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American Traditional/ brunch/ San Francisco

Foreign Cinema: Brunch is the Key Scene

No, we’re not showing the Avengers…“, said the hostess as she hung up the phone. Having the name Foreign Cinema, it’s hard not to confuse it with a normal theater; this restaurant resides within a space that has the exterior with a marquee, and they play foreign and independent films in their outdoor courtyard (check out their website for the films. After my friend mentioned this place makes homemade pop-tarts, I immediately jumped on board for brunch.

Reading through the menu, I was caught up in their descriptions; words like “heavenly” or “crowned with” and “warmed” were used throughout, as if these dishes were in some dramatic play. Would they live up to how they’re beautifully illustrated on the menu?

Act I: Whetting My Appetite

I started brunch off with a Bloody Mary, of course. This version of the Bloody Mary was spiced and served with lime and some pickled vegetables. It was perfectly savory and prepared my taste buds for some legit brunch food.

Act II: Prelude of Pleasantries

Say what…organic blackberry ‘Pop tarts’? What I really liked about this was that it actually tasted like a real pastry. It was flaky and crispy, and when I bit into it, real blackberries oozed out.

We ordered lavender goat cheese with endives, golden raisins, tapenade with baguette toasts. It was served up warm, and worked as a great spread on the bread, which was creamy and slightly sweet.

I absolutely LOVED this dish – brandade gratin (whipped salt cod), potatoes, garlic, green chillies served with grilled baguette and house pickles – because it had the right amount of saltiness, and pickles helped with cutting any excess creaminess.

If there was any dish I felt was average, it was the duck liver pate toast, with Sausalito Springs cress, baby beets, Banyuls vinigrette and toasted spices. The pate wasn’t gamey, and it was tasty overall but just not as memorable as their other dishes.

Smoked salmon with Petrossian salmon caviar, creme fraiche, pickled onions, fresh dill and spelt toast was light and refreshing, not too fishy, which I think is hard to achieve with salmon as your main ingredient.

Act III: Eggy Bliss

I couldn’t resist ordering the Champagne omelet (with a name like that, how can you not) with morels, fine herbs, Comte and Raclette cheese, creme fraiche, small salad, and crispy fried Yukon potatoes. Using Santa Cruz pastured eggs, this omelet was one of the best I’ve tasted. It was as if special care was taken to make this dish. Fluffy and flavorful, there was a soft but still firm inside so it still held its shape. The ingredients in the omelet were finely chopped, so it dispersed the mushroom and herb flavors evenly.

Act IIIa: Side of Amazement

We couldn’t resist getting their brown sugar alderwood smoked bacon which was sweet, slightly crispy and full of bacon goodness. After devouring my piece, I wished every slice of bacon would be just as good.

After yearning for a number of these dishes days after this meal, you can be sure I will be going there again. The space is great, food is tasty, and maybe even catch a movie next time. And…cut!

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-7600

American Traditional/ brunch/ drinks/ nyc/ Spanish

Caliu – AYCD Brunch with Spanish Flair

I am all for scoping out great food deals. All You Can Drink (aka. AYCD) brunch happens to be one of those great deals that each NYer needs to experience for themselves. Unlimited drinks plus brunch food? What can be better. Venturing into the West Village you can find Caliu, a small but cute restaurant with the $25 brunch deal.

Their watermelon sangria, shown in the first picture, is definitely a highlight. If you grab brunch, definitely try it (since it’s unlimited anyway). It’s light, refreshing, and tastes like you’re eating watermelon that is slightly spiked.

Having the choice of one entree I chose their eggs benedict with serrano ham, jalapeno hollandaise, salad, and truffled hash browns (normally $13).  It was a solid brunch dish, eggs poached nicely and I definitely enjoyed the fragrant hash browns; anything with truffle oil makes it automatically taste better.

All in all, it was a pleasurable experience drinking and eating a casual brunch with my girlfriends. I’m not sure about dinner, but at least brunch is worth making a trip.

