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The Farmer & the Chef Doc on VIMEO ON DEMAND

Check out The Farmer & the Chef film documenting the unique relationship between Chef David Kinch (Manresa) and Farmer Cynthia Sandberg (Love Apple Farms).

A beautiful and meditative look at the seasonal restaurant — Food & Wine Magazine

Download a copy today!

He is a world famous chef with one of best restaurants in the world.

She is a Biodynamic® farmer known worldwide for her award winning heirloom tomatoes.

And one thing connects them…. the food served at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos,California. Together this farmer and this chef are revolutionizing how diners experience a modern Californian meal.

The Farmer & The Chef is a 1-hour documentary that takes you behind the scenes to see how two creative geniuses grow and serve the perfect meal at two-Michelin Star restaurant Manresa. Watch Cynthia Sandberg move from a 2-acre garden to a 21-acre farm that needs to be transformed into the new Love Apple Farms. And follow Chef Kinch as he confronts the challenges of cooking with a ten fold increase of product. It’s about the passion two people have for farming and cooking in a way that respects and pays homage to their local environment.

Watching them wordlessly root through the farm together is watching two masters at work. — TimeOut New York

JALEO by José Andrés

Best meal ever. If you are in Vegas this is a must. Really delicious food. Minus 1 star for leaving smelling like a camp fire. They have an open spit in the dinning area of the restaurant and they were roasting a baby pig and that bad boy was smoking up a storm. I had to air out my clothes when we got back to the hotel. 

Favorite dish: white asparagus with lemon, thyme and idiazábal cheese. Not crazy about food served out of a shoe.

Website: http://www.jaleo.com/

Rating:

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Baume Palo Alto

We were super excited to go to Baume because it is known for molecular gastronomy. Freeze dried strawberries…let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. Tasted and looked beautiful but not worth the $$$$.

Website: http://www.baumerestaurant.com/
Rating:

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Frances SF

Amazing meal. Worth all the hype. Make a reservation! After 4+ years people are still sitting on the curb outside for hours waiting to grab a table.

Website: http://www.frances-sf.com/
Rating:
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Pizzeria Delfina


Mike had some work to do in the City so I decided to tag along, especially since it was near the Mission, and I have wanted to try Pizzeria Delfina forever. I know I eat a lot of pizza but it is my favorite food so get used to it.

Pizzeria Delfina features six Neapolitan inspired, thin crust pizzas and two daily-changing special pies and a “piatto del giorno” from the oven. The food is Italian in spirit, using local, seasonal ingredients.

This location is super tiny … in order to leave Mike had to ask the table next to us to move over just so he could squeeze between the tables.

This is what we ate:

Insalata Tricolore


Special pasta of the day: Mac & cheese with meaty sauce  (I forget the official name)

Salsiccia Pizza
Housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions, mozzarella

Everything was delicious and fresh. I could have eaten a vat of that pasta and the pizza had great crust… not overly blistered. For dessert we walked down the street to Bi-rite Creamery.

Rating: 

Website: http://pizzeriadelfina.com/

Mama’s Fish House


On our fifth trip to Maui we finally decided to try the famed Mama’s Fish House. It may sound like a rustic joint but it is one of the most expensive restaurants on the island so we saved this for a special occasion…our 6th wedding anniversary.

Mama’s is located right on the beach and is decorated in the old Polynesian style. Think dark woods, antiques, staff dressed in colorful aloha gear and Hawaiian music. We arrived a bit early so we could check out the beach but since it was drizzling we decided to wait it out in the bar. The drinks were big and tasty. Our table was ready right on time and we were seated at a window table with a fantastic view. We made sure to make our reservation just before sunset.

view from our table

Our meal started off with a treat from the chef…a ginger soup. Then we shared the Ahi sashimi salad with crispy won ton strips, pohole fern, wasabi goat cheese, Kula vegetables and roasted sesame seed dressing. It was super fresh but could have used a bit more dressing. I already knew what I was going to order after looking at the menu online – Mahi mahi stuffed with lobster & crab and baked in a macadamia nut crust. Mike decided to go with a luau style plate that included Mahi mahi and slow-cooked Big Island Wild Boar with baked Hana rainforest banana, Molokai purple sweet potato, Lomi-lomi and fresh poi. Cool note about the menu – all the fish is wild and each dish lists the fisherman who caught it that day.

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The presentation and taste of the food was wonderful. At this point we were stuffed and were going to pass on dessert but because we were celebrating our anninversary we received complementary scoops of their homemade ice cream (strawberry bannana). Sweet ending to the night. I now know why everyone says you have to go to Mama’s.

Note:  Although you will pay a pretty penny don’t worry about the dress code – there were tank tops and board shorts galore!

Rating:

Website: http://www.mamasfishhouse.com/

Redd Wood

Famed chef Richard Reddington has opened a casual Italian eatery in Yountville down the street from his Michelin star restaurant REDD.

We arrived early on a Friday night and the restaurant was pretty empty except for the mini bar area which was standing room only. The tables around us seemed to be filled with locals as they knew the staff and brought plenty of their own wine. We were seated in a cozy corner booth that had a view of the entire restaurant. We decided to get a sampling of eats to share. We started off with the grilled artichokes with balsamic & Parmesan cheese which was crazy good but messy. I wouldn’t recommend ordering if you are on a first date. The balsamic glaze ended up all over our fingers and dripping down our arms (but maybe this just happens to us 🙂 ).

Next, potato gnocchi w/ duck leg, rosemary, olives & pancetta. There was no real sauce just the natural juices from the duck. LOVED this.


Of course we had to try one of the wood fired pizzas. We went with the basic fresh mozzarella, tomato & basil. I was expecting this to be my favorite part of our meal but it wasn’t. It was good but the crust was a little over-charred which left a burnt taste in my mouth. Minor mishap.


We finished with the chocolate caramel tart w/ praline & sea salt which was highly reccomended by our server. It was super rich so we had a hard time finishing it. If you are a chocolate lover this dessert is for you!

I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived since the reviews I had read were hit and miss but I really enjoyed the food, service and vibe so I will definitely return.

Rating: 

Website: http://www.redd-wood.com/

Redd Wood on Urbanspoon

Morimoto Napa


There are a bunch of cool spots that have opened on the Napa river over the last couple years…Morimoto is one of them. Because this was a sushi restaurant run by an Iron Chef I admit I had some high expectations. Morimoto himself was not in town on our visit but that was okay as we’d seen him in-person before.

Our meal started out on a super high note. We decided to order the hot appetizer called kakuni – a ten hour pork belly w/ rice congee and soy-scallion jus. It was melt-in-your-mouth good. Next, we had the tempura calamari salad which had a fantastic white miso dressing. The calamari was a tad over battered for my taste but Mike enjoyed it. We followed this up with some sushi rolls (soft shell crab,eel avocado,spicy tuna) which were…sushi rolls. They were not at all imaginative. They looked and tasted just like the take out I get at the spot down the street from my house – just slightly higher priced. We probably should have gone with one of the menu entrees. Oh well, lesson learned.

We still had a little room in our stomachs so we split the kabocha squash sticky toffee cake w/ buttermilk ice cream and asian pear. This was a pleasantly sweet ending to our night.


Next visit, it’s all about the OMAKASE (the tasting menu). I’m sure it’s as mind blowing as the price.

Rating: 

Website: http://morimotonapa.com/

Morimoto Napa on Urbanspoon

Blue Line Pizza


You’ve heard the rave reviews about Little Star Pizza in San Francisco, well, it’s now available in the South Bay (Campbell) but under a new name — Blue Line. Mike and I have been twice since the February opening and I have to say it’s my favorite deep dish in the Bay Area.

Here’s how it compares to other popular Chicago style pizza joints in the area…

signature deep dish “blue line” pie

Not too thick (like Patxi’s) which means it’s not overly filling and a shorter time to wait for your pizza to arrive.

Not too saucy (like Zachary’s) which means you can taste the toppings which also happen to be really fresh. You can tell they don’t skimp on the ingredients.

We tried a couple salads but our favorite was the bacon & blue cheese which was huge, super fresh and the blue cheese was tangy good.

Note: no reservations. Get in early (b4 6:30pm) or be prepared to wait.

Rating: 

Website:http://www.bluelinepizza.com/

Blue Line Pizza on Urbanspoon

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

The Melt


The man behind the Flip video camera has opened up a high-tech chain of grilled cheese fast food restaurants called The Melt all over the Bay area. Since we were at the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto to pick up the new S’more cupcake at Sprinkles we stopped in for lunch.

The menu was fairly simple composed of 6 grilled cheese sandwiches (called melts), 5 soups, 3 sweet melts and drinks. I was expecting some highly creative sando options but you basically just choose a cheese and bread. Mike ordered the special of the day… The Dirty combo (without jalapeños) – sharp cheddar, tomato, bacon, and BBQ chips on sourdough + Sweet Corn Tortilla Soup. I went with the Classic combo of sharp cheddar on potato bread w/bacon + Two Tomato Basil soup.

