San Francisco: Day 5: Hipster Mexican Food

Hola! Mi nombre es Jennifer, y estoy visitando a uno de los mejoreslocales reasautants mexicana de San Francisco, El Farlito! Ellos son conocidos por sus sabrosos burritos, específicamente la carne asada!

This place is as authentic as you can get! Maybe minus the hispters. They are everywhere and apparently love Mexican food!  For my Hawaii friends, please note that REAL Mexican food is nothing like Taco Bell or Taco Del Mar. The main difference is that there are REAL Mexicans making the food and Spanish is their first language. Next, everything that they make is from scratch! I was watching them make the salsa and it was pretty neat to see everyone chopping up a bunch of cilantro! Please note that they are cash only. I was kind of in a pickle- as I am known NOT to carry cash. :) Below are photos of the feast, we ordered three items for four hungry people and there were STILL left overs! DEALS!
Another side note: they also have REALLY good customer service for being such a busy place. When Mike and I were done eating, we tried to get some foil to wrap up our left overs, and the guy came by with foil for us, anticipating our needs with a smile! Five stars for El Farlito!

Carne Asada Super Burrito
Quesadilla Suiza

Carne Asada + Shrimp Super Burrito

El Farolito
2779 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 824-7877
www.elfarolitoinc.com/

San Francisco: Day 4: Cindy’s Narnia Secret

Today I went to Japan town three different times. Yes. You read right… THREE TIMES!  Why you may ask? The first time, we went to Fatlace, a clothing store that @MikeSakata loves. We then went into the city and ran some errands and some how ended up in Japantown- again. We drove around sight-seeing for a bit to avoid the evening traffic, picked up Maria for dinner- which happened to be in Japantown. This dinner has to be one of the best dinner deals in town, and it is all thanks to Cindy Chen!

Mike has been telling me for a while that he wanted me to meet his friend Cindy. The first time we came to San Francisco, (a year ago) we tried to visit her at work, but it was bad timing and we just missed her. Earlier on our trip, we went to her workplace again, but her store was closed! FINALLY, tonight we all made plans to meet up for dinner.

Cindy took us to Kui Shin Bo, a cute little Japanese Restaurant that has GREAT food with AMAZING value! The menu is made up of and the BEST part of this deal is you can pick any three dish items all for $12.00! CAUTION: This is called Cindy’s Narnia Secret because Cindy is BFF with the chef.

If you do not eat with the oh-so-famous Cindy, this deal may not really exist! It is like the Chronicles of Narnia, this restaurant might really be just an abandoned empty space, but when you hang with Cindy, it comes alive with amazing deals on Japanese food!  Then again, who knows, he might offer this deal to anyone that asks, but I would not take that risk!

Kakifri (oysters in katsu breading), garlic egg noodle with chicken, and chicken tonkatsu

Ramen with BBQ pork and saba shio

Udon, Sanma Shio, and Spicy California Roll
Ikura only $2.50

Buckwheat soba (Cindy Special), hamachi head, saba shio

Japanese style curry with rice, garlic egg noodle, and hamachi head

Kui Shin Bo (aka Cindy’s Narnia Secret)
22 Peace Place
Ste 535
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 922-9575

San Francisco: Day 3: Hipster Hunting

Today we went walking around China Town and Union Square. It was a cold rainy day but still filled with lots of people!
Mission: Finding hipster fashion in tourist central. Now, the tricky part was differentiating between hipsters and fobs. The both seem to like chuck taylors, nerdy glasses, tight skinny jeans, and plaid. Can you spot the difference between hipsters and fobs (besides language?)

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20′s and 30′s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The “effortless cool” urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic.”- Urban Dictionary.com

Check out my hipster gallery below, I am planning to visit The Mission where apparently it is hipster central.

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San Francisco: Day 2: Enssaro

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more open minded, and to try new things. Tonight, I had a break through and accomplished both! I ate food with my hands AND I had no idea how the food was prepared.

