I recently got caught in the rain at Dolores Park while waiting for someone so I decided to wait it out at a nearby restaurant. Namu Gaji is right across the street so I went there. I’d never been there before and it was interesting to check it out.
It’s described on the website as: “A family run place. New Korean American (NKA) cuisine is humble, innovative and personal
while keeping tradition close to heart. The menu is inspired by the weekly harvests from our
farm and the finest local bounty.”
I had a really great pot of tea and tried some orange wine that I didn’t really like but I think after trying a few different kinds that I just really don’t care for orange wine in general so I don’t blame them for that. I got some chicken wings that were the special of the day but I actually kind of wish I’d tried something more traditional that they offer and that I’ve never tried before such as their gamja fries, korean street tacos or bibim. The reason I didn’t try any of those is because they all feature kimchee and I really don’t like kimchee. Oh well.
What you see here: Greek Food from Estia in North Beach, naughty cookie from Hot Cookie in the Castro, bagel from Noah’s Bagels, popsicle eaten at Palace of Fine Arts, fruits and veggies with various dips at home, dessert from Sugar Cafe, potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream from Dave’s Diner, oatmeal and fruit and scrambled eggs at home, brown butter ice cream from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous in Dogpatch, apples and dried fruit with cinnamon sugar toast at home, candy! and a bug in my coffee. Nope, didn’t consume that last one – asked for a fresh cup!
I had never heard of farinata before but it caught my eye on display at my small local grocery store and I decided to give it a try. The package describes it as a Tuscan street food made of chickpeas. It said that it’s commonly eaten inside of a fresh baked roll but can also be eaten as a side dish, as a base with basil and cheese on top and some other things. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – something more like a bread or something more like a hummus but I was game to try!
It was actually really easy to make. You basically take the mix, add water and olive oil, whisk it and bake it all in a pan.
What it ended up reminding me of was a really spicy polenta. It’s not as thick as a bread but it has that spongy thickness of a rice dish shaped like a bread. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; like I said – polenta is the best I can come up with as far as texture. Either way, it was super yummy. I had it just on the side of my plate along with some homemade vegetarian chili (one of the few dishes I’m truly good at making), some rosemary and olive oil quinoa and fried mushrooms.
The little dishes that you see on the right there are dukkah spices. The dark one is dukkah in balsamic vinegar and the other is dukkah in orange olive oil. It’s basically an herb dip and I added it to the farinata although the farinata was tasty without it. I also put it on my quinoa.
Sharing some of the food and drinks I’ve enjoyed recently, mostly at San Francisco restaurants:
I tried raspberry wine for the first time at a sushi restaurant on the corner of Bush and Taylor called Izakaya Ninja. It’s good, although not as good as plum wine, which is my favorite part of going to sushi restaurants. To be honest, I’m not a big sushi fan, because I’m not a big fan of seafood. But I do like the vegetarian sushi options and it turns out that this restaurant had some really good ones. I tried the shitake spinach roll, which is a spinach mushroom sushi roll. And actually I also tried and liked the Stephano which is shrimp and crab with avocado; it’s really just the fish I dislike, not all seafood. I also got asparagus there which was strangely amazingly good.
Farmer’s Market Food Stand
Every once in awhile I’ll get a craving for a hot dog. This one has maple bacon bits on top of it. Kinda disgustingly great.
Thin Crust Pizza
I was in the Haight recently to see Little Minsky’s burlesque / variety show at Club Deluxe. I got a kale and mushroom thin crust pizza, which comes with oregona, parmesan and pepper flakes as side toppings. I also got a spa collins, which is a vodka cucumber cocktail that I actually really loved.
Breakfast at Toast
I went to breakfast at Toast on Polk Street recently. I convinced my breakfast date to get the Croissant French Toast with berries so I could try it. Amazing! I got a slightly healthier mushroom/ spinach/ avocado omelette with hashbrows and sourdough toast.
Westfield Mall Food
I rarely go to the mall in San Francisco but every once in awhile there will be a 3D movie I want to see there so I’ll go ahead and go. I went to Loving Hut in the food court and got their vegan pho noodle soup along with a combo plate of fried rice, mushrooms and spicy green beans. It was a massive amount of food (way too much; I didn’t eat most of it) and to be honest it really wasn’t that good. I’ve been to the Loving Hut location in Chinatown, though, and know that they have good food there so I guess it was just a mall food issue. I got a Ghirardelli cookie-bottom ice cream sundae later to make up for it.
