Underground Brunch at I Forgot It’s Wednesday


I recently discovered a friend of a friend, Jenny Wang, is a magnificent chef who runs an underground dinner and brunch club, I Forgot It’s Wednesday, out of her Lower Haight home with her partner in cooking and life Matt.

A Sales Operations Specialist at Hired by day, Jenny uses her culinary school background to concoct unbelievable meals on the evenings and weekends. Delicious food and impeccable presentation aside (you’ll see in the photos ;), their apartment is rustic chic, gifted with ample natural light and makes you feel right at home. My only regret? I forgot to snap a photo of Matt’s beautiful Bloody Mary and mimosa bar! I’ve never had a Bloody Mary quite like Matt’s 🙂 I hear the secret ingredient is pho broth!

Jenny and Matt made spiced pop corn for appetizers

Jenny and Matt made spiced pop corn for appetizers

Matt and Jenny's beautiful table

Matt and Jenny’s beautiful table

Jenny made the terrariums herself

Jenny made the terrariums herself

Our brunch menu! 3 courses of deliciousness

Our brunch menu! 3 courses of deliciousness

Multicolored beet and goat cheese gem with parsley and jicama in satsuma-argan oil vinaigrette to kick things off

Multicolored beet and goat cheese gem with parsley and jicama in satsuma-argan oil vinaigrette to kick things off

Rosemary & mullberry buttermilk loaf, millionaire's bacon, 64 degree egg, whipped yogurt, watermelon radish, baby kale and scallions. Yum!

Rosemary & mullberry buttermilk loaf, millionaire’s bacon, 64 degree egg, whipped yogurt, watermelon radish, baby kale and scallions. Yum!

And to polish things off, kettle corn-infused panna cotta, Dick Taylor dark chocolate shavings, granny smith apples, and a sweet stout reduction for an air from the fair

And to polish things off, kettle corn-infused panna cotta, Dick Taylor dark chocolate shavings, granny smith apples, and a sweet stout reduction for an air from the fair

Not pictured: Matt’s Bloody Mary and mimosa bar, and the sorbets served in pho soup to cleanse our palates right before dessert. Jenny tries out a different combination each time, and to welcome spring we were served kiwi, lemon and dill sorbets. And I almost forgot the peanut butter and bourbon cream filled oreos at the very end.

Jenny, you always know how to treat us 🙂

Renegade Craft Fair in SF


I had so much fun at the Renegade Craft’s fair today! Thanks again to Eli for sending me the link 🙂

This was one of those deals where I took way too many pictures, so this 1st blog post back will be skimpy on words, but very rich in images. Enjoy!

The Venue

The Venue

The first thing we see - free jerky. Yum =3

The first thing we see – free jerky. Yum =3

There were lots of cool succulents!

 

Do-it yourself wool buddy kits

Do-it yourself wool buddy kits

Knit jewelry

Knit jewelry

Coolest mobile, EVER!

Coolest mobile, EVER!

Sure! We can be friends.

Sure! We can be friends.

I roamed the warehouse for 1 hour before I finally found the crowing jewel of the fair: adorable little macaroons.

I roamed the warehouse for 1 hour before I finally found the crowing jewel of the fair: adorable little macaroons.

I know I should share... but they're so darn good!

I know I should share… but they’re so darn good!

Lil' pumpkins

Lil’ pumpkins

Warby Parker is so November. Now, the hippest get their glasses here!

Warby Parker is so November. Now, the hippest get their glasses here!

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Custom-made leather guitar straps with cats? Check!

Custom-made leather guitar straps with cats? Check!

I'm so excited about this place! I bought some of their hand lotions as Christmas presents - they were founded to donate to good causes. Check them out at curelifeproducts.com

I’m so excited about this place! I bought some of their hand lotions as Christmas presents – they were founded to donate to good causes. Check them out at curelifeproducts.com

Quick photo break. Such an amazing view :)

Quick photo break. Such an amazing view 🙂

Lil' kiddy onesies with cats!

Lil’ kiddy onesies with cats!