When Mike’s sister, Maria posed the idea of Ethiopian food for  dinner, I thought….WOW! That is COOL! I know that the old Jenn would had have kindly declined and suggested a Korean or Japanese alternative. However the NEW 2011 Jenn was excited to embark upon a new experience. When we arrived, the place was hopping! I could not believe this place was SO packed for a Monday night! Every seat was taken! We had passed by a Thai and Korean restaurant earlier, and there were people eating- but nothing like this!

I looked around and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food. I think that this is a family owned restaurant, the staff was VERY friendly and helpful. Everything seemed very authentic from the decor, food, and music. The menu listed the Ethiopian dishes, however, there were no pictures. This made it hard for me as I had no idea what the menu consisted of. There were dishes listed but no descriptions of what ingredients were included. But….dun.. dun-ah…a.. DAHH…

 

HOORAY!  Maria saved the day and knew what to order! She taught me some great tips when ordering Ethiopian Cuisine:

First, you must know that when eating Ethiopian food, you will be eating it like the locals. Which means, you will be eating with your hands. (Their bathrooms by the way rate a 4 out of 5 stars in my book!) Most of their dishes are made up of breads and stews/ sauces. Ethiopian dishes have a staple starch for each meal called Wat. Wat is the equivalent to rice for Asians. It it light to the touch, almost like a pancake of crepe texture, however, by itself it tastes a bit like sourdough bread. You wrap the veggies and chicken with the wat and eat it like a mini taco. Another way of eating the wat is soaking it in the sauces or stews for optimal flavor. The best thing about Ethiopian food is that anything goes, you can eat it however you like.

We had a variety of tibs on our tray. The tray was the size of an extra large pizza from Papa Johns! Tibs is served on a hot dish with vegetables/salad mixed in. Meat can also be added. Tonight, we had three types of protein:

1. Mike’s mom wanted Lamb. I personally am not a huge fan of eating cute animals, but I did try this (because I am trying to be more open to everything) and it was tasty, the lamb was tender and when the Sakatas got to it- it was gone!

2. There was two types of chicken dishes but they were prepared differently. One was prepared stir fry style  with diced pieces of chicken, sautéed onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers. The second dish had a thicker brown sauce that reminded me of chicken shoyu, it was full of flavor, and easy to eat because the meat just fell off the bone.

3. Finally, my two favorite dishes were the chickpea dish (featured in the photo above: yellow). It reminded me to hummus with the texture and flavor. The second one was the

Overall, if you are looking for good food and fun, this place is it! Be prepared to get close to those you are dining with because you do eat with your hands and it does get a little messy! But messy is fun right? :)

NOTE: Ethiopian food is on the saltier side and a bit heavy with sauces and lots of bread. I was told that the Ethiopian beer went well with the meal, so that is something that one must try!

NOTE: Photo credit to Yelp.com (my photos are processing while we speak)

Enssaro
366 Grand Ave
(between Perkins St & Ellita Ave)
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 238-9050
www.enssaro.com

San Francisco: Day 1

I AM SO  HUNGRY! I have been feeling hungry since 12PM this afternoon and only now, at 12:48AM I am  satisfied. All thanks to Maria! Thank you SOOO much for making the best shrimp tacos and  vegetable soup EVER! The home made guacamole was a nice touch and the shrimp was flavored to perfection!

Prior, during the 5 hour flight to San Francisco I had a small cup of fried rice, a small bag of pretzels, and a spinach pasta thing that had tons of salt and made me drink lots of water. I am so glad to be off the plan to start my new adventures. Also, I slept a lot on the plane which now holds me in a predicament because it is 1AM and I cannot sleep. :)

Toastmaters, Mermaids and More!

