Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daily Grill's CA Turkey Melt + The Best Pickle Ever

Daily Grill
7855 North Palm Avenue
Fresno, CA 93711-5511
Website (& other locations) here.


Ate here with Blake N. for the first time and got the California turkey melt = "Peppered turkey breast, grilled with avocado and jack cheese, served with a cranberry tomato chutney on sourdough" - not an exact quote because I didn't capitalize every other word like they did.

SO GOOD! I don't usually like sourdough, but I didn't even notice this bread was. And that pickle...was the best pickle I've ever had. I usually love the texture but not the taste of a pickle, but this one was perfect. It was more cucumber-like than sour. I'm gonna call them and ask what kind of pickle that one was. I also refused the side of fries, which the waitress and other employees didn't understand. Sorry I'm crazy?

Piazza del Pane's Pulled Pork Sandwich

Saturday, 8/21/10 with Shari and Andrea

Piazza del Panne
8043 N. Cedar -- They're also on Palm in Fresno (location maps here)
Fresno, CA 93720
Website here.

This reeeeally good pulled pork sandwich came with mozzarella cheese and mango chutney. You know me and my weakness for sweet-and-salty things. I almost got their chicken salad sandwich because that was sweet-and-salty too, but it had celery in it and didn't feel like taking a risk. And pulled pork sounded so yummy, as always. I had pulled pork with Andrea and Shari before too. It was around $10. They also sell gelato, coffee, pizza, etc. here.

Revue's Blended Mexican Mocha

Revue Cafe
620 E Olive Ave

Fresno, CA 93728

16-oz blended Mexican mocha: $3.75

Saw my old apartmentmate, Kurtis, at Revue the other day (8/19/10). That was the first time I went there, so I did a little research and found on Yelp that this place has good cappuccinos and "the best damn Americanos in Fresno." I was going to get an Americano because I love those, and if they're "damn" good, obviously I should try it. BUT...I got suckered into taking a gamble and trying something new: a blended Mexican mocha. I'm glad I did. I like spicy chocolate, although it did have an extra unexpected flavor that both Kurtis and I noticed: Almond extract. Hmmm. I'd prefer to not have that flavor, but the drink was still good, and I'd definitely go back to try other things. I should have asked about the drinks like Susan's Special and Borgia Mocha. Oh! One complaint is that my drink wasn't blended well. I had to deal with chunks of ice, so I used a spoon. That wasn't so bad though because I like spooning out blended drinks.

The Tower District is kind of like the Berkeley district of Fresno. Kinda dirty...not safe at night...full of interesting people and unique places. Anyway, this place reminded me a lot of my Berkeley workplace's first office. The paint was a similar red, and there were old/antique-y things on the walls. I should have taken more pictures. I'm not the best at describing complex places. Picture a kind of laid-back place where grungy-looking middle-aged-and-older men walk in with either BO or dirty clothes or both...where homosexual couples aren't frowned upon (yay!)...where girls with dyed black hair and crazy makeup feel comfortable...where college-aged kids like Kurtis and me can hang out and talk about how much the place reminds us of Berkeley. lol That make sense? Oh--but the people we saw weren't like scary Berkeley hobos. The guys sitting in the place helped a lady coming in and out of the door with her wheelchair, which I thought was very sweet.

Scotch Kisses

See's Candies makes this little blob of wonderfulness called a Scotch Kiss that you should know about if you're a caramel or marshmallow fan. I first heard about these many years ago when my cousins' aunts would make necklaces out of these little packages linked together with ribbon. I tried one and fell in love. Now this is pretty much the only thing I buy at See's, although their I also love their peanut butter and their brown sugar truffles.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seattle Food Tour Stop 8: Steelhead Diner

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

Steelhead Diner
95 Pine Street
Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA 98101
Website here.

We concluded the tour at Steelhead Diner for salad and bread. Their menu looks delicious and diverse: Pulled pork, latkes, crab cakes, sausage, catfish, halibut, meatloaf, salmon.... Like I've said probably a hundred times, I hate crab and fishy stuff like catfish, but I had to show you how diverse the menu is. See for yourself here (lunch menu). What a nice, relaxing end to a great tour. I highly recommend food tours for when you go out of town. We went on a good one in Chicago too.

