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!
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.
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.
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.
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.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.”
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).
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!
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
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 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
- First do the initial prep work. Crush and dice the garlic. Remove the skin from the onion and dice. Dice the red bell pepper.
- Add the oil to a large pot or pan and heat over medium high.
- Add the red bell pepper and onion to the pan and cook while stirring until the onions begin to start to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, vegetable broth, chili powder and black pepper.
- Stir everything up and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir it in.
- Cover the pan and continue cooking 15 minutes on low.
- Stir in the peanut butter until everything is well mixed.
- Turn off the heat, ladle the soup into bowls, and serve!
We went to the #SanFrancisco Exploratorium yesterday for their monthly After Dark event for the 18+ crowd in the evening. Almost 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.There 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:
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…There was a section for interesting animals, too! Check out this baby alligator that you could pet:Or how about a serval (a large tiger forest cat):There were some really impressive man-made feats, as well. For example. a large marble maze created entirely with toothpicks:Of 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:There 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!Last, they also had several exhibits that let you geek out. Takes me back to my college days:
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.
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
- 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
- Dice the jalapenos and mix with the cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl.
- Crush the tortilla chips and then set them aside on a plate.
- Slice the ciabatta loaf into 4 parts, then slice in half to make sandwiches.
- Butter the outsides, top and bottom, of all the bread slices.
- Fill the sandwiches with the jalapeno cream cheese mixture, then top with the tortilla chips, followed by the cheese.
- Close the sandwiches and heat up a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sandwiches to the grill.
- 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.
- Repeat cooking with any remaining sandwiches, and serve!