Monday, July 23, 2007

Restaurants: The Slanted Door's Out the Door

I am not a big fan of Asian fusion cuisine as I am very old-schooled when it comes to Asian food. Translation: if I've paid $5 for a bowl of great Pho, the $10 one can't be that much better. The Slanted Door in San Francisco's Ferry Building had me intrigued however, since it's been getting rave reviews and has become a standard lunch spot for young professionals in the area according to Bloomberg magazine. When I couldn't get a reservation at the ever-popular restaurant using a week in advance, I was a little disappointed until a friend of mine told me they had two smaller outposts for quick meals and take-out, cleverly named, Out the Door, located in the Ferry Building with another one in the Westfield Center on Market Street. As we were staying in the heart of the city on Market, we headed towards the Westfield Center.

My husband ordered the Pho, I ordered Chicken in a Clay Pot, and we ordered Spring Rolls and Crispy Imperial Rolls to share along with a Taro and Milk Boba and a Tropical Fruit and Lime Boba. The Pho was made with wide rice noodles as opposed to the traditional thin ones, and my husband was disappointed at how bland it was. I had better luck with the Chicken in a Clay Pot; succulent boneless chicken pieces simmered in a sweet soy sauce based gravy. The only thing it was missing was some vegetables so I chose to supplement my meal with some Spicy Broccoli, which was undercooked and overseasoned.

The big winners over all were the Spring Rolls, Crispy Imperial Rolls, my chicken, and surprisingly, their Boba; their Boba was amazingly fresh, not made with the traditional powders you see at the chains, and the tapioca pearls were sweet and chewy. Would I give this place another shot? Absolutely. There are many more rice plates and dishes to be tried and at prices more reasonable than the Slanted Door.

Note to parents with young children: the food court atmosphere at the Westfield makes this location very kid-friendly as well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baby Gear: The BandaBib

Like most infants, my daughter was a drooler when she was teething; we went through five bibs a day, and even now, at the age of two, she'll drool when she's being very active or concentrating really hard on something (i.e., working on a puzzle). I was never a huge fan of how the terry cloth bibs looked around her neck, so when I saw Bazzlebaby's BandaBib in Target a few weeks ago, it definitely made me pause. It's a simple yet ingenious idea; a cotton bandana backed with thicker fabric in cute prints that closes with a snap button on the back. Definitely looks a lot cuter than the average bib, and it comes in assorted patterns for boys and girls. There's a great modeling picture at the Bazzlebaby site (which is still under construction)

Available at Target and


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Day on the Farm

I was a bit deficient in the common sense department last weekend; I realized this as I found myself holding my breath in a port-a-potty with my purse tightly looped around my neck and a mere few minutes later, standing in a wet and muddy raspberry field with mud all over my bare feet; all before 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Yes, this is what happens when a city girl decides to go to the farm a day after a torrential downpour wearing flip flops and after downing an iced latte right before a 30-minute drive to Remlinger Farms in Carnation, Washington.

After a rough start, I wasn't expecting much from the rest of my farm adventure, but I was proven wrong and wound up having a fantastic time. Remlinger Farms is a wonderful place to bring the family. After a short period of picking raspberries in the U-pick area, we ventured over to the Country Fair Family Park area which opens at 11 a.m. There are pony rides, train rides, flying pumpkin rides (mini version of the flying Dumbo ride at Disneyland), and a mini-Thunder Mountain like coal mine roller coaster, among other atractions. The crops vary throughout the year, but strawberries and raspberries are available for picking. My only advice would be to wear washable shoes (garden clogs would be good) and to bring some gloves and a small pail for your little one.

In short, while I was outside, I realized how much enjoyment the simpler things in life can bring. I even started wondering what it would be like to live out near a farm a la Anne of Green Gables (I could make raspberry cordial like Marilla Cuthbert!). Of course then I thought about how the house would have to have A/C and heating, gas, proper plumbing, etc. and then I quickly concluded that driving out a few times a year for the experience would be good enough for me.

Check for schedules and hours

Monday, July 2, 2007

Beard Papa's Vanilla Cream Puffs

I guess I am late to the Beard Papa's party. The franchise that specializes in "the world's best cream puffs" originated in Osaka, Japan in 1999 and now has outposts on the East Coast, California, and Hawaii. I first had a BP cream puff last year when my mother's neighbor gave her a box. I thought they were just okay, but then again they were eaten after they had been in the refrigerator which always leaves the exterior rather stale and spongy. I thought I'd give them another try when I was recently in the Westfield Shopping Center on Market in San Francisco.

Caramel was the flavor of the week (Chocolate, Green Tea, and Strawberry are among the rotated flavors), but I opted for the original Vanilla upon my friend's suggestion, which is also the flavor I had when I first tried BP. I watched as they pumped the puff with the fresh vanilla cream right then and there (each one is filled to order), and, as it is with Krispy Kreme, you have to eat it right then and there to get the full effect of the freshness of the cream puff dusted with powdered sugar. Of course, I went back the following day to try the Eclair, which isn't really an Eclair in the traditional sense, but is really just the cream puff topped with chocolate. The Eclair was not as good as the original, mostly due to the fact that the puff had been in the refrigerator (death to cream puffs it seems) presumably to extend the longevity of the chocolate.

Overall, my recent experience redemeed my earlier one, and it is probably a good thing that I don't live near a BP's, otherwise I'd be perpetually walking around with a smattering of powdered sugar on my nose.