San Tung Chinese Restaurant

Wow, this is my second Chinese food post within a short amount of time, I didn’t plan this.

I swear.

It’s just that I recently stumbled upon this article on 7×7’s website discussing the top 10 places to get a good meal under $10 in my neighborhood, the Inner Sunset.

I am pleased to say that in the 8 or so months that I have lived in the neighborhood, I have tried half of the restaurants mentioned. Not too bad for someone who usually cooks at home.

Just putting it out there, I love good Chinese food. Trouble is, I have had very little good Chinese food in my day – despite the fact that I live in San Francisco for Christ’s sake! I believe excellent Chinese cuisine exists, the problem is if I am ordering Chinese its because I don’t want to cook and I am hungry. So it needs to be close – by way of delivery or within a few blocks of my house.

A few months ago, I was suffering from a bad case of the stomach flu, so my dear friend Scott drove me home. Scott has been working in the kitchen for the better part of 10 years and knows the best places to eat in the city so when he says a place is tasty I take his word for it. No questions asked (except for what I should order).

While he was driving me through my neighborhood he was pointing out various places where delectable morsels could be found, but since I was on the verge of barfing I wasn’t retaining much of the tidbits he was throwing out. I vaguely recall him mentioning a Chinese place where you could order any, and he meant ANY, part of a chicken dry fried.

A week later, when I was up for eating real food again I wracked my brain for the name of the place he had mentioned. Because of my decrepit condition at the time, I couldn’t for the life of me remember which Chinese place he had pointed out amidst the dozens that dot the streets of my neighborhood.

So bless the foodie gods who dropped the 7×7 article in my lap, for it talks about the very same restaurant!

Which brings me, finally, to the afternoon lunch Matt and I spent at San Tung.

When we walked in I noticed that we were the only non-Asian patrons in there, I took this as a good sign. If the food is authentic enough for those from the same culture, its good enough for me.

We were seated at a table with some other people sitting there. Sort of family style, we just didn’t share food. While I was scoping out what they ordered I noticed the illustrious dry fried chicken and I drooled a little bit.

(For a look at the complete menu, click here).

San Tung has an extensive lunch menu so we couldn’t help but take advantage of the cheaper prices. As we scanned our options we sipped on some beautiful Hot and Sour Soup.

This is one of my favorite soups, I have been know to eat it by the quart. Tofu, peas, willow tree fungus, bamboo shoots, and delicate whipped egg swam happily in a tangy yet slightly spicy broth.

In between sips of soup we nibbled on some complementary kimchi. Both of us LOVE this stuff so much, I think we asked for 3 plates throughout the course of the meal.

Neither of us were starving, but next thing we knew we had ordered 4 dishes, plus rice!

I pray my waistline will forgive me.

Our order went a little like this:

The lunch menu special of Curry Shrimp – complete with crunchy onions, green bell pepper, and thinly sliced carrots. Unlike a lot of places offering shrimp, San Tung did an upstanding job of not overcooking the succulent meat. The sweetness of the shrimp and the slight kick of the curry were quite the pair atop a small mound of rice.

We got brave and ordered cold Pig’s Ear with a five spice rub and soy garlic sauce. The flavor was nice, but preparation was not my cup of tea. The fat on the ear was slightly congealed giving each bite an overly gelatinous mouth feel. I’d try it again, but I think I would prefer them fried.

The star of the meal was hands down the dry fried chicken Scott recommended. By far the most wonderful fried chicken my mouth has ever had the pleasure of meeting. The golden brown, perfectly crisped skin burst open to reveal tender and juicy meat. We ordered the sauce on the side, which is definitely the way to go. Doing so allowed us to appreciate the heavenly taste of the meat on its own. The sauce though. The sauce. Whole chilies, diced green onion, and minced garlic basked in a sweet yet spicy sauce that clung to every crevice of the chicken each time we let the two meet. This is the dish that will keep me running back to San Tung again, and again.

A little background – I adore nuts. Nut butters, nut sauces, nut flours, candied or spiced nuts, nuts in my yogurt, nuts baked into sweet treats – you name it, I’m nuts for nuts. The 7×7 article praised the Noodles with Peanut Sauce so of course we just had to order it. I was giddy with excitement for these house made noodles topped with shrimp, baby scallops, water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions and peas smothered in a spiced peanut sauce to arrive at our table.

By the time our other dishes arrived the lunch rush hit, and hit hard, so every employee was running around in a frenzy, giving us no opportunity to inquire about our noodles. It was only when we were finished with our meal that a waiter dropped them at the table topped with a handful of julienned cucumber, but without an explanation as to why they were so late.

