SF Sundays – Summer Has Just Begun

It’s September already? Where has the summer gone? Wait, it’s the San Francisco Bay Area, summer has just begun!

This is also the perfect time to remind one and all to get vaccinated, wear your masks, and keep your distance. This Delta variant is scary and we need to do our part to curb this pandemic once and for all. So let’s get our act together and keep our summer going, safely.

TOWN HAPPENINGS

Are you a history buff? Do you love all things Egypt? Did you know that the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts and replicas in Western North America is right here in the Bay Area?

The Rosicrucian Park and Museum is literally hidden in plain sight in San Jose. The Egyptian Museum, run by Egyptologists and volunteers, is very well curated. It is not as small as I initially thought because I was in there for a good couple of hours. The entire park takes up a city square block! Surrounding the museum is a temple, peace garden, a planetarium, and a labyrinth. The temple and planetarium are still closed but I can only imagine the magic that awaits my next visit.

Many of course asked me questions (because apparently all Egyptians are also Egyptologists) like where did these artifacts come from. I had two words, “colonialism” and “thift”. Many of these at the Rosicrucian Museum were donated by many museums in Europe, none I saw were from Egypt directly. There were also replicas of known artifacts and places in Egypt, like the tunnel into a pyramid within the museum.

Here are a few things still open for us to enjoy this summer:

LET’S EAT

With restaurants reopening, I’m still hesitant to go for indoor dining. So the more outdoor or take out options, the better! Since I’ve been talking about San Jose, it only makes sense to remind you all of some of the best pho spots in the South Bay.

In the heart of the Little Saigon neighborhood, off the Grand Century Mall on Story Road, is a small restaurant with a lot to offer. With plenty of outdoor seating, a wide selection of pho for all taste buds, and a fantastic staff! Seriously, I can’t recommend Pho 90 Degrees enough.

I had come here many times with friends but never more than 2-3 people. So imagine a group of eight who may or may not have tried pho before coming in with many questions and dietary needs. The team was extremely kind, courteous, and surprisingly fast with our order. The food of course, is on a whole other level. I salivated over my bowl of mouth watering chicken pho, washing it down with some great iced coffee.

Again, as we head back out on our foodie adventures, I urge you to be courteous to the restaurant management and staff. I’ve seen a few struggling with reopening regulations, limited staff, readjusted hours of operations, and even limiting the capacity for safety and service reasons. We are all in this together so let’s remain calm, kind, courteous, and hungry.

What are you trying again with the reopenings happening across the Bay Area? Do share your thoughts below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above-mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored rants are always based on actual experiences and/or interests. If you’d like me to check out a local event or eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

Ramadan Fact of the Day

Did you know that Muslims around the world break their fasts with dates and milk?

I’m working with our team at Pinterest to add more content to the Ramadan 2021 board and will be sharing some more facts like this throughout the month. Do stay tuned to check them out!

May your fasts be easy and your iftar enjoyable, God willing.

Have you been to the Black Muslim Food Week in the Bay Area yet??

SF Sundays – A New Normal

The last time I wrote for SF Sundays rant series was right before the local and state-wide shut down due to a surge in covid cases. Now as we approach the winter season, we are once again seeing a surge in cases. California alone has reached over one million cases but still persisting to flatten that curve with the lastest shelter in place curfew being enforced this week.

This latest entry is being written with the knowledge that some businesses are still safely open as we continue living during this “new normal”. I was honestly hesitant these past few months but I think it’s an appropriate time to slowly relaunch this rant series to show some much-needed support to our local businesses and organizations.

So let’s see what’s open and how we can enjoy the Bay’s “new normal” living this winter season.

TOWN HAPPENINGS

Thanks to the Frida Kahlo Museum (aka The Blue House) in Mexico City, Mexico, we here in the Bay will get to see some of Frida Kahlo’s personal items along with some of her magnificent works of art.

The Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving exhibit at the de Young Museum is open to the public through February 2021. Whether or not you are a FAMSF member, you need to book your tickets online, marked with the scheduled entrance time with respect to the museum’s limit capacity protocol.

In other museum news, the lovely Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) was expected to slowly reopen to the public this Thanksgiving week. Sadly, the reopening has been postponed until further notice. I’ll be sure to post once a reopening date has been announced.

If you’re looking for an activity to do safely with the family, my brother and I headed out to Mulatto Meadows recently for a horseback riding lesson. I got really lucky to meet and ride the one and only Dapper! This is the same lovely horse that Mulatto Meadows owner and activist Brianna Noble rode during the Black Lives Matter protests in Oakland. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to continue taking lessons in the near future. Interested parties are asked to call ahead and schedule their lessons in advance.

LET’S EAT

My foodie family and I have either been cooking more at home or ordering take out from our favorite local restaurants these past few months. However, I’ve only allowed myself to go out to a handful of places that have been keeping up with safety protocols such as outdoor seating and limited capacity to allow distancing. One of these favorites have been Pacifica Brewery.

Off the CA Highway 1, this spot is literally spot on. You don’t have to be a drinker to appreciate the beautifully plated dishes and friendly service that bring me back for more. Their menu is seasonally changing except for a few staples and crowd favorites like the PB burger and their delicious take on beignets. This season, you must try the chestnut and butternut squash ravioli of their dinner menu.

How are you going about the “new normal” this winter season? Do share your thoughts below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above-mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored or paid rants are always based on actual experiences and/or interests. If you’d like me to check out a local event or eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

What Did You Eat This Ramadan?

During Ramadan, our foodie family has been taking turns cooking iftar meals. These past couple of weeks of making old favorites and trying new recipes has been absolutely fun. Here are our top three dishes that I hope inspire your cooking as we near the end of the holy month.

Nothing beats Mama’s cooking! I mean, she’s the one that has truly inspired us kids to be the foodies we are today. We can’t go through the holy month without Mama’s delicious kushary. A popular Egyptian street food dish that consists of rice, lentils and pasta that’s drizzled with garlic marinara sauce, and topped with crispy fried onions.

What makes my mama’s take different than most traditional takes is that she makes the typical Egyptian rice with vermicelli noodles and uses two kinds of pasta, both spaghetti and salad macaroni. If this isn’t carb heaven, it’s not kushary.

For Mother’s Day dinner, my brother Samy took a risk from his usual steak and curry dishes to make a slow cooked brisket. Alongside all the fixings, it came out pretty good! We’re talking baked potato, roasted tomatoes, garlic and corn as well as a side of sauteed asparagus for good measure.

The meat was tender and seasoned to absolute perfection. Kudos to my brother because I can’t wait for the encore!

Speaking of encores, when I make something the family loves, I’m usually almost asked to remake it. Now when my nephew raved for days about my crispy chicken tenders and waffles -from scratch might I add- I couldn’t say no when he asked for more chicken.

Thus I combined two of his favorites that I’ve made for the family throughout Ramadan into one simple dish. Crispy chicken tenders atop Parmesan penne pasta. I use boneless chicken breasts, cut into four pieces each and use seasoned breadcrumbs. As penne pasta is one of my favorites, I love coming up with varying recipes for it. This one however has always been a favorite with the family, with a light fresh tomato sauce with cheese cooked in the sauce as well as garnished on top.

Who can say no to more cheese? And I’m lactose intolerant!

Do share in the comments what’s a dish you must have in Ramadan? What’s a dish you tried for the first time? What’s a favorite you’re favorite dish to cook up?