poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

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Brunch in B’more

While I was in Maryland over the holidays, I met up with SP, a friend from Berkeley who recently moved far far away to Austin, Texas. SP was also visiting her family in Maryland so we decided to get together for brunch. Seeing as I’ve only hung out in her hometown of Baltimore a few times, we agreed to meet in her ‘hood.

The counter at the Papermoon Diner.

SP gave me a few options and I thought the Papermoon Diner seemed the most interesting. First, a diner seemed like the appropriate Baltimore choice, given its reputation as a no-frills, blue-collar industrial city. Second, I had just come off of a string of Chinese meals, so good ol’ American cooking sounded great. Third, she said the place had kitschy and strange decor, with the likes of headless Barbie dolls. I don’t know about you, but the perfect side to bacon and eggs might just be random doll body parts strewn here and there.

As I drove to the restaurant, I was a slightly worried about getting lost because the directions from Google Maps seemed to be a little wonky. However, as I saw the bright purple and turquoise building, I knew I was at the right place. As promised, the decor was definitely kitschy but not as macabre as I had imagined. There were so many random things all around that I soon acclimated to the weirdness that is the Papermoon Diner.

Excited that we finally got our food after a long wait.

I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes topped with bananas (or was it the other way around?), while SP opted for a portabello mushroom omelette with hash browns and toast. Both were decent but not mind-blowing. I think SP thought her omelette was just ok (not flavorful enough? something like that… it’s been 2 months. please forgive me.)

The portabello and cheese omelette with hash browns and toast.

Action shot! Pouring on the maple syrup.

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes, topped with bananas and chocolate chips.

The service was slow, probably because we were there at the peak brunch hour. I got angry at one of the servers who wouldn’t take our photo because he was too busy and said he would tell someone else to stop by, but that never happened. After I left a nasty note on the customer comment card, we found out that it wasn’t his fault after all — the guy the first server asked either forgot or disregarded the request. Oops. All in all, it was an interesting experience but the Papermoon didn’t make my list of places to revisit. At least I had a good time catching up with an old friend!


Hot Saturday in the City

Back in August, we were enjoying a heat wave in the Bay Area. I spent a whole day in San Francisco, eating and hanging out with friends and testing out my 50mm lens (it’s fancy!). My day started off with brunch at Absinthe in Hayes Valley with L&T. The restaurant is a favorite among foodies, and part of its notoriety stems from the fact that their executive chef is Jamie Lauren from season 5 of Top Chef.

The bar at Absinthe. I want to come back and try all of their fancy bourbon cocktails.

The bar at Absinthe. I want to come back and try all of their fancy bourbon cocktails.

I was immediately wowed by the artful decor and the impressively long cocktail list. I ordered the Seelbach Cocktail: bourbon, curaçao, Peychauds, Angostura bitters, topped with champagne and an orange twist. It was delicious.

Seelbach: better than your typical brunch mimosa.

Seelbach: better than your average brunch mimosa.

I bullied the group into ordering Absinthe’s famous deviled eggs, with smoked trout and caviar. It was divine.


Best deviled eggs ever.

I ordered the heirloom tomato BLT, since I was on a heirloom tomato kick. It was good but not the most outstanding dish. On the other hand, what can you really expect from a BLT? L ordered a summer squash and corn flatbread with pecorino, onions and roasted garlic, and T had a duck confit hash topped with poached eggs. Both of their dishes looked awesome.


Next on the agenda: Buena Vista Café in Fisherman’s Wharf, famous for their Irish coffee since 1952. I was meeting up with some ladies from the NorCal Jezebels (formerly SF Jezebels), who are always a fun bunch. For a historic bar in a touristy neighborhood, I was expecting each coffee to cost $10+ but I was pleasantly surprised that their Irish coffee, like all of their cocktails, were very affordable at $6-$7.  I’m glad I already ate because their menu is ginormous and I would’ve never been able to decide what to eat!

buena vista

After our coffees, we sauntered across the street Jacks Cannery Bar. We scored an outside table, which was nice except for the terrible live music coming from down the alley. Fast forward a few hours… for dinner, I ended up at Yummy Yummy in the Inner Sunset with SB and JB, but you’ve already heard that story before. Exhausted and full, I headed home to Berkeley.


A lazy Sunday in New York

It feels weird to be going back to blogging about food after the travel posts, especially since I still have plenty of pre-Taiwan/Japan posts from way back. Anyway, let’s get to it!

After a crazy girls’ night out, I spent Sunday relaxing with friends R&J. We started off the day with delicious brunch at Hi Life Bar & Grill on the Upper West Side. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was satisfying and all of our entrees came with a free drink. What’s better for a sleepy hangover than a mimosa? I also had a delicious salmon and cream cheese scramble with a side of hash browns. J had veggie blue cheeseburger and R had a egg and tortilla dish. (I forgot what it was called. Sorry!)hi life

Following brunch, we tried to stay cool and escaped to R&J’s fabulous rooftop deck where there’s a great view of the Hudson River. R wrestled up a delightful midafternoon snack of nuts, tomatoes, crackers and cheese. We read the Sunday New York Times, J took a nap, I played with my new camera, and we all chatted. It was great.

midafternoon snack

The next thing I knew, it was dinner time. We headed over to Gennaro, one of R&J’s favorite Italian restaurants. Indeed, it was amongst the best Italian food I’ve ever had. (The best being my friend AC’s mom’s authentic Italian cooking. Yum.) We started with the grilled seasonal veggies, and I ordered the linguine with swordfish. The pasta was cooked absolutely perfectly. I’m not sure I fully understood the meaning of al dente until I had pasta at Gennaro. The bread was crusty (not pictured) and awesome.

Grilled veggies and mozarella

Grilled veggies and mozzarella (before I figured out the white balance on my camera)

My perfect linguini + swordfish. Delish!

Perfect linguine + swordfish. Delish!

J has parmesan cheese with pasta on the side.

J had parmesan cheese with pasta on the side.

A fabulous day with great food and great friends!