Thursday, February 28, 2013

Point Reyes Oysters

The first time I tried oysters and actually liked them was 15-some-odd years ago at a company retreat in Bodega Bay, not too far from where we enjoyed this lovely little trough of Point Reyes oysters (below). The oysters that got me thinking that bivalves were worthy of consumption were lightly grilled and served with a squeeze of lemon. The ones here also came with lemon wedges plus a tangy mignonette, though these were shucked and slurped down raw.

Bottoms up. The half dozen slippery suckers went down way too fast, making us tempted to order another round. But since oysters are available pretty much all year round (so says Hog Island Oyster Co.), we decided to practice a bit of self-restraint and pick some up later when we got back into town.

Hmmm, famous last words? Nah. I think oysters are on order this weekend ...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kimchi on Kimchee at Namu Gaji

"Our mom made the best kimchee fried rice growing up. Chef Ryan Farr makes SF's best hot dog. Need we say more." So reads the emphatic description for Mission eatery Namu Gaji's kimchee fried rice.

And here I'd always thought my mom made the best kimchi* fried rice. So of course I had to give this dish a try ... just to see if Namu Gaji's version came close to what nostalgia had immortalized as the most comforting of comfort foods.

Made with sticky white rice, kimchee, 4505 hot dog slivers, bacon bits and kochujang (aka Korean chile paste), then topped with a fried egg, green onions plus a chiffonade of nori, NG's fried rice sure did make a good go at my mom's #1 position.

But dear ol' mom's fried rice still reigns supreme. Since she lives in AZ though, I'm sure she won't mind if I let Namu Gaji pinch hit in her stead every now and again.

*Kimchi or kimchee ... no matter how you want to spell it, it's all good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Best Fried Chicken at San Tung

Chinese restaurant San Tung in the Inner Sunset is often impossible to get into—unless you're willing to scribble your name on the white-board just inside and resign yourself to a long(ish) wait. And yet, you'll see throngs of people huddling outside on the sidewalk, more than willing to cool their heels until their name is called.

That's because they know what to expect: San Tung's cooks dish out lip-smacking goodies on a near daily basis. Addicting stuff like the dry sauteed string beans, dry black bean sauce noodles, hot braised bean curd ... and let's not forget the original dry fried chicken wings.

Fortunately, San Tung's got a newish cafe-cum-to-go spot right next door to its more traditional restaurant where you can pretty much get all of the same in-demand items (along with ice cream and bubble tea) sans the long wait. So, one night not too long ago, we strolled on in and ordered some of the black bean noodles along with a plate piled high with the best fried chicken in town.

Deep-fried to crispety perfection, the well-seasoned original dry fried chicken wings come spiked with a tongue-tingling dose of garlic, ginger and roasted chile peppers. 

Mmmmmmm. Finger-lickin' good.