I know what you are thinking, what, no unicorns? No double rainbows? Well ,it has been a very busy week.  As I recap the past couple of days, there have been many positive events along with some events that I would hope to blow over soon. Some fun/positive things that have happened are the following:

  • Justin fell in love with a mermaid
  • Kyle is going to be the next Top Chef
  • Phillip can speak pidgin (better than me)
  • Doc Rock, Phillip, Kyle and I are going to check out Toastmasters (all 50 clubs)
  • Sometimes dreams do come true- at work
  • I ate super yummy food at 4 King’s Kitchen (more to come..)
  • Friends that are making a difference by fundraising/ donating to support Japan

Some not so fun things that happened:

  • A good friend of mine lost someone very close to them
  • There are so many tragic things happening around the word from Japan’s natural disasters, Lybia’s drama and the passing on Nate Dogg

Over all though, I think it has been a good week to reflect on what is important in life.
Spending with those that we love, from family to friends.
Cherishing our health and knowing it is more important than money.
When you can, donate your time or money- every little bit helps.

Remembering that we chose how we live. Life is truly amazing when you think about it.
Only you can make yourself happy, and we have only one life. Let’s have fun and make a difference.

(Sorry if it seems like my thoughts are everywhere. Hopefully this weekend I will have time to collect myself)

Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for taking time out to read my blog!

日本の安全のために祈る

Yesterday, another earthquake shook the east coast of Honshu Japan with a magnitude of 5.1!
@GenePark provided the information via Facebook: (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc000243c.php)

Want to know you can help? Here are a couple of ways you can help support locally:

DONATE
Text to Donate
If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief, just text REDCROSS to 90999. Each text will provide $10 towards the Red Cross’s humanitarian efforts. (@WeHeartHawaii has, have you?)

EVENTS

@RickyLi99 and @usagikisses are hosting a fundraiser for this Sunday, March 20 from 12:00PM-4:00PM.

Flock of Prayers
Mission Houses Museum Cafe and Tea Parlor
553 South King Street
Honolulu, HI
http://twtvite.com/hul8i5

GET YOUR BROWS DONE FOR A CAUSE!
100% of @LenaHanson’s Fab Brow appointments on Friday, March 18 will go towards FHB Japan-Hawaii Relief fund.
Please call, text or email. 808-372-3480 lena@lenasfabbrows.com to book an appointment.
BROWS only, $25 new and repeat clientele. No Groupons please. Appts must be made in advance.

SHOP
The retail price for their t-shirt will be $20 and all profits will be donated towards relief efforts for Japan in support for the people of Japan.
You can purchase them at the following locations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUTI-GROOVE HAWAII
500 Piikoi Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
808-589-2884
http://www.butigroove.com/

FITTED HAWAII
1438 Kona St. #B
Honolulu, HI 96814
808-942-3100
http://www.fittedhawaii.com/

IN4MATION WARD WAREHOUSE
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 968`4
808-597-1447
http://www.in4mants.com/hi/main/

BAREFOOT LEAGUE
880 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
808-734-0200
http://www.barefootleague.com/

Random Acts of Kindness

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.  ~Author Unknown

These past couple of days have been really busy for me. My weekend was full of great events such as a baby shower, getting together with friends and spending time with family. One of the most rewarding part of my weekend and the beginning part of my week were experiencing random acts of kindness.

For example, on Friday, I was treated to a yummy sandwich from my co-worker who knew I had not gotten lunch yet and just did it to be nice.

On Saturday, I went to Turbo Kickboxing for the first time. I saw some familiar faces, and met some new people during class. It was great to have so many people to encourage me to keep on going and to lift each other up when many of us were super tired. Another example is this morning, when I was leaving the gym, this SUPER sweet gal had held the door open for me and Kyle and wished us a good morning. I know it may sound silly but it really made my day.

There are many more examples I could list, but I want to hear from you- when you may have experienced random acts of kindness or when have you performed an act of random kindness?

I have been told that it is easier to be nice rather than mean, and that it takes more energy to be negative than positive.
Keeping this in mind, I wish everyone a happy and positive week!

