I realize I’m seriously behind on these posts, and it’s starting to bother me. I would liken the feeling to when you have 20 tabs open in your internet browser, and you have every intention of perusing the websites or reading the articles later, but instead they just build up. It’s constipation for your computer (too much?).
Anyways, the way this is going to work is I’m going to give you a brief recap of my week. Clean and simple. Photos included for free.
Susan first tested my spatial awareness (that’s in your temporal lobe/top of your head, FYI) by making me reorganize her office. I also got to be Susan’s secretary for the day and looked up multiple flights for her volunteering trip using Hipmunk. We later checked out some farmer markets. Susan was checking out the scene for a couple places to see what the footspeed, crowd, prices, and atmosphere was like, so she could gauge whether or not Sôcôla would do well.
The first one was in Novato:
Susan got me some Roli Roti Chicken and potatoes which were absolutely delicious. And I thought I had sworn off chicken thanks to Harvard’s delicacy: Chicken breasts in a water bucket.
I should be that boy right now.
Conclusions: Situated in a small town, the market was full of children and created a cute, playful atmosphere BUT not a what we wanted. Produce sales do well, but more expensive, “fancy” things like gourmet cheeses or chocolates don’t do so well. There was a guy who fries pickles and anything he can get his hands on (i.e.: cupcakes, brocoli). Personally not a fan of the super fried. Apparently he does great.
Tam Valley Market #2:
Conclusion: smaller, more intimate, but sales for a chocolate vendor appear to do better here. The crowd is more willing to spend some cha-ching on products, catering to us. Even Roli claimed to do better here. Game on.
Also moved to my new place up in Lower Haight (pronounced hate, not height if you want to sound legit. I may or may not have been made fun of several times).
Started the day off with Iyengar Yoga, something I’ve never done before. This class has no “flow” to it like Vinyasa, but I feel like it’s something good to go to once a week for yoga enthusiasts. It’s all about feeling the proper adjustments in the body and making sure the basic positions like downward dog are done properly as to not injure the joints. We did stances like shoulder stands with chairs (very Moulin Rouge-esque). The crowd was very different too – there were a lot more elderly people and the room was packed. It was fascinating how by simply pushing different parts of your pinky finger against a surface, you could access and subtly relax different parts of your shoulder blades. Yoga is all about heightened awareness of your own body and muscles, which this class definitely helped with. Downward dog for 45 minutes? Yes, please. Also, something to try next time you drive: “Relax your inner ear”. It’s not as easy as it sounds, trust me.
Besides that, nothing too notable. Did some chocolatier twitter stalking, and finished the day with an hour of meditation at the Spiritual Center with Susan.
Also, have you tried goat milk yoghurt? Interesting stuff. Not my fave:
You know those days where you go through about six hours without remembering what you did? And you weren’t intoxicated or inebriated in any way? It was one of those days. Anyways, around 4pm I pulled myself together and checked out Nopalito, a “sustainable organic Meixcan kitchen” a couple blocks away from my new crib. I ordered two dishes: Taco de Pescado al Pastor & Quesadilla Roja con Chicharron. Both were incredible, but I was a slightly disappointed by the quesadilla, just because it was featured on SF Weeky’s Top 10 Spicy Dishes, and it really wasn’t spicy at all. Then again, I’m Korean.
Seared fish with Ancho Chili Adobo sauce, oranges, onion, cilantro, and salsa. Exquisitely light, delicate, tangy with a hint of lime. My first fish taco in my life was this creature. The best part was definitely the orange slices in the taco, which were a tangy, sweet surprise that blended in really well the spice filled sauce.
Mulato chili-corn tortilla, crispy pork belly, salsa guajillo, jack cheese, queso fresco, onions and cilantro. A great contrast to the light fish taco – heavy, deep, and rich in flavor. The pork was a little tough, but the sauce, cheese, and especially the tortilla were awesome.
Okay now THIS was the bomb (and I don’t say that ever, so this is serious). A Mexican cinnamon popsicle with a dark chocolate coating. Last post I talked about a Neurogasm. Well, this is it. Think a delicious Mexican hot chocolate, on crack, and on a stick. Icy on the inside, smooth and creamy on the outside = a perfect balance of sweetness.
After my delicious meal (I love eating at a table meant for six people by myself), I headed over to the BART station to be picked up by Wendy, Susan’s sister. We headed over to the kitchen and I learned how to make the ganache (the filling of the truffle). They have to be made the night before the truffle making in order to set.
The Jasmine Tea leaves.
Perfect for swimming.
Melted Burnt Caramel waiting to be loved.
Stirring the melted chocolate and ingredients was surprisingly challenging. First, you need some serious upper arm strength (unless you want Carpal Tunnel Syndrome…in 2 years). As you stir, you need to create a “core” in the middle, so the ganache emulsifies properly. You want a thick consistency, but if there is no strong “core”, the chocolate doesn’t develop and becomes grainy.
Susan and I met up and headed back to the kitchen to finish up the sample bars. I got to dip the ganache for the first time! Possibly made the list of most exciting moments of my life -right under being born and discovering that I actually like sashimi.
It was tricky balancing the ganache on the forks, and there were definitely more than a few belly flops into the melted chocolate, but I think I was pretty successful. I also learned how to temper chocolate, which is a simple, but extremely important process. I had to bring the melted chocolate down to 84 degrees F (I know it’s not celsius. Don’t worry I haven’t gone to the dark side yet), then reheat it to 88 degrees. If this isn’t done properly, the chocolate becomes streaky when it hardens and it doesn’t have the right ‘snap’ to it. Not pretty.
We also had some Notorious H.O.G. ganache today! (Bacon bits in chocolate) I may or may not have overdosed, resulting in a very sick Kelly Robinson. The sweet and salty was way too addictive.
After making the bars, we headed to a pre-wedding gathering for Susan’s college friend. It was Korean BBQ themed, so I was obviously beyond ecstatic. Jessica also joined us, so we were all partners in crime (a.k.a.: don’t know anyone so stick together in order to avoid awkwardness. What up.) One of the groom’s high school friends (and the only one there), Dani, joined our little group. She was from Oregon and teaches writing to high schoolers. She’s big into creative writing since she thinks it’s one of the most therapeutic ways to express oneself (agreed), and has a sick tattoo across her right shoulder of instructions on how to fold a paper cranes. She says it represents the way she sees creative writing: taking a blank piece of paper, going through some complicated emotions and ideas, and finishing with a beautiful product. Simple and original. I like.
Korean food, four glasses of wine, and a painfully full stomach later, we returned home. Unfortunately missed Art Murmur, but I’ll just save that for next month.
Extremely appropriate cards for the groom and bride. Susan trying to send unconscious infidelity messages? Not sure if that’s okay, but she’s my boss.
Finito. I apologize – I probably won’t do this info overload again. It still was a great week, and I am pretty sure Susan has already started to confuse me and her dog Nikita. The summer has just begun.