The dish certainly looked good, but the sauce did not live up to my nutty expectations. The sauce was lackluster – overly spiced and watered down and the noodles held no texture, turning to mush before I even had a chance to chew. Perhaps a result of the overwhelming rush, but I was disappointed.

Working as a waitress in a restaurant, I understand that things get chaotic and mistakes happen on occasion. Having been on both sides of the dining experience though, I believe that an apology goes a long way and I would have left a much happier customer if one had been provided.

We packed up our leftovers (all 5 boxes of it) and nibbled on fortune cookies after we paid and headed out. As a firm believer in second chances, I have no trouble saying that San Tung hasn’t seen the last of me. I fully intend on returning soon to reunite my taste buds and with that dry fried chicken and give those noodles another try. Maybe I will just try ordering earlier in the day.

Rainy Nights

Do you have that one day a week that feels especially draining?

I do.

It’s Tuesday.

I’m in class all day (separated by awkward blocks of free time) I usually have a ton of homework, and I have class early on Wednesday. So pretty much, Tuesday’s feel too short entirely.

Here’s how today went.

I woke up to overcast icky all-I-wanna-do-is-stay-in-bed-weather.

My first bus came a little late, so I missed my train. Which caused me to run 20 minutes late.

Of course today I had a midterm at 9 30. That we had to use a scantron for. I didn’t have a scantron. My friend said he’d get me one, but it’s a big class, so I couldn’t find him. I was lucky enough to sit next to the sweetest girl who had an extra. Not sure how I did on the midterm. It was pretty dang tough.

I went and worked on the magazine after, which was stressful. Due to space constraints, one of my stories may get chopped in half. I’m pissed.

Julio and I took a break from the magazine to grab some delicious veggie burritos for lunch. He went to New York over spring break, so I got to hear all about it!

My other 2 classes went fine, no complaints. I even snacked on a tasty Madeline and a big ol’ cup of coffee in between them.

After my last class got out at 6 30 I went outside and BAM there was seriously a howling gale and a torrential downpour. It was bleak. So very bleak.

I had to wait in this rain for 15 minutes for the train.

When I finally got on the bus, soaking and pooped, I sat down and hoped for a speedy trip home. Just my luck, that didn’t happen. There was a delay and the train stopped for 45 minutes. Phone dead. Computer dead. Pissed.

My day improved by leaps and bounds after that fiasco. I got on a new train, that wasn’t delayed, then hopped on the bus to take me to my nice warm home.

Fletcher greeted me and rubbed up against my ankles while I made dinner.

What did I slap together? A pastrami, provolone, avocado sandwich with coarsely ground mustard on a cheese roll and some creamy cashew carrot ginger soup topped with garlic rye crisps. DUHHHHH

20120327-223218.jpg

Ohhhhhh, it sure did warm my soul.

Then I put my comfort slacks on, turned on the heater, and got into bed to start reading my new book. It’s called Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman. It’s incredible so far. Can’t wait to tell ya more about it!

20120327-223952.jpg

I also have a few magazines to catch up on, namely Saveur – The Vegas Issue, and Lucky Peach – The Cooks and Chefs Issue!

20120327-224014.jpg

It’s not very often that I get to pleasure read, so you better believe I take advantage of it every second I can!

I also take every opportunity to play with my little man

20120327-224150.jpg

20120327-224202.jpg

Warm meals, reading, and kittens – that’s what I like to do on rainy nights by myself.

What do you like to do when you’re alone and it’s cold out?

My First Days of Spring Break

Hello world!

I’m sorry its been a few days since my last post, I’m on my spring break right now and Matt doesn’t have school on Tuesdays so we headed out to his hometown to visit his dad for a few days.

Before we headed out, we made a quick breakfast of Goji Berry cereal with some sliced up Fuji apple, it was tasty!

Usually when we go over to Matt’s dad’s we cook, to show our appreciation for letting us stay and cause we like to. But tonight, his poppa had a real nice Croc Pot stew goin’ – and we weren’t gonna mess with dat!

It was a fairly simple stew: beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions in a nice broth. Matt’s dad wasn’t happy with the consistency of the broth, he said it was too thin, so I taught him how to make a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it. It was much better. Nice and hearty, which is exactly what you need on a chilly night.

20120321-144607.jpg
Sometimes it’s nice feeling like the kid and having a parent cook for ya!