More delicious snackage

More delicious snackage

Did I mention there was a lot of very tempting food?

Did I mention there was a lot of VERY tempting food?

Cacti!

Cacti!

Such cute owls

Such cute owls

Couldn't get over these awesome displays!

Couldn’t get over these awesome displays!

Display 2

There were lots of beautiful succulents

There were lots of beautiful succulents

Have they revealed the winner yet? I want a hammock...

Have they revealed the winner yet? I want a hammock…

SFSU students taught fair goers to make oil prints!

SFSU students taught fair goers to make oil prints!

Yum

Yum

Bowties!

Bowties!

Clam homes for hermit succulents? Oh so hipster, but perfectly adorable...

Clam homes for hermit succulents? Oh so hipster, but perfectly adorable…

These were so cool! I really wanted to get one for my apartment. I wonder if I could make one ;)

These were so cool! I really wanted to get one for my apartment. I wonder if I could make one 😉

Oh so foxay

Oh so foxay

Knit cupcakes. Delectable!

Knit cupcakes. Delectable!

Mew!

Mew!

Will your puppy be a frog or a rainbow next Halloween?

Will your puppy be a frog or a rainbow next Halloween?

And that’s it for Part 1! I’ll see you all very shortly for the last photos 😉

A New Lunch On a Discount Every Day With Go Dish


Imagine my surprise when I bumped into a cheerful girl handing out not sunglasses like that guy the day before, but colorful foodie cards on the street corner I used to cross on my daily pilgrimage to the San Francisco Soup Company. Yes, “used to cross”, because I read and that card and embarked on some pretty darn tasty lunch adventures! But back to the point, this enthusiastic marketing gal struck up a conversation with me and asked for my business card so I could interview her bosses about Go Dish. I loved that she was so invested in this startup and that this was a blend of 2 of my favorite things: tech and food, so of course I had to go for it.

Before I start waxing poetic on my latest lunch discoveries, let’s at least give you a quick intro to Go Dish. Co-founders Jaydon Robinson and Ryan Jones worked together in the hospitality industry doing some magical numerical tricks to help ski resorts, airlines and hotels maximize their revenue with variable pricing. While skiing is amazing, let’s face it, these 2 gentlemen have a passion for food they just couldn’t deny and had a gut feeling their numerical exploits could help small business owners in today’s competitive restaurant industry. Plus, they just knew it would be brilliant since lunch was pretty much all they and their coworkers would talk about all morning!

So what is variable pricing anyway and how does it make foodies and lunch goers all over the Financial District happy? Variable pricing is simply the practice of lowering or increasing pricing based on a variable, in this case, pick-up time. Jaydon and Ryan interviewed dozens of restaurant owners and realized that one of their biggest challenges was what I like to call “rush hour traffic.” Most patrons come in during the same 1-2 hour span for lunch or 2-3 hour span for dinner, and the restaurant churns along at a sleepy lull outside of peak times, but expenses like lease and electricity don’t go down when there are just a few customers, so the fix is to bring more in and space them out. Go Dish helps with both. By offering a varying discount on dishes depending on when a patron comes in, Go Dish spaces patrons out so wait times are shorter (regulars don’t get discouraged by the crowd) and lunch goers enjoy a nice little discount. Go Dish also serves as a sort of Yelp, offering a rotating menu of lunch options from dozens of restaurants. I’ve actually been using it to discover new places to eat (I love Yelp, but it doesn’t give me a discount to the new spots it helps me discover.)

And now for a couple of great entrepreneurship lessons Jaydon and Ryan generously shared with me:

  1. There is absolutely no reason to build everything out ASAP. Their minimum viable product was just a prototype of what the app looked like. None of the buttons worked but they showed it to people and asked them what the value was for them, gauged how willing they were to engage with it. Be creative in testing what people do and don’t like. There’s no point in throwing resources into something before you know it’ll work.
  2. It’s been beaten to death, but you need to be able to hook people with a stellar 1-2 line explanation (aka your elevator pitch.) Restaurant owners are accosted by so many reps from daily deals sites Jaydon and Ryan had to figure out how to cut through the noise and differentiate themselves. The trick was to show them the value right away. Don’t lead in with a long story or flowery example, just get to the heart of the matter and show them how you’ll make their lives better.
  3. Not all advice is created equal. The best piece of advice anyone gave them was that a lot of people are going to tell you how to do things, but you have to figure out what makes sense for you and your business model. Stay open-minded, take it all in, and then assess which will help you reach your goals.

