Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop




What I Ate: January 30, 2009 (Alexander's Steakhouse)

Posted 31 January, 2009 at 12:42am by Michael Chu
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We had reservations at Alexander's Steakhouse for dinner tonight, so I didn't eat am overly heavy lunch. I meant to go out for a salad, but realized I had some left overs in the refrigerator, so I heated up some of that. I ended up eating the scallop and egg white rice with left over lamb and one last piece of naan.
Rice, naan, lamb

We went to Alexander's for dinner because we had heard from many people that it had the best steaks in (San Francisco) South Bay. We spent quite some time examining the menu at Alexander's. I really wanted to go for the $180-$200 cuts of Japanese Wagyu beef, but talked myself out of it because it wouldn't be the average person's experience at this steakhouse. I did want to order something dry aged since so few restaurants bother to dry age their beef these days. They only offer New York strip, T-bone, and Porterhouse steaks dry aged. (The reason for this became clear when I got a chance to visit their dry aging locker - they only dry age short loin primal cuts. When the 28 days are up, they had an band saw in the kitchen that they use to cut the short loin into the strip, T-bone, and Porterhouse.) We ended up ordering a dry aged Porterhouse steak cooked medium-rare. The beef was delicious but not the best steak we've ever had at a restaurant. That honor belongs to Peter Luger's where we also had a dry aged Porterhouse. (Later when chatting with owner and general manager of Alexander's, he said, "That's not fair! You can't compare us to Peter Luger's, they're the best. I'd say they are a 10 and we're around an 8.") My trouble with steaks is that if you buy a good quality steak and pay attention when you cook it, you can pretty much make a perfect steak at home. The only problem with that is the access to quality beef - it's not always easy to get Prime, Wagyu, or Dry Aged beef. After having the steak at Alexander's, I'd seriously consider them as my first choice of a steak dinner if I didn't feel like grilling my own.
Alexander’s Steakhouse - Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak

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What I Ate: January 30, 2009 (Alexander's Steakhouse)

What I Ate: January 29, 2009 (Popeye's Chicken)

Posted 30 January, 2009 at 1:04am by Michael Chu
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Recently, I've been having several conversations about fried chicken ranging from KFC to Jollibee to 99 Chicken. So, I found myself driving over to Popeye's to see if they really had a more flavorful chicken than KFC. I picked up an order of a 3-piece dinner (even though it was lunch) of spicy chicken. It had pretty good crunch, but the chicken itself wasn't really seasoned - only the breading. So, in the end, I didn't actually think the flavor was superior to KFC - pretty much the same (assuming the KFC chicken is freshly cooked and not sitting under a heat lamp drying out for several hours). It might be more crunchy than KFC's Extra Crispy, but I don't weight that very heavily.
Popeye’s Chicken - 3 piece chicken dinner

For dinner, I heated up the rest of the left over noodle soup from yesterday's Tong Soon Garden meal.
Tong Soon Garden - Seafood Noodle Soup

What I Ate: January 28, 2009 (Caffe Centro, Tong Soon Garden)

Posted 29 January, 2009 at 1:11am by Michael Chu
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For lunch, Papa and I went back to Caffe Centro (102 S Park St, San Francisco, CA‎ - (415) 882-1500‎) in South Park. I ordered a Caprese sandwich with prosciutto and it turned out quite delicious with bountiful amounts of fluffy mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and a basil pesto.
Caffe Centro - Caprese Sandwich with Prosciutto

For dinner, Tina and I picked up some food (a noodle soup for her, scallops and egg white fried rice, and Chinese broccoli - jie lan - stir-fried with garlic) from Tong Soon Garden (3240 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA‎ - (408) 615-9988‎). I ate half the vegetables, some of the fried rice, and reheated the left over pork chop I had in the refrigerator.
Pork Chop with Tong Soon Garden Scallop and Egg White Fried Rice

Wednesday Photo: Bay Bridge Support Column (San Francisco, California)

Posted 28 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
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I was walking back from our data center to the Fanpop "offices" when I took this photo. Every time I get close to the Bay Bridge (which is a few times a week), I marvel at just how gigantic it is. Almost underneath the bridge on Spear St., it's hard not to feel how massive and somewhat oppressive it feels. I don't think I was able to capture that on film - it's just too big (which is exactly what I said when I showed up at the Grand Canyon… I don't know how to photograph this - it's just too big)
Bay Bridge Support Column (San Francisco, California)
Handheld, 1/25 sec at f/2.8 on ISO 100, Lumix DMC-LX2

What I Ate: January 27, 2009 (Yank Sing 2 Go, In-N-Out)

Posted 28 January, 2009 at 1:05am by Michael Chu
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Papa and I walked over to Rincon Center's food court and I purchased a lunch from Yank Sing 2 Go (101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA‎ - (415) 781-1111). I ordered the Phoenix Lunch (Spring Roll, 2 Pot Stickers, Shaomai (which they spell "Siu Mye"), Chow Mein, and Fried Rice) and added two more shaomai.
Yank Sing - Phoenix Lunch Plate