Afterward, we indulged in some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

20120321-144838.jpg
It was supposed to rain in the morning, so we were a little apprehensive about what to do before we had to go back to the city. But when we woke up, it was gorgeous out! Hallelujah!
We grabbed a sammie from Matt’s favorite delicatessen for lunch.

20120321-145202.jpg
I keep it classic with a turkey and cheddar on sourdough with the works, but light mayo. The deli is one of those mom and pop places where the owners know their customers by name and have the art of sandwich making down pat.

After letting our food settle for a little, Matt and I headed out to go on a hike through some trails behind a monastery. This place is gorgeous, secluded in the woods, the air is fresh and the trees are huge.

20120321-145759.jpg

20120321-145840.jpg

20120321-145901.jpg

On our way back up the trail we came across this statue of the Virgin Mary. Yes, I know we were at a monastery, but it was still such a surprise.

20120321-150051.jpg

20120321-150100.jpg

As I was walking away from the statue, I noticed these wild mushrooms. They were just so pretty and untouched and something you hardly see in the city.

20120321-150328.jpg

Even though we only went back to Matt’s hometown, relaxing and just hanging out was the perfect way to kick off my spring break.

What do you like to do on your days off?

RAW Food Challenge Day 5

Today, it’s Friday.

Friday is glorious for me because it’s the start of my weekend.

Friday is also tragic for me because it’s the end of my weekend.

I’m in school Mon-Thurs and then I work Sat, Sun, Wed

I usually try to make Friday count by doing fun stuff around the city, but every once in a while, I have to spend my Fridays doing domestic stuff. Like laundry, cleaning the house, scrubbing the stove, ect.

Today is that Friday.

Since pretty much every other day I’m up between 7:00-8:00am, I slept in today.

Until 11:00!

I probably could’ve gone longer, but that’s when Matt, my main (and only) squeeze, text me asking how I slept. I told him I was still sleeping and rolled over for another 30 minutes, just ’cause I could.

When I finally deemed it an appropriate time to get up I made myself a cup of coffee, played with Fletcher, and lounged in my silky robe (scandalous).

Fletcher has lazy mornings every morning. Lucky boy.

After a long hot shower where I sang Lana del Rey at the top of my lungs, or I rather, in my best chilling soulful voice, I got dressed and discovered that I can put my belt one notch tighter! This raw challenge is doing some unexpected good!

I think its time to invest in a new belt, since this one is hanging a little too much now. Such a shame since this has been my go to leather belt since the day I found it for $7 at a thrift store!

Breakfast: Berry Banana Smoothie

When I started thinking about breakfast, I looked through my fridge and saw that all my raw food has really been dominating every square inch of it (sorry roomies)! Part of the problem is the half full containers of fruit and tomatoes. I wanted to clear up some space so I pulled out the blueberry and strawberry containers and dumped them in my blender to make a nice berry smoothie.

I pulled out my almost empty jar of almond milk and a frozen banana, for good measure.

In my opinion, there is nothing better than fresh semi-tart blueberries. I may or may not be know for going through entire containers of them in one sitting. (Better blueberries than chocolate though).

I blended everything together for a minute, by everything I mean:

2/3 cup of Blueberries

10 medium sized Strawberries

1 Frozen Banana

1 1/2 cups Raw Almond Milk

4 ice cubes, optional

Gosh, I really do love smoothies in the morning.

Perhaps another reason I love this smoothie so much is because it matches the color of my walls.

A short story: When my mom was pregnant with me, her and my dad decided they wanted my gender to be a surprise so as a result, they chose to paint my room yellow (because a boy would love to grow up in a bright yellow room, obviously). Then, when I moved into my first apartment, I shared a room with another girl and the color that coordinated with both of our bed spreads was yellow, who woulda known? Now that I am in an apartment that allows me to paint, in a room to myself, I decided to fulfill what my childhood deprived me of, a pink room!

Speaking of which, let me give you a short tour of my humble abode, or at least just a tour of my room.

Anyway, back to my smoothie!

Oops, I guess there’s nothing to get back to!

Lunch: Ants on a Log

This meal was inspired by my sweet baby-angel younger sister, Julia. When she was in kindergarten she participated in an after school program, Cubbyville, where once a week they would have little cooking lessons (mostly done by the teacher), nevertheless, I thought it was such a cool idea to expose kids to how easy it is to make healthy food. It was adorable because every day after that class, Julia would come home with her “recipe book” of what they made that day so she could excitedly show me her latest food project.

