Sunday 12 June 2011

Afternoon Tea in San Francisco, Japanese Style!

My favourite photo of the Japanese Tea Garden

Among many food adventures with my father, we included a trip to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It was rumoured that they offered tea tasting, but to our disappointment, the menu only offered some tea sets, sweets and a small selection of entrées. We decided to stay for a spot of "afternoon tea" despite the limited menu and this is what we ate...

We ordered a Jasmine Tea Set each, one with mochi cakes and one with salty rice crackers.

Jasmine tea with mochi cakes and salty rice crackers

Mochi cakes split in half to share

The bottom of my Jasmine tea cup

We still felt peckish after these bites and it was almost lunchtime so we decided to order a couple of larger dishes to share. We were very intrigued by the sound of the Green tea soup (Nori Ochazuke) and we also ordered the Japanese noodle soup (Udon).

Nori Ochazuke, Green tea seaweed rice soup

Pouring the tea into the rice

The dish is ready to eat!

The Nori Ochazuke arrived in two pieces: the tea in a teapot and the rice, puffed rice kernals and seaweed in an accompanying bowl. We absolutely loved the variety of textures in this dish; crunchy rice kernals, chewy seaweed strips, bouncy boiled rice and a delicately flavoured watery broth.

Udon, Japanese wide noodles in a fish broth

The Udon was served with a fishcake and some sliced spring onions on top. We enjoyed the bouncy texture of the wide noodles but did not find it as exciting as the Nori Ochazuke.

The Tea House inside the Japanese Tea Garden

Iris in the Japanese Tea Garden

Although the menu is limited, the gardens are stunning. It was a great place to play with my camera! I highly recommend a visit here if ever one is in the area.

Thursday 2 June 2011

The Glamorous Life Of An Intern: Part Two

Concannon wine glass

Over the past few weeks I have been participating in an internship with The Perishable Foods Council of Northern California, as well as the internship with Culture Magazine. With the PFC I experienced tours of many different areas of the food industry across Northern California. The sites we visited included Fiscalini Cheese in Modesto, Tony's Fine Foods in Sacramento, Nugget Markets in Sacramento, Fresh Choice in Sacramento, Taylor Farms in Tracy, Safeway Research and Development in Walnut Creek, Foster Farms in Modesto, Acosta Brokers in Pleasanton and we finished off with Concannon Winery in Livermore.

Inside Concannon Winery

We were generously given an exclusive tour of the winery, as well as a laboratory experience where we performed various experiments on wines.

Myself in the lab

We finished our day at Concannon with an Italian potluck (I baked my Thyme, Orange, Almond and Chocolate Biscotti!) and a private wine tasting with the charming Estate Manager, Jim Ryan.

The gardens and vineyards at Concannon

The dinner and wine tasting were held in the stunning Wine Library with Jim and it was a fabulous end to a very enjoyable and successful internship.

The beautiful Wine Library

Unfortunately, the end of my California experience is creeping up on me. I wish it could last forever! My internship with the PFC has not only enhanced my CV, but it has given me a great insight into the potential life as a Food Scientist in Northern California. Perhaps this is not the end of my California experience, but the beginning...?!