Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little Skillet - San Francisco, CA

View of the California Academy of Sciences Museum from the Observation Tower at the DeYoung Museum.

Malia came to visit a couple of weeks ago (it feels like it was just yesterday!) and on her second day here we visit the DeYoung Museum to see the "Birth of Impressionism" exhibit on loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. After our museum visit we planned to eat lunch at Little Skillet, a chicken and waffles join in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco.

Outside of Little Skillet

Malia and I had never eaten chicken and waffles before our trip to Little Skillet, but I love waffles and I love fried chicken, so why wouldn't I love them together? I had always wondered about the origin of chicken and waffles. One account ties Thomas Jefferson to the origin, stating that he brought a waffle iron back from France. Shortly thereafter waffles and chicken showed up together in American cookbooks. This popular pairing has strong roots in African American culture. Wells Restaurant, which opened in Harlem in 1938, is regarded as the home of chicken and waffles.

Chicken and waffles, plus biscuit.

We left the Museum at 12:45pm knowing that we had to travel 5 miles to Little Skillet before it closed at 2:30pm. With a little less than a mile to go I looked at my cell phone and saw it was 2:05pm. There was no way I was not eating chicken and waffles that day, so Malia and I took off running!

We made it on time and ordered up a waffle and two pieces to share. They also offer other items, such as bbq pork sandwiches and po' boys, but they're known chicken and waffles. The shop itself is run out of a small space. You order at the counter and take your food to go. It was a beautiful day so we sat outside and enjoyed the sun.

Malia loves these waffles!

The waffles were crisp on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside. The real star of the show is the fried chicken! The skin was crunchy and super flavorful, with flecks of herbs, salt and pepper. How could you possible make waffles and chicken better you ask? Add a biscuit! The biscuit was flaky and buttery. It was the perfect meal after 5 miles of walking/running.

Worth the 5-mile walk!

Don't let this unique combination scare you - chicken and waffles make a great meal any time of day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Philz Coffee - Palo Alto, CA

Iced Mint Mojito Coffee

Coffee shops are everywhere these days and sometimes its hard to distinguish one from the next. Philz Coffee is anything but your average shop. Every cup is handcrafted - that means they brew it, they add milk, and they add the sugar. You tell them what you want and they do it for you. I'll admit the first time I walked in the door I was very overwhelmed. They offer a plethora of special blends, customized by Phil himself, and as someone who loves coffee but knows little about it I was unsure what to order. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for help in figuring out what you want.

Bluberry Cobbler Muffin

With Malia in town, I knew I wanted to take her to Philz Coffee. Now we could have tried one of their delightful blends such as Ambrosia or Philharmonic, but I wanted to experience the Iced Mint Mojito Coffee with Malia. We are huge Mojito fans. Now these coffees don't have any light rum or lime in them, but they were so refreshing on a hot morning. The mint was so fresh and went wonderful with their house iced coffee.

Nectarine Cobbler Muffin

We weren't sure what kind of pastry would go well with a iced mint mojito coffee, so we picked ones that looked the tastiest - a blueberry and a nectarine cobbler muffin. The muffins had that lovely crumb topping and the fruit was really fresh. The muffins were rather dense - indeed more biscuity like a cobbler topping. We both agreed that we could make better muffins.

But let's be honest the coffee is the star at Philz. With 7 locations in the Bay Area you can be sure to find one close to you. So head over and try a cup, I guarantee you'll like it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer is Here - First Caprese Salad of the Year!

Clockwise (from left): toasted Henry's Harvest bread from Grace Baking Co., sunflowers, sauteed asparagus and cauliflower with garlic, and caprese salad.

There are so many wonderful things about summer - corn, berries, peaches, but one of the best things is ripe heirloom tomatoes. One of my favorite dishes is the caprese salad. I know what you're thinking, that played out salad that you see on every italian menu in town is getting you excited? And trust me you can really mess this dish up. But the key to making this simple dish is using really good ingredients. I head to the farmer's market for some amazing heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.

Caprese salad close-up: Heirloom tomatoes, mozarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

Using fresh, exceptional ingredients makes a simple salad a really amazing meal. I drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top of the sliced tomatoes and mozarella and torn basil leaves. It is just wonderful! I toasted up some bread, sauteed some cauliflower and asparagus and my vegetarian feast was ready. Also, I just love the colors, don't you?

P.S. Malia get ready for some wonderful Cali eats!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Donut Day - This Friday, June 4th!

Free Doughnuts this Friday!

Friday, June 4th is National Doughnut Day! What better way to celebrate Friday than with a warm glazed doughnut. And did I mention Krispy Kreme is giving them away for FREE?!

If you're on the East Coast Dunkin' Donuts will give you a free doughnut, but only if you buy a drink.

The cool folks at Psycho Donuts in Campbell, CA are celebrating with the unveiling of their tacOnut - a doughnut folded like a taco and filled with fresh strawberries.

TacOnut - yum!