Last but not least, the part everyone’s been waiting for, the food! In true food porn form, here are just a few of the delectable dishes I’ve been chowing down on thanks to Go dish.

Prawn Pad Thai from Vanda Siam

Prawn Pad Thai from Vanda Siam

 

Burrata & Tomato (not shown) Salad from Taverna Aventine

Burrata & Tomato (not shown) Salad from Taverna Aventine

Enjoy more pictures of those daily deals on their Twitter handle.

Read up on other startup interviews and trends here 🙂

Beautiful Downtown Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara is officially one of my favorite places in California! It was pretty tough leaving after just a day and a half…

Our Airbnb hosts made and hung this homey Santa Barbara guide in our bedroom!

Our Airbnb hosts made and hung this homey Santa Barbara guide in our bedroom!

La Arcada, a sweet spot smack dab in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara full of great restaurants and brunch spots

La Arcada, a sweet spot smack dab in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara full of great restaurants and brunch spots

First thing you see down this charming alley way is a fountain full of fish

First thing you see down this charming alley way is a fountain full of fish

State and Fig came so highly recommended we had to stop there for brunch our 1st morning, and I can't rave about it enough! Click on this pic for my Yelp review

State and Fig came so highly recommended we had to stop there for brunch our 1st morning, and I can’t rave about it enough! Click on this pic for my Yelp review

It's a little corny, but one of the cutest things about La Arcada and downtown Santa Barbara were all the statues of little critters

It’s a little corny, but one of the cutest things about La Arcada and downtown Santa Barbara were all the statues of little critters

We saw these sweet electric buses driving around downtown!

We saw these sweet electric buses driving around downtown!

We found this little house used for Japanese tea ceremonies in the heart of the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

We found this little house used for Japanese tea ceremonies in the heart of the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens

Can you see the goldfish?

Can you see the goldfish?

We decided to wander around downtown and look for dinner when our Airbnb hosts' recommendations ended up being too busy, and ended up trying Brazilian food for the 1st time. In short: big success! This pic is linked to my Yelp review too.

We decided to wander around downtown and look for dinner when our Airbnb hosts’ recommendations ended up being too busy, and ended up trying Brazilian food for the 1st time. In short: big success! This pic is linked to my Yelp review too.

Chocolate Pear Yogurt Cake


I decided to try out a new recipe for my boyfriend’s dad’s birthday and proceeded to make a fine mess of the whole thing.

Yum!

Here’s how to make it successfully!

First, here’s what you’ll need:

The Ingredients

  • Plain yogurt — pay very close attention to its size since it’s what you’ll be using to measure the rest of your ingredients. I used a 2lb container of Trader Joe’s Plain, Nonfat Organic yogurt. (The 2 lb container was enough for 3-4 cakes.)
  • The Recipe calls for 3 eggs, but I used 6 since my pot of yogurt was so big.
  • Use the yogurt container to measure out 3 pots of flour.
  • You’ll also need 1.5 pots of sugar.
  • The recipe mentions a “packet of baking powder” so I eyeballed 1-2 tablespoons.
  • 2-3 pears (per cake, or more!)
  • Chocolate powder (as much as you want.)
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lastly, use the same yogurt pot to measure out 3/4 pot of oil (I used vegetable oil.)

