Saturday, August 25, 2012

Citizen Chef Meals: Easy and Tasty Thai Dish

Thai Sesame Stir Fry

I was sitting at my desk the other day thinking about what to cook for dinner when I got an email from a new food company here in Northern California called Citizen Chef.  It was like a little food angel reaching out to me.

The email went something like this:

Dear Kris,

According to a survey 93% of people say sharing a meal is the most important activity in connecting them with their family. So where do busy moms and dads find the time to stir up a quick, and healthy meal for family dinner?

Meet Citizen Chef, a recently launched San Francisco-based food startup focused on providing a solution for busy parents – by bringing healthy ingredients to families who are time strapped, on-the-go and want to share a home-cooked meal. Each meal “kit” includes fresh veggies and flavors that prepare a complete chef-inspired dinner in under 15 minutes.  

Any interest in testing out a meal?

uh, heck yes!!!

I printed the coupon and drove straight to Whole Foods.

My first thought was "hmmm this doesn't look like very much food.

The mister is a BIG eater." Then I read that you had to purchase the meat. It wasn't included in the kit. So much for a "FREE" meal. Nothing is ever free. What was I thinking?

I picked the Thai version and decided to prepare it with chicken, so I headed to the butcher to buy 2 chicken breasts.

The box says it's ready in 15 minutes. I'm happy to report that to be true!

The meal was fresh, tasty and just the right amount of food for three people - even for my big eater.

Now for the one negative: the price

The kit is $9.99 + meat

I'm not sure I would spend $9.99 for the kit. We shop at Trader Joe's all the time where we purchase great veggies, sauces and rice for less than $9.99, and it's enough for more than one meal.

On the positive side - it really doesn't get much easier or faster than this. So I'll definitely keep it in mind for those occasions when we're in a pinch - like back to school night.

And guess what? That's exactly what it's intended for.

So good job Citizen Chef. You did exactly what you set out to do.

As Jacques would say, "happy cooking!"

ps. Right now the meals are only available in Nor Cal Whole Foods. You can click on their website to see store list.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cocktails at Aziza Restaurant in SF

We had the most amazing drinks and dinner with friends last night. We ventured into San Francisco and tried a Moroccan restaurant called Aziza. It's not like any Morrocan restaurant I've ever been to. No sitting on cushions on the floor. No eating with your hands. Chef Mourad Lahlou has taken traditional Moroccan dishes and reinvented them in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients of Northern California. It was really impressive.

I'm not sure they were quite ready for three couples out on the town on a Wednesday night because all their kids were away at camp.

We started at the bar. We almost didn't make it to our table we were having so much fun.

The mixologists (bartenders) along with the owner have created a menu of cocktails using fresh ingredients, muddled herbs, vegetables and fruits, spices and of course the latest and greatest spirits. It was hard picking which drink to order.

We were all in awe of their skills behind the bar, and the flavors of these cocktails. We wanted to try them all.

Spices ready to go.

Vodka, cilantro, kaffir-lime

Sangria, lambrusco, citrus, blueberries

Vodka, dill, saffron, black pepper

Vodka, strawberry, fresno chili

Grapefruit, absinthe, bourbon

almond, hickory smoked salt air, anejo tequila

Have you tried any interesting cocktails lately? Do tell!

Oh, we did have dinner, too. It was amazing. But I didn't grab any pics. The most interesting and unique dish we had was the white gazpacho. And none of us could get enough of the home-made flatbread with the three spreads: chickpea, yogurt-dill, piquillo-almond. So flavorful and yummy. I really wanted a whole plate to myself.

And dessert? TO DIE FOR. They have an amazing pastry chef.

Aziza Restaurant and Bar
5800 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94121