The Dirty

We took a seat and admired the cool order board that let’s you know when your food is ready. Since the menu was a bust I was hoping for a taste sensation. Unfortunately, that was also a disappointment. When biting into our sandwiches all we could taste was the cheese. The toppings were so sparse they disappeared completely. I was pumped that you could add bacon to anything for FREE (that should be a rule everywhere) but found you get what you pay for. It was razor thin, limp and flavorless.

The Classic

I can easily make better grilled cheese at home on my favorite panini grill. I will say we enjoyed the corn soup.

I guess if I was at the mall and wanted to grab a quick bite (we were in and out in 20 minutes) I might stop by again for some soup. If you are looking for grilled cheese done right, check out the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in SF.

Note: if you don’t want to stand in line you can order in advance online.

Website: https://themelt.com/

The Melt on Urbanspoon

Chez Panisse


Who knew that it was harder to get a reservation at Chez Panisse than the French Laundry? I had no idea that it was still so popular. We attempted to reserve a table for my birthday about 3 weeks prior but they were fully booked. The reservationist said I had to call exactly at 9am one month in advance, to the calendar date so that’s what we did. To Mike’s disdain my usual 1 week birthday would now last 2.

Chez Panisse is a Berkeley institution where famed chef Alice Waters creates her fabulous farm to table feasts. In the 70’s Waters pioneered the concept of preparing meals using fresh seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. The restaurant is located in an Arts and Crafts style house on Shattuck Avenue that is small and intimate. Each night they serve a new 3-4 course menu so you won’t know what you are being served until the week you have a reservation (you can check the website). If you are a picky eater and don’t like quail, duck or rabbit eating here may be a gamble for you. Mike and I are down to try anything so this was not an issue for us, but we ended up with a pretty safe menu.

Menu

Nov 19, 2011

An apéritif
Grapefruit champagne cocktail
Course 1
Bellwether Farms sheep’s milk ricotta with fall vegetables and coriander vinaigrette
Course 2
Roasted halibut with savoy cabbage and lobster butter
Course 3
Spit-roasted Piedmontese beef rib eye with Beaujolais sauce, potato cake, chanterelles, and Cannard Farm salad
Course 4
Black Mission fig tartlet with Chartreuse ice cream

Dishes were rustic and simply presented but service was a little stiff. I’m a meat and potatoes girl so course #3 was my favorite. They made beef melt in my mouth and a basic potato cake taste scrumptious. Mike and I both loved our meal. Chez Panisse lost its Michelin star in 2011 to many people’s dismay. If they are not deserving then I tend to question the guides’ ratings because it was more than a meal, it was an experience.

Note: if you are looking for a less formal (and less expensive) meal check out the upstairs cafe.

Rating:

Website: http://www.chezpanisse.com/

Chez Panisse on Urbanspoon

Umami Burger

When humans eat, they use all of their senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste) to form general judgments about their food, but it is taste that is the most influential in determining how delicious a food is. Conventionally, it has been thought that our sense of taste is comprised of four basic, or ‘primary’, tastes, which cannot be replicated by mixing together any of the other primaries: sweet, sour, salt and bitter. However, it is now known that there is actually the fifth primary taste: umami
Umami Information Center

Umami burger if you are not familiar is a beloved Southern Cali chain that has now opened up on Union Street in San Francisco. When we arrived on a Monday night at 5:30pm the small space was almost empty. I made sure to come at a non-peak time to avoid the long waits I’ve read about.

I went with the signature Umami burger and Mike chose the Manly burger and we shared the truffle cheese fries. When everything arrived I was surprised by the petite size of the burgers (they look larger in photos). I gotta be honest we were hungry… we both downed our burgers within 4-5 bites so I can’t give you a real in-depth evaluation. All I know was mine was sweet and had kind of an Asian vibe and Mike’s had little yummy bacon lardons. Oh, and when I took my first bite my wedding ring was swimming in meat drippings (which was a good thing). The burger was cooked to perfection at medium rare which is their standard. It was juicylicious!

Manly burger (beer cheddar, onion rings,bacon) & Umami burger (shiitake shroom,onion,roasted tomato,parm crisp)

The truffle cheese fries (not on the menu but should be) were great and not overly truffley. They came with a trio of sauces but what I liked best was the homemade ketchup which kinda tasted like it was made with brown sugar.

We will have to go back again to savor the flavor.

Note: I thought we were going to leave hungry but in the end we were perfectly full. No burger bloat.

Rating:

Website: http://umamiburger.com/

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

Palacio Restaurant – Los Gatos


The huge house on North Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos is open for business again. The old site of  Trevese is now Palacio featuring high-end Latin American fare. Walking in we were surprised to see the amount of renovations the new owners had made since the last tenants had already made major upgrades. They went as far as moving the kitchen from the 1st floor to the basement. Not sure I like it any better  – it was loud, crowded and dark inside. But the added outdoor seating is terrific…that is what brought me back in.

We can’t frequent a Mexican restaurant without trying the margaritas. I had the pineapple and Mike the prickly pear. Mine was grrrreat, Mikes didn’t really taste like anything. Then we snacked on the trio of tacos appetizer which was the same price as the main entree of the same name which didn’t make sense. The steak was good, the rest not so much.

For the main course I chose the chicken enchiladas which were not as I expected. It ended up being a pile of dry, plain chicken on top of 2 sauced tortillas. First bite included half a wish bone… No Bueno!

Mike chose the chicken mole which he liked. Tasted like pumpkin.

Portion size was not large so we were open for dessert. I love coconut so we went with the coconut cheesecake, which was unnecessarily decomposed.

For the price I prefer Casa de Cobre in Saratoga. The quality of food is ten times better. I would not return for dinner but probably happy hour or apps & drinks so we can sit outside.

Rating: 

Website: http://www.palaciorestaurant.com/

Palacio Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Fremont Diner – Sonoma

Fremont Diner is a small revamped diner in Sonoma that serves up tasty vittles like pulled pork, corn fritters, Oyster Po’Boy, mac n cheese and fried pies. Yes, another healthy meal for us! When we told a local we were heading over for lunch he said the food was good but then warned us about the service. When we arrived we put our name on the waiting list and joined the small mob that was standing in the parking lot (no seating area). It looks like it used to be open seating but it is no longer which means on a Saturday you got a good 30 minute wait for your name to be called.

When we were finally seated inside we were not only starving but knew exactly what we wanted because we had plenty of time to peruse the menu. Here is were the poor service thing comes into action. We sat at our table for at least 15 minutes before our waitress decided to come and take our order and it wasn’t like she was buzzing around helping others because the 3 tables around us had just left.

We started off with a milkshake because I had heard they were a “not to miss” item. We chose the salted caramel which had chunks of crystallized salty sweet goodness throughout. I agree, they make damn good milkshakes. Next up Mike ordered the Chicken and Waffles. Bonus was that is was a boneless breast so no dirty hands.

I went with the Shrimp & Grits which I enjoyed but it came with those tiny baby shrimps (I prefer the big guys) and was pretty spicy, but it was topped with an egg and bacon so I forgave them.
For dessert we had the peach bread pudding which wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It had the consistency of a quiche and was a tad burnt but we still ate it all. Stuffed we waited and waited some more for the bill to arrive. Our quick bite at a local diner turned out to be an almost 2 hour event. Good thing we were not in a hurry.
Overall, the positive did outweigh the negative so we will return — on a weekday– and give it another go.

Website: http://thefremontdiner.com/

Fremont Diner on Urbanspoon

Homeroom Mac + Cheese

Rolled up for brunch on a brisk Saturday afternoon. Didn’t take much time to figure out what we wanted because the menu is limited to MAC + CHEESE! This is probably the only restaurant in the area where you will find that. I went with the Breakfast mac (only served Sat and Sun, 11am – 3pm) which includes classic mac with bacon bits and an egg on top.
Mike had the Gilroy Mac – gouda, sharp pecorino and just the right amount of roasted garlic plus he added broccoli (I guess to make him feel healthy). As you can see I added toasted breadcrumbs to mine and Mike didn’t. We both agree that you want to add breadcrumbs no matter what! It gives the mac a little extra crunchy dimension. It may look like it’s not creamy but once you break through to the under layer it is ooey gooey. Both were delicious but super rich and filling. We could only eat half but we also wanted to save room for the peanut butter pie which was amazing.

Mike really wanted to try the homemade Root Beer but they said it was not ready yet. Say what? 3pm on a Saturday and you can’t get root beer. Somebody needs to get up earlier and start brewin’.

Note: No, they don’t have a sampler option where you can try a variety of macs. I have requested it but it looks like they want to get you to come back instead of trying it all in one visit. Boo!

Website: http://homeroom510.com/

Homeroom 510 Mac & Cheese on Urbanspoon

Billy’s Boston Chowder House

Billy I wanted to fall madly in love with you but I think we are going to just remain friends. I was uber excited to find out that a New England style restaurant had opened less than 10 minutes from my house in Los Gatos. It’s located near Nick’s on Main where the Smoky BBQ joint and 29 Pizza used to be. Yes, this is the 3rd establishment to set up shop in the last 5 years. I hate to say it but I think this spot may be cursed…

Anyways, we came in early last Friday to check out the eats. They’ve only been open for a month so it can get busy with locals wanting to try the new eatery. We started with the fried clams appetizer which was not on the main menu but on a “specials” handout so I’m not sure if they have them all the time. I was very pleased with them although they were served with a tarter sauce and I prefer cocktail so we had to waive someone down to get some.


