Fish. - Sausalito

350 Harbor Dr
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-3474

Fish. (with a period, probably as a defining statement that it's regarded as the best seafood in town) is nestled near the docks of Sausalito and is a quiet getaway from all the hustle and bustle of the city noise and traffic. After we walked the main streets and boutiques of the charming Sausalito, we stopped by Fish., known for its sustainable seafood and organic produce. The outdoor picnic tables offer a great view of the waters and boats, while soaking in the sun rays. The menu could get a bit pricey ($21 for fish n' chips), but you will have a piece of mind knowing that what you are eating is fresh, organic, and sustainable.

Portuguese Red Chowder has fresh tomatoes, linguica, madeira, smoked paprika, cilantro, and local organic Sausalito Springs watercress...and drizzled with olive oil. The soup has nicely-balanced rich flavors, but nothing too awe-inspring.
Fish and Chips - This white Alaskan Halibut was cooked perfectly with a crunchy, crispy crust using Anchor Steam beer batter and is served with hand-cut potato wedges alongside house-made tartar sauce. The fish had a nice delicate crisp and had large chunks of fresh steamy fish.
Great casual restaurant, free parking, but it's a cash-only place! Fish. is well worth it for high-quality and delicious seafood!

Tartine Bakery (San Francisco)

600 Guerrero St. (@18th Street)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Pastry Chef: Elisabeth Prueitt /Baker: Chad Robertson(husband)

This neighborhood bakery and cafe does not have a storefront sign to indicate that it's Tartine Bakery. But you can't miss it with the long line of people that stretches around the corner all day long. Their pastries are made with organic flour, sugar and local eggs. They use organic produce as much as possible and many of their meats come from Niman Ranch.

"Tartine" in French is a piece of bread—any size, sliced or torn, grilled or not—on which something is spread such as jam and butter for an everyday breakfast, and also such things as tomatoes, goat cheese, and olive oil.
The bakery is very crowded so keep an eye out for tables while you're in line. Croque Monsieur ($8.25)
This is one of my favorites!! So crispy and all the flavors are a perfect blend. This open face sandwich is made with country bread, bechamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper and is topped with either smoked Niman Ranch ham, Cowgirl Creamery fromage blanc, or shitake mushrooms and seasonal vegetables. It is also served with housemade pickled carrots. Here is the croque with the ham and roasted tomatoes. Pain au Jambon with Gruyere and smoked ham ($3.75)
This croissant is another favorite. Somehow the ham and cheese croissants at other bakeries either don't put enough cheese or not enough ham or is not light and flakey.... Until this beautiful one at Tartine!
Bread Pudding - ($2.75-cup, $5.00-bowl)
A generous serving made with housemade brioche, topped with caramel and fresh fruit. Tartine serves the organic coffee Mr. Espresso and all dairy for the coffee bar is organic from Straus Family Creamery in Marin County.
Tartine Bakery is one of our must-stop place whenever we visit San Francisco. We always get a nostaligic hunger for their pastries and sandwiches whenever we come back home from SF. There are so many decadent pastries to try but can't do it all in one sitting. I suggest ordering a few to eat there and boxing more for home.


XOX Truffles (San Francisco)

XOX Truffles
754 Columbus Avenue (between Filbert & Greenwich)
San Francisco, CA 94133

One of the first stops when I arrive in San Francisco is XOX Truffles to get my chocolate fix. Located in North Beach, XOX Truffles is a small but very quaint shop that offers the finest handmade chocolate truffles created by Chef Jean-Marc Gorce. There are about 27 delicious and addicting flavors, each one just melting in your mouth like smooth butter. The truffles are very light, not too heavy, not too sweet, but so easy to eat that I can just pop a truffle in my watering mouth right after another. Here is the display of all the flavors...These decadent pieces are 75 cents a piece, or you can order in bulk. I think it was $10 for 20 pieces. Most of the truffles are dusted with cocoa powder, and some are coated with hazelnut (Noisette) or coffee crunch (French Roast). Some of the flavors I got were: Amaretto, Cognac, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Earl Grey, Champagne, Framboise/Raspberry, French Roast, and Noisette.