The salad was interesting: Greens, large chunks of apricot, goat cheese, and macadamia nuts. As good as it sounds and looks, and as much as I love fruit, nuts, and cheese in my salad, it's not something I'd order at this place. The dressing was missing something in my opinion. It felt too dry and sour in my mouth. The bread was good though!

Seattle Food Tour Stop 7: Fresh Fruit

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

We weren't originally supposed to get fruit from this stand because I think the place from which the tour guide usually distributes samples was gone for the day. Instead, we went here (right outside of the indoor part of Pike Place Market) and ate a few pieces of fresh peaches (SO good!) and raspberries (good...but nothing special). By the way, the outdoor part of Pike Place is set up like a farmer's market...only imagine uncomfortably large crowds (assuming you come at the wrong time; the best time apparently is early in the morning when the tourists haven't yet arrived) walking all over the place (in the market, outside the market building, in the bathrooms, along the street, outside and inside the stores across the street from the indoor market section, and in the scenic area next to the water). Speaking of water, one of our guides cleared up a common misconception: Seattle is about 90-100 miles away from the ocean. Doesn't seem as though it'd be that far with all of the other types of water nearby. And about those Pike Place bathrooms. There are wayyy too few. There's a big building next to the main fruit area that doesn't have a single restroom available to customers, so you have to go back to that main fruit/other products area indoors (by the fish, jams, cheese, etc.).

Another random fact from the tour: Before the Japanese Americans were booted off to internment camps, four out of five farmers at Pike Place were of Japanese descent. Today there are zero in business there. Japanese before the war also distinguished themselves from other farmer vendors by stacking up their fruit neatly. Our food tour guide really likes Japanese people and food, as we later discovered. He wasn't just trying to appeal to the one Japanese family in the group. :P He also mentioned that a lot of the people who sell fresh flowers at the market are Hmong, which was funny because he had to explain to the group who the Hmong are (if you're not from my hometown or the midwest, you might not have ever heard of a Hmong before). Before I went to Berkeley, I had no idea that a lot of people aren't familiar with this cultural group.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seattle Food Tour Stop 6: Truffle Oil @ La Buona Tavola

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

La Buona Tavola
1524 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101-1527
Website here.

Wow...I've had truffle (the fungus--not the chocolate kind) stuff before (Foodies know what it is! Just check out food blogs and you'll notice food trends) but never really knew what it was or appreciated how special it is. I was recently watching people digging for truffles, so it was cool to actually taste some truffle salt and test out truffle oil in what I think the owner said was potato leek soup--so good!!! One lady on the tour admitted that she didn't think the oil would make that big of a difference but that it did and tasted great. It's kind of mushroomy. The oil was like a mushroom form of olive oil. Anyway, it was so good that my dad and I want to buy it someday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seattle Food Tour Stop 5: Smoked Salmon

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

Pike Place Fish
Pike Place Fish Market
86 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Website here.

This was the best smoked salmon I've ever had. I guess that's not saying a whole lot since I haven't had it that many times (I used to dislike it), but this was seriously SO GOOD. The food tour guide was right when he said that it's neither too fishy nor too smokey. Wish I had gotten a bigger piece! If you don't like seafood that much, this place would definitely gross you out because there's fish, crabs, etc. all over the place splayed out in a way that's almost obscene. This place is very famous though. It's where they throw fish to each other and shout things out when someone makes a purchase. How did the fish-throwing tradition start? The answer's actually not that crazy: It was just an easy, more efficient way to transport fish rather than having to walk all the way over to your co-worker every single time. Funny.

Seattle Food Tour Stop 4: Clam Chowder

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

Pike Place Chowder
1530 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101
Website here.

Oh look...the lady was nice and smiled for my picture. Haha! I remember her smiling, actually.

