A few of my favorite foreign films.

Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
-Bong Joon Ho

In honor of Bong Joon Ho's beautiful movie and his Golden Globe win, here is a list of some of my very favorite foreign films. Perhaps it will inspire you to see more if you have not seen them already. Enjoy!

Side note: I would advise against watching Hollywood remakes of foreign films or the Hollywood version of foreign directors. As they are typically at best mediocre and does not even come close to its original.

Old Boy. Park Chan-Wook.
Quite possibly one of the best revenge films I have ever seen. I also really enjoy his other movies as well.

In the Mood for Love. The Grandmaster. Wong Kar-Wai.
Wong Kar-Wai is on my list of favorite directors of all time. I would recommend In the Mood for Love and The Grandmaster.

Hero. Zhang Yimou.
Hero may be one of the most beautiful kung fu films ever made. But The Grandmaster is close behind...

Remember what I said above regarding Hollywood remakes? Pay attention to the next 3.

After the Wedding. Susanne Bier.
This may be my all time favorite movie. I love the way Susanne Bier tells these very emotional stories. I also enjoy the rest of her movies as they are all very powerful.

Secret in Their Eyes. Juan José Campanella.
I saw this shortly after After the Wedding and was blown away by both films.

Let the Right One In. Tomas Alfredson.
Such a beautiful film with perfect casting.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Niels Arden Oplev. Yes, David Fincher remade it and he had a much bigger budget. Doesn't make it better however. He had perhaps a better opening sequence and much more polished art direction.

Amélie. Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
While I own Amélie, I also enjoyed the rest of Jeunet's collection: Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, etc.

Ran. Dreams. Akira Kurosawa.
I love how Kurosawa does these epic period Japanese dramas inspired by Shakespeare. I've seen most of his films and they are all very poetic, as you would imagine from a master such as himself.

Amores Perros. Alejandro González Iñárritu.
This was my first Iñárritu film. It's so incredibly beautiful that I went down a rabbit hole of all his films.

Y Tu Mamá También. Roma. Alfonso Cuarón.
I remember shortly after watched Amores Perros I went down the Gael García Bernal rabbit hole as well and watched Y Tu Mamá También. Those 2 movies can really break your heart because they were so emotional. I started watching Roma at home one night and stopped a few minutes in, as it was playing on the big screen in 70mm (how it was shot) at the Castro theatre. I would highly recommend that if you ever get the chance.


12.25.2019. Sir and Star. Olema. California.

This Christmas I was supposed to spend it with Lauren in Santa Fe, but due to circumstances beyond her control, we decided to celebrate her heath here in the Bay Area instead with Deb. Lauren had the brilliant idea of making a reservation for Christmas lunch at Sir and Star. Hilariously, I have tried to dine at Sir and Star a few times when I am up North but they have been closed each time.

What I really loved about this meal aside from its minimalist rustic decor (all the way to the loo) was the very reasonable portions with the great food. They even had a very reasonably priced wine list as well if you are budget conscious. I can see this being a new annual tradition of mine.

Sir and Star
10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Olema, CA 94950

dinner rolls, rustic rye bread
butter scented with sage, sweetened with our honey
and a spread of devilishly housemate ham

a soup of bolinas butternut squash
etched with a syrup of inverness apples
lavished with curls of crisped leeks

wild and tame mushrooms
chanterelles and local gold: the grand porcini
tumbling over a cheese soufflé's of point reyes toma

wild arugula draped over carpaccio of dates
from the desert plot of a bolinas farmer
crowned with a confetti of pomegranate
served alongside a streak of our yogurt

a tiny tim christmas turkey
with thyme scented sourdough stuffing
laced with sausage of devil's gulch heritage pig
with a mash of marin potatoes, the gift of gravy
and a chutney of wild plums from the point

ice cream of coastal buffalo milk
filling pastry puffs dipped in deep chocolate
finished with a flurry of almond toffee

Then we walked around Inverness after lunch and drove back before it started pouring again.

12.14.2019. Ladytron. The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall. Berkeley, California.

My friend Reuben came into town with his band Ladytron as it was the last show of their tour with the new album. Naturally I got off the couch to see him in the East Bay and to catch up after the show. Fun fact: there was only 1 bar open until 2AM in Berkeley. Sacrilege. But perhaps that is why they are such smarties over there...

The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall
2036 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

11.24.2019 + 12.30.2019. Daeho Kalbijjim & Beef Soup. San Francisco. California.