Directions:

  1. Measure out and mix the plain yogurt, flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, oil and chocolate powder.
  2. This is a good time to start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Then skin the pears, take out the core, and cut into pieces (I cut mine into pieces a little larger than quarters.)
  4. On about middle-heat, candy the pears in butter. This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Once they’re turning brown, add some powdered sugar (enough to cover all the pears with a light coating) and the vanilla extract.
  6. A minute or 2 later, your pears should be ready so add them to your dough.
  7. Prepare your cake mold: butter the bottom and sides, then add a handful of flour to the bottom to help it not stick.
  8. I put half the pears in the bottom of the mold, then added a layer of cake, and layered the rest of the pears on top. Having pears on the bottom did make it a bit tougher to serve…
  9. Once your oven is ready, put the mold (with cake and all) in. The recipe said to let it cook 25 minutes but mine took about 35 minutes. The mold I used was rather large and deep. I recommend setting your timer to 20 minutes and checking the cake every 10 minutes after (more often and you’ll lose all your heat.)
  10. The cake is ready once you can insert a knife into the center and it does not come out with chocolate goo.

And there you go! I let my cake cool before eating but this would probably be yummy warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce =3

Enjoy ❤

Dishcrawl — The Funnest Way to Try Out the Best Santana Row Has to Offer


I tried out 4 new restaurants in Santana Row Monday night! Oh, and I only paid $40 ;D

Such is the beauty of Dishcrawl =] You get to try out appetizers, dishes and desserts at restaurants famous for certain specialties without dishing out the big bucks. I love it!

The evening got off to a good start with a lovely stroll around Santana Row — the rich sure know how to do spectacular decor!

And now, for the food =3 Check out the delectable dishes I got to try out!

First, we all met at LB Steak*

There, we were treated to…

Tuna sashimi bruschetta and breaded eggplant with goat cheese

And potato chips made from roots! By far the tastiest chips I’ve ever had =3

Root chips

Next, we walked over to El Jardin.

 

 

Sangria & margaritas

 

Tilapia ceviche

Don’t remember what these were called ><;

Then on to Rosie McCann’s for some hearty Irish food!

 

Roasted portobello mushroom, fish & chips, and a slider =3

Last, but not least, we ended on a sweet note at the Olin Avenue Market =]

Gelato!

Know what the best part is? There’s one of these babies at least once a week! Check out their website to find one near you and go taste some amazing food =3 I’m considering the Cognac Tasting and Food Pairing one ;D

*I “borrowed” (winking, wink) most of these pictures from Dishcrawl’s Facebook album since they turned out so much better than the ones I took O=] Credits go to the wonderful Ms. Cindy Garcia.

Startup to Watch: Chompus


Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Eva Roa and Soon Khen Owyong about their startup, Chompus. Now, obviously I’m biased since they’re really good friends of mine from AIESEC San Jose, but I truly do think their startup has potential so I hope you’ll take the time to check them out online.

Eva and SK are 2nd and 3rd from the left respectively.

I tried out this cool recording app called iTalk to record our interview but the 20 minute file was too big to transfer so you unfortunately won’t get the chance to hear it.

I started out writing out a transcript but it was taking so long I finally gave up, so instead you’re getting the highlights!

Chompus is an application that connects event planners and students. Eva and SK have somehow discovered how to kill 2 birds with one stone: end student hunger and help event planners reach attendee targets.

Student hunger is a huge problem in the US, much more so than is commonly believed. I remember meeting SK shortly after he moved here from Malaysia. He lived off of $1 Burger King…. now he’s graduated to $1 carrots (kidding!) The point is, student hunger is a very real problem. Tuition is expensive, rent is expensive, and prices in general just keep going up!

The flip side is student organizations on campus. The easiest way to get students to attend events is to offer free food, but in Eva’s own words ” Everyone and their mother is advertising to get people to come to their events.” (Lol, love you Eva <3)

Chompus sends subscribees text message reminders of events offering free food. Badabing, Badaboom! (More eva right there ;D) Students can get food and students orgs can get more attendees!

I don’t want to make this too long so I’ll save the stories for another post — you can look forward to some advice on entrepreneurship as well as some really nice stories about what it was like starting Chompus in the next weeks.

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That’s all for now folks. Make sure to “like” Chompus on Facebook =]

PS: Chompus is hiring! Check out their marketing internships.