Cooking with Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack

Cooking with Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack

I had a major case of FOMO for not taking a class with Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack (aka Chef) when I was a student at the University of San Francisco.  Lucky for me, my friend Lily introduced me to Chef and I was able to relive my university days and cook with one of the best teachers at school!

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From Tech to Stage: How Chris Kuester Took A Break From The Valley To Pursue His Culinary Dreams

From Tech to Stage: How Chris Kuester Took A Break From The Valley To Pursue His Culinary Dreams

A lot of us say we wish we did this and wish we had this career - and really how many of us actually go out and do what they WISH they could do? I met someone who actually followed through with pursuing his dreams of taking a hiatus  from his 9-5 tech job to become a cook at a prestigious restaurant in San Francisco, Trou Normand.

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Reem's California x The Buttery Existence

Reem's California x The Buttery Existence

Reem Assil is a force to be reckoned with in the cooking world.  After traveling on a life changing trip to Beirut, she was inspired to bring Arab baking and hospitality to the Bay Area, specifically in Oakland where she opened Reem's California.  As part of a thank you gift to her Kickstarter Community, she and I collaborated on creating a how-to video on how to make Sfeeha, a Lebanese mini-meat pie that is juicy and full of flavor.

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Things to Do During Super Bowl 50

It's Super Bowl 50 and I'm preparing myself for the influx of Denver Broncos & Carolina Panthers fans here in San Francisco. I've heard lots of people here in SF complain about all the craziness (crowds, tourists, traffic, etc) and festivities (concerts, NFL Experience) and controversies that come along with the way the event has panned out.

I have mixed feelings about the Super Bowl for all the reasons I just mentioned above.  However, it's here and happening, so I decided to put together a quick list off things to do with some advice here and there on how to enjoy yourself while you are here.

I've lived a somewhat nomadic life but I have spent enough time here in the City by the Bay that I know a thing or two about giving recommendations on places to visit, what to eat and things to do in this beautiful city.  I know a lot of Panthers and Broncos fans will be making their rounds to the typical tourists spots, so here are a few tips for all of them:

If you've never visited San Francisco, then yes you should go do the typical tourist things first

Golden Gate Bridge

Bike or walk across the bridge and take a break in beautiful Sausalito

Baker Beach

Nudists welcome :)

Golden Gate Park

There is always something going on at GGP

Japanese Tea Garden

Boating out on Stow Lake

Get cultured and go to the De Young Museum

Black tie event at the De Young

Black tie event at the De Young

 

California Academy of Sciences

Nightlife with one of my favs in the faux rainforest

Nightlife with one of my favs in the faux rainforest

If you go on Thursday, go to NightLife

Fisherman's Wharf

You need to try the baby donuts from Trish's

San Francisco Symphony

Listen to a world-class orchestra in the Civic Center area of San Francisco

Lombard Street

If you decide to go and want to take pictures, please be courteous of the residents there.  I get it, the view is breath taking and you want to take the perfect picture, but please don't block traffic and be rude.

San Francisco Ballet

Can I have this one please?

Can I have this one please?

Check out one of the best ballet companies in the world!

Coit Tower

360 View of San Francisco & the Bay Area

Dolores Park

Get some ice cream from Bi-Rite and take a nice walk around the park

Palace of Fine Arts

This is one of the most iconic spots in San Francisco and it s located in the beautiful Marina district.  I know, you'll hear people either say they love or hate the Marina (could be more along the lines of the crowd that rolls over there - whatever haters I love the Marina and I'm not sorry about it :P) but everyone can agree that this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the city.

If you're feeling adventurous, check out some of my favorite local spots: 

Hayes Valley

If the weather permits, check out the Biergarten and have some pink deviled eggs

 

Bill Goat Hill

Because you'll want to take an awesome photo like this if the swing is still there

 

Swinging on Billy Goat Hill

The Embarcadero

Grab some drinks by the Ferry Building at Sens, if you can by pass the crowds at Super Bowl City :P

 

Happy Hour

Tapas and drinks at Coqueta

  • This restaurant has some of the prettiest and tastiest cocktails I've ever had before.

 

My kind of gin + juice (+flowers)

Relax & Chill

Make an appointment at Fairyland for a 70 minute reflexology massage and grab a coffee across the street at Saint Frank's.

 

Coffee & Massages

Explore the Dogpatch

This is an up-and-coming area of San Francisco and not too bad of walk from the chaos of all the activities for the Super Bowl.  Check out some of my favorite restaurants below:

Piccino

 

Piccnino's has a coffee shop next to its restaurant

DIG Wine

Serpentine

Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous

Magnolia Brewing Company

Long Bridge Pizza

Sunrise in the Dogpatch

 

18th Street & Connecticut (Potrero Hill) 

This area is home to a strip of amazing local restaurants and is truly a place where locals hang out.

Plow

Serpentine

Mochica

Just For You Cafe

Umi

Aperto

Sunflower

Goat Hill Pizza

Pera

Chez Maman

Papito

You too can also find the same spot where Josh Hartnett walks across the street with the view of the San Francisco city skyline as his backdrop.  Our friend David found the exact spot near by and took our engagement photos here back in 2013.

Apps for Life

As for food, I know this city can be a little overwhelming, I can keep on going on and on, but unfortunately I don't have the time to put it all in one post.  We're really lucky here in San Francisco when it comes to good food.  Every corner is packed with restaurants, cafes and markets and it can be daunting.  If you're determined to consume as many dishes as you can, I recommend that you download one of SF's favorite foodie lists from 7x7: Big Eat 2015: 100 Things To Eat In SF Before You Die .

