I thought I had to bid farewell to Texas when I flew out of Dallas at the end of December, but my friends and I had an impromptu reunion in Austin, Texas this past weekend. Two of us are on the west coast, two of us are on the east coast, and Austin was right in between with affordable flights and housing. Before I knew it, I was mural-hopping, food truck-exploring, and wandering around this quirky Texas city. With only a weekend in the city we had one main mission: eat as much delicious food as possible.
It’s been so rainy and gloomy in San Francisco lately, and my body just wants carbs and cheese, preferably with some bacon mixed in. California might bring to mind perpetual summer and sun-kissed palm trees, but I’ve quickly learned that it actually rains for a good chunk of Bay Area winters. Still, I get a quiet enjoyment out of eating a steamy bowl of cheesy pasta as rain drips down my window. It’s a comforting, delicious, and maybe not the best for you but also not the worst for you kind of food.
Spam is kind of a scary, questionable mystery meat – like what is it made out of really? I normally try not to eat heavily processed foods, but Spam has the big plus that it is canned and thus can last through the apocalypse and still be good when I want to eat it. It is also a delicious addition to fried rice and can act as a flavor anchor for the entire dish. The crispy bits of savory and salty meat go so well with the fresh white rice, fluffy egg, and crisp veggies. If you’re particularly Spam averse, hot dog or sausage work as a great substitute.
Fried rice is also the first thing I ever learned how to make and remains my go to comfort food. Asian-inspired dishes like my Dad’s sweet and sour ribs and tofu stir fry always remind me of home. The best part is that spam fried rice is so easy to whip up and can be made with ingredients that have a long shelf life.
I love making my own baked goods, but I also love sampling baked goods that I wouldn’t be able to make at home. This past Saturday I organized a “Bun in the Oven” baby shower bakery crawl for my older sister to taste the best treats that San Francisco has to offer. While marveling at the fact that I’ll soon be an aunt (hello adulthood), I also managed to eat a remarkable amount of pastries. Flaky croissants, giant donuts, and perfect cannoli – this bakery crawl itinerary has it all. This crawl is designed to take 2-3 hours with ~50 minutes of walking and goes over a relatively flat area with some beautiful views of the Bay.
Let’s talk about tofu – the wonderfully underrated protein-rich food that is often abused by being eaten raw in salads. First tip on making tofu taste delicious – don’t eat it raw with spinach. As a dedicated meat-eater who loves tofu, I also would encourage you to view it as more than a meat substitute. It’s a wonderful ingredient for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters to enjoy! There’s nothing I love better than a savory tofu and veggie stir fry seasoned with some spices and soy sauce and paired with a hot bowl of rice. This recipe takes 30 minutes to bring together and results in a colorful and healthy blend of vibrant vegetables and flavorful chunks of tofu.
As you might have noticed from my posts on shortbread and gingerbread, I have a soft spot for sweets and cookies. I will happily eat dessert at any time of the day – but when I’m not munching on brownies for breakfast, I love making a chocolate berry oatmeal that takes about 5 minutes and smells suspiciously like Cocoa Puffs. The cocoa powder provides that rich chocolate flavor and the berries give a hint of fresh sweetness. It’s perfect for when I’m trying to eat a little cleaner or just want something warm and comforting to start my day. The best part for me? It’s made of only 3 affordable, non-perishable items that I can keep in the pantry even when I’m traveling for work!
It’s a Sunday morning in SF and maybe you’re a little (or a lot) hungover, maybe you’re doing okay. But regardless, you know that in an hour you have to be at brunch. Because brunch in SF isn’t just a meal – it’s a lifestyle. New Yorkers will wait in line for the club, SF residents will wait 2.5 hours to get a seat at Plow (am I guilty of this? Unfortunately so). Lines stretch around the block, and at the end lies the promise of perfect Eggs Benedict, Instagram-worthy charcoal pancakes, or a savory slab of Millionaire’s Bacon. There’s a plethora of restaurants to choose from, but as an SF resident with a passion for brunch, I humbly present my to-go list of brunch spots. Wait times are from my experience for tables of 2 around 11am 🙂