Mike went with the chowder in a sourdough bowl for his main course which he seemed to enjoy. I only had a spoonful and it was rich, creamy and buttery. Can’t go wrong with that!

For my main I decided to get the lobster roll (surprise) and against my better judgement I had it dressed instead of with just butter. When it arrived it looked great but as I took a bite the lobster had an unpleasant herby flavor and was dry. Also there was lettuce buried underneath the meat which I’m not a fan of, and I did find 3-4 pieces of shell – never a good thing. A plus was that the bun was nice and buttery but I could only finish half.

So overall we will return to try the other offerings (steamed clams, lobster chowder, fish & chips) but I won’t be having a lobster roll. If I’m craving that I’ll head to The Old Port Lobster Shack.

Note: this is not a cheap place to eat but they do have $4.25 pints of Blue Moon which made me happy.

Rating: 

Website: http://www.bostonchowderhouse.com/

Hay Market Willow Glen


We rarely venture to Willow Glen but a new restaurant caught my attention. Picture a space filled with old black and white framed photos (plus one random with Patrick Swayze and some dude with long hair), crates with bottles of wine, stacks of cookbooks and other antique looking stuff cluttered around. Johnny Cash is piped through the sound system as a flick of a guy building a log cabin silently plays on three big HDTVs. Take a seat at one of the long communal tables (be ready to talk to your neighbors) and check out the concise organic menu written on a giant chalk board overhead. Then choose from a few salads, a cheese plate, duck, beef, fowl, pork or fish (1 of each), a burger and a couple sides (menu changes daily/weekly!).

We started with the house salad which was micro greens with a vinaigrette. Very basic and nothing special. I did find it odd that it was served in a big pyrex baking dish. When we walked in and the guy next to us was eating out of one I honestly thought he had brought a salad from home due to the latest lettuce recall. Guess not… Throughout our meal we had 3 glasses of wine (limited choices but good) which were unfortunately served in tumbler glasses. I did see if you order a bottle then you get a real wine glass – I’m sure there is a rational reason for this but I like to swirl.

For our main course I went with the prime rib and Mike had the pork.  Both were delicious. Whoever is in the kitchen knows how to cook some meat. Mine was cooked perfectly pink and didn’t have a lot of fat. Mike’s was fork tender with a bit of a kick – he only wished he had more. The portion size was a lot smaller than my dish so we had to get dessert :).

looks sizable but the porky outside skin was not meant to be eaten

For dessert we went with the plum clafoutis with marscapone whip and the chocolate³ which I think was dark & light chocolate crumbled cookies with chocolate milk poured over it. Coupled with decaf french press it was To Die For.

tastes better than it looks!

my tattoo...i feel so badass

I have no idea what the concept of the restaurant is … Quirky European Country? but I left wanting more. I took my temporary tattoo and fresh baked cookies (which came with the bill) and vowed to return.

Notes: Open seating, no reservations, full by 6pm on a Friday night. Look for the hay bales out front cause the sign is pretty hard to see. Serves lunch too.

Rating:
Website: http://haymarketwillowglen.com/

Cambridge: Hungry Mother & Toscanini’s Ice Cream

For our last evening in Boston we headed to Cambridge. We decided to first check out a small restaurant called Hungry Mother that serves up seasonal southern grub. We ordered the following:

GREEN TOMATO GAZPACHO: maine crab salad, cherry tomatoes, cornbread crumbs
FRIED CHICKEN: sautéed collard greens, compressed watermelon, tabasco honey
LOCAL CATCH: summer corn maque choux, cherry tomatoes, lobster-basil emulsion
SKILLET CORNBREAD

All the food was very tasty and well prepared. My favorite was the compressed watermelon. Now I know why the locals love this place.

I highly recommend making a reservation because the space is small. There was a long line when we left.

Rating:
Website: http://www.hungrymothercambridge.com/

Hungry Mother on Urbanspoon


We took off without having dessert because I had read about a place a few blocks away that was named by the New York Times as having the best ice cream in the world!

We arrived at Toscanini’s Ice Cream and looked over the menu of over 20 super unique flavors like bourbon flake, salty saffron, vienna finger cookie, bourbon chocolate chip & goat cheese brownie. After trying about 6 my head was spinning and in a hurry to order and not hold up the line any longer I ended up blurting out green tea and cake batter. Yes, two flavors I could easily find at home. Oh, well. Mike won on the selections … he chose salted caramel and fluffernutter which were incredibly good. The ice cream was sooooo rich and creamy that I barely made a dent in my one scoop. It may also be that I had been eating like a pig for 3 days so I had hit a wall…

Note: if you get a small you can still ask for two flavors!

Website: http://www.tosci.com/

Toscanini's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

SPORTELLO restaurant & DRINK cocktail bar

On our second evening we ventured to the waterfront area for dinner and drinks at Sportello and Drink, both owned by one of Boston’s most renowned chefs Barbara Lynch.

Sportello (Italian for counter) is a modern Italian take on a diner. The restaurant is composed of almost all counter seating with an open kitchen. The vibe is young and hip…you have to be to sit on a stool for 2 hours : )

We started with the beat, avocado & crab salad and they brought some of the softest bread I’ve ever had along with a cheese, oil & jam concoction that was to die for.

    

Mains included: tagliatelle pasta with sauce bolognese and fried basil for me and anson mills polenta with wild boar ragu for Mike.

 

We finished things off by splitting an ice cream sandwich composed of salty pistachio cookies and chocolate gelato (grand combo). All the food was simply prepared and presented but tasted fantastic. I would come back here in a heartbeat. Bravo Barbara!

Website: http://www.sportelloboston.com/

Sportello on Urbanspoon

Located under Sportello is the bar Drink. This was the first time we had been to a bar that specializes in the art of cocktails. When you arrive you can’t just belly up to the bar and yell at the bartender. You have to wait for the hostess to show you to a spot either at a stool at the bar, or at the standing only counter tops that run along the walls. Then a server will come and take your order. There is no drink menu (except if you have wine) you simply tell your server your favorite flavors, liquor, or mood you are in and they will return with a drink prepared especially for you by a mixologists. We normally don’t drink cocktails so we had no idea what to order but our server returned with two really nice drinks without much input from us: Gimlet (gin/lime) for Mike and a Bohemian (vodka/grapefruit) for me. This was the perfect ending to our night out.

Website: http://drinkfortpoint.com/

Ratings:

Drink on Urbanspoon

Mike & Patty’s

if you blink you'll miss this corner store

I had heard that an itty bitty sandwich shop in Boston’s bay village neighborhood serves up some killer breakfast eats so on our way to the Sam Adams brewery tour we stopped by for some morning grub. You don’t want to drink on an empty stomach 😉 !

We ordered 2 sandwiches:
– fancy bacon and egg with cheddar, avocado, red onion and house mayo on toasted multigrain bread
– classic bacon and egg with cheese on an english muffin

We arrived on a Friday around 11am and there was only one person in front of us but it still took at least 20 minutes to get our food. It felt like the dude working the grill was movin’ in slow mo, but I would too because it was like 110 degrees inside the tiny shop. There are a couple stools to sit inside but we chose to sit out on the curb to avoid drippin’ in sweat. If you are in a hurry I’d call your order in.

Both sandos were good but it’s all about the fancy. The spicy chipolte mayo mixed with the cool avocado, salty bacon and oozy egg on toasty bread was a match made in bfast heaven. I will be trying to recreate this at home in the near future!

oh so fancy!

Website: http://www.mikeandpattys.com/

Mike & Patty's on Urbanspoon

Neptune Oyster


Our first meal in Boston had to be seafood and all reviews pointed to Neptune Oyster. I knew ahead of time that it was difficult to get a table because they don’t take reservations and they only have 6 small tables and a long bar. Protocol is to arrive and put your name on the list and wait it out at the park across the street, or come at 4:59pm (like us -it was our first day so we were exhausted from our red eye flight) and grab one of the last remaining tables.

We started off with the fried ipswich clams with lemon tarter sauce and the P.E.I. mussels in a red curry broth. Both were great but I preferred the clams and Mike the mussels. He made sure to order a basket of bread to sop up every drop of that broth. Next up the Maine lobster roll served hot and drenched in butter. I think it could use a tad more butter if you can believe it. I’m so bad… If you don’t want to feel totally piggy nix the fries like we did and order a salad. It’s nice and fresh.


The service, setting and food were all wonderful. I hope to return to try the lobster pasta.

Note: If you like oysters (we don’t) boy do they have oysters …there were too many varieties to count.

Rating:

Website: http://www.neptuneoyster.com/

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Old Port Lobster Shack

The Naked Lobster Roll

I gotta get this out before we leave for Boston tomorrow.

Hi, My name is Nicole and I’m a lobstaholic. I can’t believe I’ve lived in the Bay for over 24 years and never heard of the Lobster Shack until late last year.

We finally made the trek to the Redwood City Shack in December 2010.

