Afternoon Sichuan Session @ Spices Restaurant, Foster City

“Kiss of Fire” Orange Beef.

I drove 70 miles on Wednesday for Ramen Dojo’s Garlic Pork Ramen, a dish that I first reviewed here almost a year and a half ago. Although I don’t begrudge the distance, in some ways, my trip to San Mateo was a failed mission; ostensibly, I was hoping to snap a better picture than I did last time, although ultimately, that just wasn’t going to happen (despite my best efforts, I achieved the exact same results, more or less). Not to make excuses, but with its heavily-tinted front windows and sparse track lighting, Ramen Dojo offers very little in the way of illumination. I guess I had sort of forgotten. Anyhow, the restaurant’s signature Garlic Pork Ramen remains outstanding, which is the important thing. So, rather than repeat the past with another ramen run-down (and yet another lousy picture), I decided to eat up and explore some new territory in the South Bay.

Later on that day, I met an old college buddy for an impromptu Sichuan session at Spices Restaurant in Foster City. Admittedly, I’m no expert in Sichuan cuisine, but the dishes at Spices were balanced and well-executed, and not too heavy-handed with the heat. We enjoyed everything we ordered, and I’ve included a few of my favorite dishes in this post. For those keeping score, Spices has two sister locations, both in San Francisco, and (oddly enough) both located just two blocks apart in the Inner Richmond District. All things being equal, I’d say that the tranquil Foster City waterfront sets this location apart from the others. And as the sun began to set during dinner, the lighting proved nearly ideal. Click on any picture for a full-screen view.

Ma Po Tofu.

• • •

Shanghai Stir-Fried Fat Noodles with Pork.

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