Caramel is one of my favorites. It melts quickly in the box, so eat this one first! Champagne and Dark Chocolate are classics. Not too sweet, just perfect! The Earl Grey truffle has very distinctive notes of that earl grey essence, which keeps me wanting more.
This is the Noisette truffle.
This is the finely dusted Dark Chocolate truffle.
I always want to stop here to pick up another batch of these creamy truffles before I make the drive home to Orange County, but...I..must..control..myself....


Shin-Sen-Gumi Robata Yakitori (Fountain Valley, CA)

18315 Brookhurst St., #1
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Shin Sen Gumi opens for its yakitori dinner at 6:00pm, but when we came at 5:45pm, we were #8 on the waiting list. This place is known for its skewers of meat and vegetables roasted over Kishu bincho-tan (Japanese White Charcoal Wood)

You won't find peace and quiet at this Japanese restaurant. Instead, you'll find a place filled with dynamic energy and constant, simultaneous belting of "Welcome!" or "Cheers!" or "Thank you!" Before the hostess leads a dinner party inside the restaurant, she pauses at the doorway and belts out in Japanese "Welcome!" and the rest of the waitstaff and cooks simultaneously yell out a welcoming greeting. When customers buy large pints of beer for the chefs, they again heartily shout "Cheers!!" and toast each other. When the guests leaves, they altogether say "Thank you!" and politely bow to the departing dinner party.

If you look to the bottom right corner of this picture, that's a huge pitcher of beer that the customers bought for the cooks to toast together. I was kind of glad that we got in when the restaurant opened because what if we come much later and they're already drunk?
Condiment Tray - The round container in the middle of the picture contains yuzu kosho, which is a spicy Japanese sauce made from green yuzu zest, mixed with salt and green chile peppers. Yuzu is a Chinese lemon, resembling a grapefruit and tastes like Mandarin oranges. It had a spicy, bitter taste at first, but then had a salty finish.

The faithful cook rotates the skewers to perfection. When he sprinkles on the seasoning, he does it in a way with his wrist that is artful and graceful. It was very interesting to watch.
On the left is Sasami Umejiso - Chicken breast with plum paste and shiso leaves (2.35). We thought this one was okay, not as tasty as the other skewers (probably because we enjoyed the fat from the pork belly)

On the right is the Shiso Maki - Shiso leaves wrapped in pork belly (2.50). Another tasty combination. The Shiso leaf adds a nice added flavor to the pork belly.
Asupara Maki - Asparagus wrapped in pork belly (2.50). The asparagus and the pork belly was a great combination. The asparagus was perfectly cooked with the crisp pork belly, with a slight oozing of fat. Another favorite of the night.

To the right is the Uzura Be-kon - Quail egg wrapped in bacon (2.75). This was also delicious. What doesn't taste good wrapped with bacon? Steaks, hot dogs, and quail eggs is no exception. I actually enjoyed the bacon over pork belly.
Flap meat (2.35). I don't know what part of the cow is the "flap," but whatever it was it was good. Looking it up on the internet, I found out it that this cut of meat is the same one the use in fajitas.Grilled Rice Balls (2.00). The rice balls were grilled also over the binchotan. It had a crispness on the outside with the delicious grilled flavor. At Shin Sen Gumi they don't offer you any rice to eat with all of that meat you are eating. To satisfy our rice craving we ordered a rice ball.This is the Negima Tare - Chicken thigh with green onions and house sauce (1.95). A classic here and was very tasty. This was probably one of my favorites of the night. What's not to like about some chicken thigh, grilled onions, and some nice house sauce.
This is the Tsukune - Chicken meatball (2.00). This was also very flavorful and delicious. One of my other favorites of the night. Who knew meatballs would be so tasty? The meat itself is very juicy and moist. They lather on a sauce on top of the meatballs, making it extra flavorful.
Here is the Pork Belly (1.75). Fatty but melts in the mouth. The pork belly was simply seasoned with just salt and expertly grilled with a nice char on it. Good stuff!
We enjoyed pretty much every dish that we ordered and really liked the atmosphere and the vibe of the place. Very laid back Japanese atmosphere and attentive service. The bill at Shin Sen Gumi can add up quickly if you aren't watching what you are ordering. We will definitely be back.