Sugar Coated

Double Father’s Day

kolache

Posted by Nicole

I’d have to say that our Father’s Day was quite a success. Not only was it a fun day to celebrate our dad and stepdad, but it was also a good chance to push our baking limits.

In the morning, David mentioned he wanted pumpkin bread from Starbucks and I figured homemade is much better. I found an easy recipe for pumpkin bread and adapted it a bit by adding dark chocolate chunks (crushed up Theo bar from our trip to Seattle). I also figured a little extra sweetness wouldn’t hurt, so I quickly adapted a maple cinnamon glaze from this recipe.

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

The bread didn’t last long, especially because it is best when warm!

pumpkin dark chocolate chunk bread

The bread recipe conveniently made two loaves, so we packed one up while still warm and went over to our Dad’s house. We hung out for a while and watched a golf tournament for entertainment. That’s a lie… the conversation was much more interesting than the golf!

A bit later, we went to the store and got supplies for our baking experiment. Last week at dinner, David mentioned various foods that his grandma used to make. Though he didn’t have the original recipes, Lauren and I decided to try to recreate one recipe in particular for Kolaches. These pastry-like desserts are a balance between sweet dough and fruit filling. With much help from this recipe, we didn’t completely screw up!

kolache

kolache

kolache

The difficult part of this recipe was using yeast… something we don’t do often… or ever. We tried to figure the dough out while heating the dried prunes and apricots on the stovetop. During the third step with the dough it was supposed to double in size, but it didn’t. A minor setback, but we just continued baking as usual. When the fruits were done, we added in the other ingredients to finish up the filling.

kolache

kolache

kolache

kolache

Impatience hit and we decided to go ahead and fill the kolache dough even though it hadn’t risen too much. Lauren filled with prunes and I filled with apricots. We topped the desserts with popsika crumble and popped them into the oven.

While they were baking, we prepared dinner. A veggie stirfry, a giant spinach salad, maple cinnamon sweet potatoes, sliced sourdough bread, and barbeque chicken.

father's day

father's day

And the star of the show, our finished Kolache(s)! David was very surprised and we were very relieved that they were edible… and quite tasty.

kolache

father's day

father's day kolache

 

father's day

mason

It was such a nice end to the holiday and to the weekend.

– Nicole

State Bird Provisions, SF

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Posted by Lauren

kyle lo scs 5 year

It’s been one whole entire week since Kyle and I dined at State Bird Provisions!
It’s been one whole entire week + five years since Kyle and I started dating!
One seems like a loooong time and one seems like it flew by, you guess which is which. ;)
(Above photo: Bruge, Belgium! Let’s go back on vacation, pleasethanks.)

State Bird Provisions

1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA
WebsiteYelp

Here’s the LO down on State Bird Provisions:

1. Bon Appetit named SBP the Best Restaurant of the Year in 2012
2. New York Times’ Mark Bittman raved about SBP
3
. Eater named SBP the Best Newcomer in their 7×7 awards
4. SBP is one of 5 finalists for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant
5
. And so on……

SBP takes reservations 60 days in advance. But, all the tables are reserved for every time slot on each of those 60 days. Conundrum! I knew I wanted to score a table around our anniversary, so I hopped online at 4:46 AM on January 25th to book a table for two, 2 months in advance!

get a reservation at state bird provisions tips

A little birdie told me that their reservation widget (powered by Urbanspoon) refreshes around 5 AM and shows all available time slots on that 61st day. Shh, our little secret.

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What makes State Bird Provisions so noteworthy? First of all, their shtick is American Dim-Sum. Their menu divides into four parts: provisions (passed around the room on a cart so diners can pick and choose what looks best to them), pancakes (choice of three savory options), commendables (larger made-to-order plates), and dessert.

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The restaurant itself is small and unpretentious. The largest tables only seat four people. The kitchen is wide open and the back wall looks like a 2D rock climbing wall. The focus is on sourcing the best ingredients, combining unusual elements on a dish, and defining the balance between taste and texture.

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We ordered a small plate of the CA State Bird (aka quail, their namesake dish) while looking over the drink menu. Kyle chose a Common Lager and I picked a Spanish red wine – Tempranillo, Legarda, Crianza – loved it!

Within seconds, the dim sum cart passed by us and we made our first selection. If you’ve been to a traditional dim sum restaurant, you know the drill. You take something off the cart, the waiter marks you down, and rings it all up at the end. I think this concept is so fun and clever with an American twist!

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We took the advice of many Yelpers: don’t rush into things by ordering everything from the cart right away!

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tuna crudo & confit with chickpeas & cumin (8)
5/5 – especially loved the contrast between the creme fraiche and salty potato chips

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roasted vegetable ‘romesco’ (5)
5/5 – best part was the crunchy toasted rice with the perfectly cooked/sauced vegetables

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CA state bird with provisions (8)
4/5 – didn’t meet my expectations, but the quail was still extremely delicious, crunchy

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dashi mushrooms & quinoa with toasted ‘gomasio’ (6)
5/5 – one of our favorites! (fyi: gomasio is made from unhulled sesame seeds)

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red trout, mandarin, hazelnut-garum brown butter (11)
4/5 – lots of unusual flavors going on here, but the trout was so rich it tasted like salmon!

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‘peking duck’….spiced confit leg, crepes, cloud ears & ‘plum’ sauce (20)
4/5 – another let-down. rabbit leg + crepes + plum sauce = interactive!

