May 10, 2011

Annisa, NYC

The last post about the New York trip couldn't be from any other spot other than Annisa. My first time there was with my dear friend Paula (she has a gorgeous blog, in Portuguese) back in September where she introduced me to this spot.

The chef Anita Lo prepares my favorite miso marinated sable ever. I tried similar dishes from other restaurants, but Annisa prepares my favorite. They also offer some butterscotch  beignets that are wonderful. 

If you have a chance of trying it out, I'm sure you will delight yourself.

May 8, 2011

Grimaldi Pizzeria, Brooklyn NY

Word of mouth plays long ways.  On my last trip to New York, I really wanted to revisit Brooklyn.  After many years from the first time, I wanted to see the changes and new vibe that came into the area. 

One of my great friends from Brazil heard from her boss about Grimaldi's Pizza and said we couldn't possibly miss it. We heard "it was the best pizza ever" but there is always an hour wait line.

With a beautiful sunny day out, it was not a problem! We had a margarita with goat cheese that was so delicious. It was worth the wait and definitely kept it up for the expectations.

May 5, 2011

Magnolia Bakery, NYC

I have to confess that the first time ever that I heard from Magnolia Bakery was when Carrie talked about their cupcakes on Sex and the City.  

Since then, lots happened and few visits later, I still enjoy their cupcakes very much but also got a chance to try other pastries and goodies.  It's worth a stop by there every time!

May 4, 2011

for those sweet craving days... Gorgeous organic soft-serve ice cream at Zero Zero

A picture is worth more than 10,000 words, right?  

So, to celebrate the "real" beginning of the springy sunshine and warm temperatures, nothing better than the gorgeous ice cream offered at Zero Zero.  

You can include a warm chocolate cake, toffee and fudge (like I chose!).

May 2, 2011

Burma Super Star, Inner Richmond, SF

Burmanese food was, until pretty recently, a huge mystery in my stomach encyclopedia. It's supposed to be a combination of Asian flavors, with special culinary influence from Thailand and India. 

Burma Super Star is located in the Inner Richmond in San Francisco, in a street full of Asian markets and small shops. While the menu is diverse, we try to stick to recommendations: we had a Tea Leaf Salad that was incredibly tasty. We also had a lamb curry that was so delicious, not over spicy, but so flavorful. 

We will definitely come back soon!

Apr 29, 2011

Bar Masa, Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

The Michelin starred Japanese and sushi Chef Masa Takayama opened the Bar Masa at the Aria Resort & Casino in 2009. The place is a more casual version of his NYC and Vegas restaurants, still keeping the flare and techniques that made him famous and well-known. 

The dishes are served tapas style and have the perfection of Japanese recipes and more contemporary approaches. It was perfect for a quick meal before the concert.

Apr 27, 2011

Guerilla Cafe, Gourmet Ghetto, Berkeley

One of our great friends Rosemary introduced us to the gorgeous waffles at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley.  With their upbeat Latino influence, they have Che Guevara printed on the walls, great salad and panini suggestions in a small and energetic spot.

Their must is, however, the waffles... they come in interesting flavors, this one was homemade butternut squash. Incredible!! 

Apr 25, 2011

Greenburger's, Haight San Francisco

Man, I have been busy.  Started taking Photoshop, bikram yoga and mandarin classes. It's been crazy. I have been enjoying, love to learn new things, but on the down side, I had disappeared from the Art of Savouring! Sorry guys!

That doesn't mean we haven't been eating out and trying all sorts of places and food.  It's lined up spots in Vegas, NY, Yountville and the beloved San Francisco.
Getting back to the topic:  

We tried one of the best burgers in San Francisco - just my opinion. Really, Greenburgers is a new spot in the Haight area and it's so good, well seasoned, perfectly cooked, well priced. And they have a delicious sweet potato fries.

Mar 28, 2011

Prospect, San Francisco

San Francisco has been getting some very tall skyscrapers in the Downtown area. In one of those high modern buildings is located Prospect

Their brunch is tasty, nothing too extraordinary. The plates are beautiful, ingredients fresh. Services was okay, it seemed understaffed and slow. 

Mar 24, 2011

Pizza Antica, Lafayette

The East Bay, for those who doesn't know, is the area located east of the San Francisco Bay.  During one visit to the area of Lafayette, an upscale small town close to the larger Concord, we tried Pizza Antica

They are a local pizza chain that prepares brick-oven delicious pizzas and some fabulous focaccia bread!

Mar 16, 2011

Sushirrito = sushi + burrito, San Francisco

It's unbelievable and amazing how human beings can be so creative. And the art of reinvent and innovate is what differentiates us from computers and machines.  