I didn’t write this post earlier because they are supposed to open a location in Cupertino which is very close to my home so I was going to complete the review after I had tried more of their offerings but as of today it’s still not open (tear)…

When we arrived I was amazed to see a long line outside to get in. Really…at 6pm? Is it that good? After standing for 30 minutes in the cold we placed our order and were seated in a mini picnic table for two. The decor is a classic New England motif filled with fishing gear. You will feel like you have been transported to a fish market on a East Coast pier. We had come for one thing…the lobster rolls. I ordered the naked lobster roll (comes with a side of drawn butter) and Mike the Maine lobster roll (mayo, green onions, salt & pepper). Along with the roll you receive salty crispy fries, slaw and some wicked awesome sweet pickles. The lobster was cooked perfectly and as you can see they give you a generous amount. I only wish the roll was buttered a bit more…luckily I had the side of butter : )

The Maine Lobster Roll

Everything was well worth the wait. I can’t wait to try the steamers and the fried clams!

WARNING TO THE OWNERS: you will see a lot of me when you open your Cupertino location! Please open soon…

Rating:

Website: http://www.oplobster.com/index.htm

Note: they also have a food truck now so you’ll find them rollin’ around the Bay. Their Facebook/Twitter pages have the best updates on its location.

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Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food


Is there Soul Food in Santa Clara? You know the shabby looking wood building down the street from the San Jose Airport… well, they have a new tenant. Lillie Mae has moved in and is cookin’ up all your soul food favorites like BBQ ribs, brisket, catfish, collard greens, mac & cheese and of course fried chicken.

We arrived early on a Saturday night and as we got out of our car we were blown away by the intense aroma of BBQ. We knew we were in the right place. We headed to the counter ordered our meals then sat and waited for our # to be called. I knew things were going to go well when I saw a variety of hot sauces on the table. The food arrived after about a 15 minute wait. I had the fried chicken with mac & cheese, boomin’ baked beans and cornbread along with sweet tea. Mike chose the beef brisket/bbq chicken combo with collard greens, sweet potato fries and cornbread along with grape kool-aid. Yes…we went all in, taking no prisoners.

Let me start with a blow-by blow of my dinner. The fried chicken was just how I make it. Nothing fancy just downright good. Salty crispy skin and tender chicken. My mac was peppery and super cheesy and the baked beans were some of the best I’ve ever had — very unique rendition that tasted like sweet chili with big chunks of hamburger. They should change the name to Bangin’ baked beans! I had enough leftovers to take home for lunch the next day.

Mike on the other hand cleaned his plate. The smokey brisket & chicken was demolished along with the vinegary collard greens that he adored. The fries were standard fare and the only downer for Mike and I was the cornbread. It had a weird yeasty flavor. Everyone seems to rave over it so maybe we just got a bad batch.

We were really surprised to find tasty soul food in such an unexpected location (if you’ve been to Santa Clara you know what I’m talking about… let’s just say it’s not very soulful). Next time I’m leaving room for dessert…love me some peach cobbler!

Note: If you are into chicken & waffles they have them on the weekends. To avoid lines come early (b4 7pm).

Rating: 

Website: http://www.houseofsoulfood.net/

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Zero Zero Restaurant


We were in the city checking out the wine exhibit (which was pretty cool) at SFMOMA. After we needed to eat so I jumped on Yelp to see what was in walking distance and I was pleasantly surprised to find Zero Zero. I had heard many good things about their food. We arrived at 2pm just in time to catch the tail end of the Saturday brunch service.

We decided to go with a couple pizzas as well as the special of the day: short rib hash, fried egg & mini biscuits. Who would pass that up?!

Top: Castro - Sopressata, Sausage, Mozzarella, Basil....... Bottom: Margherita


Everything was delicious. I especially loved the Castro pie which had  really creamy cheese. We of course left room for dessert — the make your own sundae! Following your meal you receive a mini golf pencil and a piece of paper filled with scrumptious toppings. We could not decide on just one so we made two, half-orders (which were huge).

We are oh so bad…………

#1 Straus organic soft serve vanilla ice cream with Chamomile Poached Strawberries and sugar coated Ricotta Doughnuts on the side.

#2 Straus organic soft serve vanilla/chocolate swirled ice cream with Chocolate Lava Cake and Bacon Brittle.

These were oh so good………..

Some talk about how great the ice cream is but really it’s all about the toppings! Tell me your mouth is not watering…

Website: http://www.zerozerosf.com/

By the way there were 3 people eating so don’t think we are total pigs…

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Heaven’s Dog


A friend from LA was in town for business and staying near the Moscone center. I needed to find a place to go for dinner and drinks on a Friday night near by with only a few days notice. Heaven’s dog was one of the few restaurants I could make a reservation before 9pm and I had read that they were known for their cocktails and our friend is all about getting her drink on. I figured a Charles Phan spot had to be a safe option. He is the chef behind the famed Slanted door.

I gotta say I wasn’t impressed with the location. SOMA is not the nicest area. We had a hard time finding the restaurant as it is small with minimal signage. Inside it was modern, dimly lit, decorated in vibrant orange and brown colors and the walls were covered in cute paintings of dogs.

They serve Chinese food here unlike the Vietnamese at Slanted door. Since they had a good selection of dim sum items and apps we decided to order a bunch and share.

What we got:

shanghai dumplings – good but I’ve had better
salt & pepper local squid – delish…favorite of the night
stuffed sweet peppers w/crab, shrimp, shallots – nothing special
braised pork belly in clam shell bun – yum… we had to get a 2nd order
black pepper flat iron steak, red onions, bell pepper – tasty but not as good as the Slanted door shaking beef
shumai pork, shrimp and shiitake dumplings – a little dry
wild mushrooms w/ noodles – oh so good
lemon tart – nice… I was hoping for a more Asian inspired dessert but this is all they had

As for the drinks they were a hit with our friend. I thought my 2 rum cocktails (Savannah Planters Punch/Bumble Bee) tasted too similar. I actually preferred the wine Mike ordered. All in all it was a fun night. We hung out for over 2 hours and were not rushed. The environment is very chill. This would be the perfect spot to get a bite & a drink after work, before a show or late night.

Note: park at the SOMA grand parking garage next door. They validate!

Rating:

Website: http://www.heavensdog.com/main/HD.html

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Tropica Restaurant

This Tropica Restaurant image ©Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali

For our one special dinner out in Maui we decided to eat at Tropica, our hotel restaurant because it was outdoors overlooking the beach and had a lovely prix fixe menu. We were seated at a romantic table with a fantastic view of the water 20 minutes before sunset.

We decided to start the night off with cocktails. Not something we usually do but it was early and we wanted to take in the scene. I chose a cocotini (like a coconut martini) which rocked my world. I can’t even remember what Mike had because we were all about the cocotini! You gotta try one.

view from our table

After our drinks we proceeded to order the 3 course tasting menu with wine pairings, which was very reasonably priced for Maui.

First course:

Lobster Chowder - tabasco butter, chives, smoked bacon. Served with Sonoma Curter Chardonnay, 2007, Russian River Ranches

Pohaku Seared Beef - prime flatiron steak served on a hot cooking stone, ponzu, kula onion confit. Served with Charles Smith, "The Velvet Devil" merlot, 2007, Columbia Valley, Washington

I chose the soup which was creamy and rich and had lobster so I was super happy. Mike’s steak arrived sizzlin’ … be sure to take cover with a napkin because oil and beef juice flies everywhere. Mike loved the beef even though he had to  “shout out” his shirt when we got home.

Mains:

Oriental Mushroom Linguini - grilled tiger shrimp, hamakua hon shimeji mushrooms, asparagus, mushroom sake broth. Serves with Lioco Chardonnay, 2007, Sonoma

Ahi - charboiled to medium rare, roasted tomato cous cous, sea beans, mushrooms, opal basil reduction. Served with Cartlidge & Browne, 08 Pinot, CA

My pasta was delicious with giant plump shrimp in a light tasty broth. Mike’s tuna was cooked perfectly and he cleaned his plate.

Dessert:

Green Tea Creme Brulee- grilled pineapple, berries, vanilla anglaise

Pineapple Fritters -fresh pineapple-apple banana donuts, raspberry, coconut

By the time dessert arrived I was stuffed to the gills and buzzed (by the way, the wine pairings were right on point). I could barely eat another morsel which was good because dessert was the weakest course of the night. The creme brulee was pretty good but the fritters were just okay with not much flavor. It did not damper the meal though (for the price we paid it was like the dessert was free anyway). We left very satisfied and would definitely return.

Note: The 3 course tasting menu is available ONLY from 5-6 pm and 8:30-9:30pm ($33/person or $43 with wine) Wednesdays – Sundays. Make a reservation!

Rating:

Website: http://www.westinmaui.com/dining/tropica/

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Hali’imaile General Store


Bev Gannon is a super famous chef on Maui so we decided to give one of her many restaurants a try. We headed to the Hali’imaile General Store which serves up fresh island cuisine in a refurbished plantation store located Upcountry in the middle of nowhere.

We started off with the popular Sashimi Napoleon:

 

Crispy won tons layered with smoked salmon, Ahi tartar, sashimi and wasabi vinaigrette.

Then we shared the Chinese Chicken Salad:

Grilled chicken breast sliced over island greens, tossed with baby corn, water chestnuts, curried coconut, raisins and cashews with a sweet oriental dressing. Topped with crispy fried wonton strips.

