Dad’s Kitchen – Red Snapper in Szechuan Hot Sauce

Everyone always asks me, “You own a home, but you still live with your parents?” And every time, I answer with, “Well, I get a ride to work every day from my mom and my dad has a gourmet meal on the table when I come home.” I know it sounds awfully spoiled, but that’s how it is in the Lee family household. To be fair, I’m living at my home part-time. But seriously, would you leave if you had food like this, this and this?

Last week, my dad got a whole fresh red snapper from Costco. And now that he’s discovered the internet, he just loves scouring the web for new recipes. Most of the recipes he found were boring to him because they use the same ol’ ingredients – lemon, dill, olive oil, etc. He decided to search for “red snapper Chinese style” and came across this recipe. It was different and spicy, so he decided to give it a shot.

And, it’s a keeper! Just take a look at the ingredients:

2 (8 ounce) red snapper fillets (or whole red snapper)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry white wine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)


  1. Rub the fish with soy sauce and dry wine mixture.
  2. Let the fish fillets marinated in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet, saute the fish fillets for about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Remove the fillets, add garlic, green onion, ginger, chili bean sauce, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar and water.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil before adding the fish fillets back to the skillet.
  6. Braise the fish in the sauce for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tsp of water, stir in the sauce and cook for another minute.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame oil (optional) and serve immediately with steamed rice and your favorite steamed vegetables.

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Flying Fish Grill – Half Moon Bay

Rating: ♣♣♣

Sam and I used to love trying all the fish taco joints in the Bay Area.  Every time someone would mention a place with fried fish tacos that they loved, we’d make it a point to try it out.  Such was the case with Flying Fish Grill.  I had a coworker that constantly raved about how he would take his sons to the best fish tacos he’s ever had in Half Moon Bay. So, of course we had to try.

Making the trip to Half Moon Bay isn’t difficult, you can either take the 92 or the 1.  We were tempted to stop by Barbara’s Fish Trap for some quick Clam Chowder, but fought the urge and continued on.  Finding the place is a little tricky, it’s at the south side, end of the 92 where it meets the 1.  The sun was shining, and the tummy’s were rumbling.  We ordered the Fried Calamari, Sweet Potato Fries and Fish Tacos.

Flying Fish Grill Appetizers

The Fried Calamari was crispy, and seemed extra battered.  With a quick spritz of lemon and a dip into the tartar sauce, the fried calamari were ready for Kingston consumption.  I wouldn’t say these were the most amazing pieces of calamari I’ve ever had, and so would not recommend them.  If you know what Sweet Potato Fries taste like, then you wouldn’t be missing much.

Flying Fish Grill Fish Taco

Finally, we ended with the fish tacos.  Sam ordered 1, and I ordered 2.  Cod is the type of fish we ordered, although you can also choose Salmon.  I actually liked the way they fried the fish, it wasn’t overly battered, and it was the right crispiness.  They place on a bed of shredded cabbage inside a small corn tortilla.  Pictured is Sam’s, plain Jane fish taco.  I actually ordered the Grande, which included Salsa, Guacamole, and cheese.  Definitely good, but not the best, I still reserve that for Nick’s Crispy Tacos.

Note: They are moving to a new location this summer at 211 San Mateo Road!

Flying Fish Grill
99 San Mateo Rd
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

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I Left My Stomach in San Mateo… or Top Peninsula Eats

Farewell upper peninsula. I’ve taken a position in SOMA San Francisco, and will be leaving Foster City. When people ask me what I’m going to miss, I am always going to tell them the good, cheap lunch spots within driving distance. So, here’s a list of top 10 Peninsula Eateries according to Kingston in no particular order:

Jersey Joe’s Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
21 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 592-7317

If you are looking for the best cheesesteak sandwich in the Bay Area, look no further than this San Carlos Cheesesteak establishment. “THE BEST CHEESESTEAK SANDWICH IN THE BAY AREA.” There I said it. For around $10 you get a delicious, mouthwatering cheesesteak, fries, and a medium drink. This establishment will be the one I miss the most. Make sure you put some Buffalo Hot Sauce on your Mushroom Cheesesteak. Oh… Man. In fact, this will definitely be on my weekend Peninsula visits. (BTW, for all you Philly freaks, they have the traditional Cheese Sauce.)

Ike’s Lair
555 Twin Dolphin Dr
Ste 115
Redwood City, CA 94065
(650) 637-8903

So, you get all the hype from the San Francisco Ike’s Place, and realize, that waiting 2 to 3 hours is really not worth it. Now for Peninsulites (Peninsulans? Peninsuli?) all we have to do is make a phone call at 9:00 am to pick up our sandwich at 12:30 pm. I mean, it takes all the guess work out of figuring out which restaurant to go to for lunch. My office did several 15-20 orders of sandwiches to bring back, since there’s no seating there. My favorite is the Not A Reuben (Paul Reuben for my SF Place homies) with Mustard around $9.50.