Sushirrito "offers made-to-order, hand-held sushi burritos stuffed with savory Asian and Latin-infused ingredients and flavors."

We tried the Three Amigos and Smokin' Chicken.  The chicken one was delicious, full of flavor and very tasteful. I enjoyed the combination of burrito and sushi very much and will go back!

Mar 11, 2011

oola, San Francisco

I think everybody has a restaurant close to home that you always meant to try and never did. oola was this place for me. We decided to change this on a Sunday morning.

They serve an amazing steak and potato hash with an egg, that is so delicious. This dish is heavy on the protein side, combining sausage, steak and egg and although it sounds like too much, it tasted incredible! The croque and drinks were good.

Mar 7, 2011

Kasa Indian Eatery, Castro San Francisco

There is a growing niche market that serves fast food combined with fresh quality ingredients. Chipotle, the Mexican chain, goes along this line and has grown fast across the US. In a smaller scale, Kasa Indian Eatery explores some traditional Indian recipes in a simple and cool environment, using local fresh ingredients. 

You can choose a Thali (which is a plate like the one in the picture): you choose two entrées and it comes with sauces, bread, yogurt sauce and vegetable pickles for US$10.95. It's a great deal and the portions are generous and delicious!

Mar 4, 2011

Twenty Five Lusk, SoMa San Francisco

San Francisco is a relatively small city compared to New York and Los Angeles and doesn't have as much old history as Paris and Rome.  But there is such an impressive unique vibe about this city that mingles so well with it's natural beauty and the sense of freedom echoing from its people.  All that to say that the architecture has not been always the priority on the restaurants around the city. That has been changing. Twenty Five Lusk was nominated one of the top 3 best restaurants in San Francisco on its architecture and decoration.

It was indeed beautiful, modern, strong and still cozy. Located in a small not-through street in SoMa, we came when they were soft-opening their Sunday brunches. Service was slow, but as they mentioned, they were still adjusting to the menu and schedule. Food was delicious, drinks were okay and we had a great experience. 

Are we coming back? Most likely yes, but in few months. Let's they get into full speed. :)

Feb 28, 2011

Yoshi's, Japanese Restaurant and Jazz Lounge, Fillmore San Francisco

I love music.  I don't probably spend enough time listening to music as I used to or as I should.  But every time we have an opportunity to go see a great band/singer playing, we make the best effort to be there. In the past February, we went to see two concerts on Yoshi's. 

Yoshi's has a great modern Japanese cuisine restaurant and amazing music lounge in the back. Before the concert, we dined there for the first time. The fresh cod and salmon were grilled to perfection. I also loved the garlic edamame (immature soybeans). 

They usually bring very talented musicians to play there, keep an eye out on their schedule. 

Feb 21, 2011

Tartine Bakery, Mission District, San Francisco

Tartine Bakery has two spots on the 7x7 list "100 things to eat before you die in SF": a loaf of bread (in 25th) and the morning bun (in 8th). There is always a line coming out of their bakery on the Mission District. 

On a sunny Sunday morning, we went to try their croque madame of spicy turkey and their morning bun. After 25 minutes in line, we made it!  The croque is an adapted version of the traditional recipe.  It was delicious and a great option for a take out to have on a picnic day at the Dolores Park nearby.

The morning bun melted on the mouth and it was the perfect balance of sweet and texture. It was worth waiting for and we will come back!

Feb 17, 2011

Brunch at Plow Restaurant, Potrero Hill, San Francisco

San Francisco has some interesting personality.  I think a lot of people dress like they are in the 80's with some cool vintage flair and same shades of colors.  And that also can be noticed on the neighborhoods. They are mostly small and so full of personality as well.

Driving by Potrero Hill, we spotted Plow, a corner spot with wall size glass windows and a great contemporary design. It was a chilly Sunday morning and the place felt like a great match for brunch.

We had lemon ricotta pancakes that were so delicate, tender and flavorful.  The fried egg sandwich was also fabulous. I thought it could come out blend, but instead it came out with a great texture and very delicious! 

Feb 15, 2011

Homemade Valetine's Day dinner

To enjoy the cozy cold weather at home, we decided to cook our own Valentine's dinner meal for a change.  

I found the honey-marinated pork with gremolata recipe on epicurious and it came out spectacular. 

As side dishes, herb roasted potatoes and sauteed asparagus.

Feb 14, 2011

Great China, Chinese Restaurant, Downtown Berkeley

I have been quite absent from the blog.  And now coming back I have new cool posts to bring up and share with you!   We have been out trying different cuisines, a bunch of new brunch spots, burritos from the top 5 of SF, and cooking some new recipes.

