Sunday, February 24, 2013

Another Burger @ The Apple Pan - Los Angeles

Found myself back at The Apple Pan recently. Definitely one of my favorite places in L.A. to grab a hamburger, relax, and enjoy the equally great atmosphere. We were there relatively late (before our drive up to SF) so despite it being a Friday things were fairly mellow.

Since I hadn't tried the famous Hickoryburger yet that was what I got. With cheese.

The namesake hickory flavor is in the special sauce that gives the burger its somewhat subtle character. Overall it's surprisingly very saucy where you'd not get away with if it were say, ketchup, or any other strong flavored (like many bbq).  Quite excellent but I think of the two I still prefer the standard Steakburger version.

The fries were super good, nice and golden crispy. I saw some regulars ask for the hickory sauce to dip in with theirs which I'll have to copy and do next time. I'm also going to have one of their pies A la Mode whether I think I have room for it or not.

The Apple Pan, 10801 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90064

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tonga Room, Tom's Depot, One Infinite Loop (!)

Later the night after visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum the plan was to check out the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel a la Bourdain's The Layover SF show.

I actually had forgotten the details of the episode but I ended up having first the Bora Bora Horror. Man these things go down way too easily! At least there was a peace of mind that our hotel was a short walking distance from.

But anyway funny to know that this used to be the hotel's swimming pool a long while back. The boat actually docks "to shore" when the musicians take break. And if you haven't seen the show, there are thunder and rain that happens every 40mins or so.

Round two for me was the Tematangi Ubangi which could be a made up word for all I know but it was a tropical punch that bore double meanings. I pretty much liked all that I tasted except the Zombie which was like hard liquor without much else interest in flavor. The music was great with people dancing, many who probably shouldn't have been... but all part of the fun. I just wouldn't recommend the food here judging by the few dishes tried.

Earlier there were some firecrackers and sounds of cymbals in the Chinatown area we were at. They were doing the dragon dance at one of the restaurants in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Super cool!

Btw, the hotel we found and crashed the night was the Royal Pacific Motor Inn. The rates were very reasonable and couldn't beat the location right smack in the center of SF Chinatown.(!) It's been around since the '60's and loved the kitschy feel. The view out the room...

Next morning a little groggy but surprisingly no bad hangover. A quick stop for some pick-me-up at The Station. Really great people here serving coffee from local roaster Blue Bottle.

My NOLA - New Orleans style iced coffee was awesome! A cold-brewed time taking process, sweetened iced coffee with tones of chicory. The first SD cafe to offer one I'll be in debt forever. :)

Hybrid Design and Super 7 office was right next door. Not sure if they have a showroom but too bad it was too early in the morning to drop in and see.

On the way down to see the Apple headquarters in Cupertino we found Tom's Depot (Ice Cream & Grill) in Los Altos. Was filled with local regulars and had a good vibe so decided to drop in.

Lots of Mexican offerings on the menu but of course boring me at least for American breakfast it's eggs over-easy. Salty protein of choice were the dependable link sausages. I had a glimpse of their hash browns on other tables and decided to ask for sauteed onions on top to 'spruce up' a bit.

Most popular were the omelets that curiously looked like burritos the way they were folded. Also the many fruit pancakes according to the waitress.

Tom's Depot Ice Cream & Grill, 991 Fremont Ave, Los Altos, CA 94024

And finally, One Infinite Loop! Unfortunately the campus store was closed because it was the weekend... Bummer!

Apple Company Store, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sotto Mare Revisit And Checking Out The Walt Disney Family Museum - SF

Had a quick visit to SF along with friend last weekend. As most of our impromptu road trips I wished I had planned and researched things better beforehand but you can say it's harder to not have a fun time in the great city. As we blew through the idea of having breakfast at Swan Oyster Depot arriving closer to noon than dawn, Plan-B was a revisit to Sotto Mare a couple blocks over. Was a small wait as the place is also popular, but nothing crazy like at SOD.

Oysters on Half Shell, both East and West Coast. I still preferred more the firmer East Coast variety but they both were quite excellent. Till this day the place easily reserves the spot of the best Cioppino I've had and was tempted to get it again but I instead went for the Sea Scallop Saute' ($19).

Wild caught, these were well-seared but done to medium-rare in the center. The sauce of white wine, garlic and caramelized scallions is pretty intense and super delicious. Excellent for bread soppage. ;)

The friend had the Manila Clams with Linguine done aglio-olio style ($12). I had a taste and was impeccably fresh and great as well. Any of these pasta dishes can be had as a half-order for $8.

Gigi's Sotto Mare Oysteria, 552 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

After checking out a bookstore then having a couple espressos at a nearby cafe, later in the day we visited The Walt Disney Family Museum at Presidio Park.

So awesome and packed full of info and displays. Reserving around two hours of time is probably best.

Did you know Walt's favorite foods were Chili and Jello??

He was also really into miniatures (and so am I! Of Sushi and other foods but..).

The highlight was the giant diorama of Disneyland Park.(!)

Overall was really great and would recommend. Skipped the special Snow White exhibit this time around but I can see myself coming here again for another movie of Disney.

The Walt Disney Family Museum, 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129