557 Hudson Street (Between W. 11th. & Perry St.)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 206–6444


brunch/ drinks/ Latin American/ nyc

Awesome Deals: Mercadito Cantina Brunch

In this island of expensive meals and outrageously priced anythings, New Yorkers are always looking for a good deal. After all, they are hard to come by…or so you would think. It is a personal mission for my close friends to find cheap eats usually including alcohol. So we took this opportunity to celebrate a birthday AND eat and drink merrily, without breaking the bank!

For two hours, there is an all-you-can-drunk brunch special that includes one brunch entree for $25. Yes, ONLY $25 for as many alcoholic beverages as you would like. This does have great potential to be detrimental to your health, but it really provides an enjoyable drinking experience for all involved.

We all started off with their three types of guacamole appetizer: traditional (tomato, cilantro, onion, chile serrano), guacamole de mango (pico de gallo, jicama, chipotle), and guacamole de pina (pineapple, tomatillo, habaero, mint). We easily munched it down while taking gulps of our pineapple / mango mimosas.

I ordered the Revuletos – scrambled eggs with Berkshire pork carnitas, tomatillo pico de gallo, and ancho salsa. It is as good as it sounds since the eggs weren’t overdone and the salsa complimented the pork very well.

It is easy to say that we walked out of there full and happily buzzing with joy. Cheap deal, lots of alcohol, tasty food, and great conversation. This is definitely a place to check out with friends for a fun and intense brunch.

Mercadito Cantina
179 Ave B between 11th & 12th streets
New York, NY 10009
(212) 529-6490

American Traditional/ Breakfast/ brunch/ nyc

Tribute to Pancake Month with Clinton St. Bakery

I am an avid pancake eater. I love how there are so many things that can be incorporated into pancake batter along with a variety of syrups that come with it. This special month allows me to indulge in buttery, fluffy pancakes and not have a problem with doing so. As a dedication to celebrating pancake month (February), I want to share with you one of the best places to get pancakes in the city – Clinton St. Bakery. I hate to give into hype, but this place is actually really good. Clearly I am not the only one who thinks so; every single time I try to go there, it is packed. People are standing outside in 30-degree weather waiting for their turn to get into this restaurant. Getting a seat is virtually impossible, even at 2PM. In fact, you run the risk of not being able to eat there. They have so many reservations to the point where it would bring them until 4pm, closing time. Long story short, make sure to allot some time if you plan on eating there because you will wait. Guaranteed.

Clinton Street Bakery celebrated pancake month with a special pancake every few days. My friend, as crazy of a pancake-eater as I am, urged me to go with her and of course I conceded. We ended up going twice because the pancakes were that memorable.

The first time we had poached pears with vanilla bean whipped cream and warm maple butter. Yes, it is as tasty as the description recalls it to be. Pears were included into the pancake itself and gave it a crisp texture; when I bit into my pancakes it gave it a soft crunch. Having poached pears on top enhanced the vanilla flavor to all the pancakes, giving them a sweet and fragrant flavor. The warm maple butter is to die for; when you dipped your pancake into the butter, it gave the pancakes a nice touch of maple and light fatty goodness. I don’t know if they put crack into it also but it was very addicting.

The second time around my friend ordered crunchy bananas with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce (I opted to get something savory). I had a few bites of her pancakes and I wanted to get an order to take home. Yes, it was THAT good. Not only did the crunchy bananas provided a different texture to soft pancakes, but also the chocolate sauce wasn’t too sweet so it didn’t overshadow the butter flavor in the pancakes. We couldn’t taste the chili part of the chocolate sauce as much, but the cinnamon kicked in later on in your mouth. All in all, big two thumbs up.

Make sure to mark it down in your calendar for next year to eat pancakes in February. Clinton St. Bakery is sure to be celebrating this culinary holiday, and hopefully you will taste awesome buttery flat pancakes there, and hijack some of that maple butter for me.

American Nouveau/ American Traditional/ Breakfast/ brunch/ nyc/ snack

New Year: Bring It On!

