Thursday, May 13, 2010


On Monday, May 17, we will be starting with our Cooking Classes for kids part 2. We have a new menu that the kids will surely love. Hope you can join us too!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Since I got back, today is the only day that I finally got to sit down and spend time to fix this. Scroll down and check out some of the items that we tried and tasted.

Here's a restaurant that we tried at the basement of San Francisco Shopping Center . It's called Out the Door A Vietnamese Restaurant that serves Vietnamese street food placed in a very nice and modern atmosphere.
Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Really good, the broth was full with flavor and the beef was tender. I think this is the perfect dish on a cold weather.
Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. This is low fat and healthy. The sauce was good too. It tasted like a sate sauce with peanuts....perfect as a snack or an appetizer.

Here I am with friends Krissy, Anna, Enrique and my little girl Sabrina. We were taking photos while waiting for our food and thinking of a game plan on how to eat our meal and be done in 20 minutes to make it for my haircut appointment at 2:30 with Jay.

This one was taken in Portland....our first meal there. We ate at Mc Cormick and Schmicks. This is the crab seafood chowder. Looks really rich and yes it's rich but it's really good!
Cheese of the better one's I've tasted. It's juicy and grilled perfectly.
This is what I had...grilled salmon with grilled vegetables and a raspberry reduction. Yummy...
Sabrina's and chips. What a big serving and this is from their kiddie menu.
On another night, we had dinner at ClarkLewis It was right across the school and it could not have been more convenient haha. I've eaten here the fist time I visited Portland. It was one place I promised to visit again the next time I'm in Portland. So, we went with my mom, Tita Zeny, Ate Jelly and Sabrina. Here's a cheese platter with the cheeses made in the area.
This is Sabrina's special request. It wasn't in the menu and the chef gladly made it for her. Spaghetti with butter and cheese. It was sooo good that I kept picking on Sabrina's plate haha.
Here's a fish dish... grilled hallibut with morrel mushrooms, roasted garlic and a puree of herbs for the sauce.
Orechiette with mussels and clams

Back in California, we headed one day to Monterey to take Sabrina to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We decided to have lunch there at the Portola Restaurant.
This is my seafood cioppino. It was ok. Not bad but I've tasted better.
This is the clam chowder that my mom ordered. It looks like baby food but I also tried this and it was actually good!
Tita Zeny ordered this. Caesar salad with crisp herbed crostini.
Here's Sabrina's favorite fish and chips.
This is Kuya Rollie's grilled chicken sandwich
Then on the way back, Kuya Rollie drove by Moss Landing to grab dinner to go. It's called Phil's Fish Market. He told me that they have the best Cioppino so I was game to try it.
This is the back area from the beach. During the summer, people actually go and eat then head out to the beach...then they go back in to eat again.
The restaurant is huge and it get's pack every single day.
When in Moss Landing, go look for this sign. If you get lost, just ask around. They know where to direct you.
This is our packed dinner... grilled sourdough garlic bread,

the best seafood cioppino, some mixed greens with ranch dressing, and frozen banana for dessert.

Now that I'm home, all I can do now is dream about it and hope that I get to visit again soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


My week in Portland was hectic so I waited until I got back to San Jose to load all these pictures.

I went on a 5 day barista class to brush up on my skills at the American Barista and Coffee School.

For day 1, we had lecture and introduction about the business side on opening a cafe, business plan, financials and floor plan.

We were lucky that during the time we were there, we were able to see them roast some coffee.

This is the roasting machine that they use. Here in the photo, they're already cooling the beans, using a mechanical blower to cool them quickly.

It takes a few minutes to cool the beans completely.
Once the beans have cooled, they are now placed in a container and then prepared for repacking in 1 pound bags.

In the school, we are provided with several espresso machines that we can use to make sure that we are able to operate each one with confidence. This one here is my favorite... Victoria Arduino. I've been told that it's like the Ferrari of the espresso machines.
We also have an Astoria,
La Cimbali,

La Spaziale,
Nuova Simonelli - a simple machine and very easy to use too,
A lever type Victoria Arduino,
La Marzocco - another favorite of mine,
and a Della Corte.

Each machine has its own strengths and weaknesses and it's really up to the user which one fits best. So rule of thumb, test the machines first before buying one.
Here I am with Tom, one of the trainors. He's watching me step by step, making sure that I get the right kind of grind,

get my dose right,
tamp my grinds right,
and extract my shot at the right time, with the right temperature, texture, color and flavor.
Here's a class for free pour which is becoming popular in cafe concepts.
To prepare the free pour, the selected roasted beans are ground.
A paper filter is place on the coffee dripper. Hot water is allowed to drip on the paper filter to preheat the dripper and the glass pitcher.
This is the ground coffee. The grinds are more coarse than the grinds for the espresso machine.
Pour the grinds and make a well in the center using your pointer. Then gradually pour the hot water...slowly. The ready coffee drips in the pitcher and is then poured over a mug or a cup.
Here's the coffee from the dripper. The coffee tasted really good.
Here's a class for cupping in the tasting room.

First, the selected green beans from a specific area are roasted then ground. .
They lined up about 5 kinds of coffees. Each kind had three cups with the ground coffee. We tried the Cost Rica,
Coffee from Bolivia,
Coffee from Rwanda,
Another coffee from Rwanda roasted by another roasting company,
and Sumatra coffee.
First, we smelled the 3 cups with the grinds, taking note of the scent from the roasts, which was more fragrant, and which one smelled stronger.
After smelling the grinds, hot water was poured over the grinds.
We allowed the coffee to steep for about 5 minutes.
Using two spoons, the cloudy film is scraped off from the surface.

Then, we smelled the coffee again with the poured hot water.
Costa Rica remained consistent. Still fragrant and had a bold flavor.
The coffee from Bolivia tasted weaker compared to the coffee from Costa Rica and was less aromatic.
This one, I liked the best. It was aromatic and had a balanced flavor.
This one was ok but I found to be slightly acidic.
This one, coffee from Sumatra had an earthy flavor. Not a lot of people liked the flavor nor the smell.
These are my classmates in the course. Cherry and Eric Cruz of Equilibrium Intertrade.
This is me, with my certificate of completion of the the course.
Here we are with the whole class and the instructors.

Here I am with Bruce Milletto, Cherry Cruz, Eric Cruz, Susan Edilo and Matt Milletto.