 

App is available for iPhone & Android

The app is available for both the iPhone and Android.  The list is pretty diverse and can accommodate to a wide range of taste palettes.

Be Good & Help Others

You're here to party, root for your team and explore this beautiful city.  I get it and I'm there with you.  However, behind all the fun parties, games and events, the pink elephant in the room is our displaced homeless population here in San Francisco.  I'm not going to try to preach about what should be done, but I am going to share how you can help out and support those in most need while also enjoying yourself!  If you were not able to get a ticket to the game in Santa Clara and want to change up your activity for the day, head over to one of my favorite street food parks, Soma StrEAT Food Park for their Super Bowl Sunday celebration where they have partnered with the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge to provide services and necessities for those in need.

Learn more about how you can participate in Alex Mak's post on Broke-Ass Stuart.

 

Photo Credit: SOMA StrEAT Food Park

 

Transportation Options

MUNI & BART:  Please buy a Clipper Card, it's worth it!  Also, you can use your Google Maps app or Routesy (MUNI only) to determine your travel schedule.

UBER & Lyft: If you decide to use either shared driving service, please be mindful of where you are asked to be picked up.  Be sure that you are in an area that is easy for a car to pull-over and communicate with your driver on the best place for him/her to pick you up.  Be flexible!

Taxi: Hailing a cab in San Francisco is tough, but if you're able to get one, yay for you!

Feet:  Walking is the best way to explore this city!  Put your walking shoes on and make your own adventure!

Etiquette

Be nice and kind to the locals here and they'll reciprocate it right back.

Party Update

  

Thank you to Von Miller for hosting a fabulous event at Christian Louboutin here in San Francisco! 

Best of luck! But...I won't lie, rooting for the Panthers for the win! (Shoutout to my cousin Myra #TCAlum

Have an amazing time! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

#ChallengeSF: My favorite detox Plan

As many of my friends know, I'm obsessed with Barry's Bootcamp here in San Francisco.  I never considered myself an athlete at all until I came to this place and worked with the trainers here.  Honestly, I'm that girl who would consider running a 3.0 pace on the treadmill a "hardcore workout".  Thank goodness this place forever changed my outlook on fitness for the best.

Outside of being one of the best workouts I've ever done in my life, one thing that makes Barry's in San Francisco stand out from the other studios is how much the team there cares about their clients, aka #FitFam.  One of my favorite trainers there, Erica Stenz (hay 2014 Racked Hottest Trainer SF !) loves to go above and beyond to make sure her clients think about their fitness holistically by challenging us to eat healthier.

Living in San Francisco is tough because we have access to some of the best restaurants in the world, which can lead to bigger waist lines and less money in the bank from going out all the time.  So when Erica and fellow Barry's trainer Tommy Stracke (who is also her bf, I know #powercouple) put together #ChallengeSF, which consisted of choosing one of the following 1) No Sugar 2) No Alcohol and 3) Whole30 - I decided I had to go big and went for the Whole30 option.

For those of you who don't know what Whole30 is, it is basically a slightly more extreme Paleo style diet.  Without going into too many details you basically eat protein (meats), vegetables and fruits and you can cook with approved oils.  Yes, say bye to all grains, legumes, dairy and obviously sugars.  If you want to learn more, check out their website.

Participating in this challenge for two weeks was no walk in the park.  I'm not going to lie and say that it was really easy for me to adhere to this diet change because I am Asian and LOVE rice and noodles, which I obviously could not eat on this diet plan.

However, I purchased the Whole30 recipe book to help inspire me so I wouldn't be stuck eating boiled eggs everyday.  Let me tell you, the book is well worth buying.  You can find it online at Jet or Amazon for around $18.00.  Trust me, it's worth purchasing. The authors Melissa & Dallas Hartwig provide some creative ways to diversify what you eat when you're on Whole30.

My favorite recipe from the book is the Chicken Cacciatore (my attempt below).

 

The recipe is really easy and the dish is pretty filling and hearty, so it's a great meal to try out when you're first starting your journey on Whole30.  Since this is an Italian style dish, I decided to use my spiralizer and make zucchini noodles and pre-pack both my lunch and my husband's lunch for the week.  This meal was full of protein and also replaced my need of having carbs with my protein.  I bought my spiralizer from Sur La Table.  You can find a range of them in different styles and prices here.

Another indulgence of mine is iced coffee.  I love to buy iced coffee from all the coffee hot spots: Blue Bottle, Sightglass, Four Barrel etc.  However, I know 1) It's an expensive habit 2) Some of these places add cream/whole milk and sugar to their coffees and that is why they taste so damn good.

So, in order to satisfy my need of delicious iced coffee, I invested in the Hario Cold Brewer.  It's really easy to use, however it does take time for the coffee to steep.   Here is a great tutorial to watch on how to use it.   

 

These are just a few things I did when I was on Whole30 for two weeks.  I know, it is supposed to be for a whole 30 days, but hey, at least I stuck with it through out the entire duration of #ChallengeSF!   I seriously felt rejuvenated and amazing and my sugar and carb cravings have subsided.

In addition, eating this healthy and working out I lost a few lbs along along the way! The dress I wore to the San Francisco Ballet Gala last night fit like a glove!  (Thank god because I didn't have any back-up dresses that I was willing to wear)  I am not quite at my goal weight, but doing this challenge was a great start.