Nick’s Crispy #Tacos

Continuing on our day trip around #SanFrancisco, after happy hour we headed over to a Mexican restaurant we had heard great things about, Nick’s Crispy Tacos.  Upon entering, the tales were true that the place looked like a night club rather than any restaurant, and that’s because its both!

IMG_20141002_164356[1]Apparently the space is shared between an actual bar/club, with all the fancy red decor and chandeliers, and the restaurant occupies one bar in the back, where you can get a full array of the typical Mexican delicacies like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and the like.  Of course, the food is available super late at night as well to cater to all of the night club’s customers, holding such great deals as two tacos for the price of one after 10pm.

IMG_20141002_164410[1]But don’t think that this is typical bar-quality food – they are known for their pescado (fried fish) entrees, heaped with plenty of guacamole, their special aioli-like sauce, cheese, cabbage, rice and all the rest.  On top of that, they also had my favorite Jones root beer on tap!  Avi opted for two pescado tacos, which seemed to come with just as much guacamole piled on top as the entire rest of the taco put together!  Their signature style is to wrap it with a hard corn shell inside of a soft flour shell on the outside.  I got the pescado burrito, and boy did it fill me up!  It came out piping hot, and by the time I reached the end, I could hardly finish the last few bites I was so full.  It reminded me greatly of a typical visit to Chipotle, only that Mexican restaurant doesn’t offer fried fish, and the guacamole is extra.

IMG_20141002_163957[1]For that, I give this restaurant experience major points.  Seems like the perfect club to hang out late at night, if you know you’ll be hungry.

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21st Amendment #Brewery

As we’ve mentioned before, one type of common non-technical startup that can be found in San Francisco is the independent microbrewery.  Last week we decided to check out one such establishment in SOMA, the 21st Amendment Brewery.  We got there a little early for happy hour, and we wanted to check out the brewery to see the process for ourselves, so we first went to the back and caught a glimpse of several of their signature beers fermenting in the back through a window on the upper floor.IMG_20141002_142510[1]There was also this highly amusing painting hanging on the wall depicting many of the prominent San Francisco independent brewers, vaguely in the style of “The Last Supper.”  It was so wide I couldn’t catch the whole picture here.  The quote hanging on the back wall is the popular misquote of Ben Franklin’s: “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.”

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We did of course sample the local inventions.  Avi wanted to try several of the beers to get a real test of the brewer’s skills, so he got a flight, featuring the flavors of a watermelon wheat ale, a beer infused with red wine, a darker stout with coffee, a belgian golden ale, and a full-bodied Oktoberfest (I got the full version, foreground).

IMG_20141002_143947[1]Overall we were quite satisfied with the selection and the tastes.  It was an excellent precursor to the next restaurant we went to in our excursions throughout the city that day, a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place.  More on that next!

 

Tiny #Kitchen, #Culinary Mission: #African #Peanut #Soup

African Peanut Soup

We wanted to try a recipe that was a little bit different, but involved some pleasing flavors we’ve been using recently. You’ve seen our penchant for peanuts (e.g. Peanut Noodles, Peanut Satay to name a few) as well as our proclivity for peppers (e.g. Pad Thai, Saag Paneer for starters). This is an African style peanut soup that has just a hint of heat, some tang from the tomatoes, a bit of sweetness from the sauteed onions and is filling with a bit of rice cooked in the broth towards the end. Hope you enjoy this culinary exploration as much as we did!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • medium yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes packed in juice
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • Pinch chipotle chili pepper
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1/3 c crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 c uncooked rice

Instructions

  1. First do the initial prep work. Crush and dice the garlic. Remove the skin from the onion and dice. Dice the red bell pepper.IMG_20140929_173336
  2. Add the oil to a large pot or pan and heat over medium high.IMG_20140929_174009
  3. Add the red bell pepper and onion to the pan and cook while stirring until the onions begin to start to brown.IMG_20140929_174249
  4. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.IMG_20140929_174720
  5. Add the tomatoes with their juice, vegetable broth, chili powder and black pepper.IMG_20140929_174851
  6. Stir everything up and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.IMG_20140929_175038
  7. Add the rice and stir it in.IMG_20140929_182155
  8. Cover the pan and continue cooking 15 minutes on low.IMG_20140929_182213
  9. Stir in the peanut butter until everything is well mixed.IMG_20140929_183855
  10. Turn off the heat, ladle the soup into bowls, and serve!IMG_20140929_184213

#Exploratorium Excursion

We went to the #SanFrancisco Exploratorium yesterday for their monthly After Dark event for the 18+ crowd in the evening. IMG_20141002_174834Almost immediately upon entering, the learning began. To emphasize the source of water for both the toilets and drinking fountains were the same, a drinking toilet is placed right next to the water fountain that you can drink from. They admit this is a bit of a social experiment as well – can you convince yourself to drink from the toilet even knowing it has never been used for anything except as a drinking fountain? Interestingly, most people still opt for the regular fountain.IMG_20141002_181450There were tons of exhibits and activities going on throughout the night, and we cannot possibly capture them all here, but here are a few of the highlights.