Ants on a Log was the cutest, so thank you Jules for the great idea!

You start with some freshly rinsed celery that has been patted dry

Fill in the celery with your favorite nut butter, I couldn’t choose between almond and peanut, so I did a few of each!

 

Top with some delicious and raw sun dried raisins

 

Oh gosh, munching on these made me feel like I was a little kid again!

Dinner: Thai Inspired Salad with a Peanut Butter Vinaigrette

My mother is the Salad Queen. Hands down, nobody can put together a salad like her. Whether the main vessel is lettuce (or greens), or pasta, or potato, or egg, or fruit, or meat Momma Kerley can make one composed dish. God bless her.

This is the raw interpretation of one such salad, minus the shredded chicken.

I’m sorry for the wacky lighting in some of the pictures, it was getting dark so I had to use flash in some of them!

The ingredients are simple, and not exact:

Romaine Lettuce

Grated Carrot

Bean Sprouts

Snow Peas

Green Onion

For the dressing:

2 Tbs. Raw Peanut Butter

2 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbs. Agave Nectar

2 Tbs. Sesame Seeds

2 Tbs. Water

Normally, I make this with Balsamic Vinegar and sugar in which case the sugar content would be lower, but I upped it in this recipe since Apple Cider Vinegar is so pungent! This is all to your taste, of course!

Before mixing ^

Top with a big handful of cilantro and its ready to eat!

I had a very nice and relaxing day by myself, I’ll tell ya, sometimes I really enjoy having time alone. Even if that means I just putter around the house bleaching my sink, vacuuming the rugs and cleaning out my desk drawers. I felt very productive and accomplished.

Lucy and her friend came home a bit ago and are making molten lava chocolate cookies, so I have barricaded myself in my room to avoid the temptation!

Wish me luck for the next 2 days where I will be surrounded by non-raw food at work! Lordy!

RAW Food Challenge Day 3

Hello hello!

I woke up feeling very energized this morning, I was a good girl and went to bed at 10pm (instead of my usual 2am). It’s amazing what a little extra sleep will do for ya, isn’t it? Oh and I wasn’t even that cold this morning, ’cause I’m a smarty pants and slept with 2 pairs of socks on, a sweatshirt, and 4 blankets! Gosh, it was great!

I got up and noticed it was a little dark in my room. A little background, I have a large 5 sided bay window in my room, and I shut the blinds every night so that the sun doesn’t wake me up, so my room usually is a little dark. I guess what I meant to say was, I noticed my room was a little darker than usual.

I took this photo on a sunnier day

(My comment about my 5 windows and all that sunshine was NOT me complaining! I am blessed, beyond blessed to live where I do. I love my bright windowed room!)

I pull up the blinds and surprise surprise, it had rained last night. Not a big deal, but it gave everything that rainy greyish tint to it, which is not motivating in the morning. I needed to counteract that lazy grey feeling, immediately.

What better way to fight the grey rain than with a tropical breakfast?!

(There is no better way)

Breakfast: Mango Smoothie and Banana Nut Bites

I really liked my smoothie from yesterday, like a lot, a lot a lot. But I’m trying to not repeat recipes until this challenge is over, so I can really highlight just how much can be done if you choose to try or adopt the raw food diet.

I kept the almond milk and the frozen banana and upgraded that peanut butter from yesterday to the very tropical mango!

Sometimes I can really make a mess

If you’re like me, clean up your counter and then start blending your smoothie!

Recipe goes:

2 fresh Mangos

1 frozen Banana

1 1/2 cups of Raw Almond Milk

4 ice cubes, optional (I did this ’cause I only used 1 frozen banana and I like my smoothies cold)

Blend it together for a minute

So bright and sunny! Exactly what I needed!

But, it was lacking protein…so I whipped up some little Banana Nut Bites

Its as easy as 1, 2, 3

1. Slice 1 Banana into bite sized pieces, on the diagonal

2. Spoon a tiny amount of raw Almond Butter onto each slice

3. Pick up each slice and lay it almond butter side down onto raw hulled Hemp Seeds for a second

Flip them back over, put ’em on a plate and you’re ready to go!

All together now!

I know its only Day 3 and I have quite a few more breakfasts ahead of me, but oh my gosh, this might be my favorite! Like most of the stuff I’ve been eating, this really filled me up without giving me a food coma, but the creaminess and richness of the mango, banana and almond butter really left me feeling SO satisfied!

Snack: Kombucha

Breakfast was so filling I never even needed my snack today, so I just drank my Kombucha, today’s flavor was Botanic No 7. I’ve never had it before, it was a little “spicy,” nevertheless tasty.

