Let's Get Juiced

Friday, April 18, 2014

I completely 100% gave into the juice craze, and now I'm whipping up a load of concoctions on the daily. 

After a couple trial and errors, I've finally gotten the hang of juicing. I recently took the plunge and purchased a Breville. I'd been drinking a lot (a lot you guys) of juices at Whole Foods, and was frustrated when I realized how much I was spending. 

I originally became interested in juicing after watching the documentary Sick, Fat and, Nearly Dead several years ago, but I hadn't totally bought into it. Drinking the juices at Whole Foods was an easy gateway into this addiction and when my friend mentioned how much he like doing 'ginger shots,' my interest more than piqued. 

So for weeks I could not let the idea go of how badly I wanted to make my own wellness shots with ginger and turmeric root (some benefits include: digestion, inflammation, reduction in sore muscles etc.) 

I picked the juicer that best fit my budget, clicked 'add to cart,' and two days later I had a shiny new machine to play with. 

I've been making the ginger wellness shots a couple of times a week and I am totally hooked. Not only do they wake me up in the morning and give me the perfect burst of energy, but ginger has tons of added health benefits! Some days when I'm getting real crazy I sprinkle a dash of cayenne on the top before I shoot it (yum!). 

I also have always loved Orange & Carrot, but had a couple extra beets lying around from a juice I made a few days earlier and thought i'd throw it into the mix. I actually really loved the outcome since the juice was not too beet-y thanks to the oranges and carrots. 

Wellness Shot: 
2 organic lemons 
1 'thumb' peeled ginger root 
1 green apple 

Beet, Carrot & Orange:
6 carrots, washed & peeled
1-2 medium beets 
2 oranges 

What are you favorite juice blends?


- Siobhain

TrueBurger, Oakland

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I feel a little bit like a blasphemer admitting this, but In-N-Out has some serious competition. I've pretty much been an In-N-Out die hard since I had my first burger, and lucky for them TrueBurger in Oakland is a good 40 minutes away.

Normally we'd never make a trip so far just for food, but since I had gotten Jon Warriors vs. Knicks tickets for his birthday and we were going to be in the area anyways, we decided to make a day out of it and head up early for food and fun.

Of course since it was Jon's birthday, I left him in charge of deciding where we'd eat. He'd been craving a burger, and noticed that TrueBurger had insanely good Yelp reviews, and everyone was saying how it was "as good as" or "better than,"  In-N-Out burger. Those statements alone were enough to make us want to try their food, if at least to qualify the grandiose statements.

We were not let down in the slightest. We both ordered the TrueBurger w/ cheese, an extra pickle, and the chili cheese fries. TBH, the chili cheese fries were nothing to write home about.. (I have to admit I'd rather have Wiener Schnitzel chili on my fries). The chili tasted house made, but it was missing that how-do-you-say chilliness that I expect when I use it as a condiment on something. We both agreed to just get the cheese fries next time.

The pickle did not disappoint (they usually don't).

Moving on to the burger... I hate to say it.. but... It was damn near In-N-Out quality. Obviously that's loading anyones visit with high expectations, but for a 6$ burger you-gotta-be-kiddin-me! 

Every bite was burger heaven, and can we just talk about how they were cooked to the perfect medium rare without having to even ask? I mean, come on! 

The goodness didn't even stop at the burgers! TrueBurger also offers a plethora of additions to their basic milkshakes-- and of course we ordered their Twinkie shake... sinful, but so dang delicious!

The face of surprise, enjoyment, and delight:

I guess miracles can happen! (And for the record, their milkshakes really do bring all the boys to the yard.) 



Tanto Restaurant, Sunnyvale, Ca

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My family has been eating at Tanto for almost 8 years. We randomly stumbled into the place after searching on Yelp for authentic Japanese cuisine after our beloved sushi restaurant was forced to close due to building renovations in downtown Sunnyvale. We were intrigued by the fact that it said "tapas" in the description, and my father had an "sweet lord baby Jesus" moment when he realized that there was an Izakaya a little less than a mile from our house this whole time.

Originally it took us forever to get reservations. No one picked up during any normal hours, when someone finally did pick up, they spoke no English. Luckily for us my mom is Japanese, but according to herself, "she can't speak it that well." Regardless of her skill, we managed to get a table, and the rest is history.

Tanto has an excellent selection of soju and sake, but I really enjoy getting different flavors of chu-hi (Basically soju flavored with fruit or soda). This particular evening was no different, and I decided on a grapefruit version which is light and so refreshing. You just juice it like you would and orange and pour it right on into your glass.

We started with some of the usuals, assorted Japanese pickles (Tsukemono -- baby eggplant, cucumber, daikon radishes). 

And of course, edamame (steamed & salted soybeans)!

And more cucumbers, but this time with a delicious ume (plum) dipping sauce and aioli. 

Next we mixed it up with several grilled and fried dishes.. One of my favorites Hamachi Kama
Grilled Yellow Tail neck was almost impossible to get in the Bay Area when I was a kid, unless your dad was friends with the owner at a local sushi spot (lucky me!). But now it seems like you can find it in almost every Japanese restaurant in the Bay Area. Let me tell you this piece is no joke, so full of flavor and so tender. 

This dish is easily another one of my favorites, Uzura, marinated and grilled quail lollipops! So much flavor packed in tiny portions. Sweet, salty, grilled, hearty. Mmm. I can taste it in my dreams.

Assorted seasonal sashimi, all delicious. 

