I Met Alice Waters!

Meeting Alice Waters

Alice Waters is kind of a big deal in the Bay Area food scene. You may know her from her world famous restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley. I’ve never been able to try it out, but many famous Bay Area restaurants have birthed out of our kitchen such as Foreign Cinema, Bakesale Betty’s and Ici. And several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to meet her during the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Event on Maiden Lane in downtown SF.

In addition to celebrating 40 years, she was promoting her organization, The Edible Schoolyard, which aims to educate students on eating “real food.” Waters is a real advocate of cooking with locally grown food and she demonstrates that at Chez Panisse. I support her cause 100%, and you can learn more about it here.

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Comic Con 2011 Recap

We’re back from another successful week at Comic Con. I’m seriously suffering from post-con depression now that it’s over. With 150,000 people attending the con this year, we still managed to have a great time. Good thing K and I waited in line at 2:30am Sunday morning to purchase our tickets for 2012! Here’s a brief recap.


We flew out on Wednesday and spent the afternoon in the Gaslamp district. K and I grabbed a quick bite at the Burger Lounge that takes pride in their all organic menu. After that, K and I headed over to the Nerd HQ, Zachary Levi’s (Chuck) off-site event, to pick up our Conversations for a Cause with Zachary Quinto tickets. While waiting in line, K and I ran into Zach Levi himself and each got a photo with him! Comic Con didn’t even start yet and this pic alone made my week.

After grabbing our tickets, we headed for the exhibit hall for the Preview Night. We tried to get in as much of the exhibit hall as possible this night so we wouldn’t have to come back. We were able to snag a t-shirt from the Marvel booth, buttons from the DC booth, a foam sword from the Summit booth, and much much more.


On Thursday, we decided to change up our Comic Con experience and participate in the Nerd Quest scavenger hunt by Nerd HQ rather than sit in Hall H all day. So glad we did this because you’re looking at the grand prize winners right here! Thanks to TheNerdMachine for the brand new custom Xbox 360 and Kinect coming our way in the next few weeks!

After this, we headed to Dick’s Last Resort for some grub. At this point, K and I were so exhausted from running around, that all we wanted was some quick food for sustenance. Dick’s is not the place to go for that. We had no idea this restaurant was themed where the servers treat their patrons like crap. On any other day, I could play along, but at that moment, I really didn’t want to be called an oxymoron for being an “Asian nerd” or have a cup of water thrown at me.

We quickly ate our tequila cheese nachos and our crabby balls and headed for the Jon Favreau and Guillermo Del Toro panel in Hall H. Boy these 2 guys are entertaining. Guillermo has the mouth of a dirty truck driver and it’s just plain hilarious hearing him talk. The 2 movies they spoke about were Favreau’s Magic Kingdom and Del Toro’s Haunted Mansion. Can’t wait for those! After this, we shuffled out of Hall H and headed back to the hotel.


Friday morning started with The Adventures of Tin Tin panel with 2 of the biggest directors of our time, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. I’ve never read the books, but the movie looks interesting. The 2 directors talked about how they debated between live action and animated. They shared a screen test of the live action, which I thought was cool. But I’m assuming it failed since the movie is now animated.

At 12pm, K and I headed for the Nerd HQ for our Zach Quinto talk. The actor spoke with his group, Before the Door, about their upcoming graphic novel Mr. Murder is Dead. After the talk, the guys stuck around for a 2 hour signing. I ended up getting my Zach Quinto photo I took with him 2 years ago signed!

On our way back to the convention center, we grabbed a 2 hot dog/soda combo at an ice cream store for $4.75. We were desperate and needed to eat something quick before The Amazing Spiderman panel. We ended up missing that panel because the hall was full.

Boo… Anyway, we jumped out of the line and wandered around the Gaslamp. Walking around the little South Park town put together by Comedy Central, we discovered a little food truck area. I found the most devilicious sandwich at a truck called Devilicious. I cannot believe I ordered the PB&J with bacon and cream cheese. Yeah, you read that right. The sandwich was so warm and gooey from all of the ingredients. On top of that, the bread was buttered and pan fried. This was probably the most sinful sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

After this, I sped-walked back to the hotel to work off the sandwich and get ready for the most anticipated party at the Nerd HQ. Zach Levi was expected to be there with all of his celebrity friends. So we all got dressed and headed out to the venue Jolt’n Joe’s.

The HQ was actually pretty cool. They set up demo stations for pre-released games like Gears of War 3 and Rayman and a free photobooth to take unlimited photos. We hung out here for a few hours and then we realized that we’d never be able to actually hang with the celebs, so we headed back home. On the way, we ran into another Chuck cast-member, Mark Christopher Lawrence (aka. Big Mike).


Now this is when our trip got crazy. We wanted to see the Chuck panel Saturday at 10am and we heard that fans were planning to jump in line at 2am. So, K and Ivan headed for the expo hall at 1:30am to wait in line. YES. In line for almost 9 hours to see a panel. They weren’t even at the front of the line! This is my only qualm about the conference. People are willing to waste a day in line, and if you don’t do the same, you’ll miss out. I jumped into line around 8am and met K and Ivan’s new Australian friends. Apparently, Zach Levi visited the line at 4:30am to greet the fans waiting in line. So cool!

Anyway, the panel was completely worth it. We got some sneak peek footage of their final season and a performance from Jeffster. We even got a pretty cool Nerd Herd t-shirt. Too bad it’s a large and won’t fit me.

By this time, the guys were wiped out, so we decided to hang out in Ballroom 20 for the screening of the new show, Terra Nova, and the Futurama panel. Terra Nova is a new show on FOX. Cool concept (people from the future travel in time to restart civilization in prehistoric times), but I thought the pilot was boring. After this, we headed for the ticket fulfillment room to redeem our gift for sitting in on the Futurama panel – just a button.