Old Port Lobster Shack
851 Veterans Blvd
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 366-2400
TheCultureBite Bite Back

Ah… yes. The Lobster Shack. Sigh… Where do I start. I’m actually not a lover of Lobster (I’m more of a crab type of guy), but their Lobster Roll is deeelish. I mean, come on. You walk into this establishment as if it were straight off an old port in Maine. Make sure you start off with some Creamy Clam Chowder, order a Maine Lobster Roll (if you don’t like mayo or green onions order the Naked Lobster so you can dip into a side of mayo or butter), and enjoy that side of fries. Can’t say I’ve tried anything else here, but I hear their BBQ is award winning! My meals were usually around $30 here, so take someone special.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine
135 El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 594-2840

I love the lamb here. We used to come here for special occasions, and then we realized we should just come here for no occasion. The Kebabs are delicious, and they remind me of the song from the Flight of the Conchords “Most Beautiful Girl” ( Mostly because they mention kebabs and these are my favorite ones, specifically the Kabab-e-gousfand. Say that five times fast. The Lamb is seasoned just right and juicy. You get such large portions that I always have to take it home. The other dish I love here is the Challaw kadu. It’s a vegetarian dish with pumpkin in it. thdfsdf <–that was me wiping the drool off of my keyboard

Sushi Sam’s
218 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-0888

This is one of the more expensive lunch dining options in the San Mateo downtown area. I’ve come here for lunch a couple of times, but I’ve come here for dinner a ton of times! S loves getting the Omakase everytime we eat here, but I don’t mind trying all of their other things. The rolls are phenomenal, the Uni tastes fresh, and the service is fantastic. This has replaced my need to return to the Tsukiji Fish Market for my fresh fish. If I were an account manager with a good expense account, I would take all my clients here. My recommendation is to try the Omakase the first time, then try a few rolls. If you feel adventurous they do have some multi-course meals.

Everyday Beijing
637 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 373-7878

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for some Northern Chinese food. There are so many different variations of Northern Chinese food, that it’s always fun to try a new one. Some of them may have the XLB’s with the thin skin or the bun skin, some might have fresh soy milk, this one has Cumin Lamb. Yes, people, the lamb is excellent. Also, I love the meaty meat pancakes.

Saffron Buffet Line
Saffron Indian Bistro
1143 San Carlos Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-4269

It was always a treat to come here. It’s a really cheap buffet ($10), and there’s such a wide variety of Indian food to choose from. You come in to the joint, and you’ll notice that there are white table cloths on each table. I kept thinking, oh no, Indian food and white table cloths don’t seem to go well together. Then you sit down, and realize, wait, I should just get my food right away. The smell of restaurant is fabulous, if you love Indian food. Once you get your plate, you are greeted by a salad bar. I usually skip this, as I’m here for the main event. I spoon a little bit of rice, then, it time. Time to pour on the different curries on each side, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer. There are 8-9 different curries to choose from, and they all have their own tastes and textures. The last thing I pick up is the Tandoori chicken at the end and I’m ready to sit back down. Now, once you sit down, you’ll notice that buttered Naan has been magically placed on your table. Oh man, the waiters are wonderful. Sometimes, you can catch a sports game on one of the two televisions if something is on, otherwise, just sit, relax and enjoy the orchestra of Indian flavors.

Jack’s Prime
3723 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 638-1479

You want a tasty gourmet burger? Then you better come to this modern diner style establishment. They’ve got all the good stuff you could ask for at a burger joint, milk shakes fries, burgers, onion rings, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it all. I personally recommend the Angry Cowboy which is a burger with smoked bacon, onion rings, jalapeno relish, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Yeh doesn’t sound healthy, but it’s delicious.

Cha Cha Cha Fried Plantains and Pork
Cha Cha Cha Cuba
112 S B St
San Mateo, CA 94102
(650) 347-2900
TheCultureBite Bite Back

I love this place. The food is excellent, and the service is outstanding! My usual favorites are the Fried Potatoes with Chili Aioli, Fried Plantains, Ceviche, Calamari, and Mussels. Actually, I didn’t find anything I didn’t really like. One extraordinary thing is that I would actually enjoy drinking their Sangria. If you know me, I usually don’t like drinking alcohol. It’s so good here, how could I not? This place was introduced to me by my good friend, Victor D., who introduced us to the owner, Mario. Mario is a very friendly individual who has very interesting tales of the history of his family. You should ask him about the raft that’s posted on the wall. =)

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Sam’s Chowder House – Half Moon Bay