Today, I am going to share one of my favorite Chinese spots in the Bay Area: Great China. It's a cozy restaurant located in downtown Berkeley.

From time to time, we crave and go after the delicious sweet & sour soup and divine Peking duck that is crunchy and matches so well the oyster sauce and green onions on a gorgeous little roll.

Tip: they don't accept reservations for parties smaller than 6 people.  So either arrive early for dinner (5:30ish - 6pm) or be prepare to wait some time.

Jan 27, 2011

Kara's Cupcakes, Marina, San Francisco

In the Marina District, Chestnut and Union Streets gather selective boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants. The area also gathers many bridal shops and beauty spas. 

Within few blocks, you can reach the proper Marina by the Bay, where in a sunny day, there are many people walking, jogging and enjoying the view of the Golden Gate.

After an afternoon enjoying the shops on Chestnut, nothing better than a cupcake at Kara's. I had the coconut filling + chocolate cake and it was divine! They accept catering orders and it's always a great gift. :)

Jan 24, 2011

Akiko's Restaurant, Financial District, San Francisco

Japanese cuisine is indeed my weakness. Some people find it boring and plain, I find it interesting and distinctive. I love simple homemade dishes as much as elaborate omakase (in Japanese: お任せ; customers ordering omakase style expect the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes).

One of my favorite Japanese restaurants in San Francisco, Akiko's Restaurant is a small, family-owned spot on the Financial District. Their food uses proper recipes and ingredients to recreate traditional dishes as well as to incorporate Californian influences. I find their strength to be on the small plates and sushis, that are amazing. If you happen to be around and enjoy spicy sushi, try the Volcano sushi! 

Jan 21, 2011

Brunch at Universal Cafe, Mission, San Francisco

I am a big fan of brunches. 

I love to start a Sunday with a nice warm lovely brunch. Universal Cafe, located in the Mission, easily helps you out with that. They change their menu frequently and always including the seasonal fresh ingredients. 

Last time, I tried a gorgeous crab cake with spinach salad - it was crispy, tasty and delicious. The fruit plate was also a must. Please do arrive early as they get packed and don't accept reservations. 

Jan 17, 2011

Bouchon Bakery, Yountville, Napa Valley

The distance from San Francisco to the wineries in Napa and Sonoma Valley is short and convenient for a day trip. The countless spots are perfect to spend a day or weekends. Every time I go there I find some different winery, a new restaurant, a fresh breeze, it feels like the cycle of the grapes renew the hopes for the out coming product. 

I also love to take family & friends there to sightseeing, do some great wine tasting and enjoy some tasty food. This time, on New Year's Day, wouldn't be different. Most of the wineries were closed and amid those low temperatures and cloudy weather, there were a lot of people looking for the wine tastings. The only one we found open was Domaine Carneros Taittinger, which produces gorgeous sparkling wines. After lunching at The Girl & the Fig, we headed for sparkling & cheese there, and last stop at the fabulous Bouchon Bakery.

There, we found the huge in-house made macaroons, right-out-of-the-oven pastries, tons of delicacies and snacks. The city of Yountville is already a cute little town that attracts for it's small town spirit as well as for the top restaurants that it offers. 

I love their croissants and pain au chocolat. They also go perfect for a break in and out of the wineries and stretching the legs before driving back to SF. 

Jan 16, 2011

Jean Philippe Chocolates, Aria Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas + New Contributor

It's a great pleasure to welcome our Art of Savouring new contributor: my dear friend Masae! She has a lot to add to our blog here, as she brings in a broad, sensible and refined knowledge on life and food. Besides having her professional career, she also has deep background on art and enjoys cooking. 

Thank you for sharing your experiences here. I appreciate it ;)

By Masae, from Las Vegas

One of my favorite places to spend time on the Strip in Las Vegas is the Aria, Hotel/Casino, where you can find a great sweets shop which is impossible to hate! Jean Philippe is the place you must go.

The chef, Jean Philippe, is from Southern part of France, and was selected the Best Pastry Chef in France in 1997. Since I moved to LV, I choose their products as gifts for my family and friends. People love them! You can order online, how neat!

Start with the chocolate cookies, which won the world pastry championship in 2002, their signature chocolates are very delicious not only to your mouth but also to your eyes. The colorful cakes lined up neatly in the showcase are tempting, pastries, sandwiches, crepes and even ice cream!

You won't be able to make a single mistake in choosing any from their shop. Everything tastes good. It is Heaven indeed....

