Abstract Table & Easter in SF!

Hey hey!! I have one more day to catch up on posts before taking off for Ohio! I’ll be MIA till probably mid next week, but can’t wait to catch up on all your happenings then 🙂

After our hike, DJ and I blasted the heat in the car (it was freezin’ out there!) and then headed home to get ready. I was invited to Abstract Table in Oakland to try out their “Atolls” menu complimentarily. I was ecstatic and honored to try it out & really excited DJ could go with me. We made a little date night out of it!

I have never actually drove through downtown Oakland before. I was taking in all the buildings & noting restaurant names as we drove along. “Ohhh, I wanna try that place out sometime!” I probably said five times as we drove along the main drag.

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Abstract Table is located in The Gastropig and has seatings on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 pm/8 pm.

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We opted for the earlier time slot since we live about an hour from Oakland (and so I could get some natural lighting for pics if we’re being real 😉 ).

I love the purpose and inspiration of their menu. Their mission is to bring awareness to the fragility of the coral reefs by bringing innovative, vibrant, and piquantly beautiful flavors and plated dishes to the Bay! You can read about it in detail in the description below.

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The ambiance was super relaxed. It felt rustically casual, yet was clean and bright. They pride themselves on being fine dining, without the pretense and definitely nailed it! Also the menus are cheaper than most fine dining around. It is $50 for the five course or $70 for the seven course.

First, the waiter came out and offered us wines for the evening. Since it was mostly going to be seafood, we opted to try their white wines. I loved it- so crisp, great with the dishes. They served in little mini mason jars- so cute!!

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The first course was an oyster, scallop, squid, leek, citrus and starfruit.

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This is probably one of the most exquisite things I have ever eaten. It was a refreshing beginning to the meal!

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Second Course: Shrimp & scallop dumplings with seaweed caviar, avocado powder, and dashi. They were good, but the best was yet to come!

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Third course: Sea bean, guava, pineapple, black sesame wafer, and chili-yuzu vinaigrette. This was very sweet, but delicious.

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Fourth course: Ashen octopus, chicharron, passion fruit, coconut pearls, and octopus jus. This was yummy! It was incredibly unique with the flavor, but I loved the boldness of the dish.

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Fifth course: Wild boar belly with mango nectar poached carrot, jackfruit kimchi, and plantain puree. I was nervous to eat this whole dish since I don’t regularly eat meat- but I definitely had a few bites to try it out. It was tremendous!!! This was our favorite of the night. I don’t like the taste of meat, but this was so savory, without any dryness at all.

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Sixth Course: Braised goat, pigeon peas, baby greens, kabocha curry, and smoked chili. DJ loved this one! I didn’t care for the goat, but I loveeed the curry and pigeon pea mix.

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Seventh Course: Hawaiian cinnamon buckwheat cake with white chocolate-lime mousse, finger lime, chili sesame sand. Wow oh wow oh wow this dessert was magical!!! We were blown away.

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We are so thankful have tried out this phenomenally constructed and executed menu! Thank you, Abstract Table and Chef Andrew David Greene, for having us!

On the morning of April 21st (Easter), I started the day with some avocado toast with hummus and everything but the bagel seasoning from TJ’s.

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Easter outfit! Deej and I had to drive separately to church because he had to work a bit after.

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We attended a lovely Easter church service and then DJ headed to work for a few hours. When he came home around 1 pm, we zipped up to SF.

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I made us reservations at The Saratoga– A spot I’ve had my eye on for ages!!

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It had a gorgeous industrial interior!

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We started with some mimosa like drinks- both deliciously light, fruity, and not too overwhelmingly sweet.

We mainly wanted to try their Jenga Tots! These were truly tots with cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumber, capers, and red onion. They were phe-nom-en-al!!! I am obsessed!!! This is a brunch dish at its finest. The actual tots had a wonderfully done crispy exterior with a savory, heavenly potato-ey pillow on the inside. I will dream of this.

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We also tried their mimosa donut. This was a donut with a blood orange glaze and pop rocks. I didn’t notice any pop rock poppin’, but it was still absolutely delicious. I would love to enjoy one of these with coffee in the morning. In most pictures I’ve seen it usually has a more bright red/pink color, so I’m wondering if they did something to change the color for Easter? hmmm. Either way – fantastic donut!

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After our scrumptious brunch, we headed to Ghirardelli square. Deej was having a little itch for one of their famous sundaes. The weather was as wonderful as it comes in the city– Bright, sunny, 70s, and even with the wind, not too cold- but also not too hot.

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It sure was windy though! hehe.

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But where there is wind– might as well take advantage of it for that wind-blown selfie, riiight? 😉

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We made it!

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The line was insanely long. Probably didn’t help that it was a holiday and a weekend. We decided we’d come back on another day.

Instead, we decided to go to the Palace of Fine Arts since I have never been before & it was within walking distance. DJ has been once and said it was definitely worth visiting!

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It was one aesthetically magnificent building. We also saw this little guy swimming around.

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It was much bigger than I expected! I have passed it in the distance many times while driving, but actually seeing it in person was a majestic experience.

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At this point my dogs were barkin’!!! After allll my trips to SF you’d think I’d know which shoes to wear to take on the hills & miles of walking. Well, I completely over-estimated the comfort of the gray booties (my “most comfortable” pair of non-athletic shoes). Fashion or pain? Hard decision, ya know. But next time, I am totally sticking to the Adidas. Learned my lesson!

Since DJ had to work Monday (and we wanted to make sure to make it back on time to see Game of Thrones) we decided to take dinner to go and then just heat it up when we were hungry later. Of course, we had to hit somewhere on the bucket list! Barzotto here we come!

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This is a cute little fast casual Italian restaurant located in the Mission. I have been stalking this specific dish, the snail shells with marinara, ricotta, lemon zest and pepper, for a few months now. We put in our GrubHub order, and it was ready just in time for when we pulled up.

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Even though we took it to go, I told DJ we had to try at least one bite in the car so we could give it a fair evaluation of it fresh from the kitchen. It was soo yummy & actually even better than I expected considering I’m not a huge marinara pasta fan. The lemon zest combined with the soft, creamy ricotta was the most pleasant combination. We finished the rest up that night with other leftovers from the fridge.

When we got home I realized I had a bit of time before Game of Thrones. I did a mini fill-in grocery trip of essentials.

So, little tidbit- DJ doesn’t love going into the city as much as I do (actually… he doesn’t really prefer it), so the fact that he took the whole afternoon after working on one of his only days off (and the day before) to go with me meant a ton <3 As I was driving home I passed by CREAM and decided to surprise DJ with some as a little thank you! (And because I felt bad the line was soo long at Ghirardelli).

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Chocolate on Oreo on Chocolate! Not exactly a Ghirardelli Sundae, but a close second 🙂

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And that wraps up our Easter!

Question for you:

  • Ok, so T-Swift dropped her new song last week. Would love to hear your thoughts. I thought it was ‘aight. Very happy, upbeat- definitely a “bop”. The “Spelling is fun” part took me aback a bit (it sounded like a movie soundtrack for a kids movie IMO). The actual music video was mesmerizing! I loveeeed that she collaborated with Brendon Urie. Their voices together was pure magic.

xo <3

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Crazy Eats & Crazy Conversations!

HAPPY HAPPY WEDNESDAY (probably Thursday now?), everyone! Thank you for all your sweet wishes to recover- I am happy to report that my hearing and ear is almost back to 100%. What a ride! I won’t take the ability to hear for granted any longer.

I’m thankful that I was sick when I was though. I start work on March 20th, so truly, if that was going to happen thank goodness it did sooner than later! I felt so isolated these last couple weeks being sick, so Friday when I slightly started turning the corner, I decided to go out for a nice run!

These trees!!!

