Local Shoutout: La Penca Azul (Formerly La Pinata #3)

Throughout the Bay Area, Mexican restaurants old and new are a dime a dozen. But finding a good one with quality ingredients, culinary expertise, and old family recipes with new inspiration that come through on every plate is a much rarer find. Enter here: La Penca Azul.

Formerly part of the La Pinata chain, the owners decided to split off and make their main Alameda location into it’s own thing. La Penca Azul, which means The Blue Petal referring to the tequila making process, has a fantastic, rather lengthy menu and a full service tequila bar with a great selection of tequilas local and from all over the latin world.

One of my favorites, pictured above, is the “Joyce special:” fresh sautéed shrimp, a filet of tilapia, and lots of fresh veggies. Perfect away to enjoy the mexican flavors without all the carbs. If you’re around the area and need a quality margarita and street style tacos, I highly recommend a visit.

Thanks and happy eats,

Lisa

Local Shoutout: Pyramid Alehouse, Berkeley

Happy Sunday Funday! To end a relaxing weekend, my two favorites and I went on a mission to the Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley. Pyramid Brewing is based out of Seattle but opened up their largest location in the nation in the Bay Area in the late 80s to help with distribution and publicity.

The tours are free and happen everyday at 4pm. It was a blast, and came with a complimentary seasonal tasting afterwards. Be warned: come wearing close-toed shoes or else you’ll have to wear a pair of loaned brewer boots. They make your feet really sweaty, it’s like the boot version of publicly shared bowling shoes. (Yuck.)

Along with the many other Bay Area based breweries and distilleries, make sure that this is on your list when you’re touring Berkeley.

Thanks and happy eats,

Lisa

Local Shoutout: A French twist and Absinthe in Hayes Valley

lemonade

I have a serious addiction to French Onion soup. Not just any will make the cut. The broth has to be slow cooked over hours with beef drippings, and red wine, and melt-in-your-mouth strips of onions that soak up all the flavor so it becomes a cardinal sin to leave any behind straggling in the bowl. The crouton floating happily at the top has to be thick enough to survive the cooking process but not as dense as a brick. The cheese has to be high quality swiss, preferrably Gruyere, and melt steadily so when spoon meets soup, it becomes one joined symphony for cheesey-beefy-oniony-magic for your tastebuds to behold.

As somewhat of a culinary snob when it comes to French Onion soup, it’s almost impossible to amaze me anymore. I’ve had some many that were just subpar that wowing me takes effort. Today, I met my match. Absinthe, you have won the battle. French Onion domination is yours.

Absinthe, a french-inspired bistro found in Hayes Valley, just neighboring downtown San Francisco, is known for it’s cocktails. They even wrote a somewhat revered book about it.

salad

So, with French Onion soup already on my mind, I ordered a perfectly paired Absinthe Lemonade to go with it: which consists of equal parts lemonade, ginger beer, and cranberry juice. (There is surprisingly no alcohol in it.) AMAZING! So simple and the flavors pair so well together, I will clearly have to make this again this summer.

soup

To round out my lunch, I had a wedge of their Cloth-Wrapped Firm White Cheddar with their expertly paired Apple and Golden Raisin Chutney along with their mixed greens salad.

My boyfriend chose a more heartier router and ordered their deliciously dippable roast beef sandwich and Caesar salad.

If you’re willing to venture off of the famously beaten paths of downtown and the Mission district for some delicious food, I highly suggest giving Absinthe a try. The decor and delightful service make it a must.

Thanks and happy eats,

Lisa

                          roast_beef_sandwich     absinthe



Local Shoutout: Mojito Madness!

mojito

Sometimes, mondays just deserve some extra rum and mint. Luckily, Alameda has a wonderful Cuban restaurant with an amazing mojito selection: Habanas. Definitely one of the best places to have a drink on this little island if you’re looking for a cocktail with an artisan touch.

To make the liquor go down even sweeter, on Monday’s all mojitos and pitchers are half off. YES. They even specialize in flavored types of mojitos, I highly recommend the coconut and pineapple.

If you’re feeling nibbly, make sure to try the coconut shrimp as well.

Delicious!

Thanks and happy eats,

Lisa

Local Shoutout: Tapas and Scoops

garlic_chicken

Honestly, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t explore the Mission district of San Francisco enough. Such delicious yummies to be discovered there!

My fellow foodie friend and I decided to try a tapas bar we’d never been to: Picaro. This spanish-themed rustic gem is right in the heart of the Mission, near 16th and Valencia. Of course, a large pitcher of their highly acclaimed sangria was a must!

 

artichokes

We decided to pair it with some garlic chicken (which ended up being more red sauce than garlic), grilled artichoke hearts, snapper strips with garlic mayo. Side note: bones galore, in both the fish and the chicken. Eat slowly and carefully.

 

 

 

 


toffee
Struck by the bright idea that sweets were needed badly after our tapas, it was time for a trip to the legendary Bi-Rite Creamery

I decided to try their seasonal Honey Lavender flavor. Two words: MIND BLOWN. It got even crazier when I decided to make it the base of my sundae. BEST CHOICE EVER. Splash of orange infused olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, topped with hot fudge. Quirky yet amazing.

 

 

TDG_sign

My foodie partner in crime decked hers with oodles of toffee on top of her cinnamon snickerdoodle ice cream and never looked back.

DAREDEVILS OF DELICIOUSNESS.

Another night in the San Francisco complete due to yummy food feats. Both locations serve up locally sourced ingredients and amazing options, worth a trip next time you’re willing to take a walk from BART.

 

 

thedaintygentleman

Thanks for reading and happy eats,

Lisa