Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eating With Friends

I find that the best way to document something for me is to blog about it. Hence this year I told myself to blog about my dining out so that I can track down my expenses and easy to see where my money went at the end of the year.

On Saturday, we took our friends to a late lunch at Moonstar Buffet. I don't particularly like buffets, but when you take friends out for a meal I find that buffets are the best in saving money and making sure everyone has something that they like. Especially when you have friends whose palates have not been as adventurous as ours, buffets make it possible to try new dishes without paying a whole lot more.

With regards to buffets, Asian buffets, we prefer to go to Moonstar Buffet in Daly City despite the long drive and the extra expense of paying the bridge toll. For us the buffet serves enough food we like. It's a typical buffet with hot dishes (including sweet and sour pork and even lechon kawali), dimsun station, porridge and noodle cooking stations, desserts, soups, but their sushi and sashimi station is larger than most buffets including Tomi (in my estimation).

There is also a sprinkling of Filipino foods to be sampled.

The above image is my first plate. I had 2 more plates after this, but they were all less than what is in this image. I cannot handle so much food at one sitting, a pity when in buffet restaurant. I did not have crab, oyster, shrimps.

My favorite is their porridge, they would make it especially for you. Their sushis are good too.

Including taxes and tips, our bill was $90.00.

After eating, we went for a walk to Golden Gate Park hitting Queen Wilhelmina Garden, Ocean Beach and Land's End where we watched the sunset. This outing was for a new friend who went back home to Vietnam after completing her master's education in LA.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A week later

What a difference a week make, huh? Last post a week was telling how I was rushing to get all my cards replaced after I "lost" my wallet. Well, after that crazy Friday and the weekend, the rest of the week went by without the thought of the lost wallet crossing my mind, until about Thursday I believe when I realized that I had another bank card in the wallet. I knew that stressing about it that time was not productive so I just let it be. The account was the one I had when I was single, so there's hardly anything there. I just use it when I want to splurge on a cup of mochachino or something.

Anyway, the story about the lost wallet didn't end there. On Saturday, as we were leaving to go shopping, the hubby took the driver's seat, we were in my car. And the minute he opened the door the wallet was there. It was just there. On the side of the seat.

WE LOOKED throughout the whole car, on several occasions. The hubby LOOKED more than once and he's very thorough. So the only explanation left about the wallet is if it's hiding you won't find it until it's ready to show itself.

I let out a humongous laugh that went on for minutes it seemed. The sound of relief! Afterwards we spent the whole afternoon shopping. I finally got the piece that would complete my outfit for hubby's company's party in a couple of weeks.

And, we even got a good foot/neck/shoulder/back massage. What a great Saturday.

Now for Sunday.....

I've been teasing the husband about how he cannot do spontaneous. Trips are always planned way in advance, dining outs are well thought of and planned as well. So it was good to see that we began the year with a spontaneous trip to Pacific Grove, 2 hour's drive away. The Monarch butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove had some butterflies and are ready for sighting.

Up until yesterday, I had the impression that Monterey was about 4 hours drive. 2 hours drive is nothing on a day when everyone else seemed to be watching the hometown team, the 49ers on TV, so the roads were clear.

So we went to look at the butterflies, sipped organic coffee and ate yummy cookie at a coffee house cum bookstore, walked up and down the downtown area stopping at restaurant windows reading their menus, ended up taking rock fish quesadilla and thai spice wrap to go for a picnic on the waterfront where we were joined by birds and friendly squirrels while we chow down our delicious meal outdoors on a sunny day.

Then the spontaneity didn't end there. On the drive home, we stopped at Capitola, another fave spot, for a bit of sunset shooting.

What a gorgeous spontaneous day!

Twas a lovely weekend altogether.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Also Starting The Year With Some Headache


Oh man, in all the years I haven't had the unfortunate luck of losing my wallet, until this year. I don't recall, as much as I try to remember the previous days leading to my discovery of my lost wallet, having lost it, or it falling out of my purse. Anyway, I discovered it on Thursday evening when I left work for home I swung by the gas station to fill my tank. That's when I found out my wallet wasn't in my purse. I was still very calm because contents of my purse always fall out of it into my drawer at work.

Be that as it may husband and I still called the credit card companies (thankfully only 2) and my bank card to put on hold my card because I lost it. I called the bank to check if there is any curious charges on my account, thankfully nothing in the past 2 weeks which coincided when I last used my bank card for deposit.

You know it's a headache when your wallet goes missing. I got a headache just remembering all the places I've been. So the following day when my wallet didn't turn up in my drawer at work I had to ask my supervisor for a half day off to get a new driver's license.

But I'm okay. I didn't panic or went ballistic. I just can't remember when the last time I saw my wallet and when I didn't before I went to the gas station. I'm still hoping it's inside the house somehow.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starting the new year with some curries.

Sa Wad Dee is one of those cliched hole in the wall restaurant that seemed to be there forever. A no-frills Thai restaurant that is centrally located in busy San Pablo Avenue in Richmond, a few blocks from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART.

For the first dining out experience of 2014, it was Thai for lunch. A New Year's Day dining tradition that we started a few years ago that was initially composed of 5 people. As the years went on, there had been additions and subtractions to the members of the group.

This year there were 5 of us for lunch this year. The hubs is the one assigned to select the restaurant this year. We've thought about it for a half day and the choices boiled down to Mexican cuisine versus Thai cuisine. I think the reason behind the loss of Mexican cuisine is that the hubs is tired of the cuisine and he's afraid I'd fill up on the chips and dips. Well he's right of course.

It makes me happy to see small restaurants stay in business for long. Not an easy feat considering the Bay Area is full of many good restaurants. So I reckon Sa Wad Dee (a Thai greeting) is doing something right.

AMBIANCE:

The small restaurant is split in two set ups. The right side is where the traditional Thai seating is located. People sit on the floor with cushion to sit on. The left side is a regular booth and tables set-up. We chose to sit on the floor in the traditional Thai setting. The interiors is decorated with a few items/statues of Thai culture. Nothing fancy.

SERVICE:

Personally I felt it was a tad slow considering the restaurant wasn't full at that time. In fact at one time there were about 4 tables of diners at most including us. However, the wait staff is friendly, but not too chatty as well.

FOOD:

Since there were 5 of us, we ordered 5 different items to be shared. The order size is large enough for two people, or three people with bird appetites. In addition to the 5 items, we also asked for a side order of steamed rice (then ordered a second one later on).

Fried Tofu - appetizer - served with sweet chili sauce and cucumber salad. The crispy tofu was so good. One order is big enough for five people.



Potak - soup - sour soup similar to the Filipino sinigang. It came with mixed seafood. The broth was very comforting, it's something that would be perfect on cold days. A hit with everybody, just like the fried tofu.



Pumpkin Red Curry with chicken - on the special's menu. A tad sweet but the otherwise very good. Except that personally, I am not fond of curries in general. I find them way too sweet for my taste buds. Also a hit with everyone else.



Tofu Green Curry - a hit with everyone, especially me. I enjoy the green curry better than the red or the yellow curry. Less sweet than the red curry in my opinion.



Mung Sa Virut - stir fried noodles with black mushrooms and vegetables. Very tasty and flavorful. Someone in the group thought it could use more mushrooms, which I seconded.



Fried Banana and coconut ice cream - a perfect dessert. We ordered only one because we were all too full from all the curries. This one was the bomb. I loved the coconut ice cream, really perfect with the fried banana.



Including tip, each diner's share of the bill was $16.00.

(Photos courtesy of cell phone.)