There are two shops in LV: one at the Bellagio & at the newly opened Aria. I often go to Aria shop, they have cafe beside the casino. It is a convenient place to have a break casually between the shopping.

Jan 14, 2011

Piselli, Italian Restaurant, São Paulo, Brazil

For a special dinner, I went on a hunt for a nice place. I found it to be harder than I expected. The first searching criteria was: restaurant for Sunday (it was the anniversary day) dinner in São Paulo, Brazil serving good Brazilian cuisine.

Answers? Didn't find one that was open for Sunday dinner. I even called Dalva e Dito, made a reservation and after few minutes, they contacted me again to apologize that they were actually closed on Sunday dinners - "I can make it for lunch though", the host mentioned. 

Then, I changed the search and just broaden it up to a nice restaurant that open for Sunday dinner and that was not a pizzeria (pizza restaurant). 

In the end, the search was worth it. We had Sunday dinner at Piselli, located on Rua Padre João Manuel, almost corner with Rua Estados Unidos in the Jardins neighborhood. 

We had an amazing dinner, the food was incredible: fresh, very well prepared and perfectly balanced. I had one of the best fresh cod dishes I have ever tried: it came with a salted crust, a gorgeous mashed yucca and a balsamic reduction. The hubby tried the filet mignon payard which was also delicious. Service was amazing and we will definitely come back. 

Jan 11, 2011

Brigaderia, Shopping Higienopolis, Sao Paulo, Brazil

With the Brazilian economy booming, there are many cute little place opening all over the country, specially in São Paulo. Brigaderia is a cafe that serves delicious sorted brigadeiros. 

Brigadeiro is a typical Brazilian sweet delicacy made with cocoa powder and condensed milk; a traditional hit on kids' birthday parties as well as grown-ups get together reunions. They are served in individual bite size portions and you eat many of them back to back. 

The cafe is located in Shopping Higienópolis, located in the same name neighborhood, 25 minutes by car (with medium traffic) distance from Paulista Avenue. The place is vividly decorated, offers a great expresso coffee to pair and sit down to chat. The decoration is cute and the brigadeiros are incredible. I loved the lemon and nutella. 

The mall was recently remodeled and received new stores. I felt it was very enjoyable to walk around, take a look on the shops, chat with friends and enjoy a brigadeiro + coffee. 

Jan 8, 2011

Brazilian homemade pastries and sweets

From the top: esfiha, coxinha, pastel

I love the Brazilian fried pastries. Specially when they are homemade. They pair really well with extremely cold chopp (a fresh draught beer). 

Esfiha is inspired on the Lebanese-Syrian culture influences, it is a baked pastry prepared with soft potato dough and filled with ground beef (could be other fillings).

Coxinha is inspired on the chicken drumstick shape, it is a fried pastry prepared with potato and filled with a moist mixture: chicken, vegetables and spices.

Pastel is a Brazilian version of empanadas. With a crispy thin dough, the filling is secretly moist. My favorites are cheese and beef. 

From the top: arroz doce (sweet rice) & brigadeiros (prepared with chocolate powder & condensed milk)

And the sweets? Some people say Brazilians like sweets extremely sweet. 

I have to agree and include myself!

Jan 5, 2011

Brazilian Fruits = Amazing Tropical Flavors

I am so passionate about fruits. Brazil has lots to offer: banana, papaya, passion fruit, mango, cashew, cupuaçu, açaí, guaraná, as much as the more cold-weathered fruits: peaches, berries, apples, pears... 

This December, on Brazilian summer, I was catching up with the tropical fruits. And felt in love for a recently introduced one: graviola (that's the green fruit with unwelcoming thorns). It tastes like an interesting mixture of banana and avocado flavor. I tried a homemade graviola mousse and it was incredible!!! It's my new favorite.

My second favorite is passion fruit (or as we called it maracujá). The gorgeous aroma started letting us know it was ready. By the time we cut in half, we can see that beautiful flesh. Passion fruit makes me happy. The freshly prepared juice was divine and so refreshing.

Nothing better on a hot sunny summer day to enjoy a refreshing juice!

Jan 2, 2011

Pão de Mel (Honey bread), Munik Chocolates, São Paulo, Brazil

Just one word: wonderful! 

I love the milk chocolate one, tender, soft, sweet, moist and amazing. It was voted one of the 10 best delicacies in São Paulo under R$5 (about US$3; it costs R$4.40 in December 2010) 
by Epoca São Paulo magazine in 2008.

You can find them in few shopping malls around the city. 

More info in Portuguese (sorry...):