We made sure to leave room for dessert….Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (the real reason I chose to come here)

A caramelized Maui Gold pineapple baked with a buttery vanilla pound cake. Served warm with whipped cream.

The food was fresh and delicious. I’d make the drive again just for dessert – oh so decadent. If you are looking for a tasty meal off the beaten path check out the general store.

Website: http://bevgannonrestaurants.com/haliimaile/

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Enoteca La Storia Wine Bar


Did you know there was a new wine bar in Los Gatos? Me neither… okay, well it’s almost a year old but still fairly new. A couple people had asked me if I had been but I didn’t know where it was. Then I finally figured out it was not in the main downtown area that I walk every week but in a shopping center on the “other side” of Highway 9. Enoteca La Storia is operated by two ex- Santana Row Vintage Wine Merchant managers. Mike and I love that shop so we expected to love this establishment too. We stopped in one night late last year and had a leisurely dinner. They had a diverse group of customers… before 7pm the over 50 crowd, after 7pm the 30-somethings arrived. The menu included a variety of wines by the glass/bottle, cured meats, cheeses, salads and sandwiches.

We ate (good prices & portions)…

– Pesto crostini – average
– Porchetta panini – great
– Alba panini  – good
– Gorgonzola salad – fresh and huge. Feeds 2 easily.
– Carrot cake – just ok (but I’ve never been a big fan)

and we drank (small pours are very generous)…


– Sparkling Rose – awesome!
– 09′ lambrusco – a sparkling red from Italy, very interesting and refreshing, like drinking an dark fruity Italian soda
– St clair 09 – stinky nose, slightly sweet, a bit light for Mike
– Stoller Pinot 07 – very musty and earthy nose, sweet cherry taste, silky finish- a bit light for Mike
– Cain concept 06 – favorite of the night- big and bold, velvety finish, cedar nose, dark plum taste
– 08 menhir salento nzero – full bodied, sweet fruit of plum and berry, very nice

Note: the menu doesn’t say it but the sandos come with a little salad so it wasn’t necessary for us to order one…

We really enjoyed our first visit so much that we came back a few weeks later for a evening drink. We arrived around 9pm on a Friday and all the seats at the bar and tables were taken. We stood at the bar for a bit but no one would help us. People behind the bar would make eye contact, smile but then keep on with whatever they were doing. I was hoping for an — I’ll be with you in a minute or some kind of acknowledgment but we received nothing and ended up leaving.

I guess if you are not seated you get no service. Reading other reviews now on Yelp it looks like someone is supposed to work the front door to regulate patrons but that didn’t occur on the 2 nights we went…it left a bad taste in my mouth but we will try again in the future now that we know the procedure.

Rating:

Website: http://www.enotecalastoria.com/

Note 4/2/11: We went again and had a great visit … see the comments section for the updates.

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Town Hall Restaurant


Mike and I hit up Town Hall before checking out a screening in the City. I had heard good things about Town Hall especially the fried chicken and the Pot de Crème.

After looking over the New Orleans inspired menu Mike immediately decided he wanted to start off with the Buttermilk biscuits with Johnston family country ham & red pepper jelly. I was worried that it would be a bit heavy since I was ordering the fried chicken, and there was a nice bread basket already on the table, but when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised. On the plate were 3 teeny tiny biscuits (smaller than a quarter), ham that was thinly sliced like prosciutto and some killer jelly.<sorry no picture>

For the main course Mike chose the de-constructed seafood étouffée. It looked lovely but I can’t tell you how it tasted because Mike inhaled it before giving me a bite.

Seafood étouffée -Louisiana shrimp, scallop, rockfish, crispy rice, scallions

Now on to my buttermilk fried chicken with Anson Mills grits, bacon gravy & collard greens… The chicken was sensational. Crispy and super salty – just how I like it. Mike’s reaction to the greens… “it’s like a 5 alarm fire.” It definitely brought the heat but was a nice accompaniment to the chicken cause I usually like mine with some hot sauce. The grits were creamy and delicious but the bacon gravy needed more bacon.

Then came dessert – we decided to get two because everyone says you have to try the Butterscotch and Chocolate Pot de Crème and the ‘Coffee and Doughnuts’ sounded too good to pass up. After trying both selections I’m not sure why everyone is so hyped up about the Pot de Crème (it’s pudding people!). The dessert not to miss, hands down, is the coffee and doughnuts! That rocked.

Butterscotch and Chocolate Pot de Crème topped with buttercrunch

'Coffee and Doughnuts' warm brioche donuts, Blue Bottle coffee ice cream, chicory streusel

Rating:

Website: https://www.townhallsf.com/flash/

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Joe’s Cable Car

Joe's is not huge but don't worry it's lit up like Las Vegas so you can't miss it.

Joe’s Cable Car is another place I saw on Triple D (Diners, Drive-in & Dives) and the owners want you to remember that. There are pictures of Guy Fieri all over the interior as well as the actual episode running on a loop on a TV. The restaurant (built to look like a cable car) opened in 1965 and was originally a drive-in but has expanded over time into a small diner. The joint prides itself on its fresh ground steak burgers which come in three sizes: 4, 6, and 8 ounces. Mike and I both went with the 4 ounce since the pictures on the menu made them look like huge flying saucers and they were $12 with cheese! To my dismay when they arrived they were the size of a slider. I guess you can’t put a price-tag on quality…. the meat was very good and I loved the little sesame seed bun. We also enjoyed the fries and onion rings which were crispy and hot. You could get a similar meal for 1/2 the price but the service was good and the food tasty so I wasn’t overly concerned by the $40 price tag. It’s an experience not to miss.

Website: http://www.joescablecarrestaurant.com/

*don’t worry this was pre-cleanse

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Wayfare Tavern


2010 has been a stellar year for Tyler Florence in the Bay Area. He has opened restaurants in San Francisco and Napa within the last 6 months with a third to come in Mill Valley in early 2011. Best know for his 14 year run on the Food Network with shows like “Food 911” and “Tyler’s Ultimate”, Wayfare Tavern is Florence’s first foray into the restaurant biz. I was intrigued to find out if the food that looked so good on TV could be pulled off in person so we made a reservation for my birthday.

We arrived at 6:30 pm on a Saturday night. Unfortunately, Florence wasn’t in the house because he was out on his cookbook tour. We were quickly escorted to the 2nd floor to a table right at the top of the stairs. Wayfare serves up American comfort food in a chic rustic setting (think dark woods, leather, exposed brick and mounted animal heads). To start things off Mike ordered a half bottle of RIDGE red wine. Mike was very impressed with the wine offerings. Unlike some other high end restaurants in the area the wine list is not insanely marked up. We then perused the menu … I really didn’t need to look because I knew they had fried chicken and you all know I never pass that up. Mike decided to go with the steak.

We shared the beet appetizer which was very nice. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, and the accompanying ricotta was wonderful.

roasted local beets and housemade ricotta

The mains were masterful. My chicken was juicy yet crispy and the squeeze of lemon put it over the top. It did have herbs and I usually don’t go for that but for some reason it worked in this instance.

organic fried chicken, buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, herbs, lemon

You can’t go wrong with a Santa Maria tri-tip and a boat load of fries. Mike was in meat and potatoes heaven. He thoroughly enjoyed his meal.

grilled santa maria tri-tip steak, roasted heirloom onions, truffle butter, crispy fries

We didn’t have room for coffee and dessert but we got it anyways and didn’t leave a morsel. My favorite part, of all things, was the roasted pear. It was pure sweet goodness.

Hey, Tyler…can you hook a girl up with the recipe?

sticky toffee pudding, roasted pears, black pepper ice cream

Soooo did Florence pull it off? Indeed! Yummy food, big portions, reasonable prices, great ambiance, excellent service and a super wine list. What more can you ask for? I can’t wait to try Rotisserie & Wine in Napa.

Note: When we left at 8pm the first level of the restaurant was a mad house (glad we were upstairs). It was packed to the gills with a line of folks out the door trying to get a table …Seriously people?…MAKE A RESERVATION cause business is booming!

Rating:

website: http://www.wayfaretavern.com/

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The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen


An eatery that only sells grilled cheese sandwiches. Brilliant concept. Why didn’t I think of that? Food & Wine calls AGCK one of the Best U.S. Restaurant Openings of 2010 and I agree!

This was the first stop on my mega birthday weekend in SF. We rolled up on Friday (11/12/10) at noon and it was packed, but we scored a parking spot right in front….I took it as a sign…

We ordered:

Moscone sandwich (fresh mozzarella, fontina, roasted tomatoes, basil-lavender pesto, olive tapenade) + tomato soup

Mousetrap sandwich (Tillamook sharp cheddar, havarti, monterey jack, on artisan sourdough w/bacon) + tomato soup

Everything was wonderful and comes with an apple so you can feel like you ate something healthy when you really didn’t.

Tips:

Don’t attempt to eat the croutons on their own like I did. They are super peppery.

The soup is best when you dunk your sando in it or with croutons because it’s like a tomato puree and is very acidic.

Website: http://theamericansf.com/

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BarBersQ


If you’re looking for Memphis style BBQ in Napa look no further than BarBersQ. The place is rockin’  — literally. Mike couldn’t stop shimmying his shoulders as classic R&B and Neo Soul tunes piped through the restaurant.

You’d think this being a barbecue joint I would order ribs or pulled pork but I had heard they had fried chicken and I NEVER pass up fried chicken. Mike chose the Caesar salad (very nice) and the Q combo with brisket and chicken. My 4 pieces of Southern fried chicken arrived with a side of collard greens and mashed potatoes. The chicken was hot with a light crispy skin that had a hint of sweetness. Compared to competing fowl I’d put it above Ad Hoc but just below Boon Fly’s versions. It comes with a vinegar hot sauce that looks more intimidating than it is. It actually could be hotter.


Mike enjoyed his BBQ but preferred the chicken over the beef.


We finished off our meal with a hefty slice of chocolate bundt cake from our favorite ABC Bakery.


We were beyond stuffed…it took days to digest.

Although it’s not located in the most prime location (in a strip mall sandwiched between a Target and a Whole Foods) I’d go back in a heartbeat. The large portions, tasty eats, reasonable prices, casually chic decor and jazzy music make up for the lackluster outdoor setting.

Rating:

Website: http://www.barbersq.com/

BarBers Q on Urbanspoon

Sato Sushi


I’ve eaten at a lot of Japanese restaurants and I gotta say this is my favorite if I’m in the mood for Teriyaki and Tempura. This was my go-to birthday/special event dining spot while growing up and every time I get a chance to go back I do. The food, decor and sweet female owner remain the same. I feel at home whenever I return.

Usually I go to sushi joints for the rolls but here (for me) it’s all about the Teriyaki combination dinners. Sato does it right! Before the meal starts you are presented with a hot towel to clean your hands. LOVE that. Then comes the hot tea and salad with a wonderful ginger dressing. Next, Miso soup with green onions and tofu. Then, a bowl of white rice is placed next to a plate with Teriyaki. I chose steak which was cooked perfectly and has a sweet sauce. Finally the HOT (trust me you will probably burn your tongue) Tempura is brought which has 2 giant shrimp and a bevy of veggies. This is not your typical Tempura heavily breaded and cold from sitting under a heat lamp. This is super fresh and arrives at the the table the moment it’s removed from the oil. Wow, I’m kinda drooling just thinking about it. Anyways, you get the point. Sato ignores all the fancy gimmicky stuff and instead provides simple, consistent, delicious yet economical (prices have only increased a few dollars over the last 20 yrs) cuisine.

Oh…don’t let me discourage you from ordering the sushi…it’s good too. Mike ordered a combo platter.

Sato was one of the first Japanese restaurants to open in Pleasanton and I hope it remains forever.

Address:
3015 Hopyard Rd
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Website

Rating:

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Gary Danko


My birthday week ended with dinner at Gary Danko in San Francisco. It was time to try the #1 Bay Area Zagat rated restaurant. When we arrived we were seated in a cozy corner booth. We were surprised to see that the place was packed on a Thursday night in November. I guess you don’t have a slump in business when you are so highly acclaimed. We started with a couple glasses of bubbly as we looked over the menu. One gripe about the menu… I thought the choice of wine by the glass was limited and the prices exorbitant. After the shock wore off I moved to the food. You have the option to have a 3, 4 or 5 course meal. We went with 3 since we had already partook in 3 other “b” day dinners over the last 7 days. To my delight there was an abundance of lobster on the menu that I just couldn’t pass up.

Our order:

Amuse bouche
Asparagus soup

Starters
Risotto with Lobster, Shimeji Mushrooms and Butternut Squash
Crispy Farm Egg with White Polenta, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Frisée and Pancetta

Mains
Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Corn and Tarragon
Horseradish Crusted Salmon Medallion with Dilled Cucumbers and Mustard Sauce

Dessert
Baked Chocolate Soufflé with Two Sauces
Warm Louisiana Butter Cake with Caramelized Apples, Huckleberry Compote and Vanilla Ice Cream
Complimentary birthday lemon tart
Complimentary plate of bite size treats

The standout dish of the night was hands down the crispy farm egg. Imagine eating a deep fried poached egg. Pure deliciousness! Runner up was the roast lobster which was cooked perfectly and served with super buttery potatoes. The remaining dishes were nothing special. The risotto was a bit bland and the salmon dry. Dessert arrived and continue to arrive. They really like to dish out the sweets!  Mike loved the butter cake with apples so much so that he really didn’t share.

The service was the way I like it…not overly attentive. They came around when we needed them then left us to enjoy  ourselves. I especially appreciated the woman who would refill our bread plates after each course. I hate being given a single roll at the beginning of a meal and then nothing more.

Overall the food and setting was great but not the best in the Bay Area. The evening ended with our server giving us a fancy packaged banana cream cheese muffin (for the morning — which was yummy). If I were to go again I would do as the couple next to us did. Bring my own bottle of wine and order the 3 course menu but get 1 dessert and the cheese course to share. The cheese cart looked fabulous.


Sorry about the hazy cell phone pics. It was dark.

Rating:

Website: http://www.garydanko.com/

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Bottega


Mike and I took my sister and her husband to Napa for a weekend before they moved from the Bay Area to Hawaii. We decided we would dine at Bottega, Michael Chiarello’s newest creation. On the night we arrived he was actually in the house. While waiting for our table he walked through the bar and mingled with guests. As he was making his way back to the kitchen he made a comment to my sister and brother-in-law. The waiting area is small and the place was packed so my sister was sitting on her husband’s lap. Chef Chiarello said something like  “You guys look comfortable… I’m gonna bring you a menu, actually maybe just dessert.”  (at lease that’s what I think I heard — it was noisy so I could be a little off but that was the jist).

Soon after we were seated at a large round table in the side dining area. We started our meal with a raw fish appetizer and fresh mozzarella. For mains, I chose the seafood stew, Mike had the Quail and my sister and hubby shared a giant porterhouse steak and fries. For dessert we had a yummy cookie plate and a tart. The food and service was very good definitely worthy of a Top Chef Master but we didn’t expect anything less. For years Mike & I have been fans of the NapaStyle empire Chiarello created. If you haven’t heard about his wine club check it out. We have been members for over 2 years and we love it.

Pictured: Mozzarella (top left), Fish app served on a salt rock (top right), Stew (bottom left), Quail (bottom right)

Rating: drumstick rating drumstick rating drumstick rating halfdrumstick

Website: http://www.botteganapavalley.com/

Note: This dinner occurred in May 2009.
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Purple Onion Los Gatos

About a month ago we were at a party that was catered by Purple Onion. There were salads, little sandwiches and desserts. Everything was super tasty. Mike and I decided we had to try the place out. We arrived on a Friday just after noon and it was fairly full. We actually bumped into Mike’s mom who was finishing her lunch. I immediately knew we were going to like the food because his mom has a discerning pallet so if she is a regular it’s gotta be good. I ordered the turkey sandwich and Mike had the tuna melt. Each came with a side salad. When it arrived it looked like a work of art. The salad was so colorful. I took a bite of my sandwich and it was amazingly fresh. The bread was warm and a bit toasted like it had been taken straight from the oven. Delicious. Mike enjoyed his tuna too. We will be back to try out the rest of the menu.

tunaturkey

Website: http://www.purpleonion-catering.com/

Purple Onion on Urbanspoon

Luke Restaurant

lukesign
pasta fish This was my overall favorite dinner in New Orleans. John Besh’s Lüke is a French brasserie paying homage to NOLA’s past. The decor is bright & simple with a business casual vibe. We were seated in the back room in front of the kitchen. The menu reminded me of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon (which is a good thing). Lots of hearty bistro dishes with a Louisiana spin. Many entrées were calling to me (mussels, steak & frites) but I went with the redfish amandine since it was a more local ingredient. Mike decided on the nightly 3 course special. His meal began with a crawfish bisque, a light and flavorful soup. Then came lamb shoulder in a giant house made ravioli with a tomato sauce. It was delightful. My redfish had a light, flaky, salty crust and a wonderful almond butter lemon sauce. It was perfect. We finished the night with Mike’s third course a pecan bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. Simply scrumptious. The only thing that was a little off during our visit was our server. She would come and ask if we needed anything but you could tell her head was somewhere else and she was not really listening to our response. No big deal. I would return in a heartbeat.

Rating:
Website: http://www.lukeneworleans.com/

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Cochon Butcher

butcher
When I read about a new hot spot in the warehouse district of New Orleans that featured the pig I put it on our list of things to do. Cochon butcher is the tiny sister cafe for Cochon Restaurant. It serves up house made meats in different forms, beer, wine and also has a full bar. We popped in for lunch one afternoon and ordered the pastrami with sauerkraut on rye and the BBQ pork with potato salad.

pastrami bbq

The pastrami tasted nothing like the pastrami I’ve had in the past. Covered in thousand island dressing and kraut the flavor became unrecognizable but still tasty. The pork was smokey, spicy but a bit dry. We are guessing it was a vinegar based BBQ sauce cause we couldn’t see anything. It could have used a little KC Masterpiece. The bread and sides for both sandos were very good. If you’re looking for meat this is the spot to come.