Easter Candy at Home
Those are raspberry honey covered almonds, a Cadbury cream egg and a variety of different chocolates.
I’m not the best cook in the world and I’m not some kind of foodie but I do have an appreciation for delicious, beautiful meals!
What you’re seeing: Mushrooms, street tacos and flautas from a European-influenced Mexican restaurant, cheese and pepper soup from the same restaurant, meat being cooked for stir fry, red wine (it was a Lambrusco and actually lighter than it looks in that glass), strawberry with cool whip, amaretto sour next to pomegranate lemonade cocktail, strawberries in vinegar/club soda, fresh orange juice from The Grove on Fillmore, steamed buns, quinoa salad and chocolate cocktails with rose petals from nightlife at California Academy of Sciences, Amazing breakfast mashed potatoes from a small spot in San Francisco Tenderloin, Moroccan restaurant coffee and cream, easy salad at home made of lettuc, carrots and apples.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog before but I have a great group of friends that I do themed dinner parties with about once a month. The most recent theme was “(w)raps and rolls”, which some of us interpreted in creative ways.
All of this started about ten years ago when I was a foster parent. I wanted to create a regular Sunday dinner ritual for the kids in my home. I did this by regularly hosting dinners at my house. It was not themed at the time, usually not really potluck, just a “drop in because it’s Sunday” kind of thing for everyone in my life”. When I moved to San Francisco, I started the dinners up again with new people. There were a few false starts but eventually it emerged into a thing that happens about once each month, usually now with a theme, and is hosted at a few different houses of the core people who are part of the group.
The theme basically loosely dicatates the food and drink as well as some of the things we do during the dinner. We’re not strict about it, of course, as it’s all for silly fun. Some themes come off really well and others less so. We always get a kick out of trying to be creative. So for example, we did a Cyndi Lauper theme and the food included a layered “Colors” drink, some Girls Just Want to Have (Chow) Fun, Time after Lemon Thyme Cake and a Cyndi Lauper movie for entertainment.
This month’s theme was (W)raps and Rolls. We all tried to come up with food and drinks at least loosely related to that theme. For entertainment we had a variety of rap music playing in the background. We also came up with our own “if I were a wrapper” names and even some album titles for a few of us. We laughed a lot. It was a fun time.
Make Your Own Sushi Rolls
One of the coolest things about this particular dinner was that the friend who hosted it came up with the idea of teaching us all to make our own sushi rolls for the theme. She had all of the ingredients ready to go, gave us a basic lessons and let us go at it. It was a fun thing to learn.
Other Wrap Foods
Some of the other foods that people brought to this themed dinner were:
- Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers
- Fruit-filled mochi
- Cheese and veggie wrapped in salami (that was my contribution)
- Spring rolls
- Lavash rolls
- Fruit Roll Ups
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Tootsie roll cocktails
In case you’re dying to know, my rap name is Lil Tuffy.
Stuff I’ve recently consumed and loved every morsel of …
What you see here: Caramel Apple Martini and Deep Fried Taro Root with Peanut Sauce from Thai Stick on Fillmore, nonfat fresh yogurt and oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries and walnuts and figs from Fraiche, liquid nitrogen ice cream at Smitten (I got caramel), grapefruit juice and mimosa, pumpkin frozen yogurt with mochi from Fraiche, quinoa with yogurt and kumquat and poached pear from Chow and goat cheese and spinach scramble with potatoes and toast also from Chow and finally my normal-sized burrito (which I can only eat half of in one sitting) next to my brother’s super large burrito from a burrito place on Divisadero and Pine.
No words necessary …
Although I guess I should add that these photos are actually my sister’s photos from a farmers’ market she went to in LA and the food was what she prepared with a family friend. I do go to the farmers’ markets here regularly, though, so these could easily have been images I took as well!
Some of the tastiness in my life recently …
Lime cocktail from iThai, Margerhita Pizza from Park Chalet, yogurt with strawberries and walnuts and cookies (at home), beef stroganoff (at home) and sweet potato fries from Park Chalet
I didn’t actually realize until recently, when I read the book I’d previously mentioned called The Sushi Economy, that the food of sushi has such an interesting and varied history. Fascinating stuff.
There’s an infographic from visual.ly that gives a nice glimpse: