Great San Francisco Food Streets

As visitors are coming to town to San Francisco, there are a couple of streets here that offer a great variety of eateries without hurting your purses or wallets too much.

Enter the graffiti-filled Polk Street, which has a great variety of ethnic and international food ranging from Mexican cocktails, Moroccan food, Indian buffets, super cheat groceries, to fine diners including Michelin-starred La Folie and the romantic Italian Aquerello.

Next is Kearny Street, which links up the financial district and Chinatown to the Union Square.

Here choices include Greek eateries, Japanese curry and ramen, Thai food, International Food Court, American Classics, Cantonese flagship (R&G), and many popular boba tea places. There is an EscapeSF outfit now, which visitors should try. It is rated the top 2 most fun games in SF by Trip Advisors.

Happy New Year of the Fire Rooster

The first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rooster will be on January 28 when you will hear “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or “Gong Hey Fat Choi” well wishes (they both mean wishing you abundance of wealth.)

This year is one for the fire Rooster; the last time this occurred was in 1957. For each zodiac sign, there are five types – gold, wood, water, fire, and earth. Each type has a different personality.

Everything is celebrated in red – you will see children wearing red jackets, adults giving red packets to the younger ones, good tidings written on red paper, etc.

San Francisco and London have apparently the largest celebrations outside Asia.

Let us celebrate the Chinese New Year with some scenes from the flower markets last weekend in The San Francisco Chinatown – lots of red!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and energetic year of the Rooster!!

First, a beautiful red Rooster from Guangdong, China!

Wishing you abundance every year!


All sorts of Rooster ornaments!


The sound of the mandarin orange in Chinese resembles luck and blessings.

 The most popular surnames in China:

Amazing human flexibility and strength!


Some Kung Fu movements!


And sharing this beautiful rainbow photo shot by a neighbour during our stormy weekend!

img_4001

What Chronotype Are You?

Who doesn’t want a better night of sleep?

I recently heard a wonderful interview with Dr. Michael Breus about sleep – in order to get better sleep, you need to know if it is your drivers/initiators of sleep (something called “adenosine” that is built up in your system to cause you to feel sleepy which then gets dissipated after you have slept) or if it is your circadian rhythm/biological clock that is giving you problems.  He also advocates natural methods rather than necessarily a pill to fix the problem.  Also despite conventional advocate of 8 hours a sleep and a bedtime by 10am, actually everyone needs different amount of sleep and has a different “right” time to go to bed.

As he is launching his new book, the Power of When, in September, he is sharing a quiz to identify what chronotype each person falls into.  His book will go into details the best time to do anything – the time and how much for sleep as well –  for each chronotype.  Sounds interesting, and the quiz is fun to do.

It turns out I am a Bear.

Let me know what type you are!

Hong Kong Night and Day
Are you a night owl or a morning person?  Day and Night in Hong Kong photo.

 

Flower Piano in the San Francisco Botanical Garden

To a piano player and a garden lover like myself, when I heard about the Flower Piano event (July 7-18) at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at the Golden Gate Park, I was overjoyed and could not wait to be a part of it.

With the sponsorship of Sunset Piano, 12 pianos are tucked among flower-filled gardens, beautiful ponds, redwood trees, all free for the public to play. There are scheduled performances as well. The garden has become a public concert hall, and with the beautiful surroundings of over 8000 kinds of plants, it is hard to imagine a better way to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon.  It was amazing to hear all the talents coming out from the audiences to play their favourite music – classical, jazz, self-composed music, or just kids trying their hands on the piano. Some of the ambiance and acoustics were just surreal. Though I have seldom practiced my piano these days, I still managed to play in 6 of the 12 pianos today, performing Debussy and Yiruma’s works, basked in the audience’s appreciative claps, to which I was equally grateful and pleased.

These are some of the flower pianos I have played on today – no photos of mine but nevertheless still very fun and memorable.

How your iPhone can hold all your music scores!

And here is one of the pieces I played – the First Arabesque by Debussy. I have a feeling I will go back at the end of the week to play again and participate in a community sing-along, too.

I love poke

I was much inspired by this post by one of my favourite food bloggers: nourishedkitchen.com, and so I “made” my first poke (pronounced as POH-keh.)  Poke is a local Hawaiian favourite and is fresh, raw ahi tuna marinated in various combinations of asian sauces, seaweed, roe, onion, green onion, seasoning, and essentially whatever you think is delicious.  Poke is both hot and cold, raw and cooked, served with steamed rice or sushi rice.

I have bought some sushi, and rainbow roll for dinner, but instead of just eating it the normal way, one piece after next, I decided to pick apart all the raw fish and make a poke.

Ingredients:

Raw ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellow tail (your favourite raw fish) cut into small pieces

Avocado – chopped into small squares

Macadamia nuts or walnuts – finely chopped

Green onion – chopped nicely

Seaweed

Sesame seed

Avocado or tahini paste (since I don’t have avocado)

For the sauce:

Squeeze the juice of half an orange

Red chili flakes or cayenne pepper

Sesame Oil

Pink sea salt or Tamari soy sauce

Steps:

1.  Steam some white rice or short grain Japanese sushi rice (in my case I took the easy way out and just put the leftover rice at the bottom of my bowl.)

2. Toss your raw fish with the avocado (or tahini), macadamia nuts, and chopped green onion.  Then pour the sauce on top and marinate.

3. Put the fish marinate over the rice and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Voila!  A beautiful poke.  Perfect for the summer months.

Poke

For a discussion of a more elaborate way of making poke, please read here.

Update:

The poke trend is certainly hitting San Francisco.  This new Poki Time place in the Sunset area looks like will do very well.

poke time
Courtesy of Yelp

Update 2:

Got to love Nami-san’s video to make Poke Bowl – very nice and easy -ITADAKIMASU!