On average, we eat out once a month or less, so going out to dinner three times in one week is a pretty big deal. There was no particular reason for this restaurant extravaganza — not a crazy-busy week, no guests in town, nothing!
We kicked this spurt off with a Tuesday date night at Kitchen Kulture’s pop-up dinner series (at Local Harvest Café). The menu is small, especially once you rule out the meat and fish options, but sometimes it’s nice to have decisions made for you. On this particular night, the veg options were a green tea soba noodle dish and okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake), so we ordered one of each.
The soba noodle dish came out first, and it was delicious. I make some pretty good soba noodle dishes (toasted sesame oil is the key ingredient), but I particularly enjoyed the crunchy freshness of the bean sprouts and shredded red cabbage in Kitchen Kulture’s version.
The okonomiyaki was . . . interesting. The menu listed “bonito” and “nori” as ingredients in the dish. I know that nori is a type of seaweed, and, at a quick glance at the menu, I categorized bonito as a type of seaweed, also. The dish arrived smelling very fishy, but I rationalized that seaweed can smell and taste fishy. After I few bites, something clicked, and I realized that, no, bonito is a kind of fish, and our okonomiyaki was topped with dried fish flakes.
Anyhow, maybe this dish is an acquired taste, but neither Matthew nor I were big fans. At that point, we were pretty full from the soba dish anyway, so we ate about half of the pancake and brought the rest home, not entirely sure we’d eat it, but hating to waste food. (Once home, I scraped off most of the bonito flakes.) The next day I offered some to G and was rather surprised when he was totally into it! Kids — weird!
Unless you were under a rock somewhere, you probably heard that last Saturday (3/14/15) was Pi Day, and not just any Pi Day, but SUPER Pi Day (3.1415…). To celebrate the eponymous holiday, local pizza chain Pi had specials all week last week.
Thursday’s special was buy one large pizza, get the second large for just $3.14, so we met up with some friends for a pizza party! One Shenandoah (which I wrote about here) and one half-Berkeley, half-Western Addition.
Gabriel joined us for this meal, and, once the pizza arrived (he didn’t know why it took sooooo long), was quite content. Afterward, we enjoyed a bike ride home on a lovely evening.
On Monday night, we wrapped up our restaurant whirlwind at Sen Thai. This was our New Year’s Eve date destination, and after a very yummy meal and good dining experience, we wanted to return and share the goodness with Gabriel.
Gabriel was on spring break this week, and our dinner was preceded by a special father-son outing.
Gabriel has been asking to visit The Arch for quite awhile now, and Matthew finally made it happen (at what was apparently the most inconvenient time to visit The Arch, EVER, given current construction work). I happily sat out for this portion of the day (claustrophobic much?) and just joined them for the food.
We tried one repeat dish (Cashew Nut Noodles) and one new dish (Pad Eggplant). Both were delicious (and came out very quickly, which is great when dining with kids) — it’s always nice when you try something new and it works out well! I particularly enjoyed the flavors of the eggplant dish, and, early in the meal, I commented, “The eggplant is a winner” (referring to the dish as a whole).
Gabriel grabbed on to the phrase and spent the rest of the meal chowing down on Thai food and proclaiming, “This broccoli is a winner!” “This tofu is a winner!” Sometimes at a restaurant appropriate volume and sometimes not, but pretty darn cute!