2009 is here! Bring on the new year, and hopefully better luck than the last. As I sit here, blogging because I am currently un-staffed, it gives me the chance to devote myself to writing about my delicious food experiences. As I’ve noted before I know I’m pretty bad at updating this blog but I do aim to make my entries as meaningful (aka. “makes-you-hungry”) as possible.

I realized that I really enjoy eating brunch, namely because of theeggs. Ahhhh eggs…that cholesterol-filled bright-yellow yolk adjoined with streaming egg whites…perfect for starting a new day.

Top to Bottom: Eggs Norwegian from Pastis; Spinach and Garlic Eggs from 5 Ninth; Smoked Salmon Benedict from Stanton Social

All I can say is that I have a genuine appreciation for eggs done well. Trust me, plenty of places put too much hollandaise sauce or eggs are too well done. Cna you imagine DRY, CRUSTY eggs? Ew. That thought just makes me unhappy.

And now to talk about restaurants! My friends and I felt the urge to try out Stanton Social, located in the Lower East Side. Founded on the idea of sharing, all the dishes are designed as small portions to be served throughout the entire mealtime. At first I was a bit confused thinking, “is this like…Chinese lazy-susan dining style?” to which I was definitely off. I would say this is like…American-style tapas, specifically catered to accommodate several people.

Now that you are thoroughly confused, this is what I mean:

Grilled Pizzetta with fresh mozzarella, oven dried tomato, roasted garlic and hot chile oil. It was good, though nothing stood out about it.

Social Frittata with wild mushrooms with smoked goat cheese. Can’t say I really liked it, simply because it has smoked goat cheese…and those who know me know that I do not have an affinity towards cheese…

French Onion Soup Dumplings. I think these made the meal actually. Nothing to me stood out, aside from the restaurant concept and this dish. It had enough cheese, and the bread was able to catch the onion soup.

In addition, we saw BLAKE LIVELY there. She is as pretty as she is on television, and I wanted to take a picture with her. However, my friends advised me against it and by the time I mustered enough courage to ask, another group of Asians took pictures with her. That ruined my opportunity, but at least I know we dined with a celebrity…from afar…

Overall, food is okay and the concept is interesting. The decor definitely made it feel warm as well so I would say they did a good job incorporating sharing themes with their whole restaurant.

Stanton Social
99 Stanton St.
New York, NY 10002

American Traditional/ Breakfast/ brunch/ Mexican/ nyc

Brunch Edition: Dos Caminos & 202

I love brunch. The idea that you can get something sweet like pancakes or savory like eggs all in one meal. Marvelous. Plus there are usually delicious (and probably strong) drinks involved. I don’t really indulge in that, but the fact that it’s there is a wonderful concept.

Dos Caminos (Soho)
475 West Broadway

I’ve been here a good amount of times for brunch, which I recommend is the only meal worth going for. They have a pretty nice deal since all their brunch selections come with a beverage. They have outdoors seating and a fresh guacamole & chips bar. Their menu is a Mexican take on American brunch, which gives it a special “umph” to whatever they’re serving.

I went with a bunch of friends so everyone got to have different items on the menu:

This is their Pan Torrejas aka. Mexican style brioche French toast with mixed berry salsita, and piloncillo syrup. This is REAL good and be prepared to eat something really sweet. Because they use brioche, it really soaks up their batter and the syrup. Nearly the whole table got this dish. REAL intense. If you’re into french toast, this is definitely one to try.

This dish is Chilaquiles is a baked tortilla casserole with sunny side-up eggs, chihuahua cheese, and tres chiles salsa. I didn’t get to taste this dish myself, but it certainly looked real good.

For those who want a healthy brunch, you can choose to get a salad. Their salads are quite large, so it will definitely be enough to fill you even though there are no eggs or toast. I got their Chicken Cobb Salad. It has grilled chicken breast, tomato, avocado, chorizo, grilled corn, onion and queso fresco, with a cilantro-basil vinaigrette. Ginormous? Yes. Intense? Hecks yeah. Good? Oh, it was delicious.

Overall it was a great dining experience being with my good friends and enjoying the scrumptious food. We wharfed our dishes down. Thumbs up for brunch!

