nekoballs

March 25, 2010

PV Field Workout: Going up and coming down + Dosa

We had another clinic this Saturday – for climbing and descending. I’ll briefly summarize what we went over:

Climbing

  • Keep cadence above 70rpm minimum
  • Alternate between sitting and standing
  • While seated: hands on tops, use hamstrings, open chest for better breathing
  • While standing: rpm above 70rpm, hands on hoods, do not stick out butt, head and shoulders up high-not hunched over, arms should be mostly straight, bike can “dance” a bit, on the down stroke, keep feet flat instead of toe pointed downward

Cornering

  • Look ahead, eye on apex and exit.
  • Hands on drops, tucked very low for more weight on front wheel and control of front wheel.
  • Exaggerate knee leaning.

We rode over to Canada College for our clinic and the backside has a surprisingly nice and short climb and descent. We started with 4 climbs from the bottom, near Canada rd. to the parking lot at the top. The first climb, we climbed mostly seated and stood up once when we were told. On the second climb, we stood up twice when instructed to do so. On the third climb, we went together as a group and this hurt me the most trying to keep up with Dexter and Peter. Finally, for the last climb we went up at our own individual pace. We focused mostly on technique and posture. Some of the advice is obvious, but you hear the advice differently when you have someone shouting at you when you are doing something wrong. Anyone who got caught standing and pedaling with toes pointed downward was deemed a ballerina.

We planned on practicing the descents on the Southern most side of Canada College, but because the inside of that turn had loose gravel, we practiced on the same road as the climb. We went over technique, but my main problem was my cornering speed. I have known that my cornering speed is slow and because I am not very fearless, so I will have to slowly work up my confidence and comfort to increase my speed through corners. We ran through the corner about 16 or so times.

After the clinic, we rode as a group back to HWY92 and from there, I did a solo aerobic ride to SF to meet up with Nyanko for lunch. My route was tracked by Mr. Garmin. Since we were in the area, we headed over the Mission to grab lunch. For some reason, I thought Ike’s Sandwiches were in the Mission, but they obviously weren’t (ok ok, it isn’t that far from the Mission, but we had a really good meter free parking spot on Valencia!) so we ate at Dosa instead. We have walked past Dosa more than a few times, both on Fillmore and also on Valencia, so today we decided to give it a try.

We assumed their dosa and uttapam would be different from the traditional type (not that we really know anything about traditional Indian food), so we ordered a chaat, dosa, and uttapam.


Dahi Batata Puri Small hollow crispy breads filled with Strauss organic yogurt, potatoes & mint & tamarind chutneys

Honestly, I had no idea what this would be like, but key words that made me order this were small, crispy, potatoes, and puri. Yes Puri, which apparently is not pronounced “pu ri” like Japanese, but “purr ee”, like an American trying to read furigana. That was how the waitress pronounced it, but she could be wrong! When they arrived, we were told the best way to eat them was with your bare hands because, as I soon found out, they sort of crumble and implode into themselves. They were very hollowed little pastries that were filled with all sorts of yogurt, potatoe, and chutney flavor. I liked the idea and the pastry, but I thought there was a bit too much filling, and a bit too many flavors. More potato could have helped too.


Paper Masala A thin, pliable and crispy variation, served with spiced Indian potatoes, onions and cashew nuts

I really liked their dosa. As advertised, it was very thin and crispy and came in one long rolled sheet. The potato filling was on the side and tasted fairly standard, but the dosa tasted great with the coconut chutney and sambar.


Sunny Side or Over Easy Uttapam Tomato, onion & chile uttapam topped with two organic eggs, sunny side up or over easy

The uttapam that we have had in the past was more like a stuffed thicker dosa, but this one had a texture similar to an chinese potato pancake. Although in general it was good, the spiciness was not mixed out well and some pieces were much spicier than others, so much so that it overwhelmed some flavors. It did however go nice with the egg.

Conclusion: Dosa is very flavorful, but it is a bit on the spicy and pricey side.
Post ride satisfaction:  6/10

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March 16, 2010

March PV Field Test Protocol and Jack’s Prime

The first Saturday of every month, the team performs a Field Test Protocol (FTP). This test is another piece of data to help gauge our fitness and to evaluate our training. The goal of the FTP is to estimate our lactate threshold heart rate.

Our FTP consisted of two approximately 6 mile long time trials along Cañada Rd. The starting point was the Pulgas Water Temple, and the turn around point was the Oak tree at the top of the hill heading South on Cañada. The end point was at the top of the hill slightly past the Water Temple. The time trials were ridden as hard as we could maintain and lasted between 15 to 20 minutes each. We rode one time trial, rested for ten minutes, and then rode the same course again.

For the 1st effort:
Avg. HR: 157
RPE: 7
Time Recorded: 16:49
Distance of Lap: 5.68 miles
Time Adjusted: 18:21 (adjusted proportionally from 5.68 miles to 6.20 miles)

And the 2nd effort:
Avg. HR: 151
RPE: 7
Time: 18:56
Distance of Lap: 6.2 miles

During the first effort, I started my lap timer late, so I rescaled my time based on distance. At the end of the second effort, we were interrupted by a group of riders, which messed up the flow at the end of the course.

Based on those values, Clark calculated training HR zones based on the numbers from the two efforts. From the two HR values, he took the average of the two and called that the OBLA threshold (or Z4). For me, my OBLA value was 154bpm. For Z3, he took 86%-95% of OBLA, 71%-85% for Z2, 60%-70% for Z1 and 105%+ for Z5. Interestingly, the Z4 and Z5 were very similar to zones calculated from the lactate test, but Z1-Z3 had lower numbers in the FTP compared with the lactate test. I’m not sure what that meant, but I expected the lab work to be more accurate. This however provided a baseline to compare future FTPs to.

Route is on Garmin.  If you look at the map and compare it with the HR graph, it is obvious where the route begins and ends. The team also rode an endurance ride after the test, but I ended up doing a solo ride at my own pace. To be honest, I was pretty toast after the two TTs.

…So to recharge, I met up with Kris to pig out at Jack’s Prime. Yes this is a ride report AND a restaurant review. I don’t even remember what we originally were going to eat, but after that ride, all I wanted was meat. Meat and fire. Kris was shocked that I had never been to Jack’s Prime and insisted that it was good, so in the interested of time, he picked me up in downtown San Mateo and we headed over.

It was a nice day so we sat outside in the sunny, but breezy weather. And the weather would have been just fine had I not decided to order a shake to drop my temperatures. And since I did order a shake, noting the “burgers & shakes” under the Jack’s Prime logo,  I followed that decision by moving us back indoors. I ordered a coffee shake and Kris got a vanilla shake. I must have forgotten that I preferred malts, but the shakes were good. We then ordered two burgers to split.

Maytag Blue Ribbon

Key ingredients for this burger are the Maytag blue cheese and the caramelized onions. As a regular hamburger, it was good. The meat was cooked well and the bun was slightly toasted. As a supposed blue cheese burger, I could have used a lot more blue cheese and onions. The onion rings were just normal.

Phoenix from the Flames

This burger came with pepper jack cheese, poblano chilis, jalepenos, red onions, and chipotle mayo. I chose to have my jalepenos fried and I just noticed that “extra fire” is available option, one that I would have chosen.  I didn’t really have any complaints about this burger and I enjoyed the poblano chili and the fried japapenos.  The fries were also pretty standard.

Although I thought their Maytag burger lacked blue cheese, to their credit, it was also slightly cold by the time I got to eating it. Jack’s Prime did have good burgers and I would come back to try some of their other burgers. Kris also claims that the sweet potato fries were good, but I didn’t want to pig out too much and I don’t really like sweet potato… Anyway, Jack’s Prime satisfies that post-ride meat and fire craving.

Post ride satisfaction:  9/10

February 25, 2010

Review: Kappou Gomi


We came upon Kappou Gomi purely by chance. After checking out the Cartier exhibit at Legion of Honor, we wanted to get a quick snack before dinner so we drove up Geary until we found parking, then walked around to see what was in the area. To be honest, I was really craving Frjtz’s fries, but considering we were “far” from Mission, we searched for alternate fries or related fried-snack-junk-food.


When we walked past Kappou Gomi, there was nothing memorable about the entrance. It was standard decor for a Japanese restaurant and the window had unattractive copies of the menu taped up… and signs that said NO SUSHI and NO COMBINATION DINNER. What we did notice was that there were groups of people congregating around the front door and checking out the menu. Curious, we took a peek at the menu to discover that the menu was organized not by course, but by type of fish, seafood, or meat. Each item had a heading: Hamachi, Hotate, Uni, Hirame, Toro, etc. Under each heading, the subheading listed the different preparations for that fish. For example, under hamachi, there was hamachi sashimi, hamachi miso, hamachi grilled, etc. No further description was given.

This all seemed very intriguing, but we had planned to go to “Beatles” Yakiniku (Halu), figuring it would be a low key place on Valentines Day. After walking around Geary some more and discovering a tasty Russian bakery (with real Russians inside) as well as an Irish bakery, we were considering going to Kappou Gomi. To help our indecision, we stopped inside a Starbucks to deliberate. A quick search on yelp revealed positive reviews and some delicious looking pictures. NOT helpful. So we decided to flip a coin to decide, and by coin, I mean, I opened up my iPhone dice app and shook the iPhone. Even means  we would go to Kappou Gomi, and odd we would go to Beatles. We “rolled” an odd. YAY, that’s what I wanted anyway.

We drove down about twelve blocks and started looking for parking. After circling a few blocks I thought “Maybe we should see if they are even open”. Damn it, they were closed. Back to Kappou Gomi we went.


We skimmed the large menu. We noted a couple interesting items: grilled uni, panko fried tako, hirame with lime, hamachi with miso, duck sashimi, beef sashimi. The first round, we ordered the panko tako, the hirame yuzu, the kaki golden, and the hotate butter.

The panko fried tako (octopus) came first. The shape and texture made them similar to little chicken nuggets. It was fried nicely but I thought that the tako was a little chewy, either due to it being slightly overcooked or due to the meat being sliced too thick.

The hotate(scallop) butter looked essentially like scallops sautéed in a lot of butter. The taste was very good, but again, it was just barely overcooked for me. The scallops were complemented with a warm noodle and bean sprout stir fry.

The kaki (oyster) golden was pretty good, I think. I honestly don’t remember what it tasted like, but a nicely cooked egg + oyster + lotus root MUST = win right? I think it had pine nuts too.

We ate the hirame (flounder) last in this batch because this dish was cold. The hirame tasted very fresh and went well with the radishes and other veggies. This simple but tasty dish seems like it could be easily replicated at home with fresh ingredients.

Because of the vague menu, we did another search on yelp to see what other people ordered. Someone had posted that the duck sashimi was not as “sashimi” like as they thought, so we crossed that one off the list. Another posted that the grilled uni came with an apple… interesting. We decided to order the grilled uni and the hotaku pot.

The “grilled uni” indeed did come with an apple. I’m not even sure if the uni itself was grilled, but the uni was stuffed inside half of a mostly hollow apple and covered with what appeared to be a steamed egg, with pine nuts. The apple itself was also grilled. This franky, unthinkable combination was awesome. The warm uni was very fresh and tasted heavenly with the egg. The pine nuts added a bit of crunch. The dish felt surprisingly heavy, in a good way. Then, we ate it with the apple.!!! If you told me uni with egg with a cooked apple would taste great together, I would have never believed you in a million years. I hate apples and I hate cooked apples even more, but this was the best dish all night. I don’t think I could describe it well enough to do it justice… but it was really really good.

The last thing we ate was the hotaku pot with seafood. This mini nabe had one large shrimp, one scallop, some slices of octopus, squid?, clams? and some tasty onions and tomatoes. I was really surprised by the quality and freshness of the seafood. Usually in these “seafood” mix plates, they throw in some small junky shimps and clams and call it a day. Not in this pot. Every piece of seafood was fresh and perfectly cooked.

I don’t think we ordered that much food, but after the uni, we were feeling both full and satisfied. My only real disappointment was forgetting to order the beef tataki (sashimi style) and not having the stomach capacity to order more food. Considering how many more items there were to try and how yummi the food was, we definitely plan to return.

The damage was not too bad:

February 17, 2010

02.14.10 sleepycats

Sleepy Cat asleep again.

Good Marning! Hare is a crepe. It has pine apple. And Cream.

Wat are you lookings. Not thair yet.

You can sails your bag later.

We are hangree  now!

YAMMIS!

Sleepytimes!.

The end!

February 8, 2010

Playing Restaurant, for Anita’s Birthday

Yesterday Nyanko and I, cooked dinner for my Aunt Anita’s Birthday. Usually, we cook everything and serve everything at once so that everyone, cooks included, can eat together. This time, I decided to cook and eat from the kitchen only and serve the each dish as courses. It didn’t quite work out as planned, but it was fun “playing restaurant”.


First Course: Arugula and Endive Salad with grape tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and Parmesan Cheese. Nyanko made this and although probably one of the simplest dishes of the night, this may have been my favorite. The fresh arugula from Dean’s Produce, endives from Draegers, and tomatoes from Costco made the salad. Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.


Course Two: Tuna Tartare with Diced Tomatoes and Avocados and Rosemary Flatbread and black sesame seeds. The sesame oil marinate went well with the tuna, tomatoes, and avocado, but I thought that the flatbread didn’t quite work. Last time, I used baked wonton skins and I preferred those.


The plating happened mostly randomly. We stuck the avocado on the bottom to prevent the lemon juice from cooking the tuna and stacked layers of flatbread and tuna on top of it. When I get around to going to a restaurant supply store, I would like to try setting them in cylindrical molds. I know I know… typical!


Third Course: Smoked Salmon with Apples, Cucumber, Radishes, and Yogurt. We whipped this out in maybe ten minutes and unfortunately did not get the proportions right. This little yogurt mix had potential, but needed more yogurt and salmon. This tasted pretty good with bread though! Recipe stolen from www.latartinegourmande.com.


Fourth Course: Foie Gras with Granny Smith Apples and Sourdough Baguette. Most of the photos in this set look bad, but this one especially. It isn’t easy being the cook and the photographer! This one was rushed out so I didn’t get to get as “nice” a picture with it. It was my first time cooking foie gras, but I thought it came out pretty good. Super artery clogging, but yummy with the apples and bread. Cooking tips thanks to Gordon Ramsay.


Fifth Course: Seared Scallops with Miso Sauce and Parmesan Cheese. It was good, but it felt like it was missing something… and that is because it was. We forgot the Parmesan Cheese, which would have made this dish. Recipe stolen from epicurious.


Sixth Course: Lamb Chops with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. This was another straightforward combination. The lamb was cooking pretty much spot on and the potatoes were creamy, much thanks to oil and butter. The asparagus was sweet too, but maybe we should have seasoned it and put a few more on the plate.

Dessert:? I didn’t have anytime to make a cake, so we went out and bought a Strawberry Mousse cake. from Sheng Kee… I think we could have made a better one 😡

Overall pretty yummy meal. I liked the salad and the foie gras the best. Playing restaurant with the plating/serving was fun too although its hard when family wants you to eat with them. Also! Cooking, eating, serving, and taking pictures of your food is super hard. The pictures look terrible and I apologize for that. Next time I need to assign someone to be the photographer.

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