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NOPA San Francisco


NOPA is located north of the panhandle in San Francisco and serves up rustic wood-fired cuisine. We stopped in for brunch on a Sunday morning and it was standing room only. Luckily I made a reservation.

We were immediately seated at a table upstairs overlooking all the action. We had a view of  the open kitchen, bustling bar and main seating area.

Since we were going to watch a movie following our meal Mike and I decided to share a few apps and a main so we didn’t feel bloated in the theater. We decided on the following…

Goat Cheese Bread Pudding w/ Sautéed Chanterelles and Upland Cress

Bread puddings can sometimes be heavy… this was light and flavorful.

Oven Baked Farm Egg w/ Spiced Tomato, Shaved Pantaleo and Grilled Bread

So,so good. We slopped up every last bite of the spice laden sauce with our toasty bread. It seemed to have every spice under the sun in it (cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, coriander) but it worked.

Grass Fed Hamburger – Bacon, Pickled Onions and Herbed French Fries

The burger was perfectly pink and juicy and the fries were a thicker version of In-N-Out but much better tasting.

This is a great spot to have a homey meal in an energetic environment.

Website: http://nopasf.com/

Nopa on Urbanspoon

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Foreign Cinema


I’ve wanted to go to Foreign Cinema for many years. Mike and I finally made it for brunch. It was surprisingly warm in San Fran so we sat outside on the patio. I really liked the rustic feel. We, of course, started off with the ever popular pop tart which was warm, light, flaky and perfectly sweet. Very good interpretation of the childhood classic. I had remembered seeing Giada on one of her getaway shows order the Fried eggs deglazed with balsamic served w/rose potato-roasted garlic hash & tender greens so that’s what I decided to get. The dish was a perfect combination of salty (prosciutto), crunchy (potatoes), creamy (egg) and bitter (greens). When you got a mouthful of everything it was harmonious. Mike had never had a Croque Madame so I told him to give it a go. He enjoyed it but he has never tasted Thomas Keller’s so he has no comparison and there is no comparison. Keller’s is king.

We vow to return at night when we can see a film.

Website: http://www.foreigncinema.com/

Foreign Cinema on Urbanspoon

Ad Hoc Brunch

Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc serves up Brunch every Sunday from 10-1pm and it’s become supremely popular. We arrived at 10:10 and the placed was full by 10:30. It’s a 3 course meal for $34.  I had heard from others that the Brunch menu included Bouchon pastries, yogurt and then a choice of a breakfasty main dish (waffles, pancakes, eggs) but on our visit the format had changed. This is the menu we received on May 16, 2010 (no choices available).

Ice berg lettuce with buttermilk dressing, red onions, apples and walnuts

Steak & scrambled eggs with creme fraiche, wild mushroom ragu and fava beans

Oven roasted potatoes

Beignets covered in sugar with strawberry, vanilla and chocolate dipping sauces

The salad was good but nothing special. The steak and eggs on the other hand was a masterpiece. It still amazes me how every single bite is perfectly seasoned. The man knows how to use salt! The beignets were divine even though they were more like donuts; dipped in a combo of vanilla-strawberry sauce was delish. We left satisfied but not stuffed (which is always a good thing).

Next visit I would make my reservation for a later time. It definitely is more of an early lunch menu than a breakfast. I don’t usually wake up and have a salad with my french press.

See our past Ad Hoc adventures:
Fried Chicken night
Pork dinner

Bouchon – Las Vegas

bouchonvegas
I finally made it to Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s French bistro! The restaurant is tricky to locate in the Venetian hotel but well worth the search. We were lucky enough to get a table outside in the sun (which is next to one of the pools). It took an extraordinarily long time to decide what we wanted to order because everything sounded fantabulous. As we sipped on mimosa’s we needed to have the specials explained at least twice. bouchonbeneRachel and I ended up with the Croque Madame which is toasted ham & cheese on brioche with a fried egg and mornay sauce (Béchamel) and a side of pommes frites (fries). It was beyond good. It was sinful and I ate the entire thing without batting an eye. Dena had her first benedict. Unbelievable, right?…at our age! Well, her first was a doozy — Eggs Florentine (substitute spinach and smoked salmon for the ham). I loved everything about our long relaxing brunch and I can’t wait to return. I’ve already decided what I’m having next time.

Website: http://www.bouchonbistro.com/
Bouchon (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Mesa Grill

mesa grill

As you may have guessed from the previous post Mike and I spent the weekend in Vegas. Since I am a food network fanatic I decided we would check out a couple of the iron chef restaurants while in town. We started things off with brunch at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. I was really excited about finally getting to try out some of the grill masters food. We arrived at 10:45am with an appetite. Mike and I both ordered egg dishes since it was still early in the morning. I picked the spicy chicken and sweet potato hash with poached eggs and green chile hollandaise. Mike opted for the scrambled egg enchiladas with chorizo, red chile sauce and goat cheese. I didn’t want anything too spicy but when I asked the server about the heat he said all 6 of the egg dishes have a kick. I thought to myself “how bad could it be?” I didn’t want a salad or burger so I didn’t have much other choice. The brunch menu which is served on weekends until 3pm is very small.

When my dish arrived it looked good. I soon learned that looks can be deceiving. I then glanced at Mike’s dish and actually laughed. His enchiladas were so tiny they looked like taquitos. There were two extremely small tortillas filled with barely any eggs on a plate with some sauce. For $16, I expected A LOT more. I then took a bite of my bfast and immediately felt fire swirling in my stomach. I could not taste any flavors of sweet potatoes, chicken or egg. The spice totally overpowered the dish. I needed a swig of water between each bite. I could only stand to eat half. Mike ended up liking his highly overpriced miniature meal. Since his chile sauce was on the side he could control the hotness.

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