75 9th Avenue
Chelsea Market Outlet

The first time I came here was with my roommate and another friend. They went ahead to wait for a table on a Saturday morning, which is quite a busy time for them, and got there just in time to order.

I got the breakfast item – Maple syrup baked granola with seasonal fruit and Greek yogurt. It was pretty good, and it made me feel full and healthy at the same time. Yum.

My friend got their buttermilk pancakes with fruit compote and creme fraiche. From the looks of it, and the manner in which it was consumed, it seemed quite yummy. From the thickness of the pancake, it doesn’t look as fluffy as ones I’ve had before but I’m sure it was still pretty good.

I would say 202 is worth checking out, simply because you’ll be dining in the same room as clothes are being sold – Nicole Farhi. Trust me, the food is probably the only thing you can afford unless you plan on spending over $100 on a piece of clothing. Not to mention, you can walk around the Chelsea Market which has a bunch of other cute food shops. However, brunch-wise I would say 202 is a bit hyped and overpriced for what you’re getting. Maybe these designers need to make more money on food in addition to the clothing they’re already selling…

All in all, both places are pretty good though if I had to choose, Dos Caminos would win. Both are located in nice areas to walk off the calories that you’ve consumed at these restaurants. hahaha. More brunch entries to come!

American Traditional/ brunch/ lunch/ nyc/ Thai

Burger Thursday + Late Saturday Brunch

Thursday, February 1. Corner Bistro is where my friends and I trek to, even in such cold weather for lunch. Located in the West Village, it’s a great place to have a simple All-American meal – burgers and beer. Despite the fact that by accident, my friend spilled beer all over my stuff & me (which took me around 10 minutes to get over) it was a lot of fun. Come on, big burgers for a cheap price…can’t beat that, even if you’re smelling like beer. Some guys might even find that attractive…anyway, here are some pics:

The traditional cheeseburger. Yes, it is as scrumptious as it looks. I think the burger being served on a paper plate makes it so much better.

That’s a shot of the inside of the burger. Yummmm, it looks like it’s done medium rare – the way I like it. hahaha.

Conclusion: Want a burger that’ll satisfy your meat craving in a typical American pub setting? Yes, this is the place to go. It is definitely worth checking out, especially since this burger only cost $5.75! It’s a great cheap eat.

Saturday, February 3rd. Of course a weekend wouldn’t be complete without the “in-between-two-real-meals” meal named BRUNCH. I think my friends and I are big fans of this meal, so we originally arranged to meet at another restaurant. Let me tell you, finding a place for Saturday brunch in the West Village is a challenge. Every place is basically packed with other enthusiastic brunchers. We ended up going to Deborah Life Love Food. With the group of 6, we walk into a cute little restaurant decorated in Valentine’s Day designs.

This dish is called Ekuri. Yes, what is that? Well, their description is “fluffy scrambled eggs with minced Thai Chili Bird pepper and sliced onion topped on grilled sourdough batard slices finished with truffle oil”. According to my friend who got it, the dish was quite spicy, which isn’t bad for those who love the heat. She was dying though. hahah.

I, on the other hand, got this:

This is their Cajun Spiced Sunfish (Tilapia) with slow cooked grits and two over-easy eggs. The sunfish was a bit peppery, but it was nice and tender. Not too flaky, and with the eggs, made a great combination of food. Plus, the salad dressing definitely added to this dish.

Next time I go, I’m definitely going to try their winter spiced pumpkin muffins and biscuits…the people next to us got those things and made me want to stuff more into my mouth. Yummm…

Conclusion: Awesome place for brunch! I don’t think many people know about this place, but it’s real cute and intimate. My friend pointed out that they have a $70 tasting menu for Valentine’s Day, and this place is not a bad place to take a date. If you want to go for a American traditional yet new type of cuisine, I recommend coming here. I’ll be going back someday!