Tina and I went to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2.5/5.0) tonight because both of us are fans of the earlier Underworld movies (Tina because of the interesting take on vampire and werewolf mythology; Kate Beckinsale for me). Due to the limited amount of time (and limited options at the Mercado in Santa Clara), we grabbed some In-N-Out to wolf down during previews. I had a Double Double with onions and Tina had a Hamburger with grilled onions and we shared an order of fries (which were sub par today).
In-N-Out - Double Double, Hamburger, and Fries

What I Ate: January 26, 2009 (South Beach Cafe)

Posted 27 January, 2009 at 12:39am by Michael Chu
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At lunch, Papa, Cliff, and I went to South Beach Cafe (800 Embarcadero St, San Francisco, CA‎ - (415) 974-1115‎). I ordered a South Beach Pizza (a thin crust pizza with mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil). I forgot my camera, but Papa had his iPhone with him, so I used that to take this picture.
South Beach Cafe - South Beach Pizza

I grilled a rib-eye steak for dinner. I spread some Amazing Taste Steakhouse seasoning on top prior to grilling to see how that works out. It came out a bit saltier than I planned. The flavor was pretty good otherwise, but again it seemed like you could do the same with salt, garlic salt, onion powder, and black pepper and have the added benefit of portioning out each individual spice to your own preference. Also, it seems a little difficult to figure out just how much of the seasoning packet should be applied (the shrimp last week was too mild, the beef today was a little heavily salted). Also, the seasoning interfered with making a decent crust on the beef. Otherwise, the beef was excellent - Tina said it was the best she'd had in a long time. (My previous steaks have been a little overcooked because I was trying to cook too many dishes at the same time and lost track of the steak.)
Rib-Eye Steak

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What I Ate: January 26, 2009 (South Beach Cafe)

What I Ate: January 25, 2009 (Stan's Donut Shop, Lee's Sandwiches, Madhuban Indian Cuisine)

Posted 25 January, 2009 at 10:45pm by Michael Chu
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We got up a little earlier than usual this morning and headed over to Stan's Donut Shop (2628 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA‎ - (408) 296-5982‎) where, we have heard for years, they make the best doughnuts in Santa Clara. We had never been there before so we were really excited to try their doughnuts. I ordered a glazed donut for myself. It was still hot and the texture of the exterior was heavenly - just a little crispy with a nice glaze (but not overwhelmingly sweet). The interior was a disappointment to me. As far as yeast doughnuts go, this was not good - it was real doughy - to the point of gumminess. After swallowing it, it felt like a lump in my stomach. I could barely finish the whole doughnut. We're going to have to go back and try it again.
Stan’s Donuts - Glazed Donut

Oh, and we had to take it to go since they forbade photography there. I wasn't too happy about that.

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What I Ate: January 25, 2009 (Stan's Donut Shop, Lee's Sandwiches, Madhuban Indian Cuisine)

Photo of the Week: Shaping Blown Glass

Posted 25 January, 2009 at 9:30am by Michael Chu
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A glass blower uses a large pair of tongs to mold this piece of glass into a vase. (Captured at the Renaissance Faire.)
Shaping Blown Glass
Handheld, 1/160 sec at f/2.8 on ISO 200, 105mm f/2.8 macro lens

What I Ate: January 24, 2009 (House of Annie)

Posted 25 January, 2009 at 12:39am by Michael Chu
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I didn't really eat lunch today. In the afternoon we went over to our friends Matt and Noelle's house to celebrate their recent wedding. We snacked on chips and salsa, crackers and dip, and crudités.

We were invited to Nate and Annie's home (authors of the popular food blog, House of Annie) along with food writer Carolyn Jung and her husband Akira for a fusion cioppino dinner (you can read about the dinner at House of Annie).
House of Annie - Nate Photographs the Hot Pot Cioppino

Nate photographs the cioppino as it cooks at the table

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What I Ate: January 24, 2009 (House of Annie)

What I Ate: January 23, 2009

Posted 24 January, 2009 at 1:50am by Michael Chu
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For lunch, I heated the leftover Red Robin burger in the convection toaster oven. I separated the bread from the patty (heated the patty longer) and tossed the lettuce. I toasted the bread a little and reassembled.
Leftover burger

For dinner, I brined a bone-in loin pork chop (water, salt, some Amazing Taste pork seasoning mix that I'm supposed to be testing) and prepared some fresh shrimp for the grill. I seasoned one shrimp kabob with Amazing Taste's seafood seasoning which seems to be predominantly lemon and dill powder and the other kabob with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (as a control group).
Seasoned Raw Shrimp

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What I Ate: January 23, 2009