Warning: when we left we smelled like fried food for the rest of the day (not sure why). I would have preferred to smell like bacon…

Website: http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

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NOLA Restaurant

nola
You can’t go to New Orleans and not eat at one of Emeril’s many restaurants. We decide to try NOLA located in the French Quarter. It’s a 3 story building so we needed to take an elevator to get to our table on the 2nd floor. Mike thought this was so cool. The cuisine is an updated twist on classic New Orleans fare. For my main course I chose the shrimp and grits and Mike ordered the hickory roasted duck for his. Our dinner arrived within minutes. No joke…in under 8. It kinda felt like a fast food joint it came so fast. I took a bite of my dish and it was delightful. Cheddar grits with smoked bacon and mushrooms topped with plump shrimp in a creole tomato glaze and a butter sauce. It was a salty, sweet slightly spicy masterpiece. Unfortunately, Mike’s meal wasn’t as good. His duck was cooked well and was smokey but the whiskey caramel glaze wasn’t really there which left the meat a bit dry. It was accompanied by cornbread pudding and a green bean/corn salad which were great. It would have been a knock out dish if only it had more sauce. Maybe they left something out in the rush to get it to our table? As soon as we placed our forks down our plates were whisked away and we were handed dessert menus. We didn’t order appetizers because we knew we wanted to have dessert. We went with the banana pudding layer cake and fancy coffee drinks with liqueur. Both were tasty but nothing to write home about. We paid the bill and were in and out within an hour. The evening felt rushed. It was as though they were in some kind of competition to see how many tables they could turn in a single night. In the end there were ups and downs during our NOLA visit so we left with mixed feelings.

shrimp duck

Rating:
Website: http://www.emerils.com/

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Dante’s Kitchen

dantes
So I wanted to go to a neighborhood gem. Something away from the French Quarter. After doing some research I came up with Dante’s Kitchen which is located in Uptown. The best way to get there is to hop on the St. Charles streetcar and get off at Carrollton & Maple (close to the end of the line). When we arrived at the cute cottage for Sunday brunch (15 minutes before the restaurant opened) there was already a line of about 6 people. I was immediately reassured that we had made a good decision about making the trek from our hotel on Canal (~30 min streetcar/15 min taxi). When the doors opened we were quickly seated and proceeded to look over the menu. It was difficult to decide what to order since everything sounded delicious. I ended up with the brioche french toast with peaches and Mike had the debris with poached eggs (biscuits topped with pulled pork, eggs and hollandaise). Yes, we reversed our usual orders. We had a 3 hour walking tour following our meal so I didn’t want to eat anything too heavy. Both dished were fabulous. I can only imagine what dinner is like.

frenchtoast debrisbene

Tip: There are no reservations for brunch so if you’re not going to arrive before the doors open come about 30-40 minutes after because the entire dining area was filled within 10 minutes of opening and you don’t want to stand out in the heat waiting for a table. It’s brutal or maybe it’s just me. No one else seemed fazed…maybe we were the only tourists?

Website: http://danteskitchen.com/

Dante's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Joanie’s Cafe

jbene
We decided to try a bfast joint in Palo Alto on our way to IKEA. I looked on Yelp for a highly rated place. When we arrived at Joanie’s there was a line. When we left, there was a line. I guess there were a lot of 4+ person parties because we were seated immediately. The cafe is cute and clean. I ordered the benedict and Mike the bacon, tomato, spinach, & feta omelettte. My benedict was just ok. The sauce was not very flavorful. I couldn’t taste it when I had a mouthful of egg and ham along with it. Disappointing because it looked so good and the potatoes were some of the best I’ve had (lots of peppers and onions). Mike really enjoyed his eggs and fruit but I don’t think we will go out of our way to return (it is 25 minutes from our home).

Website: http://www.joaniescafepaloalto.com/

Joanie's Cafe on Urbanspoon

The current standings of the benedicts of the Bay: Continue reading

Manresa Los Gatos

Instead of going on a trip for our 3rd wedding anniversary we chose to have dinner at Manresa, a well established (2 Michelin star) restaurant in Los Gatos. It has had a resurgence of popularity because the owner/chef David Kinch destroyed Bobby Flay in a recent Iron Chef “cabbage” battle. This was our first visit to Manresa. We had heard rave reviews from friends for years but the expensive price tag had always kept us away. We finally decided to bite the bullet and go.

As you enter the restaurant there is a little window into the kitchen. We peeked in and there was Chef Kinch working away. It was cool to see him. We then approached the Maître d’ and requested outside seating because it was a beautiful evening. He informed us that their butane delivery had not come for the heat lamps so they were only seating inside, which was fine with us. He then stepped away for a moment and returned to tell us that he would seat us outside if we wanted so we had a private dining experience on their outdoor patio. Our reservation was at 6:30pm and the restaurant was already half full. As we walked through the room we could see some jealous glares.

There were only two options on the menu:  a 4 course meal of your choice for $95/per person or the chefs tasting menu for $160/per person. We went all out and had the tasting menu so we didn’t have to make any decisions. You are not told what will be included only that you’ll start at the sea (usually raw), proceed to the garden, return to the sea, move to proteins and end with dessert.

Our 14 course dinner included the following (each dish had a super fancy description but after 3+ glasses of wine each we couldn’t remember the details):

Amuse bouche

  • roasted red pepper jellies (like a candy gum drop) & mini olive madeleines
  • mint & lavender lemon granita
  • fried herb balls (we totally missed what this was but it tasted wonderful)
  • egg w/ maple syrup and chives

To the Sea

  • calamari (raw) with a wasabi sauce

To the Garden

  • mix of potatoes and mushrooms with a butter foam
  • vegetable garden salad <potatoes,carrot,squash,cucumber,greens,edible flowers,edible dirt> with vegy stock foam (the edible dirt tasted like dirt)

Back to the Sea

  • flounder with chanterelle mushrooms and beef bone marrow consomme (our favorite dish!!!)

Proteins

  • chicken confit with a seaweed broth (a little salty)
  • squab with beets and Foie Gras foam
  • lamb with peas, fig sauce and indian curry mustard

Dessert

  • strawberries with vanilla yogurt and strawberry consomme
  • chocolate mouse cake with olive oil ice cream
  • strawberry jellies & mini chocolate madeleines
Manresa’s biodynamic vegetables are grown exclusively for Manresa at Cynthia Sandberg’s Love Apple Farm in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains and harvested in the morning for the evening menu.

It may sound like  a lot of food but each course was only 2-3 bites. When we were done we were full not stuffed. Check out the slide show — by dessert it was too dark for my cell phone to take pics (sorry)

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With our meal we started off with glasses of a sparkling Riesling then polished off a 2002 bottle of Joseph Phelps Insignia (magical). We brought this from home and the somellier was very nice to decant and serve it to us throughout the night. All the servers we had (about 6) were top notch. One thing we noticed that was unusual was for each course they gave us a new fork, knife and spoon whether we used them or not. After two courses we said that it was not necessary to clear them but we were told with a smile “oh, yes it absolutely is.” so we just went with it. I feel sorry for the dishwashers!

Manresa has now overtaken Picasso as our most expensive meal but well worth the expense. We l-o-v-e-d the food and ambiance. Mike said he would return annually for our anniversary. We will see…

Rating:
Website: http://www.manresarestaurant.com/

Opa!

opagyro

gyro pita sandwich

Just a quick review of the new Opa! restaurant that opened in Los Gatos. Opa! is a small chain of Greek restaurants in the South Bay. We had never been to one before so we went without any expectations. Finally a place I can get a gyro that doesn’t look seedy. On our first visit Mike ordered the Greek burger which came with Opa! fries (hand cut fries with feta cheese). I l-o-v-e a good gyro so that’s what I ordered on the two occasions we’ve been. If you are not feeling the fries ask for a salad (they will charge you more). I received a wonderful plate of cucumbers,tomatoes,onion and feta with a Greek dressing. Everything was super fresh. One time we ordered the baklava for dessert. It was good but drowning in honey. A bit too sweet for me…if you can believe it!

opaburger

greek burger

Although the location is not large both times we have gone we were seated immediately, the service was good, the portions large and the prices very reasonable. A nice casual spot in the heart of LG. I’m a fan!

Website: http://www.opalosgatos.com/

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Casa De Cobre

casa-de-cobre

casadecobresignFinally a Mexican restaurant in the Saratoga Village. The town is slowly getting revitalized. The owner of “The Basin” recently opened Casa de Cobre in the old Gervais location. The interior has gotten a Latin makeover with copper/turquoise painted walls and handmade tables and chairs (Cute — but I give these things 6 months before they need to be replaced). You won’t find the usual burritos and fajitas here but much lighter unique and flavorful dishes similar to Consuelo’s at Santana Row. Mike and I decided to try a bunch of appetizers. We started off with the guacamole and chips. Everything was made to order and tasted ultra fresh. Next up taquitos. They have 7 varieties. We went with braised bacon!, Chivo (goat), Al pastor (pork with pineapple) and Camarones (shrimp). All were delicious but my favorite was hands down the shrimp (I know….better than bacon). Mike enjoyed the goat best. Then came the black bean flautas and Quesa de hongos (mushroom quesadilla). I’m giving you all the Spanish terminology because that is the way the menu reads. Be prepared to need translation unless you know Spanish. By this point we were pushing maximum capacity but of course had to try dessert. Jiricaya, a cinnamon flan/creme brulee creation arrived and was quickly devoured.

