Date Night at Tambo Peruvian (Oakland)

07.05.14

We randomly chose Tambo Restaurant for dinner during the July 4th holiday weekend we where pretty much did not do anything but eat, sleep and watch movies.

Located in Downtown Oakland, it is a casual place that is family-friendly yet nice enough for a cozy date night.

Every dish we had was good and tasty. However, for the price point and portions, Tambo will not be a place where we will go back for repeat dinner. We had:

  • Complimentary croquettes
  • Empanada sampler           $17
  • Lomo Saltado (E’s order)  $18
  • Arroz Inti (for me)              $22
  • A glass of CP Chardonnay Reserva $9

It was very noticeable that they were holding back on the amount of the major ingredients. Sorry to say, to the point of stingy-ness.  I do understand that they source their ingredients from Oakland’s local farms. I do appreciate that.   My guy had few little pieces of beef over a bed of fries in his Lomo Saltado. Not a great value for $18. (Lomo Saltado is similar to Filipino bistek which is beef marinated in soy sauce, lime and onions.)

My Arroz Inti was a Chinese-influenced Peruvian dish. I had ONE shrimp with some seafood in my fried rice. It was mostly rice. This has been the most expensive fried rice that I have had so far for $22. It tasted good, though.

I did not care for the wine. It was very light-bodied but to be fair, it tasted better when I drank it with my dish.

Peruvian food is among my most favorite cuisines. We had made our rounds in San Francisco’s more known Peruvian restaurants such as Limon, Fresca, La Fusion, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, La Fina Estampa and Piqueo. I think I have an adequate enough experience of Peruvian restaurants to make a fair comparison.

Click here to see my post on Fresca for comparison. Lots more food for $4 more, right?

Aside from La Mar which is fine dining Peruvian, we have left the ones I have mentioned above with a full belly and doggy bag for about the same check we had at Tambo. However, at Tambo, we were still a little hungry later sans leftover. (Leftovers make me happy!) :/

Total: $87 including tip, a glass of wine and iced tea

Just Okay. ♡ 

Life in Pics: 07.26.14

This week has been very uneventful. There were no girlfriends lunch dates and there were hardly any food pics on my phone this week. I was so busy that I barely got out of my office. However, it was a productive and quiet week.

Highlights:

  • A PARKING TICKET on Tuesday!!!! $66! I did not know that it was street cleaning day! @#!$#&!
  • It has been upper 70s/low 80s HOT! HOT! HOT!
  • Therefore it was “sandals weather.” A good excuse to buy a new pair of cute wedge sandals at Nordstrom Rack. Love that they are so comfy!
  • Proud of myself for bringing my lunch all week aside from a lunch of Chicken Cobb Salad from San Francisco Soup Company.
  • Peach season and I love peaches! I am also proud of myself for choosing to buy peaches instead of pastries from the Farmers’ Market. Healthier eating this week.

Thankful for another week that was full of simple pleasures and blessings.

Note to Self: Get out more next week during lunch time!

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Honorary BFF’s Birthday Celebration at Smuggler’s Cove (SF)

Russell and I have been friends for about 14 years now. It has become a tradition in our friendship for me to organize a birthday party for him every year. As I am writing this right now, those years are starting to come back. We celebrated at Ti Couz, Bar Bambino and Bossa Nova in San Francisco. (All of these places are already closed.) There was one year when his parents and sister drove up to SF for his birthday and I was invited to the family dinner. And just now, I am remembering that we were together on his birthday while we were in Northampton in Massachusetts 8 years ago. Wow! So many memories of friendships. I am sure that I will be remembering more later.

For Russell’s birthday this year, I made sure that it was at Smuggler’s Cove. His partner has been wanting to share a Scorpion Bowl with us after seeing a picture of us girls sharing a fiery cocktail in a skull bowl. It has become a private joke in their relationship.

As always, A was the first one at the venue. Even after arriving at SC just minutes after it opened, the bar was already packed. We could not get a table. The rest arrived — me, H, J, Russell’s partner, Russell (who was late) and our long-lost friend Mike. We ordered a round of Rum Barrel while hoping for a table to become available. We never got a table but we still had lots of fun sitting at the bar. The pirate-themed place with colorful glass orbs is enough to make one feel naughty.

When we finally accepted that we will not get to sit at a table, we finally decided to order the Scorpion Bowl. Finally, Russell and his partner were able to share a bowl after joking about it all these years! The only caveat was the cocktail was not served in a skull as the two dreamed of. We saw the skull bowl in a corner being used to hold oranges. Oh, well, we just have to come back again. This has been our second time at Smuggler’s Cove. It is always fun and the drinks are always very yummy (and strong).

BFF H also made a party favor of lollipop with Russell’s name on it. So cute and so thoughtful. 

Happy Birthday, Russell. Have many, many more and I will always make sure to organize a fun celebration for you! xoxo

07.17.14

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100 Happy Moments 

     15. English Toffee And A Hot Cup Of Coffee

Little John’s Candies (SF)

"Crafting Smiles Since 1924"

I often manage to avoid this candy shop which is not far from work by crossing the street and not walking by it.  The shop is just a couple of years old but you will be transformed into old fashioned candy shop once you step into the store.  The candies are all made on site and the shop smells of Christmas (my most favorite scents in the world) — vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and sugar— even on a hot summer day in San Francisco.

Somehow Little John manages to find me at work. When I walked in today, a  box of English Toffee Crunch was waiting for me in our staff lounge. It kept on trying to make eye contact and I finally allowed myself to be seduced.  I broke off a small piece of sugary heaven and savored it with a hot cup of coffee.

Sugar high on a Friday morning. Delicious!

TGIF and Happy Friday, everyone!

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Week in Pics: 07.19.14
LUNCH DATE:  Ramen at Ajisen (SF) with BFF Edel on Monday.
BEING GIRLIE:  Got my hair done on Wednesday at Fringe Salon in SF. Love my stylist and I always feel happy everytime I pamper myself.
CRAVINGS:   I just had to indulge my Falafel Wrap  cravings at Gyro King at Civic Center (SF).
SWEET PASTRIES: I try to limit eating pastry to just one per week but since I discovered a pastry vendor at the Farmer’s Market, I could not resist the Blueberry Mango Pastry on top of my weekly Almond Croissant.  Now I am in trouble!
HEALTHY EATING: I could not resist these heirloom tomatoes as I was passing by our local produce store. I made an heirloom tomato salad which turned out to be not just delicious but beautiful with its vibrant colors.
CONFESSIONS: I ate a deep-fried pastrami and sauerkraut egg roll from Morty’s Deli (SF)  because my guy wanted a pastrami sandwich for our Friday dinner. I did not have anything else that I wanted on the menu so I got this. I just had to blame it on somebody! Not bad but I usually do not eat “bad” stuff like this! Yikes!
CELEBRATIONS: Celebrated honorary BFF Russ’ bday at Smuggler’s Cove with his partner, the girls and another friend we have not seen in a years. BFF Heather made a  party favor of lollipop with the bday boy’s name on it. Very thoughtful and cute! Had so much fun.
"It is not perfect but it still is a happy and well-lived life."

Week in Pics: 07.19.14

  • LUNCH DATE:  Ramen at Ajisen (SF) with BFF Edel on Monday.
  • BEING GIRLIE:  Got my hair done on Wednesday at Fringe Salon in SF. Love my stylist and I always feel happy everytime I pamper myself.
  • CRAVINGS:   I just had to indulge my Falafel Wrap  cravings at Gyro King at Civic Center (SF).
  • SWEET PASTRIES: I try to limit eating pastry to just one per week but since I discovered a pastry vendor at the Farmer’s Market, I could not resist the Blueberry Mango Pastry on top of my weekly Almond Croissant.  Now I am in trouble!
  • HEALTHY EATING: I could not resist these heirloom tomatoes as I was passing by our local produce store. I made an heirloom tomato salad which turned out to be not just delicious but beautiful with its vibrant colors.
  • CONFESSIONS: I ate a deep-fried pastrami and sauerkraut egg roll from Morty’s Deli (SF) because my guy wanted a pastrami sandwich for our Friday dinner. I did not have anything else that I wanted on the menu so I got this. I just had to blame it on somebody! Not bad but I usually do not eat “bad” stuff like this! Yikes!
  • CELEBRATIONS: Celebrated honorary BFF Russ’ bday at Smuggler’s Cove with his partner, the girls and another friend we have not seen in a years. BFF Heather made a  party favor of lollipop with the bday boy’s name on it. Very thoughtful and cute! Had so much fun.

"It is not perfect but it still is a happy and well-lived life."

Date Night Dessert @ Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor (Oakland)

07.13.14

My guy was pinning for ice cream after dinner at Lungomare at Jack London Square. He was craving Fenton’s Ice Cream worse than a woman who is PMS-ing. LOL! When we saw the super-long line at Fenton’s, we said “no way.” We just started driving around looking for an ice cream parlor. He was the one who thought of Dreyer’s. Bingo! 

Dreyer’s does not have a cool neighborhood history as Fenton’s that goes way back 120 years ago. I do not think it has ever been featured in a movie unlike Fenton’s where it made a cameo appearance in the Pixar movie “Up!” However,  Dreyer’s satisfied our ice cream cravings that afternoon. I had the single scoop of coffee ice cream which was simple, creamy and delicious. My guy had a bowl of ice cream sundae. We sat at the sidewalk bistro tables which was perfect on a lovely summer evening. 

Note to Self: Still have to eat at Fenton’s before I can cross if off my summer list.

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Jack London Square (Oakland)

07.12.14

07.12.14 @ Lungomare (Jack London Square in Oakland)

Close enough to home, not a lot of driving or walking but right next to the water, a finer dining….where to go? Jack London Square! Just minutes from the house and it meets all of the above criteria.

Our date nights lately have been a simple “let’s get out of the house before Saturday turns into Sunday” and eat somewhere. This Saturday, though, I wanted a nicer sit down dining experience. Lungomare, a New American-Italian restaurant located at the waterfront with a million dollar view of Jack London Square harbor, is perfect for such whims.

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It was a lovely day but a little windy. Lungomare is a beautiful restaurant with tasteful and classy decor. There was a patio with roaring fire in the fireplace but we decided to dine inside. The view was awesome and perfect for sipping my Bloody Mary (which I found to be too tomato-ey but it was strong enough.)

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We started off with trio crudo $17. (Crudo means “raw” in Italian.) Really tiny serving and meant to be savored. We really enjoyed the very clean and fresh taste of the fish.

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We were thankful for the complimentary bread and sort of loaded up on them since we already anticipated the small portions.

My carnivore guy ordered Grilled Hanger Steak with Olive Oil Potatoes $29. He said that the steak was very good and tasty but he wished the portion was bigger.

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Everytime squid ink pasta is offered on the menu, I just cannot resist it. So I ordered the Squid Ink Chitarra with clams, cuttlefish and shrimp in white wine sauce $17. I really enjoyed this dish! The pasta was very toothsome and the flavors were simple but magnified. I could have eaten a second bowl.

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Verdict:

Lungomare is really about quality ingredients over quantity. It is about enjoying the freshness and taste of the food than about eating until you are stuffed. I guess you can do that by ordering more if you do not mind putting a dent in your wallet. It was quite a pricey dinner that left my guy still a little hungry but it just hit the spot for me.

$108 including one Bloody Mary, Iced Tea and tip

We took a little stroll at Jack London Square so I could take some pictures of the water and watched two long trains go by. Jack London Square is next to  railroad tracks where Amtrak station is also located. Dessert was at Dreyer’s Ice Cream at Rockridge. I really enjoyed this date night!

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100 Little Blessings #12
A Nice Refreshing Breeze 
The weather in the Bay Area has been pretty moody  this past two weeks. A gorgeous day can turn into a gloomy and chilly morning the next day, that would turn humid in a blink of an eye.  A nice refreshing breeze today was so welcome as I was walking home. It was not a harsh wind but the kind that made the leaves and flowers sway gently. While carrying my purse and heavy grocery bag back to my car, I was really thankful that the breeze accompanied me during my 15 minute walk. What a difference it made!

100 Little Blessings #12

A Nice Refreshing Breeze

The weather in the Bay Area has been pretty moody  this past two weeks. A gorgeous day can turn into a gloomy and chilly morning the next day, that would turn humid in a blink of an eye.  A nice refreshing breeze today was so welcome as I was walking home. It was not a harsh wind but the kind that made the leaves and flowers sway gently. While carrying my purse and heavy grocery bag back to my car, I was really thankful that the breeze accompanied me during my 15 minute walk. What a difference it made!

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07.14.14

There is a ramen war currently going on in SF. I have yet to pick up a pair of chopsticks to join the ramen crusade. Maybe one day but for now, I am happy to continue going to Ajisen to get my ramen fix. Many Bay Area foodies consider Ajisen “not worthy.” As for me I find Ajisen’s ramen tasty and satisfying enough. The broth is always flavorful and the noodles are al dente.

My mejor amiga Edel and I decided to hit up Ajisen once again for our lunch date this month. We love Ajisen’s convenient location at the San Francisco Shopping Center. (Click here to read our previous visit to Ajisen.)

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She ordered a  (funny-shaped) fried fish with rice this time. I watched her really enjoy it.  She also said that it was really good. It came with a thick dipping sauce.

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I ordered a pork and corn ramen with tonkatsu broth  because I was craving corn. Just like with my previous experiences at Ajisen, the broth’s flavors was rich and deep enough.

With a wonderful hour of friendship, our meal at Ajisen was very enjoyable. My bowl was neither too big nor too small. It just hit that spot. Edel’s portion was generous that she had to take the rest home. Our meal was $19 plus change before tip.

Thanks, amiga, for the lovely lunch and present. The next month’s lunch date is on me!!! xoxo

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PS I was thrilled to find out that there are Ajisen Ramen spots in Metro Manila Philippines as well!