The new edition of my mom’s best-selling cookbook “Let’s Cook With Nora” was launched in San Francisco last week. My sisters Mariles, Stella and Nina and I attended. Nina painstakingly kitchen-tested each and every recipe in the book and updated them to include ingredients, cooking technique, and variations. My mom would have been proud.
I was excited to visit San Francisco because when I was there last year, I was feeling under the weather and didn’t have a grand time. This time was different. I went back to the places I loved to eat in when I lived there.
Little Lucca is a sandwich place on Camino Real in South San Francisco where I always ordered their thick crab sandwich on Dutch crunch bread stuffed with chopped kani. It has two sauces, a green one and a chili sauce that they spread on the bread with mayonnaise. To that, I added sliced red onions, lettuce and mustard. On the side, I had a chilled Hawaiian Punch.
I tried Shake Shack for the very first time. Good but I wouldn’t crave for it. I guess I expected more. I went back to Carl’s Jr. and still loved their Super Star with Fried Zucchini. After that I walked next door and had a double scoop of Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter.
For dinner, my sisters and I went to the House of Prime Rib. Of course, I had the gigantic King Henry cut. This is the largest cut of a 10-hour roasted prime grade beef with au jus. On the side were creamed spinach, corn, Yorkshire pudding, and a baked potato topped with a chunk of salted butter, sour cream, chopped crispy bacon and chives. I mashed the piping hot potato and mix everything together to make my own mashed potatoes. Outstanding!
I made three new discoveries on this trip. Brenda’s on Polk Street was recommended by my nephew Eduardo. This place serves soul food. We had three kinds of baked oysters with a variety of sauces, kofta balls and fried chicken. With the French influence on their New Orleans cuisine, I had a good old dependable Croque Monsieur. Yummy!
The other restaurant we went to was Kabul Afghan which is an Afghan restaurant. I simply loved the lamb kebab over flat bread and basmati rice. It was grilled and simply seasoned; one could taste the perfectly done meat.
The one where I really enjoyed because it was new and surprised me was a Puerto Rican restaurant called Parada 22 on Haight Street. I had a dish called Pernil Asado, slow-roasted pork, marinated with garlic and oregano. On the side were salad, baked beans, fried plantains and yellow basmati rice. The pork was good but not great. But hey had a mildly spicy vinegar sauce that you poured on the pork and rice and, my gosh, this dish came out so delicious. With a bit of perspiration from the heat, I enjoyed this meal immensely.
Every time I get invited to any event in the province or abroad, my mindset is always: Where will I go to find new treasures in food? I just love it.
I had a wonderful time bonding with my sisters over great food and laughter. In the end, it’s all about being close to your loved ones over new food discoveries.
Japan food tour: Hokkaido, April 22-27; Kyushu, May 17-22; Hokkaido, July 1-6; Kyushu, Oct. 11-16; Kyushu, Nov. 8-13. Email [email protected]