISH $31 (tofu sauce and papaya salad)
*The fish for the night was a Branzino (aka European Seabass). This is one of my most favorite fish for its light tender meat. Some parts were not very crispy although lightly fried. It was served over cubes of bland tofu. This dish was a disappointment for me since I could have just gone to any Ranch 99 and had a whole fish fried for me on the spot. The bland tofu and light fish meat did not compliment one another. The papaya salad provided a little bit of flavor but not enough.

DUCK CONFIT FRIED RICE $12 (with perfectly fried egg on top)
The idea of eating a whole fish without rice (the Asian in me protests) was too unbearable for me. Luckily I decided to order the duck confit fried rice which was very delicious! The rice was very flavorful with bits of very flavorful tender duck meat. It was great by itself and was an overkill eating it with the fish. The bland fish was overpowered by the strong but nice flavors of the duck fried rice.

TOTAL: $216 including tip and 3 beers ($72 per gal)

Who has not heard of the "IRON CHEF" or "CHEF MORIMOTO"? Even for someone like me who is not a big fan of the show, the anticipation of dining at Morimoto conjured up images and imaginary flavors that tantalized my tastebuds before the actual dining experience.

Maybe I did not order the "right" dishes. The oyster with uni, bacon mochi, foie gras and bone marrow dishes teased me. However, I vowed to "eat well but eat right" so I chose healthy seafood.

I do not mind a return visit if my friends insist to go back. For now, I will just be happy to watch Chef Morimoto do his magic on the flat screen. The dishes at Morimoto Napa were just not "ironclad" for me.

- "East meets West"
- The lobby of Morimoto Napa was like the Asian Art Museum in SF with Asian artifacts and artwork
- Modern Asian furniture of beautiful wood, glass and clean lines
- Al fresco dining by the Napa Riverfront
- Loud chefs at the open chaotic kitchen just like in "Iron Chef"
- Casual, festive and packed.
- Superb service was very friendly, professional, knowledgeable and attentive.
- Portions were generous that we could not find room for dessert

Morimoto Napa on Urbanspoon


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