Tag Archives: san francisco

Weekly Menus on the Road: Week of 7/14/2013

Gentle Readers, this post will break traditional format as we at Team Practical Cook gear up for a week of field research. Many of you probably have similar experiences of needing to shut down a kitchen for a week during summer break, winter holiday, etc. How do you plan for both absence and for road eating?

Cafe con leche: Breakfast of champions

Cafe con leche: Breakfast of champions

Here’s The Practical Cook Method:

1. Stop shopping. This may seem obvious, but it’s my best tip. There’s more food in your house than you think. Stop buying more interesting things, and face up to whether you’re going to eat that rare Asian noodle snack pack from the 80s.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

2. Eat at home. The best way to prepare for time away is to commit to eating what you have. I’ve not been doing so well at that, but I did have 22 CheezIts and 1/2 a cupcake for lunch yesterday. Not my proudest moment.

Can you blame me for eating my babysittiing payment on the spot? Cupcakes for lunch, not recommended. #sugarcoma

Can you blame me for eating my babysittiing payment on the spot? Cupcakes for lunch, not recommended. #sugarcoma

3. Turn home snacks into road snacks. What can you take with you? If it’s a road trip, your options expand. On a plane, I heart Biscoff cookies, but sometimes one is stuck with just the pretzels. That’s not cool. I love Trader Joe’s Almond bars (like a granola cookie), dry cereal in any form, and trail mix. Do not be without food on a plane. Trust me.

Trail Mix Melted and Reformed = Trail Bark (Yum)

Trail Mix Melted and Reformed = Trail Bark (Yum)

4. Make a plan for road meals. I’m not advocating mapping your entire trip according to Yelp, but establish some targets for food while you travel. Are you going to eat breakfast out for every meal? Can you do sandwiches for some of it? What kind of food is the regional specialty? Are you allergic to the local fare? Do some research, ask friends, and open yourself to possibility, but avoid either eating fast food you could get anywhere or going 4 star everywhere and then entering the poorhouse afterward.

Barbecued pork bahn mi on homemade bread. Wow. Just wow.

Barbecued pork bahn mi on homemade bread. Wow. Just wow.

5. Don’t go it alone. If you’re traveling with family, no matter the age of the offspring or relations, run a benevolent dictatorship. If you’re going to a beach house, don’t agree to cook every meal, distribute the wealth. If you’re going to a destination, find out from each person what constitutes a food win. For instance, we’re going to try Burmese food, a birthday request from the Youngest (yes, TPCs Jr are awesome, thanks for noticing). We’ll also do CalMex for the world’s biggest taco fan, The Eldest.

The Jrs take on the Big City!

The Jrs take on the Big City!

Last tip: if you have a chance to eat an avocado in the wild, buy tamales from someone selling them in a back alley, or try ice cream flavored with foods you can’t identify, do it. And then send me a picture. This is vacation time!

Got ideas, suggestions, or can’t-miss eats? Post in the comments, Tweet me, or email! I look forward to sharing the adventure with you. Perhaps even a stray video review or two. 🙂

Restaurant recommendations, bacon samples, and good ideas can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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**Team Practical Cook is taking a rare break and leaving the laptop behind. Follow our field research on Twitter and Instagram! We’ll be back, recipes at the ready, Wednesday, July 24, 2013.**

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Bacon Quest: Bacon Bacon Truck in San Francisco Reviewed! (with video)

Gentle Readers, it has been too long since The Practical Cook broke out the video review. Fear not, she is reunited with her camera and on the road. Better still, she is stalking that crowd favorite, bacon.

I learned about the famed Bacon Bacon SF food truck a few months ago, when I was, well, talking about bacon at a Tweetup. You would be shocked how often that happens to me. They have everything from your standard bacon grilled cheese to bacon popcorn and chocolate bacon.

The Menu at the Bacon Bacon SF Food Truck

The Menu at the Bacon Bacon SF Food Truck

Accompanied by fellow bacon fan, whom I shall call Semper Fried, we decided to try as much as we could across the menu, for science of course. In our meager defense, we walked to and from the truck, and that was some reasonable distance.

Pork Belly Taco and Pork Belly Fries: Delicious in a box

Pork Belly Taco and Pork Belly Fries: Delicious in a box

I had the Bahn Mi and Chocolate Bacon, he went for the Pork Belly taco and Pork Belly fries (they made me think of Southern BBQ, a win). The bacon was exceptional. I am in the process of determining where it came from. My sandwich was good, the pork meatballs were nice, but I’ve had better pork belly. The money is really on the bacon here, it is outstanding, thick without being jerkylike, not overly hammy or salty, very balanced with a pronounced bacon flavor.

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with Bacon!

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with Bacon!

Would I go back? Absolutely, if only to buy more chocolate bacon. Yeah, it’s good, don’t try to kid yourself about that. Go early, the line forms fast. I think I’m going to try the vegetarian option next time, with bacon.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. ❤

Will you go out of your way to eat bacon? Tell me your story or issue a bacon challenge in the comment box below!