And an order of Kisu Tempura. I'm not 100% sure what kind of fish this is, but I can tell you it tastes exactly like the Japanese equivalent to fish and chips. So yum. 
Another favorite (pretty much everything ordered here is, so hard to definitively choose a single item) is of course Amaebi. Raw, sweet shrimp. Be careful going out to sushi places and ordering this menu item if you're not 100% sure that it was alive before it comes out to you! Amaebi is one of the most delicious ways to eat shrimp in my opinion. It has a really rich creamy flavor, and is melt in your mouth good.

At most Izakaya style restaurants, after you consume the raw tail, they will offer to fry the heads for you! If you haven't ever done this, I suggest trying it at least once. 

The heads are crispy and delicious when served this way, and don't need a lot of frills to be delicious. Simple and easy! 

Lastly, if your fancy yourself a meat eater and are not a huge fan of seafood, there are plenty of options. My mother regularly orders their "pork pie," which is pretty much the Japanese equivalent of pot pie, or beef stew. I actually even love this dish. The pork is insanely tender, and the pastry adds a really nice contrast to the soft, tender meat. 

I will always give Tanto a 5/5 star rating. It's hard to beat lots of variety and great company in a cozy restaurant like this. 



Back A Yard, San Jose

Friday, March 14, 2014

My bookmarked restaurants on Yelp is a little out of control. Whenever Jon and I are thinking about eating out at a restaurant we usually a. forget to consult the list or b. struggle with making having to only select one restaurant from the list. Considering those two things, it's a miracle we even ended up at Back A Yard

Back A Yard had been collecting dust in my bookmarks for over a year. The Yelp ratings had continued to be a solid 4.5 stars with over 500 reviews (an almost unheard of thing on Yelp) and we kept putting it off in favor of closer dining destinations (read: "Babe, chipotle is soo much closer," and "Well, I don't feel like bbq can't we just get In-N-Out?"). 

And then finally a few weeks ago, the stars aligned, and we actually agreed on finally trying out Back A Yard. Let me tell you, I'm so glad we finally made it because the food there is definitely top notch. 

We went with our pal Craig, and ordered 3 different plates. We all seemed to agree that the jerk chicken was a must on every plate, but I was eyeing the oxtail and got that in addition to the chicken. 

The ambiance was nice and casual and the staff was very friendly in helping us decide on our orders. The vibe of the restaurant was totally island-esque with the music and the loud chatter from all the tables. Being there alone definitely put me in a good mood.

Jon's Jerk chicken plate with beans n' rice, fried plantains (easily one of my very favorite things in island cooking!) and a tasty cabbage salad.

My plate (below) of course looked a mess, but that braised oxtail and the jerk chicken had the perfect balance of flavors.. and the spiciness of the jerk was not over powering at all.

I have to agree with the average ratings on Yelp, this place easily deserves a solid 4 1/2 stars! 


Brunch at Douce France, Palo Alto

Monday, March 10, 2014

Anyone else totally frustrated by Daylight savings? Every "Spring forward" I talk to myself all about how "it's really not 1pm, it's actually only 12pm," in order to justify the wrong that happened to me the night before in an entire hours loss of sleep. Like how rude time people, don't you know that changing the time isn't really real!?!

…. anyways.. Over the weekend pre-time change, the boyfriend, myself and our  buddy planned on attending a Stanford vs. Utah game at Stanford University. We had several grandiose ideas about how we would, 'get there early to grab tickets, ' and have tons of time to, 'grab brunch'. Unfortunately, our plans, as grandiose and spontaneous as they were changed almost immediately and we had to quickly adapt to less time eating than we'd originally planned.

Originally we had planned on getting our tickets around 9:30 am, but not knowing the campus lead us to not finding the ticket booth in a timely manner which lead us to not venturing further into DT Palo Alto, which lead us to grabbing something close by.

Jon and I were pretty familiar with Town & Country right next to Stanford and Paly high school and had remembered a little French café across from our second favorite ice cream spot Tin Pot. We figured we'd take a chance on a spot we knew nothing about (I didn't even Yelp it you guys!) based on its general proximity to parking next to Maples Pavilion.

I started with a cappuccino, I woke up early enough to grab tickets, so caffeine was indeed my friend., Most importantly the cappuccino came with an adorable little biscotti and totally got me in the mood to eat my trés trés Francais petit dejeuner (very very French breakfast!)

The BF ordered their simple yet oh-so-delicious breakfast sandwich. Scrambled ham and eggs on a freshly baked croissant. 

I could not resist the croque madame. If you've never had a croque madame, Douce France offers one of the most delicious I've had in my life. Ham and béchamel sauce on fresh brioche with a fried egg on top. Sometimes you'll get dijon on the bread, but this one didn't have it (sadly missed) but still equally good. Jon and his buddy Craig ooed and awed over the oozy egg and fluffy bread!

Jon's buddy Craig ordered a panini which had grilled chicken and fresh mixed greens, which looked amazing. If it hadn't been 11 am, I would've considered ordering several of their sandwiches that had ingredients ranging from brie to proscuitto. Craig was especially excited over the complimentary blueberry tarte that he was able to enjoy after devouring his entire sandwich.

The game itself was super fun. Sadly the Ute's lost by one point, 61-60. We were frustrated by both teams the whole game, who seemed to be playing sloppy, but were happy that it was a close ending despite our hopes for 'our team' gaining an important win. 

Mostly I was happy that I got to enjoy a delicious brunch, but I'd easily go to another game if it meant I'd get to enjoy Douce France again! 

Where did you brunch over the weekend? 


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