I like clam chowder when it's not really clam-y tasting. This was pretty darn good (I can see why it's award-winning!), but it's also soooo rich, so I don't know if I could eat a whole bowl by myself. Definitely a cup.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seattle Food Tour Stop 3: Crumpets

The Crumpet Shop (near Pike Place Market)
1503 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-1523

Taste Pike Place Food Tour with Seattle Food Tours

This was my first crumpet (it's covered in honey), and it was delicious. I'd only heard about crumpets through one or two food blogs and The Great Mouse Detective, an animated movie in which a little British girl (mouse?) gave a dog some crumpets that he'd eat in one lick. If you aren't familiar with crumpets, they're like whole (i.e., not cut in half) English muffins with holes and a consistency more similar to a pancake than to bread. Supposedly these are only made of four ingredients (it tasted kinda like butter, but there wasn't any in this one): flour, water, yeast, and salt. Excellent. I like simple recipes. I really want to make crumpets someday.

The tour guide said, based on his internet searching, that this place is the only one in the U.S. that makes and serves its own crumpets. Interesting.

This scone sign below confused my mom and me. We couldn't decide if the scones were
(a) not made with buttermilk (and therefore, presumably, with CREAM--the best)
(b) not dry but still made with buttermilk (good but not traditional/the real deal)

We found out that it is made with we walked out. haha! Not that scones can't be good when they're made without cream...we were just really excited to find a cream-made scone, and then when we saw the not-so-great-looking scones, we were totally turned off and disappointed.

Seattle Food Tour Stop 2: Gelato

Bottega Italiana (They have a CA location too!)
1425 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Website here

Taste Pike Place Food Tour
With Seattle Food Tours

Stop #1: Salami & cheese

They let us choose our sample flavor. I got mango. I'm just not a gelato person. I only LOVED the chocolate-covered cherry flavor at some place in Berkeley. MMM.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Seattle Food Tour Stop 1: Salami & Cheese Sample

Taste Pike Place Food Tour
With Seattle Food Tours

De Laurenti's International Food Market
1435 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2083

This place started out as the place for Italian immigrants to find their hard-to-find-in-American-stores Italian ingredients. This one older lady on the tour asked the owner (?) to smile for a picture, but he said that he preferred not to be in the picture due to the sunburn on his face, but she took a picture of him looking down anyway. Aiyaiyai. People can be really insensitive sometimes. She said something about not having the flash on though, so hopefully it didn't come out. haha Anyway, so this was our first food sampling place.

(1) Meat: Salami rosmarino salumi salami
(2) Cheese: New moon jack
* They were both good and full of flavor...and that the meat had cracked pepper in it. There were enough pieces for all of us to have at least two samples of the cheese and the meat. Yum.

More free samples that I didn't try due to our time restriction:

Friday, August 6, 2010

la Spiga - Seattle, WA

la Spiga Osteria
1429 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Website here.

My dad's friend highly recommended this place that makes its own noodles, so we went there on Wednesday, 8.4.10. Now I highly recommend this place! Everything tasted good (well, not the seafood-y one, but that's just because I don't like that seafoody/fishy flavor), and my dad pointed out that each dish had a unique taste. The quality of the ingredients was, of course, top-notch as well, and having good-quality ingredients tends to be the secret to excellent food no matter what you make or eat.

The table and menu:

The bread (Dad said it was like Italian naan...I said it was like a thick, bready tortilla). Both times they brought these out they were piping hot. I was craving olive oil, but these were pretty good on their own.

: Gnocco Fritto e Involtini di Bresaola: "Bresaola served warm with robiola fresca and mascarpone, arugula, shaved fresh button mushrooms, lemon and fried Emilian flat bread"
RIGHT: Insalata Caprese: "Classic salad from the island of Capri; fresh mozzarella with sungold heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and 'Capezzana' EVOO" (It also had a tiny bit of cayenne pepper)
--> These bright orange-y red tomatoes were the sweetest, most delicious tomatoes I've ever had, and I don't even like tomatoes all that much by themselves. The sauce and cheese were amazing too. MMMMM!!!