The Bacon Bacon Food Truck in San Francisco! Hunt it down today!

The Bacon Bacon Food Truck in San Francisco! Hunt it down today!

Food truck recommendations, kudos, and culinary challenges can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday, Roasted Spring Vegetables Recipe.

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Filed under Bacon Brackets, Restaurant Reviews, Snacks

Eating My Way Through San Francisco: Reviews from the Road

Gentle Readers, my heart belongs to San Francisco. At least the food part. The biting wind I could well do without. This may be controversial, but I will take a stand here. Of great meals I’ve had in my life, more of them have been in San Francisco than anywhere else.

Salmon with Veggies (technically in Santa Clara, but still FTW!)

Salmon with Veggies (technically in Santa Clara, but still FTW!)

I know, New York is great, but the risk to reward ratio has been much better in the city by the bay. My favorite spot, my respite from the bustle of a conference floor, Samovar. The tea descriptions are fantastic, and the tea itself is not too shabby either.

Mmm, lingering artichoke tea.

Mmm, lingering artichoke tea.

The food is limited in choice, well done in execution, and the pairings are interesting and challenging. I tried the Jook this time, and fell in love. Yes, I will add some more Sriracha, thanks!

Jook with smoked duck from Samovar, San Francisco.

Jook with smoked duck from Samovar, San Francisco.

Also on tap, Thai food, recommended by a food fan to a food fan. Thankfully, I’m not the only one keeping a running list. Koh Samui was a delight, but be warned, their medium is Thai medium, not bland medium. I had the tofu curry with coconut rice, which was fabulous, but enjoyed the fusion samosas at the start even more.

Koh Samui is a refuge off the beaten bath. Well worth the trek for good Thai!

Koh Samui is a refuge off the beaten bath. Well worth the trek for good Thai!

Noveau Indian at Amber was very nice, my favorite being the Gobi, with recommendations of the “best Indian” being in Fremont, CA (home of Afghanan de Kebab). Rest assured, Gentle Readers, I will take the challenge and commit to the necessary field research on my next trip.

Spiked lemonade from Amber. Made with thyme and lemon infused simple syrup. Well done.

Spiked lemonade from Amber. Made with thyme and lemon infused simple syrup. Well done.

And as for bacon, there was bacon. You’ll have to wait till next week for that particular update, but a pilgrimage to the famed BaconBaconSF food truck was made.

Portobella Sandwich from Samovar

Portobella Sandwich from Samovar

But my favorite meal, the home-cooked one. Thank you. How awesome to be on the other side of the country, and yet get to share in the family meal. I learn something great in every kitchen, and this was no exception.You are welcome to come sit on my porch anytime.

Refuge on the Road: Samovar San Francisco

Refuge on the Road: Samovar San Francisco

As always, the importance of good company with good food is emphasized on the road. Good food becomes great when the conversation serves. Thank you to one and all.

Okay, gauntlet tossed. Where have you had more great meals, east or west coast? Go! (Post a comment below, let the games begin.)

Send your restaurant recommendations and food pictures to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday: Crostini with Broccolini, A Recipe.

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The Week of Salads: Not Just for Rabbits

Gentle Readers, sometimes The Practical Cook has to take a break from field research, and move into field greens research. After a punishing schedule of fried and bacon, it was time for the week of salads.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. <3

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. ❤

What started out as a detox week (no desserts, no drinking) because a quest to reboot the system, so to speak. It is very easy to lose sight of one’s sense of hunger, to finish food you don’t want or doesn’t taste good, to eat it because it’s there, because you’re bored, because it’s Tuesday.

Leftover mango salsa, some beans, a bit of cheese = insta-salad.

Leftover mango salsa, some beans, a bit of cheese = insta-salad.

The Practical Cooks Junior are remarkable in knowing their limits. I applaud them, and hope they don’t lose that. When they announce that they’re full, we say, “it’s good to know when you’re full.” Nothing more. Working on relearning that lesson.

Awesome Thai dinner at Koh Samui in San Francisco

Awesome Thai dinner at Koh Samui in San Francisco

What I have found: I have enjoyed food more this week after the detox week. Admittedly, that’s aided by being surrounded by colleagues and friends who love food, in San Francisco.

And I really loved the salads too. Here’s my favorite.

Strawberry Spinach Salad, You're Haunting My Food Memories

Strawberry Spinach Salad, You’re Haunting My Food Memories

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans and Ricotta

Slice and macerate some strawberries lightly, in sugar or balsamic, up to you. Toss a salad with spinach, the strawberries, pecans (toast them lightly in the microwave for more flavor, or don’t if you want a milder flavor, top with ricotta if you’re out of (bingo) or don’t like goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.

For real, I almost ate two of these back to back. Salad makes you slow down and chew. Food is to be enjoyed, not inhaled. Try a week of salads and let me know what you create, and what you discover. Post your favorites here in the comments section, or send a Tweet.

Send your lettuces and bacon bits to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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It’s almost time for Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: Weekly Menus.

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