This is an action shot of pinheads that were vibrating to create a shape:IMG_20141002_182357

 

This is an action shot of still Batman and penguin figurines that, when rotated quickly with flashing lights creates the illusion of animation. There might be something lost in the still shot…IMG_20141002_184736There was a section for interesting animals, too! Check out this baby alligator that you could pet:IMG_20141002_185044Or how about a serval (a large tiger forest cat):IMG_20141002_184751There were some really impressive man-made feats, as well. For example. a large marble maze created entirely with toothpicks:IMG_20141002_183826Of course, being San Francisco, the exhibits wouldn’t be complete without some sort of fog demonstrations. They had a few of these, but one of the coolest ones was the fog tornado:IMG_20141002_200453There were also a lot of exhibits related to perception – both visual, and auditory – though we can only really share the visual ones. One awesome effect let me show you my hand – infinitely!IMG_20141002_193647Last, they also had several exhibits that let you geek out. Takes me back to my college days:IMG_20141002_192905

 

There were some really cool magic shows and scientific demonstrations throughout the night too, as well as food and liquor stands throughout. It seems like Nowcado could be used to provide an optimized walking plan through the museum while hitting all your desired vendors! Either way, though, definitely a fun event that I encourage you to check out next month if you haven’t been already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny #Kitchen, #Culinary Mission: Jalapeno #Popper #Sandwich

Jalapeno Popper Sandwich

Continuing the sandwich theme from yesterday, we are taking the concept of a jalapeno popper and forming it into a sandwich. The familiar cream cheese and jalapeno flavor is there, surrounded by crunch from crushed tortilla chips, followed by chewy ciabatta bread, and finished with a crispy buttery-fried exterior. It’s an interesting concept taking an appetizer and converting it to a more substantive entree. Even more impressive – these are arguably even easier to make than normal jalapeno poppers!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 6 oz tortilla chips
  • 1 lb ciabatta bread loaf
  • 4 oz shredded colby jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Dice the jalapenos and mix with the cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl.IMG_20140927_204404
  2. Crush the tortilla chips and then set them aside on a plate.IMG_20140927_204850
  3. Slice the ciabatta loaf into 4 parts, then slice in half to make sandwiches.IMG_20140927_205418
  4. Butter the outsides, top and bottom, of all the bread slices.IMG_20140927_210119
  5. Fill the sandwiches with the jalapeno cream cheese mixture, then top with the tortilla chips, followed by the cheese.IMG_20140927_211046
  6. Close the sandwiches and heat up a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sandwiches to the grill.IMG_20140927_211423
  7. After about 2-3 minutes or when the bottom is browned, flip the sandwich and cook another 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and both sides are browned.IMG_20140927_211819
  8. Repeat cooking with any remaining sandwiches, and serve!IMG_20140927_212032

Tiny #Kitchen, #Culinary Mission: #Caprese #Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich

Insalata caprese (or salad of Capri) is a famous Italian salad of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil. This combination is famous also in the Margherita pizza – both use the red, white, and green ingredients because they represent the Italian flag. This is a simple recipe for a sandwich using the caprese salad ingredients, lightly grilled to be warm but not so much that it causes the fresh ingredients to get cooked like you might see in the Margherita.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella balls, cherry-sized (ciliegine)
  • 4 basil sprigs
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice the tomato in to 4 parts.IMG_20140924_003643
  2. Open the sandwiches, and put the tomato slices on to the top half of each bun.IMG_20140924_004129
  3. Top the tomato with the mozzarella.IMG_20140924_004148
  4. Remove the leaves from the basil, and place on top of the mozzarella.IMG_20140924_004623
  5. Cover the basil with the bottom bun. You should be left with a fully formed upside-down sandwich.IMG_20140924_004724
  6. Heat a pan on medium-high and place the upside-down sandwiches onto the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until top bun is crispy.IMG_20140924_004954
  7. Carefully flip the sandwiches right-side up and cook another 2 minutes or until bottom bun is crispy.IMG_20140924_005326
  8. Put the sandwiches onto a plate. Remove the top bun and pour balsamic vinegar as desired. Replace the bun and eat!IMG_20140924_005458

Tiny #Kitchen, #Culinary Mission: #Blackened #Salmon #Sandwich

Blackened Salmon Sandwich

Continuing the #avocado theme, here is a recipe that uses a simple avocado-based sandwich spread. The salmon has a bit of Cajun flair that adds a hint of heat, as well as a peppery sharp arugula (or rocket for those of you not from the US).

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 haas avocado
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 8 oz salmon, skin on
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 1 oz arugula
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1/2 medium red onion

Instructions

  1. Take the avocado half and spoon over the mayonnaise into a bowl. Mash it together with a fork.IMG_20140921_202817
  2. Slice the tomato and onion into 4 parts for each of the sandwiches, then set aside.IMG_20140921_202837
  3. Toast the buns on both sides over medium for 1-2 minutes on each side, then set them aside.IMG_20140921_203445
  4. Cut the salmon into 4 pieces, then pat them all dry.IMG_20140921_204011
  5. Rub each salmon fillet with the Cajun seasoning thoroughly. Heat the the pan over medium-high, then add the salmon skin-side down.IMG_20140921_205056
  6. Cook the salmon for 5-7 minutes with the skin side down. The skin should get crispy, and it should be easy to use a spatula to move. Flip the salmon and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the salmon is cooked, being careful not to overcook.IMG_20140921_205839
  7. Spread the avocado mash onto the buns, and add the salmon, arugula, tomato and onion slices.IMG_20140921_205929
  8. Close the sandwich and serve!IMG_20140921_210016