But, on our way there, we ran into Nikita actress, Maggie Q! After this, we took another stroll through the exhibit hall for more free schwag. Guys were pooped, so we headed back to the hotel and ordered some pizza delivery from Dominoes.

It was Saturday night, and the biggest Hollywood party goes down at Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp. Because of yearly tradition, I had to go. Lucy, K and I were the only ones that made it out and we were able to catch glimpses of the cast of Eureka, Sanctuary, Haven and Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. The most famous celeb there, however, was eating at a restaurant across the street. Jonah Hill! We called it a night early and headed back for the hotel.


K and I got about 2 hours of sleep before we headed for the 2012 registration line back at the convention center. I think we’ve already established that we were crazy. K and I attempted to sleep on cement on the marina at 2:30am before being herded over into a room in the Hyatt. At 8:15, K and I were the only members of our group with guaranteed passes to next year’s Comic Con!

We headed back to the room to clean up and then went back out to the exhibit hall in hopes to get a poster tube from the FOX booth. On our way there, we saw the cast of Glee signing at the booth! I love Darren Criss! Who knew he was so petite in person?

Lucy, K and I had a late flight out on Sunday, so we killed time in Hall H and sat in on The Cleavland Show and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia panels. And that was the wrap to our Comic Con experience.

Overall perception of Comic Con – still awesome.

Here’s a group pic we took at the Nerd HQ photo booth. Can’t wait for next year!

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Wayfare Tavern – San Francisco

Wayfare Tavern Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

You know how some people have a list of celebrities they’d like to meet? Well, I have a list and celebrity chef Tyler Florence is on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch him when I dined at Wayfare Tavern, but I did get to meet him here. When Wayfare Tavern first opened last year, the restaurant was the talk of the town. You’d have to make a reservation several weeks in advance to get a seat. Well, one year later and I still had to make a res a month in advance.

The decor of the restaurant is beautiful. It looks much like a tavern with rich wood tables and a stuffed deer head hanging over their bar, but it’s still very elegant with the dim lighting and personalized china.

Wayfare Tavern Bacon Wrapped Dates

Wayfare Tavern Poutine

Wayfare Tavern Popover

We started the meal with bacon-wrapped dates and poutine (a Canadian specialty of french fries, cheese, and gravy). The bacon-wrapped dates were excellent. The sweetness from the dates were countered with the salty bacon. The poutine was such greasy goodness. Thin shoestring fries were topped with… not gravy, but pot roast. K and I had to cut ourselves short before we got too full. One nice touch was the complimentary popovers they served to each guest. We soaked up the drippings from the poutine with the fluffy popovers. Boy, it was sinful.

Wayfare Tavern Fried Chicken

For my entree, I ordered the famed fried chicken. This takes your average fried chicken to a whole different level. Instead of plain ole buttermilk fried chicken, Tyler Florence marinates his chicken in a brine and seasons his batter with fresh thyme, rosemary and lemon. The chicken was perfectly crispy, juicy and aromatic. He took a southern comfort food and made it upscale with fresh herbs. I really liked this fried chicken, although if I had to choose between this or Ad Hoc’s fried chicken, I’ll go with the latter. I don’t think anyone can beat Thomas Keller’s masterpiece.

Wayfare Tavern Burger

K ordered the burger made of grass-fed beef, Mt. Tam cheese, roasted onion and crispy bacon all stuffed within a brioche roll. It took K a whole 10 seconds to figure out how to shove this 6 inch high burger into his mouth. Of course, he managed. This was probably the best burger we’ve ever had. So juicy and tender, the burger just fell apart in our mouths. The Mt. Tam cheese was so creamy and rich, offsetting the saltiness from the bacon. The caramelized onions were sweet which helped round out the flavors.

Wayfare Tavern Sticky Toffee Cake

For dessert, K and I shared the sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce and ginger ice cream. Wow, this was the icing on the cake for us. There were little bits of dates in the cake making it so sticky, chewy and dense. The ginger ice cream was light and subtle which was a nice break from the heavy cake. But, oh so delicious.

Wayfare Tavern was an enjoyable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to couples for an occasion restaurant. If you’re lucky, you might catch glimpses of Tyler Florence while you’re there!

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I Met Tyler Florence!!

sfo sam and tyler

…at the grand opening of the new Virgin terminal at SFO! On Saturday, my family and I were invited to check out the new terminal before it publicly opened this week. We got to walk right past the security area and straight through all the restaurants and shops to the gates. The airport made a real effort to be green with this terminal – using natural light, stations to fill empty water bottles, etc. I learned all these nifty facts from the fun games they provided at the opening.

To bring a little bit of Bay Area to the terminal, they had a Napa Valley storefront selling local foods like Cowgirl Creamery cheeses and a Tyler Florence food stand. As soon as I saw Tyler’s restaurant stand, my eyes scanned the store to see if the celebrity chef was there. Lucky enough, he was! I ran straight up to him and asked for a photo. My dad’s a huge Tyler Florence fan as well and even bought his cook book right there so he could have it autographed. Tyler is so sweet in person as he appears on his cooking shows. He’s a great cook as well! We ordered a few of his pizzas and they were amazing, especially the Simple Italy Pizza (margherita). We did have to wait 40 minutes for the food though!

Cat Cora has a restaurant in the terminal as well, but no appearances from the female celebrity chef. Dang!

sfo fam and tyler

sfo signing dads book

sfo tyler margherita

sfo tyler harvest pizza

sfo water fountain

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