Thursday, July 29, 2010

Philz Coffee

For years I had given up on the weekday cup of coffee, cherishing the alluring aroma and jolt of energy as a special treat meant only for weekends. Only recently, after being introduced to Philz Coffee, have I reintroduced the weekday ritual. You can now count me amongst the devoted.

Founded in 2003, well before the current SF craze of individually dripped cups (although admittedly I have been known to queue up at a Saturday morning Blue Bottle kiosk for years now), Phil Jaber and team have been serving coffee "one cup at a time" and crafted with love. Even reading the menu of blends is part of the experience at Philz. I began with an interest in sampling the entire menu, but got stuck on dark roasts and now count on the large Arabic as a morning kickstart several days a week.

I like to say good morning to the baristas, sit outside at the Castro location, greet the neighborhood dogs, and begin my day with an invigorating chat and a warming cup.

If you see me in the morning with a cup of Philz in hand, know that I am having a very good morning indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Although I grew up in the South Bay (Saratoga, to be precise), I have really spent very little time in Mountain View.  As a kid my family used to drive over at least monthly for a family dinner at El Calderon, where I would indulge an early but deeply-rooted love for pupusas.  My Dad used to suggest we were going to El Salvador for dinner, but really, it was just Mountain View.  No wonder I got lost. 

So, driving to Mountain View last week for a girls' dinner, I had zero recognition as I pulled up to Castro Street, where I could not drive or park due to an inordinate amount of foot and road traffic ... firemen alongside their trucks demo'ing fire hoses for small children ... and other telltale signs of a suburban street fair or farmers' market.  No clue what actually was going on as nothing appeared to actually be for sale. 

Anyways, I digress.  After a 1.5 hour drive from the city, and a little extra time glued to Google maps, I finally found Cascal and my girl friends.  They were perched at the bar and ahead of me by a cocktail ... at least one cocktail.  I needed to cheer up, and fast.  Luckily tapas with the girls was just the thing.

We ordered an array of tapas (surely more Latin American than Spanish as advertised):  beef short ribs atop a Venezuelan arepa; a hearts of palm salad served with watercress, pineapple, and jicama; crab and shrimp tostaditos; wild mushroom empanadas with manchego cheese; a scallop ceviche; and lamb enchiladas in a mole sauce.  We each got a couple bites of these tasty treats and enjoyed some Malbec alongside. On top of this it was a lovely evening to dine al fresco ... which put me in a much better mood for the drive back!  If in Mountain View again, I will consider this a fun back-pocket option, especially for a group up for sharing plates.  Thanks, ladies, and hope to see you all again soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Namu tacos

On this dreary Monday morning, I am waxing a little nostalgic about sunny Saturdays at the Farmers' Market.  Flipping through my food photos, I was reminded of a great little taste I picked up on my last visit.

Hurrying back toward Cap'n Mikes for a lox breakfast, I was almost too hungry to make it to the last aisle of stands without a snack and was completely drawn in by the rare lack of line at Namu.  I am not sure I know many others who have to have a snack on the way to their meal. I, however, picked up a $3 Korean taco and enjoyed it while I waited in line for salmon ... a strategy I may replicate next time! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the three bite combination of seasoned rice, Korean short ribs, and a kimchee salsa wrapped up in a toasted seaweed "taco shell."  I don't think two tacos would have been satisfying for a breakfast, but one certainly was as an appetizer!

Namu is a great example of the wide array of street food choices we enjoy here in San Francisco.  I am going to check my twitter feed and figure out where I am eating next for lunch ...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Porchetta, Revisited

Men's Health magazine just voted RoliRoti's porchetta sandwich the top Street Eat in America.  It reminded me of my inaugural blog post, and also that it is almost lunchtime! Wishing it was Thursday so that I could get one at the Farmers' Market...