Mike and I decided this is now our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. The prices are reasonable and you can leave without breaking the bank as long as you stay away from the tasty $9 margaritas.  Next visit we are actually gonna try a main course. Welcome Casa de Cobre!

taquitos

Taquitos

Tasty Tip: you may want to avoid coming on the weekends until all the kinks are worked out and the novelty of a new establishment has worn off –our server said the Saturday before was super busy and the kitchen was slammed.

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick ratinghalfdrumstick

Website: http://www.casadecobre.com/

Go Fish Restaurant

gofishsignWe were excited to try chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s restaurant Go Fish since we had a fantastic meal at her other establishment Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen earlier this year. When we arrived the decor was similar to other Pawlcyn joints — homey and comfortable. The menu was a cross between a Pier 39 seafood shack (with items like chowder/fish & chips) and a Japanese sushi bar. It was a weird combo but I thought if anyone could make it work she could. My first impression of the menu was that the sushi was over priced at $10-20 per roll. Luckily, I came in craving fish not sushi or we would have been in for a whopper of a bill. We did decide to order a Spider roll as an appetizer because I wanted to see if the sushi was worth the hefty price tag. The $12 roll arrived and it was just crab rolled up in rice NO avocado, lettuce or cucumber. It was the most boring, unoriginal version I have ever had, and to boot there was only 5 pieces not 6. Maybe the chef got hungry… For a main course I chose the cod with clams and Mike the branzino with mushrooms. I was surprised to see such a limited selection of fish entrees. When they arrived they were fresh but tasteless. The fish had no seasoning whatsoever, not even salt. We both barely got through our dishes. I will say that the 4 miniature clams on my plate were out-of-sight. I wish I had ordered a big ol’ bucket of them. After all that I was ready to bolt but Mike was still hungry so he ordered dessert. It was the highlight of the night – a pear pandowdy (like a tart). Needless to say we were highly disappointed with our dinner. As we left there was a gang of people waiting to Go Fish… I just don’t see why this place is popular, maybe because it’s one of the few sushi spots in town? I hate to say it but I’d rather go to Red Lobster.

Rating: drumstick rating

Website: http://www.gofishrestaurant.net/
Go Fish on Urbanspoon

Tra Vigne

travigne

For 20 years Tra Vigne has been a Napa staple serving up classic Italian cuisine. When we arrived we were seated in a large booth in the gorgeous open air dining room. We started our dinner with the hand made mozzarella and garlic crostini. It’s as fresh as you can get as it is made the moment you order. This appetizer is becoming one of their signature dishes and it didn’t disappoint. The cheese was smooth and milky and the bread was perfectly browned. Mike and I both opted for house made pasta for our main courses. I chose the rigatoni carbonara and he had the duck risotto with apples and thyme. Mike never orders risotto but the way the server described the dish he couldn’t say no. This was my first carbonara… I’m usually a red sauce gal but for some reason this called to me. The sauce was rich, creamy and peppery with thick slices of bacon. It was delicious, but filling. I could only finish half. Mike was in heaven with his duck which was succulent and tender. He said this was the best risotto he ever had (next to his). We really should have called it a night but, of course, we had to order dessert. Unfortunately it wasn’t a highlight. The gelato tasted like ice milk and the chocolate torte was just so-so. Next time we will pass on dessert and leave on a high note. If you’re looking for a great Italian meal at a reasonable price you can count on Tra Vigne!

rigcarbon duckrisotto1

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick ratinghalfdrumstick

Website: http://www.travignerestaurant.com/
Tra Vigne on Urbanspoon

Sent Sovi

sentsovi
For my birthday this year I decided to return to the place Mike asked me to marry him…Sent Soví, a small, romantic French-California restaurant located in downtown Saratoga. We hadn’t been in for a meal since the summer of 2006 and I was surprised to find many changes had occurred over the last 2 years to the menu. The regular à la cart items no longer exist. You now only have the option to get the Chef’s tasting menu ($85) or a 3 or 4 course Prix-fixe menu ($65/$72). The wine menu was also overhauled. They now have wine flights as well as glasses by the 1,3 or 5 ounce pour for reasonable prices. This was a welcomed modification. I assume in response to the down economy last month they introduced a nightly special. Each day of the week they feature one signature dish complete with choice of soup or salad and dessert for $45. Mike and I chose to try it out since it was pork night and we are fans of the piggie.

Our dinner began with a complementary Amuse bouche of cold lemongrass soup which had a yogurt consistency but custard taste. It was a interesting start. I chose the Spinach salad with toasted almonds and a harissa vinaigrette for my starter. The spinach was crisp and fresh but the dressing was a bit too spicy. Mike ordered the Squash curry soup which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was Tuesday so our main course was Pecan Crusted Pork Loin With Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter and Shallot Jus. The pork was cooked perfectly and the puree was light and smooth. I’d never had brussel sprouts before mostly because I only hear negative commentary about them. I think they get a bad rap because these were incredible. I ate ever last one but I’m sure this is not how most prepare the veg at home. There was a bit of a wait in-between our main course and dessert but to hold us over we were offered (large) glasses of a delicious port. I have to say that we have always had stellar service at Sent Soví. The staff is knowledgeable about food & wine and extremely polite. For dessert I picked the trio of sorbets (coconut, dark chocolate and strawberry) and homemade cookies. My dessert was presented on a plate with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate. I was instantly transported to July 2, 2005 when my dessert had “Will you marry me?” scrolled in chocolate across the plate. I like how they go the extra mile to make events special. Mike had the Rosemary creme brulee which was more savory than sweet. It had a unique taste but I think Mike prefers the classic version. Overall, the nightly dinner was tasty and economical but it didn’t really wow us like meals of the past. I guess we are gonna have to shell out the big bucks in order to experience the flavors we grew to love, and you know what, I really don’t mind because Sent Soví is worth every penny.

amuse soup pork cremebrulee

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick rating
Website: http://www.sentsovi.com/ Continue reading

The Happy Hound

I’ve drove past The Happy Hound countless number of times and never had the urge to stop but the reviews on Yelp changed my mind. I love a good hot dog. This place is a dive but is always packed. Mike and I both tried the cheese hound (seen below). The dogs are big and stuffed to the max with toppings. When you bite into them they snap in your mouth — so fresh. Whoever works the fry station deserves a raise. The fries are perfection…crisp, hot and super salty. I’ve also tried the chili cheese hound which is also good but not photogenic. It’s a mess. You have to eat it with a fork and knife. In the future I think I’ll stick to the plain happy hound dog. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Address: 15899 Los Gatos Blvd.

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Tapestry

Tapestry holds a special place in my heart as this was the location of our rehearsal dinner. Tapestry is a California bistro situated in a 100-yr-old remodeled bungalow in Los Gatos. We rented the entire house for that one special night. Mike and I dine here twice a year and each time the memories come rushing back. My favorite time to go is in the late summer because they have a large patio with an awesome outdoor fireplace. I usually order the same thing –the award winning filet but this evening I was adventurous and decided to try something different. After Mike and I split the Honeymoon Salad, which features blue cheese and candied walnuts (note: this name has no relation to our wedding — that is the official name, don’t know why…) I selected the Coconut Poached Halibut w/ Tandori Spices. This was lovely, but I love any kind of fish with a coconut finish. The halibut had a thick crispy crust, sat on a bed of mushrooms and was topped with a sweet relish that blew me away. Too bad this is a seasonal menu item or this would be my new go-to dish. Mike chose the Seared Rare Ahi w/ Coconut Risotto, Black Bean Sauce & Dried Pineapple. Another dish in which he wiped the plate clean…literally.

We never leave without dessert even if we are stuffed. I went with my usual, the Chocolate Lava Cake w/ Caramel Mascarpone Cream and Mike ordered Zack’s Favorite Peach Pie w/ Vanilla Ice Cream. Truly decadent. We always enjoy our time spent at Tapestry.

Rating:

Website: http://www.tapestrybistro.com/

Tanglewood

Tanglewood serves up modern American cuisine. Located at the very end of Santana Row (across from the Crate and Barrel) the restaurant can be easily overlooked which is unfortunate. After a lovely dinner here a few weeks ago it is now my favorite dining establishment on the row. Their seasonal menu can be eaten on their nicely decorated, fully covered outdoor patio. No worries of getting a sun burn!

The grub for the night:

blt salad: baby iceberg, applewood smoked bacon, cherry tomatoes, point reyes blue cheese dressing

corn chowder

maine diver scallops, fennel puree, lentil salad, pernod poultry jus

maine diver scallops, fennel puree, lentil salad

maine lobster slider with homemade chips

maine lobster slider with homemade chips

I’m gonna keep the comments to a minimum. The pics say enough.
salad … mmm bacon
soup … silky sweet
scallops … perfectly seared
slider … if you’re hungry order 3!

We tried a couple desserts but the standout was the Lemon tart with honey gelato (sorry no photo). