Friday, November 06, 2009

Steaming Up San Francisco with Steamy Kitchen

Last night was supposed to be cold and rainy, but it actually turned out to be a beautiful night to be out. And no wonder, there were some Florida sunshine in the house with Jaden Hair of the fabulous Steamy Kitchen blog in town.

Steamy Kitchen is one of the early food blogs that have shot up in the stratosphere, and with so many food blogs out there now, hers is definitely considered on the A-list. (Mine is more like the E-list, not even the D-list.) Jaden's blog about simple Asian dishes has launched her into a newspaper column, TV appearances, an online show on TLC and now a just-released Steamy Kitchen cookbook. (That's why she's in San Francisco; signing a few books and teaching a class at Sur La Table.)

When I started my blog three years ago, Steamy (that's how I think of her) was one of the first to post a comment and then she emailed me a few times (she used to live in San Francisco). I was touched by how real she was, so down-to-earth and hilarious!

OK, enough of the setup. You want to know what we did last night, right?

So when I found out Jaden was going to be in town on her book tour, I e-mailed her about getting together. She emailed back and said she was gamed, so I planned a casual, get-together with her and a few other foodies last night.

We met at Otoro Sushi in Hayes Valley because Steamy says she can't get good Japanese food in Florida. I'd been to Otoro before and liked the vibe and combination of robata grill and sushi. Plus, they're one of the few Japanese restaurants that actually take reservations. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

The only thing about Otoro was the lighting wasn't the best for photo-taking. (And I didn't bring along my photo light bulb setup that Jaden highly recommends on her blog.) Look at this shot of Jaden scooping up some miso ramen. She looks all blurry and mysterious huh? Those were some really long ramen.

The food was great, and we tried a variety of things from agedashi tofu to monk fish liver (Jaden's favorite) to grilled squid (you know I ordered that!) and lots and lots of rolls. See, here's another blurry photo of us digging into the amazing rolls.

OK, so enough of the blurry photos. Time to bust out the flash to get a decent photo of Jaden. Here she is with Sean of the Hedonia blog. Gosh, I really should have moved those beer bottles and glasses to the side. As you can see, I'm not the best stylist like Jaden, who's a master food stylist.

Here's the gang after our dinner. Stephanie of Wasabimon, Sean, Jaden (that girl never takes a bad picture), and Samantha of The Hungry Dog and her husband, Danny (who is NOT the inspiration for the name of her blog; she actually does have a hungry dog).

After dinner, as we walked along Gough Street looking for a cab to take Steamy back to her hotel, we spotted this line of people outside a gallery. Jaden noticed the unusual name and couldn't believe someone thought it was smart to call the gallery "Fecal Face Dot Gallery." She thought it was a San Francisco moment and told me to shoot a picture. We were across the street and I didn't think my flash had the power to reach all the way across, but when Steamy Kitchen tells you to shoot a picture, you snap and asks questions later.

It was a fantastic night of good Japanese food and blogging talk among foodies. Thanks Jaden for taking time from your busy schedule to hang out!

You, too, can meet Jaden in person. She'll be doing a book signing tonight (Friday) from 6 to 7 p.m. at Omnivore Books in Noe Valley. If you want to be her friend for life, bring her a bowl of monk fish liver.


Nate @ House of Annie said...

I'd love to show up with a bowl of ankimo for Jaden, but it's just too far away. Gosh, I think I am going to be really sulky this weekend.

SteamyKitchen said...

Honey!!! THANK YOU so much for the fun fun fun Japanese dinner last night!!!

Would love to share some of your pics on that ok?

See you tomorrow!
xo jaden

Hungry Dog said...

Ah, nice post about our lovely evening--I think I'm just going to put a link on my blog to yours! I think the photos turned out great--I actually kinda like blurry photos sometimes. Thanks again for organizing!

agent713 said...

Ben, you're on my "A-list" of blogs ;)

danny said...

I may not be the inspiration for the concept of the hungry dog, but I behave like one nevertheless.

Single Guy Ben said...

Nate/Annie, um, them you probably don't want to see my post Sunday when I recap Steamy's class I'm going to!

Steamy, you're welcome! Use whatever photos you need.

Agent713, aww, you made my weekend and it hasn't even started! :)

HD/Danny, it was great meeting you guys in person sans the hungry dog (the four legged one) ;-)

foodhoe said...

awww, looks like you guys had a lovely time. How was the food?

A said...

thanks for the post. I was wondering where the sushi place u guys ate at. Will go one day.
Fecal Face was having an new exhibit. I want to go there too:

Single Guy Ben said...

Foodhoe, the food was great! The squid was tender and grilled with a nice smokiness and then thinly sliced. Everyone also liked the seaweed salad, refreshing, and the specialty rolls. One called Hip Hop with tuna and some other things and the Otoro with mango, which I've had before. Sean and Steamy were real sushi experts so they ordering things like raw scallops, that ankimo, and more. It was all good!

egg to the apples said...

It looks like ya'll had an great evening!

Carolyn Jung said...

Sorry I had to miss the fun due to work. Oy! But glad you guys all had such a noodle-icious time. ;)

Stephanie Stiavetti said...

This was such a great dinner and a totally great night :)