Daeho is a new Korean favorite comfort of mine. So far, I have been to it twice in 2 months. It took me a bit to try it out due to the long lines there and they do not take reservations. I like going a bit earlier than they open for lunch and get in there right when they open for the first seating. The first time we got the galbi jjim (braised beef prime rib) with oxtail and the second time we got the galbi jjim as they were sold out of the ox tail already. I added vegetables both times as everything is a la carte. The quality of the meat is very high, much like Park's BBQ so the price point is a little higher than your average, but well worth it. You can choose your spice level from 1-4. I typically go between 1-2, and 2 has a nice kick in the flavor. I would say this is better for a group due to the large family style portions. 

Daeho Kalbijjim & Beef Soup
1620 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115


11.8.2019. In Situ. San Francisco. California.

Nissa and I were supposed to have dinner Friday night. But since I had a giant lunch and she had a late lunch, we ended up getting dessert and a drink instead. Friday turned out to be rather fancy over all. Sometimes that happens. Both our desserts were outstanding. Go check it out before they rotate them out.

In Situ
151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Ice Cream of Salted Butter
hazelnuts, molasses
Esben Holmboe Bang, Maaemo
Oslo, Norway, 2010

Warn Stuffed Brioche
spiced caramel, pumpkin praline and ice cream 
In Situ

11.8.2019. International Smoke. San Francisco. California.

It was Brian's last day at work, so we decided to go to International Smoke for lunch. It's literally around the corner from our office. I've heard great things about this Michael Mina & Ayesha Curry high end BBQ restaurant, and I was pleasantly surprised. We opted for some more classic dishes to check it out for the first time, and we had half of it leftover between the 2 of us. I would be excited to go back to try other items off this menu!

International Smoke
301 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94105

AYESHA’S FRESH BAKED CORNBREAD thai red curry butter

‘INSTANT’ BACON BAO BUNS pork belly, five-spice, sweet chili sauce
QUINOA & KALE avocado, cucumber, radish, sunflower seeds, ginger vinaigrette
CRISPY CAULIFLOWER tehina, golden raisins, za’atar, pistachio

10.27.2019. La Mercerie. New York. New York.

La Mercerie in the Roman and Williams Guild was top of my list for dining and shopping. So when the Château girls suggested it for our reunion brunch, I laughed. Don't you love it when things work out naturally? When the girls heard that I will be in NY for the opera, we did an impromptu reunion. Karen and Heather also flew in since they are in the East Coast so that was an extra treat. So great to see all these lovely ladies before I fly out and back to my crazy project! Happiness is connecting with people I have met and don't get to see often, and to do so in a gorgeous space with the best dinnerware. Yes. Please. I actually left without replacing all my dinnerware with KH Würtz ceramics, and trust me I really want to.

La Mercerie
53 Howard St
New York, NY 10013

10.26.2019. Manon. Metropolitan Opera. New York. New York.

My friend Laura found out she will be debuting at The Met for Manon early this year, naturally I had to go and see her in all her glory. Also, I had no been to New York in a hot minute and I had every intention of eating my way across town and seeing everyone. Despite the fact that this turned into a work trip, I still did some serious damage to my stomach and saw a bit of people. This was my first time going to an opera at The Met. We went on the closing day and they also broadcasted it on HD. The sets were stunning. The singing phenomenal. Laura was extremely charming as Javotte. Manon is a not a likable character. CONGRATULATIONS LAURA!!! Look, I left Soho.

Metropolitan Opera House
30 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023

10.26.2019. Balthazar. New York. New York.

Balthazar is my New York institution. I have to eat breakfast there every time I go to New York and I totally freak out if I do not, which only happened once. I always have to get the scrambled eggs in puff pastry with wild mushrooms and asparagus with an English breakfast tea. Our pre-opera game was strong.

80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

10.25.2019. Omen Azen. New York. New York.

Finally, another not French place aside from Estela. It was quite a treat to catch up with another friend. She reached out for putting me on hold for a shoot, sadly I was not available, but we were able to get dinner at least! She recommended Omen Azen as she noticed that I had no Asian foods in my reservations. We were unable to get into Cote for an earlier dinner sadly, but I thoroughly enjoyed Omen Azen. It reminds me of Japan, but in a much bigger space. We both opted for the smaller tasting menu. I loved the pumpkin soup.

Omen Azen
13 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012

10.25.2019. Dominique Ansel Bakery. New York. New York.

Since I basically worked out of my hotel room at 11 Howard, I had to force myself to take a break for lunch and get some fresh air. Since I had dinner plans and had a nice hearty breakfast at Le Coucou, I opted for a sweet treat and caffeine instead. I walked myself to Dominique Ansel and lined up to see their offerings of the day. They had just switched over to their fall menu. I opted for the frozen more as it's an experience. I was very proud of myself for not having walked out with a few of the other goodies in tow...

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring St
New York, NY 10012