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During the day I was able to get my butt moving and get the house clean, get laundry done, all that jazz. On my way home from an errand I spotted a little hole in the wall place broadcasting Malaysian cuisine. Naturally, I flew to YELP, and this unassuming storefront had raving reviews. As it was Friday date night, I texted DJ to see if he would be interested in trying it out. He is always down for literally whatever always, so we eagerly awaited what this Malaysian cuisine entailed.

He has been arriving home later than usual with the new job. It’s totally fine- just an adjustment for planning out dinners and everything. As soon as he walked in the door I had my shoes and coat on ready to go- I was HUNGRY hangry. We jetted to Layang Layang on S. De Anza Blvd.

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It felt authentic as they come. It was also jam packed which is always an excellent sign. The decor screamed Malaysian (at least I think? I don’t know much about Malaysia). It actually reminded me a touch of the ethiopian restaurant we tried out, but the food was not at all similar.

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Malaysian food mirrors thai food incredibly closely (which makes sense). Thai is definitely one of my favorites, so I was salivating while scrolling the menu.

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We started with their Satay Tofu, which was decent, but not the greatest tofu in the world.

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I settled on a red curry tofu and DJ tried their Hakkien Mae with thick yellow noodle in heavily flavored soy sauce with chicken, shrimp, and veggies.

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DJ, surprisingly, loved it more than I did. I’m still convinced Olarn has the BEST red curry around. I still have to take DJ there because he is a big red curry fan too.

Saturday DJ had to work, and I was squeezing in a long 14 mile run for my marathon training. One of our friends from church is moving to Oakland and borrowed our truck for the day to help with the move. As a thank you, they brought us these out-of-this-world donuts from Donut Savant. Like, holy moses, I can’t even explain— the FLAVOR! AHHH! I want to go here again and try all their flavors. The pecan one may have been my favorite, and DJ said their glazed was competitive with some of his top tiers. The one next to the pecan one is actually a candied ginger with a light vanilla frosting. It sounds like a strange combination- but it was pleasantly palatable.

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We didn’t do much Saturday night. It was rainy out and we were both exhausted. I still didn’t feel like I had my mojo back all the way and we decided to have a chill evening. I’m trying to take advantage of them while I can because I know soon they will be few and far between. I still hate just laying around without doing something productive. I get far too ancy. DJ will plead with me to relax, so as soon as I can concoct something productive to do while sitting and “resting”, I give in. I decided to go through the photos on my laptop and delete any randoms, multiples, etc. I went from 14,000 photos to about 7,000 photos. There is just something about getting rid of stuff that is like a weight lifted. I’ve had that on my “to-do” list for a looong time and it’s such a nice relief that it’s actually done!

When Sunday came we went to church bright and early. I only stayed for the first service because my ear was not hanging in there well. The noise and music sounded chaotic and the drum started to throb.

BUT. It was the commissioning service for the leaders of the church. I had been sick and had my interview, so I missed two sessions and will make them up next round. DJ graduated though, and I am immensely proud of the humble, loving, kind, strong leader he is!

When he plopped on the couch in the afternoon I made him a big lunch and then he declared he had a sweet tooth. The sun was shining (an unusual occurrence), so we decided to take a walk to CREAM! I mentioned this place in one of my VERY first posts from moving here, and we haven’t been back together since.

Long overdue.

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This place is crazy. They make the most mouth-wateringly delicious ice cream sandwiches around with endless flavors, some of which are unique like their green tea ice cream and vegan cookies. HELLO, CALIFORNIA!

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I wasn’t having too much of a sweet tooth, and decided to just nibble on whatever DJ got. Sharing is caring 😉

Lucky for me, he ordered more than enough. He decided to try their Sundae of Champions. This consisted of two fresh baked cookies, three scoops of ice cream, one LARGE crumbled brownie, a do’sant sandwich (donut ice cream sandwich), and whipped creme with sprinkles. This diabetes in a cup sundae was a sight to see! Everything tasted fresh and delicious. The brownie was our personal favorite part.

And of course, I had to take more than enough pictures to document 😉

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On Monday, I had a hike planned with one of my good friends. This is the first day that I felt my ear wasn’t entirely muffled. We planned to meet at 9 am and when I parked the car I saw a bunch of turkeys just roaming around. I feel like lately I have seen so many random wild birds. So here is your wild bird of the post!

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Despite the annoyance of the rain (it was raining this morning too a matter of fact), it was a gorgeous hike with sprawling green foliage and cascading moss everywhere you looked. It felt like a fairytale. We decided to hike for about an hour.

We hiked….

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and we hiked….

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and we hiked some more…

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Annnnnd then I realized we were lost.

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After about two hours of going straight up the mountain in the rain, I knew that we were not on the path I thought we were on…. WHOOPS

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We saw one lady at the top, who may have been scarier than the mountain lion I enountered. She didn’t speak great english, and she kept asking us,”What path you take?” “You take that path”?!” “Avoid the dead bodies!” “Oh, good!”. We exchanged perplexed looks and just told her we had taken wildcat trail.

“Oh good!! No dead bodies!”

She hurried off in the other direction and I looked at Danielle super confused. I go, “Did she say dead bodies?!”. Danielle said, “that’s what I heard- unless she was mispronouncing something like a trail name. Let’s keep an eye out on the news”. Hahaha.

I really do not even know how to comment on that encounter. It was one of the strangest things to ever happen to me.

I apologized profusely to Danielle for getting us lost in the rain and mud and on behalf of the crazy lady. She was SUCH a trooper about it all.

This was taken at the top of the mountain. Unbeknown to us, we still had an hour of hiking left!

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Three hours later, with stomachs growling, shoes thick with mud, and tons of laughs we made it back to the car with the guidance of some helpful ladies we saw hiking.

We decided to try Bill’s Cafe which has a notorious reputation for being one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in San Jose. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded when we arrived around 12:30 and we were seated right away.

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Their menu has everything you can imagine for breakfast. They have a section for pancakes, waffles, benedicts, scrambles, omelettes, skillets, french toast, etc. etc. EVERYTHING. Danielle ordered this parisienne french toast which was a giant CROISSANT baked fresh dipped in egg batter and grilled sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. She graciously offered me a taste, and WOWZA- we were both impressed with just how much flavor was packed in it. Now we know- make french toast with croissants. (You can see the creation in the second picture below)

I ordered their french garden omelette. It had goat cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, and basil. I usually order my omelettes with egg whites, but after this accidental hike, I could use all the refueling I could get! It was one of the greatest omelettes I’ve ever had. The sun dried tomatoes in it tasted so fresh and I wanted to ask what kind they used. It was maddeningly delicious!

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This week I did an order of Blue Apron (WOOHOOO!). I love love love love Blue Apron and for my birthday I got a giftcard (Obviously someone knows me well ;)). I could talk about it for days. I may make a separate post to describe in depth all the pros/cons and share all my thoughts!

For the first meal on Monday, I made a Moroccan Chicken for DJ and had my giant salad to use up some leftover veggies in the fridge. I don’t have a ton of experience cooking meat dishes, so Blue Apron is great with helping me learn in that arena.

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I tried the sauce and it was SOOOOO good! I want to recreate this with tofu!

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Monday night- BACHELOR! We made two mega cookies for this one- our usual chocolate chip tollhouse and then a massive hot cocoa tollhouse one (they are addictive, beware).

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Yesterday I made the Spicy Shrimp Coconut Curry from Blue Apron for dinner. I’m mad at it for not turning out too photogenic, but it was delicious!

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Today I have to go to the mall to find “business casual” clothes. UGH. I’m dreading it. I may be the only girl on the planet that truly just does not enjoy shopping all that much- especially when I have to find something.

BUT…. there is a very exciting weekend ahead, and I can hardly control my excitement…

Hope you all are having a beautiful week so far!

xo <3

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