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smoked sturgeon, horseradish schmear, ‘everything’ pancake (12)
5/5 – thought this was executed beautifully – I’m so happy we ordered a pancake, albeit last-minute; don’t be afraid of the horseradish! it’s mild and wonderfully creamy

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Hot date. 5 years. Someone has a twin in the background….

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Doesn’t the back wall look like a 2D rock climbing wall? (It would be really easy, too. lots of pegs.)

Anyways, after trying SEVEN amazing plates, none of the desserts stood out (BUT I am 100% positive they are all fantastic – how could they not be?!). We made plans to get ice cream somewhere else in SF, but tried just one more thing before we left:

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‘world peace’ peanut muscovado milk ($2/shot)
5/5 LOVE LOVE LOVE. This shot of peanut milk had liquid muscovado (sugar) at the bottom. We sipped the first half slowly and then took the second half as a shooter. This was rich, but also refreshing… if you are a fan of peanut-anything you need to order this!

I totally recommend locals try out State Bird Provisions… it is a unique dining experience with award-winning food! Be prepared to wait a few hours for one of their designated walk-in tables OR be prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn to get a reservation.

Dessert Time!

Smitten

432 Octavia St, San Francisco
WebsiteYelp

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Speaking of unique dining experiences, this ice cream is straight from the pages of Scientific Monthly!

Every single ice cream scoop at Smitten is “made right before your eyes, going from raw ingredients to finished ice cream in about a minute.” They use a patented mixer (from the future!) that uses liquid nitrogen to transform fresh ingredients into super creamy ice cream. The lower freezing temperature “results in smaller ice crystals…. And smaller ice crystals mean a creamier texture for the finished ice cream. Our mixer was specially designed to make the smallest ice crystals possible, which results in a mouthwateringly smooth and delicious ice cream. [There are] no additives, emulsifiers, preservatives, or stabilizers!” (quotes from website)

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Kyle chose one of the two seasonal options – Blood Orange with pistachio shortbread

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And I picked classic vanilla with cinnamon cookie crumbles.

The ice cream making process was fascinating!

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Question: Where is the most unusual place you’ve eaten? What makes it so unique?

-Lauren

Cupcake Send-Off

Posted by Lauren

Yesterday I bought cupcakes because I ran out of time to make my own….

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Kara’s Cupcakes to the rescue!

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I ordered 24 cupcakes, with at least one of each of their 16 flavors available… (And I picked up a mini hazelnut crunch on the side.)

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I brought them into work today…

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We set up an extreme cupcake tasting…

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And then (after the sugar overload) I said goodbye to everyone. For good. New job starts Monday and I am beyond excited! But I will miss my NZ family :(

I have a ton of stuff to do before then and my eats/workouts are a bit off kilter since LA/LV. I’ll check in later with more details!

p.s. loved the Passion Fruit, Lemon, Carrot, and PB Chocolate flavors the most!!

-Lauren

Palo Alto Creamery + 15 hour break

Posted by Lauren

There’s a place in downtown Palo Alto that makes me want to put on a poodle skirt and sing Born to Hand Jive.

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Walking inside the Palo Alto Creamery (566 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301) is like stepping back in time…. 1923? 1953? 1993? This place hasn’t changed all that much since the doors opened NINETY years ago.

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On Wednesday night, after an anticlimactic drive through Palo Alto’s Christmas Tree Lane, Kyle and I agreed to finally pop into The Creamery for a milkshake. PSA: avoid Christmas Tree lane and just watch this holiday light spectacle instead (start at 1:50).

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The Creamery was everything I hoped it would be: spinning stools, gooseneck soda fountains, an attractive pie case, and counter-service.

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We got an order of fries – crispy, hot, fluffy, peppery fries – and an extra thick Heath Bar Krunch shake. Totally hit the spot. Ordering an old fashioned milkshake and spinning on the bar stool made me feel really wholesome for some reason. I can’t wait to go back for dinner and another shake (plus, all the dinner options sound delicious).

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p.s. Don’t be fooled by the barely-filled baby glasses. That’s their shtick. The stainless steel vessel supplied us with even more marvelous milkshakeage.

p.p.s. that two-tone ketchup plate has regular Heinz ketchup and Pepper Plant hot sauce… best way to dip steak fries if you ask me.

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I made sure not to eat ice cream for a while after taking down more than half my share of the heath bar milkshake… a grand total of 15 hours!

Thursday I met my bff Krizia for lunch at her work. If you’re a new reader, the 20 second story is that Krish and I were on the same dance team in high school, went to college together + were roommates for three years, and then post-college we worked together at a really terrific company. Now I’m at a new company down the street and get so excited every time she invites me over for lunch. The cafe was totally remodeled since I left – it’s huuuuuuge now. And, they have a frozen yogurt machine!!

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Vanilla and gingerbread frozen yogurt with oreo crumbles, mochi, and mini pb cups.

Don’t worry, I also had a plate of “normal” food. Turkey, ham + mustard, roasted veggies + rice, salad + green beans. #Balance LOL.

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Thanks for the lunch invite, Krish! Or should I say: Merci! Kembali! Danke!

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Question: Do you have a favorite milkshake spot? Does your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard? Favorite milkshake combo?

chicago diner milkshake

Cookie Dough Peanut Butter from The Chicago Diner!!!!!!!! YESSSSS.

-Lauren