Favorite food: Oysters (raw or rockefeller), BBQ baby back ribs and anything with sour cream or avocado, or both!
Favorite local restaurants: (formal dining, ethnic, neighborhood bistro): Here are my favorite restaurants from places that I’ve lived during the last few years. If you are ever in the neighborhood, these local eateries won’t let you down:
- Sonoma Valley – The Swiss Hotel, Deuce, The Red Grape
- San Francisco – Cha Cha Cha, Betelnut, Jeanty at Jacks
- San Diego – Marine Room, Sushi Deli
- Rockridge/Berkeley – Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers, Looney’s Smokehouse BBQ
- Lodi – School Street Bistro
- Davis – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, Zen Toro
Favorite dining experience of all time: My aunt and uncle live on the North Shore of Oahu. A few years ago, together with their Hawaiian neighbors, they threw a traditional family luau – much different than the ones the Honolulu Outrigger puts on. I got to help prepare the imu, stripped taro leaves, and clean lobsters and sea snails. I won’t lie, it was hard work, but in the end it was the most memorable dining experience I’ve ever had. The food and culture were amazing.
Earliest food-related memory from childhood: When I was about five or six years old I went over to my grandparents’ (a.k.a. Oma and Opa) house for dinner where they were preparing and serving homemade sushi. Let’s just say that they didn’t have a “kids option” planned and so my sister and I were forced to eat the raw fish and test the spicy wasabi sauces. It turned out that I LOVED it. Now I couldn’t tell you if it was for the taste or the “gross factor” of the uncooked fish, but I would guess it was the latter. However, growing up sushi has been one of my favorite foods.
Most impressive dish you’ve whipped up using only ingredients on hand: I was planning on making Caramel Nut Bars and I as I was creating my shopping list I realized that I had everything in my kitchen, which is amazing. I felt like a real grown up.
Favorite family recipe: Oma’s pan fried abalone.