Last night, Mr.S and I had dinner at a small restaurant in the SOMA district of San Francisco, called Fringale.  I had dined there about 5-6 years ago with my friend Grace and had really enjoyed my meal there, so I talked Mr.S. into going back there to dine.  I had had a shitstorm of a week, seriously of epic proportions- my mom passed away, some horrid delinquent went through my neighborhood slashing tires and keying cars (my car was one of the ones that got hit) and to top it off- in the middle of the night, some jerk did a major hit and run on my rental car.  Like I said, shitstorm of epic proportions.  I was beginning to feel a lot like Job.  Anyhow in an effort to clear my mind and calm my nerves, I thought Fringale would be a nice place to grab a pleasant meal of French comfort food. WRONG.

The gentleman behind the bar, that greeted us when we arrived, seemed very friendly and sat us at a nice 2-top by the window.  We had a foie with quince jam appetizer that was okay (Mulvaney's does it better) and a calamari la plancha dish, which was nice but not as memorable as when I had it during my last visit.  It really needed seasoning.  Anyhow, things were fine until we got our entrees.  Both of us ordered the sea bass, which was supposed to be served over a potato puree with artichokes. What we ended up with was potato puree sloppily plopped in a bowl with bits of artichoke and some kind of red broth (hard to tell if it was a tomato or red pepper based broth). On top was a piece of sea bass about  1.5 inches wide and 5 inches long.  This is THE most overcooked piece of fish I have ever eaten. It was dry as the Sahara and tough. Mr.S. gacked on his too but he hates to send things back. So he cut his up and tried to have it absorb some of the red liquid it was swimming in. I had had such a craptastic week that I couldn't deal with it. I very politely signaled the waiter over and explained what the situation was.  His response was to ask Mr.S if his fish too was overly dry.  Mr.S. advised him it was. So he took (only) my plate back to the kitchen.  What? Anyhow, a few minutes later he returned, handed me a menu and brusquely advised me that, "the chef always prepares the fish that way and no one has ever complained." He then informed me that I should choose something else.  At this point I'm a bit perturbed. After the horrible week I'd had, the LAST thing I needed was this snooty French waiter being a dick to me.  I really wanted to tell him that if that's how his chef ALWAYS cooks his fish, overdone to the point that it was not consumable, then that was a sad testament to his skills.  However, at the risk of ruining Mr.S's night too, I ordered the mussels.  I mean really...who can f*ck up mussels, right? The mussels arrived and they were fine. We opted to have dessert elsewhere and I mentally crossed Fringale off my list of restaurants to return to or recommend,

Anyhow, I thought I'd share a fish recipe that we make at our house often.  I ran across it by happenstance-- one of those emailed recipes from Tasting Table.  It's quite good, tasty with or without the ginger yogurt sauce and very hard to screw up (take note, Mr. Fringale chef).

Chile-Garlic Broiled Salmon with Ginger Yogurt Salmon (from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen)

Nonstick cooking spray
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 tablespoon chile-garlic paste (sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
For Sauce:
¼ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (sambal oelek)
½ teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce 
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced on a bias
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Place the salmon fillets on top. 
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the chile-garlic sauce, miso and maple syrup. Divide the mixture over the top of each salmon fillet, spreading it to coat the tops and sides easily.
3. Adjust the oven rack so it is 5 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Broil the salmon until the tops of the fillets are browned and sizzling and the center of each fillet gives slightly to firm pressure, 8½ to 9 minutes. (The sauce gets a crispy, dark look to it as it caramelizes.)  Remove from the oven and set aside to rest.
4. While the salmon cooks, make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, chile-garlic sauce, soy sauce and ginger.
5. Place 1 salmon fillet on each plate and serve with a dollop of the ginger yogurt sauce and sprinkled with scallions.
Happy Passover and Easter everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. I've been swamped lately with what seems like a never ending list of house projects. Gah! The past two weeks, Mr.S and I have been busy getting the spring garden in order (although we have no idea how it'll fare with the drought) and buying a new fridge. Buying a new fridge sounds like a pretty easy and fun project, right? Research a few brands and models, check them out in the store, then order and get it delivered, right? Hahaha.  WRONG. This was one of the most frustrating shopping experience of my life (right up there with my hellacious car buying experience with Mel Rapton Honda last fall). Anyhow, we did our homework and researched a few brands and models and decided on the LG LMXS27626S. Excuse my french but what a f*cking piece of sh*t. And LG's customer service? They should be ashamed of's positively abhorrent. 

So here's what happened in a nutshell- we purchased the LG fridge at Home Depot and it was delivered on a Saturday morning.  By early evening, there was condensation forming in the upper left corner of the water dispenser and dripping down the front of the fridge (on the outside).  We had purchased a warranty, so the next day I called Home Depot's Protection Plan Department. The gal I spoke to, Megan, told me I needed to call LG as the warranty with Home Depot only kicks in after the first year.  According to her, during the first year, the manufacturer is primary. So I tried calling LG. They were closed. I called again on Monday and spoke to someone overseas who kept giving me scripted answers.  After 30 minutes of repeatedly explaining what's wrong with the fridge, I finally was able to get LG to agree to send a repair person out. 

Day 1 of "Refrigeratorgate": Mr. S's father was kind enough to wait at our house for the repairman. Repairman Joe came out,  looked at the fridge, and acknowledged that there was indeed an issue. He could see and feel the condensation that we were having issues with.  He then called LG and told them he did not know how to fix it. They insisted that he pull out the water/ice dispenser.  He had extreme difficulty getting it out and in the process he scratched and dented the fridge.  Nothing was repaired so he left a claim #. 

When I got home from work,  I called LG, they stated that they thought it was the humidity causing the condensation to form. I point out to them that's it's only in one corner of the outside of the dispenser, not to mention I live in Sacramento where it's 40% humidity! They seemed not to believe me that Sacramento does not have heavy humidity.  After much arguing, they stated they would send another repair guy out.

Day 2 of Refrigeratorgate: Mr. S stayed home from work and waited for the repairman.  LG told us he would show up between 8-12.  The repairman showed up at around 1:30pm. And guess what? It's Repairman Joe again.  The same guy. Poor Joe. He was confused like, "What the hell am I doing back here?"  He calls LG and tells them AGAIN that he does not know what's wrong with the fridge and yes, he damaged it...and no, he did not think it was a humidity issue. Again nothing got fixed, so he left another claim number.

When I got home from work, I called LG again.  First they tried to tell me that the issue was resolved. Ummm, no. I told them it wasn't and that there was still condensation on the fridge and water running off it.  I got the run around again (no big surprise) and a bunch of scripted answers again. I was getting frustrated at this point, so I called Home Depot's Protection Plan Department again. I complained to Chad, who was empathetic but stated that there was nothing he could do and that we would have to deal with LG. He also stated during the first 48 hours we should have called the Home Depot store we bought it from.  WTF? I point out to him that Megan in HIS Department was the one who told me to call LG.  He stated he couldn't find a record of that phone conversation.  I pointed out to him that she was the one who registered my warranty for me over the phone and they had a record of that, right? His response was a prolonged uncomfortable silence.  By then I was hopping mad.  I tried calling the Home Depot store where we purchased the fridge.  I got put on hold with bad music...for what felt like eternity. So, as a Hail Mary, I drove down there. 

So here's something I learned.  Nothing makes a bunch of middle-aged male Home Depot workers and shoppers more uncomfortable than a woman about to lose her sh*t at the customer service counter. I tried explaining to the associate the situation but as I was explaining I found my voice getting louder and louder.  Not screaming, just louder---like super frustrated loud.  One of the guys that worked there suggested that we go over to the appliance section and talk with the manager.  In hindsight, I think he was trying to diffuse the situation by having me move out of the front of the store, where the customer service counter was located, and over to the appliance section which is in the back of the store.  What he wasn't counting on was me talking very loudly about the lemon refrigerator and the run around I was getting from Home Depot and LG while their customers were shopping for fridges. Epic fail on his part.  People who were shopping for fridges were stopping and listening to our conversation.  I demanded that I just wanted what I paid for, was that too much to ask? The poor appliance guy that was saddled with this kerfuffle decided in a last ditch effort to try and appease me by calling the store's direct LG rep. The rep had the Home Depot associate take my fridge and contact info and said he'd look into it.  I also shot off an angry email to LG when I got home.

Day 3-ish of Refrigeratorgate:  I got an email response from LG.  No sorry for all the frustration or inconvenience, just basically a statement that they'll replace the fridge. (Maybe they got tired of me complaining...maybe the LG rep came through...I dunno.) They also stuck a note in there that they still thought it was a humidity issue and if the 2nd fridge had the same issue they wouldn't replace it. Like they were doing me a favor.  Way to stand behind your product guys.

So on Tuesday, Cesar Chavez Day, I was off work and I stayed at home and waited for the delivery of the replacement fridge. It was delivered on time, hooked up, nightfall the &^%$#@!* thing had condensation on it and was dripping down the front again. This time I called Home Depot immediately and spoke with the appliance guy and then a manager. I demanded that they remove this craptastic lemon out of my house. We wanted to return it for a full refund and purchase a different LGs.  The manager agreed...honestly, he might have been a little scared of me at that point.  I wasn't yelling but I had that tone know that tone---that "I'm going to rip your head off and jam it down your neckhole" tone. Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get me to that point.  The next day their Return Expeditor called and got it all set up.

Saturday (yesterday), the last day of Refrigeratorgate (hopefully): They came and got the LG fridge out of our house and the new fridge, a GE, was delivered at the same time.  So far, so good...knock on wood.  We even saved $649 on this one!  I made Home Depot price match theirs to the price at Lowe's. ☺

Now that the fridge issue is resolved, I'll start posting some of the recipes that we've been cooking and eating. I promise!