American Traditional/ brunch/ dinner/ Mexican/ nyc

Successfully Blown My Money on Food

Even though I’m earning money right now with my internship, I realize that if I keep spending the amount of money I did this past weekend it’s all pointless. Nonetheless, it’s been real fun eating around, being with family and friends to try out places, and complain about our lives. hahaha.

After extensive research for a nice Mexican restaurant that wouldn’t completely cost you an arm or a leg, we went to Los Dos Molinos (18th st. between Irving Plaza and Park Avenue South). It was a good start to the weekend. Their prices were fairly reasonable, ranging from $7 ~ $22, depending upon whether you got a huge plate of food or not. The inside of the restaurant was real festive as exemplified by this picture:

After asking our waiter plenty of questions – “What is a tostada?” “Can I have no beans in mine?” “What is a burro?” – we finally knew what we wanted. I ordered the Chicken Tostada, which was pretty good.

As you can see, there’s cheese, lettuce, a tomato, chicken on top of a flat cripsy tortilla. Yum yum. The waiter was pretty accommodating too since there’s usually black beans in here and we aren’t supposed to modify these dishes. However, he made an exception for us. Yay!

On Saturday, since I received my first paycheck I treated out my family for my favorite meal – BRUNCH! We went to Cornelia Street Cafe, which is on Cornelia Street (off of Bleecker) in the West Village. It’s a real cute place and at night they have performances there. Their brunch special for $15 seems really good. Let’s just say you choose 4 things (2 beverages, 1 bread, 1 entree) so it’s pretty awesome.

That is their Portabello, Spinach, Sweet Onion, and Swiss Quiche served with a side salad with balsamic vinagrette. It was pretty good. This quiche costs $8, which isn’t too bad. All in all, good times with the family alongside a great meal.

This weekend was really interesting to say the least. A night of horrible burning sensations of my hands (because of my stupidity in dealing with jalapeno peppers), Wedding Crashers, shopping, and lots of eating!

American Traditional/ brunch/ dessert/ French/ nyc

A Classy Sunday

This past Sunday was mucho funo. Normally I stick to the cheapest food around, being the poor college student that I am. However, my friends and I found ourselves buying expensive things – a $80.00 shirt! – and relatively good cheap white wine – $11.99 – from Vintage New York. After considerable amount of walking in the heat, we decided to go to a place where we can BYOB. Bring Your Own Bottle…or in our case, wine.

Anyways, we first ventured to Doma, where I found myself not so tempted by their small selection of sandwiches. Then, very close by, is Tartine (located 253 W. 11th St., at 4th St.) which is most famous for their brunch. I’ve been there too, which is awfully good, but dinner was beckoning us.

Tartine is French cuisine, moderately priced. Some things were around $8-10, and their main courses can range from $14-20. Being the ballers that we are, we decided to share (sharing is caring!). And of course, here are the pictures to prove it:

This is the Grilled Saucisson, which is garlic sausage and potatoes with shallots & chives sauce, along with bits of tomato. Yum yum. The sauce stood out amongst all the elements in the dish. Definitely worth trying.

The next dish was a special that day. I can’t remember the name of the dish, but it’s basically calamari with avacado, caviar, and a “refreshing” sauce of some sort. Sorry if my descriptions really suck, but I guarantee you that it was very good.

And finally, this is their Croque Monsieur. All I gotta say is…butter. And lots of it. Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t like butter…so I think it works out for my palette in the end. haha.

Overall, Tartine is DEFINITELY worth a visit, even not on a brunch day. It’s a bit tiny, but is decently priced for good French food.

Afterwards, there must be dessert! We ventured off to Magnolias Bakery. It is only…a block away. Normally I get their banana pudding (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) but Sunday night I opted for the typical purchase – a cupcake.

Yes, they were quite enjoyable. I had a chocolate cupcake with vanilla butter frosting (with purple sprinkles!) This time around they didn’t give a huge amount of icing that they normally do, but I like it better this way. Even though I think there are better cupcake places out there, Magnolias still hits the spot after a nice dinner.

Okay, so that ended my journey with my awesome friends on a very hot and classy Sunday night. Good times…and quite yummy too.