Tortelli di Spinaci alla Norcina: "Spinach and ricotta filled tortelli, sausage and cream sauce, fresh black Umbria truffle" (YUM...except the shaved mushroom things were kinda dry and weird to me, but that was just me being a very inexperienced truffle-eater):

If you (like me) don't like seafood-y flavors, you'll dislike this dish (Spaghetti Neri alla Chitarra con Frutti di Mare e Bottarga di Muggine: "Black chitarra spaghetti, seafood ragu, 'Pianogrillo' EVOO and shaved bottarga"). Bleah. It tastes like ocean-flavored noodles with every kind of seafood I don't like: crab, shrimp, oysters, etc. BUT I'm sure if you like those things, you'd like it. My parents and brother finished it off and enjoyed it. The noodles are black from squid ink.

The gnocchi (I think it was "basil and ricotta gnochetti, fresh Heirloom tomato sauce, cream") that wasn't too thick, too hard, or too soft!! I made it once on my own in Berkeley and apparently didn't make it right because I didn't like it and this was way good.

The Lasagne Verdi: "Layers of green lasagna noodles filled with ragu (meat and tomato sauce), bechamel and Parmigiano Reggiano" = Really good. Soo soft and tasty. I do have to say, though, that I like lasagna noodles when they're a little firmer than this, and the white beschamel on top tasted slightly like soap (my dad said that it does have a kind of floral taste to it). Otherwise, it was very good.

Tiramisu!! ($6.00) - The best my parents and I have ever had. My brother hadn't tried it before, but he said it was good.
"Il Mascarpone di Ida: Our house made tiramisu as made by Pietro's mother":

The dessert menu:

Food at Safeco Field

It's pronounced "Safe-Koh"--not "Sah-fey-koh" like I had been calling it. Oops! Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Safeco Field is the home field of the Seattle Mariners. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but it really is exciting going to games. The guys aren't difficult to look at (lol), the food can be interesting, and it's a great place for people watching. I just dread the day when they'll show my face on that huge screen for everyone to see. So far they've only gotten my brother. Whew!! I didn't mean to make it sound like we go to a bunch of games. :o/ Together we've been to a Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park) game, a San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) game, and now a Mariners game. My parents and I agreed that Boston had hands-down the best fans (sooo enthusiastic, loud, and respectful throughout the whole game! + they sang a "Sweet Caroline" in unison). Hmm...and lots of seats were empty the other day at Safeco. That's enough about baseball. It's food time! Shoulda taken pics of the food stands that surrounded the entire field.

My dad got a pretzel (too salty! and the dough was just alright), dog, and soda:

I just got Dippin' Dots (cookies 'n' cream) because we had just eaten dinner. I didn't know that they put chunks of cookie in their cookies 'n' cream, but I guess that makes sense! I thought they would just swirl the flavors around. Anyway, it's expensive ($4.50 for this little cup), but it's fun and yummy and different than regular ice cream. The fam and I shared a coffee and a hot chocolate (not good, by the way...too sweet) from Starbucks too when it got colder.

B-Town Burgers & Shakes (Burien, WA)

822 SW 152nd St (between S Ambaum Blvd & S 9th Ave)
Burien, WA 98166
Website here.
People on Yelp said the fries were soggy and not salty enough, but ours were great and not soggy at all.

Guess I'm not going in order of consumption (was there 7.31 - 8.5). Here's the last meal I had in the Seattle area (yesterday/8.5.10):

A veggie burger (wanted to be healthy after a week of pigging out) on a kaiser roll (from Albertson's, according to them) for $5.75.
Was it good? It was very good, and I'd buy it again.
What was in it? Black beans, corn, soy something, ...yummy spices. Sorry. Even the cute guy that helped us didn't know and had to ask. LOL That wasn't very impressive, but then they ended up being really nice (the guy and his dad and brother? Or maybe just three unrelated co-workers), and the food was good. The fries were really thick and flavored with sea salt I believe.

I loove chunks of stuff in burgers, bread, etc. You can see corn and beans here: