Tuesday, January 17

EAT Singaporean, Indian, Mexican, Shabu Shabu

I joined Claude for happy hour at Straits Cafe. We've met in the past where happy hour has turned into many, plural hours - more than originally planned - and we've found ourselves WAY happier than we probably should've been for a school night.

Tonight was the perfect amount of happiness for just a couple hours. My mojito martini was yummy, and our mee gorang noodles and banana blossom salad were yummmay. Not too little, not too much; everything was just right. We were like Goldilocks... the drinking version... with dark hair.

Straits has been around for a long time, but I made some food discoveries recently which I need to share.

If you like Indian food, Dosa is a must! I'm used to chowing down on my favorite Indian meal at hole-in-the-wall spots, but Dosa is no hole. It's nice without trying too hard. I would call it a good first date spot. They're only open for dinner, and they don't take reservations for parties smaller than five, so be prepared to wait. Savor some wine at the bar; the wine list was carefully chosen to accompany the cuisine. Service was friendly, and everyone was knowledgeable. If you eat lamb, don't miss the curry! And of course, share a dosa for the table.

Papalote is not new, but it's new to me. My family has been going to Pancho Villa for so long, that's my Mexican default. (Lee and I actually stumbled upon this 24th Street find when we were denied by Dosa's closed for lunch doors.) She ordered fish tacos, and I ordered quesadillas; and we both just sat there repeating, "Yum!" after every bite.

The ingredients were so fresh, I had to wonder if they had a secret tunnel directly linking them to Whole Foods. Maybe they fit a secret garden behind their kitchen? I don't know, but their "fresh & healthy" menu drew a motley crew of customers, from the typical Mission artsy types to conservative men in suits. They will definitely be getting repeat visits from a certain, food-loving blogger.

Drinking side note (of the non-alcoholic variety): Boylan Bottleworks and Reed's Ginger Brew, available at Papalote, are quite delightful! Be warned that the ginger ale is so gingery, it's actually spicy. Yum!

Monday was my cousin Jeffrey's 22nd birthday. Even though I'm not as young as these whippersnappers, I was invited to celebrate with his brother, friends, and with my brother. I was the only one no longer in my 20's. *sigh*

Perhaps because I'm no longer in my 20's, I was the only one who hadn't been to Cafe Mums before. All-you-can-eat shabu shabu and all-you-can-drink beer and sake for $35 per person is a good deal, especially for young'uns who can inhale mountains of meat and buckets of alcohol. If you're not a drinker, I think it's $12 less. Gratuity is included, so watch for that on the bill. I'm usually not a fan of buffets because of the lesser quality of the food, but that's not really the case here.

Even though dinner included ice cream, we popped into Japantown Center down the street for a geisha float: a green tea ice cream float with red bean and mochi.

And this is just a picture of a snakeneck turtle. I took this photo at the Academy of Sciences earlier that day and wanted to share. Random and not food-related. I know. But this is my blog, so I can post what I want. Isn't this little guy amazing?

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