Lunch: Fruit Salad with a Coconut Lime Puree

The grey weather today was touch and go, so I wanted to continue to ward it off with my tropical theme, I have all this fresh fruit laying around so I started chopping it up to make a fruit salad.

Then I sliced the cantaloupe in half and cleaned out the guts and it hit me

THIS CANTALOUPE WOULD MAKE THE PERFECT FRUIT BOWL!

To fill with all of this good stuff

By the way, look at how closely these grapes grew together!

I don’t know about you guys, but every time I see a coconut I start singing “you put the lime in the coconut and drink a bowl up, you put the lime in the coconut…” (you get it) in my head and sometimes out loud.

There I was hacking at my coconut with the biggest knife I had singing when all of a sudden, another brilliant idea hit me! I should put the lime in the coconut!

Wait, what?

What is this crazy girl talking about?

Well my friends, I was just gonna use the coconut water and meat to make a nice puree to use as dressing, but my subconscious was attempting to and succeeded in steering me in a different direction.

I grabbed a lime out of my fruit bowl, zested that thing SO good and then juiced it!

I also gotta ask, does anyone know an easy and good way to remove coconut meat? My arm was exhausted after scraping just part of one half

I am pretty pumped because when I do finally scrap all the coconut meat out, I will be halfway done constructing a coconut bra. So, someone, please throw a luau.

Back to my lunch

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I used my trusty food processor to blend the coconut water, meat, and lime

This may be the most beautiful shade of green

I scooped some of the puree on top of my fruit, and wouldn’t you know it, I had enough of the water left over to drink!

This was a GREAT lunch! I didn’t take a photo of it, but I sprinkled some sunflower seeds on top for some extra crunch!

Dinner: Vegetable Sushi Two Ways

I had work tonight, so right after I finished lunch I set to work on making my dinner so I could take it with me. I really like the idea of something easy and utensil free to eat at work, since tonight I was working up front, I wanted something I could sneak bites of from under the counter without the hassle of a fork and knife.

What’s easy, utensil free, and raw?

Sushi!

Almost

If you make it without rice

And cooked fish

So, that’s what I did.

I started by making another batch of Pico de Gallo (tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime, salt)

Then I took a piece of Nori and put it on my sushi roller, like I really knew what I was doing

Then I laid a gorgeous piece of red chard on top of that

Scooped a few big spoonfuls of pico de gallo on top of that and smeared it into all the cracks

The rest is history

Then I rolled it and sliced it in half, like so

This roll was bright and complex with all the flavors going on, for real, this thing is packed with flavor, but it lacked a certain richness. Sushi, in general, is only momentarily gratifying since its such a light dish. I decided to make another type of roll to really fill me up.

Avocado seemed like the best way to add some substance to the sushi, since I didn’t have any sashimi lying around!

I didn’t want to just do the typical slices of avocado, I wanted to leave out the pico de gallo on this roll and make the avocado a spread. I must admit, my food processor has never had this much action before, it’s great! I scooped 1 avocado into it and then squeezed the juice of 1 orange in too, because I wanted this roll to still have a citrus brightness that would be absent otherwise since the pico de gallo was the vessel that brought citrus in the last time.

Boy, this was AMAZING! You all will be seeing this pop up in other recipes the rest of this week, as dip, as dressing, you name it.

I repeated the Nori on the sushi roller, laid down a chard leaf and then smeared this ‘cado spread all over it

Red bell pepper, carrot and sesame seeds completed this medley. At the last minute I popped a couple slices of avocado in there, cause I love it so much.

Mmmmmmmm

(Well, I knew this would come out sooner or later…I am not the most expert sushi roller/sushi slicer. Please don’t hate me)

I think I much preferred this wrap since it was smothered and covered in avocado.

Overall, today was good. I got lots of work done and I never felt lethargic or real icky. I will admit, work was a struggle. For those who don’t know, I work in a Brazilian-Italian restaurant as a waitress mostly, but sometimes I work up in the front on the phones and doing take out orders. Hearing all the customers tell me all the things they were gonna eat was hard. Smelling all the wonderful scents wafting out of the kitchen was worse. Much worse. I still have 2 more days of work while I am on this challenge, its gonna be a rough. Wish me luck!

I finally just got home and am drinking my daily allotted cup of tea to warm my soul, and fingers, and toes, and body in general. Goodnight my food lovers, I shall write more to you tomorrow.