Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Baladie's Hummus

Baladie Gourmet Cafe on Kearny near Pine is a cheap and delicious spot for a Mediterranean meal or snack, and the hummus is absolutely to die for. Thick and creamy, it really is stellar. The Dip Platter is a gorgeous meal and offers hummus, baba ghanouj, two falafel, olives and pita wedges. Among many other items, also worthwhile are the Iron Bowl, lentil soup over rice with chicken, fresh spinach and sauteed onions; the Feta Pita Pocket, Chicken Gyro with amazing tzaziki sauce, Spinach Salad and the Fatoush salad. The portions are huge and the food is authentic and tasty. There are a few tables in the venue but it's more of a grab-and-go type of spot.

Baladie Gourmet Cafe
337 Kearny Street in San Francisco

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Hour at Mexico DF

I am quite a fan of happy hour generally speaking, but happy hours that offer up inexpensive drinks as well as free food? Something to be sought out and enjoyed for sure. Mexico DF is a charming spot just South of Market that has just such a happy hour on weekdays from 4 to 6pm. The bar area is somewhat small and can easily get crowded, but it adds to the hip and fun vibe for the most part. Decor is minimal but attractive - exposed brick walls, hues of golden wood abound, dim lighting via interesting and funky fixtures, and black and white electronic paintings featuring Mexican people, scenes and other landscapes that change over time.
Drink specials include house sparking, red and white wines as well as margaritas for $5. On offer last week as far as food goes was a neat trio of fried cubes of cheese, slices jicama with olive oil and cilantro flakes and spiced roasted peanuts. The cheese had a texture similar to feta but the flavor was a bit milder. The broader menu is appealing too if you decide to make an evening at the restaurant. Hope you can escape from work at a decent hour one day soon and enjoy happy hour at Mexico DF.

Mexico DF
139 Steuart Street in San Francisco

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Healthy and Hearty Black Bean Chili

If the chilly and gray weather has you in the mood for a warm bowl of delicious and healthy chili, this recipe is for you. It's simple and tasty and perfect for warming up body and soul. Enjoy.

Black Bean Chili
For the seasoning mix -
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons of oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
For the chili -
1 pound lean ground turkey (lean ground beef is good too)
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with no salt added
1 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, cored and seeded, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 ounce can of corn, drained
2 16 ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh parsley for garnish
Mix seasonings together. In a large pot, spray a bit of cooking spray and add meat. Saute until browned. Add seasoning mix and all of the other ingredients except the corn and black beans. Simmer for 2 hours. Add beans and corn during last 20 minutes of cooking. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley and add shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese if desired. Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

SF Dine About Town

To help ease into the new year, why not take advantage of San Francisco's Dine About Town, whereby you can enjoy gourmet, 3-course meals at some of SF's best restaurants. The deal goes from January 15 through 30, and it's $21.95 for lunch and $31.95 for dinner, excluding tax, tip and beverages. For the list of participating restaurants please visit
These events aren't necessarily the best option for me since I already dine out fairly often and don't really eat dessert, but it is a great opportunity to try new places for sure. Notable participating restaurants include A16, bacar, Baraca, Cassis, Destino, Fringale, One Market, RNM, and The Public.

Tasty and Hearty Frittata

Hope 2008 is off to a great start for you. I recently went to a friend's place for a little soiree she was hostessing, and I had a nice bottle of wine to share but also wanted to bring something that's fairly transportable and also generally appealing and great for snacking on. I decided to bring a delicious assortment of frittatas. This is a recipe for one of my favorites. Enjoy.

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Frittata
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3 small potatoes, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup zucchini, sliced thinly
3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
6 slices of Prosciutto, roasted
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh basil leaves, sliced in a chiffonade (pile the leaves on top of each other and roll up and slice)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roast the slices of prosciutto on a baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges crisp and brown a bit. Let cool and slice into strips about 3/4-inch wide.
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. In an 8 1/2-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, shallot, and another pinch of salt. Saute, stirring constantly, until the onion starts to brown, 5 - 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini and prosciutto, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Slide everything out of the skillet onto a plate and set aside.
Turn down the heat a bit. Using the same skillet, add the eggs and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are just set and there isn't a lot of liquid running around the pan. To the eggs add the potato onion mixture over the top.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 9 minutes, or until well set and puffy. Add a crumble of goat cheese and the basil across the top of the frittata in the final 2 minutes of baking. Remove from oven (be careful the handle is hot), cut into wedges and serve and enjoy. Great with a side salad and a glass of wine. Good for any meal as well.