This post is dedicated to my good friend Cathy (@HugCat) who is always SO thoughtful and always performed random acts of kindness.

 

Lena’s Mission: POSSIBLE!

This post is inspired by two people. Lena and Justin. The two have officially turned me to adopt a vegan diet. I cannot say that I will be vegan for life, but for now yes. This all started when I decided to clean my apartment last night. I for some reason clean the best when I have company over. Conclusion: Of course I  invited Lena, Kyle and Justin to come over to my apartment and hang out. Lena recommended that we watch the documentary, “The Cove”. At first I was hesitant, as I was hoping to watch some comedy and have a good laugh or two. However, Lena is a huge animal lover and it meant a lot to her for us to watch the movie. She said it was her mission to spread awareness on what is happening…SO… here we go…


The Premise:
“The Cove exposes the slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises off the coast of Japan every year, and how their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is sold as food in Japan and other parts of Asia, often labeled as whale meat. The majority of the world is not aware this is happening.”- Takepart.com/TheCove

Below is a preview/ trailer of The Cove. Pretty crazy stuff.

Did you watch it? Did you? Okay so now you are probably thinking, where can I watch the REST of this movie?

You can check it on the following sites:
Amazon
NetFlix

Results of the movie:
“The film has been making waves since it premiered last year. Critical praise and audience awards worldwide have focused international attention on Taiji and the annual dolphin drives off the coast of Japan. Under intense pressure, Taiji called for a temporary ban on killing bottlenose dolphins in 2009. The film, originally rejected at the Tokyo Film Festival, was eventually shown due to public outcry, and has appeared in theaters in Japan. Residents in Taiji are being tested for mercury poisoning, and for the first time Japanese media are covering the issue.

But the effort needs to continue. On September 1, the six-month dolphin hunting season opened again, and fishermen in Taiji plan to take to the cove despite international pressure. Experts say education, awareness and persistence are needed to eventually turn the tide.

1.4MM people have signed the petition to end the slaughter, but this is just the beginning. The hunt still goes on.” -Takepart.com/TheCove

Five Things You Can Do Now To Help:

  1. Write to our leaders and help get the word out in Japan
  2. Learn more about dolphins in captivity
  3. Visit our Japanese site ; ザ・コーヴ映画の日本のサイトをご覧ください。
  4. Help Save Japan Dolphins’ efforts on the frontlines
  5. Support the filmmakers with your donation

This movie was really moving! Thanks Lena for spreading the awareness! I am much more informed and I feel like I need to make better food choices! Thank you Justin for being Vegan for lent. I will have someone to always eat with! :)

Keep up with The Cove on Facebook and Twitter!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/takepart
Twitter: http://twitter.com/takepart

Best Pick Up Line EVER!

BEST PICK UP LINE EVER:

Kyle and I are chatting together.
Drunk guy comes up to us, “Hey Kyle, do you know *Samantha that works at *Hawaiian Airlines?
Kyle responds, “Oh no, sorry, I think *Hawaiian Airlines is pretty big, so I don’t think so”
Drunk guy “Oh okay, wel lyou wouldn’t know her anyways because she moved to Australia”
Kyle and I look at each other like WTF?
Drunk guy keeps bowing and apologize for inconveniencing us.

*Names have been changed to protect the drunks

This was the situation that made Kyle and I put together a collaborative post on what NOT to do when you are drunk.

Some of my tips are:
1. Don’t forget your Facebook/ Yelp/ Twitter passwords and claim you cannot add me as a friend!
2. Slurred speech is always unattractive when drunk, what is worst… spitting while slurring!
3. Anyone who tries to eat my tater tots are on my sh*t list
4. When the guy asks if you know someone- and you say you don’t- LISTEN TO HER! She does NOT know who they are!

I want to know from you, what are some pick up lines that have or have not worked!?