Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Sentinel


After finally landing a job in San Francisco (wahoo!!), most of my lunch posts will be about new restaurants I try when eating lunch out. I'm getting really excited to try all these new places. The FiDi has a great array of street food that I am very excited to try. They have a lot of sandwich/salad places that I will write about later when I have the time...but for now I am writing about The Sentinel. This place is great! It's a hole in the wall sandwich shop on New Montgomery in the FiDi. They change their menu daily but have a few staples that I was lucky to try. They are known for making interesting combinations of sandwiches that are out of the ordinary but equally delicious.

After reading Yelp reviews I figured I'd give it a shot. I was a little hesitant to find the line out the door, but they take your order and you pay within almost 30 seconds of one another so you're in and out in about 10 minutes or so, depending on what time you come. The first time I went there (around 1pm, they had sold out of the Special of Scallop Ceviche and the BBQ Beef Sandwich, sad) and the line was still out the door. They are aware that people are on their lunch breaks and need to eat and get back to work within an hour. There is no seating inside but there are tons of places around the FiDi to sit and enjoy the rarity of sun this summer has offered San Francisco.

I decided to try the pork sandwich and oh did it satisfy my lunch hunger. The pork sandwich came with fig jam, frise and Havarti cheese on a nice roll that had sunflower seeds baked in it. The portion was fairly large, I was full after eating it, and they give you a little treat with it as well, I got a Werthers Original that brought me back to my childhood of sneaking them before dinner when I was a kid. The pork was juicy, warm and sliced thin while the Havarti cheese and fig jam complimented the savory/sweet flirtation. I did however wish there was more frise in the sandwich, but I like greens in my sandwiches. At the end, I thought that they maybe put a little to much fig jam because it was getting a bit sweet but it was still delicious and only $8. Definitely trying other sandwiches and coming back. Hope you enjoy it as well.
The Sentinel
37 New Montgomery(between Jessie St & Market St)
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 284-9960

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chinese Concoction

For some reason, I am on a serious Asian food adventure. I have been craving stir frys for breakfast, lunch, and I'm not pregnant but I love the spicy heat and the savory sauces that come with making a stir fry. I've been fooling around with a few different stir frys and I think I've found the perfect one for beef. It's a take on Pepper Steak from and Asian cookbook. I combine peppers, green beans and beef and cook it in sherry and soy sauce. I add some chili garlic sauce and a little jalapeno for some heat. Serve with brown rice and a cucumber salad and you have yourself a nice dinner. I omit the cuke salad and enjoy it for a nice breakfast, come on, who doesn't like Chinese food for breakfast. This meal feeds a lot of people and is super easy to make, takes less than 20 minutes and you have an entire meal.

Pepper Steak:
1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain at a bias (about 45 degrees or so)
1 heaping tbsp chili garlic sauce (recommendation Lee Kum Kee)
1 tsp-1 tbsp of mince jalapeno (depending on how spicy your mouth wants to be)
1/2-3/4 cup of amontillado sherry (eyeball this, you want the sherry and soy to coat the meat but not be drowning in it) *if you can't find amontillado, any dry sherry will work
1/4 - 1/3 cup soy sauce (eyeball this as well)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
1-2 tbsp corn starch

Put the sliced beef in a bowl and coat with the corn starch. Add the rest of the ingredients and let marinate for at least 10 minutes, turning once in a while to make sure the beef is coated with everything.

1 red bell pepper, chopped into inch cubes
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into cubes
1 big bunch of green beans or heri covert, chopped in half
1-2 inches of ginger, pealed and sliced into discs 1/4-1/2 inch thick
3 cloves of garlic, smashed, skins removed
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 scallions chopped
5 basil leaves cut chiffonade (thin slices)

Heat a wok up with high heat. Saute peppers and green beans for 1-2 minutes till just starting to cook but still nice a crunchy. Take out with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Add more oil if needed and then the garlic and ginger and swirl to infuse the oil but making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Then add the beef and the marinade and cook on high high to medium high heat, about 3-5 minutes depending on how fast the meat cooks. About a minute before the beef is done, add back the veggies and stir to combine. The sauce should be nice and thick, if you would like it a little more saucy, add more of the sherry at the end and let cook for a minute or so. The cornstarch will thicken it up. Take off heat when done (don't overcook the meat or it will get really tough), sprinkle with scallions and basil, and serve with brown rice and a cucumber salad.

Cucumber Salad: (for 4 people)
4 Persian cucumbers, ends removed, chopped in half moon shapes (so cut hotdog wise and then thinly slice the cuke)
1 - 2 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp splenda or sugar
1 -2 tsp soy sauce
1 -2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
3-4 splashes of red Tabasco sauce
1 scallion chopped

To make the dressing, put the vinegar in the bottom of your serving bowl. Add the sugar/splenda and stir to dissolve. Add the soy sauce and Tabasco and whisk in the sesame oil. Add the cucumber and scallions on top and let sit for at least 10 minutes at room temp.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Solo Breakfast

Sunday morning, starving, nothing is made. I remembered a delicious breakfast "toast" that I created a few years ago in college. You melt some cheese on top of a sliced baguette and then throw a fried egg on top. The egg oozes once split and give the toast a really nice flavor. I know that it sounds weird to use tomato paste but it give this a really nice rich sweet taste that you'll be surprised by.

Breakfast Toast:
2 slices of a french baguette, sliced on a diagonal
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 sprigs of thyme, stripped of the leaves
4-5 slices of Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1-2 eggs

Toast the two slices of bread till a little crispy but not completely stiff. Take out and rub the garlic clove over the bread while hot. It will infuse the bread without being over powering. (If you want a yummy garlic flavor, thinly slice, I mean paper thin, a garlic clove and reserve for the next step.) Spread the tomato paste on the pieces of toast and then sprinkle the salt, pepper, thyme, (and the garlic slices if you desire) and then put the cheese on top. Put the toast back in the toasted and melt the cheese. While the toast is melting, fry an egg or two (I usually only use 1 egg and put it on both pieces, but others that are hungry you can use two and put one on each slice of toast). Season the egg while cooking with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once the egg is cooked and the cheese has melted, place the egg on top and consume!! Serve with a nice glass of milk and you have one of the best breakfasts ever.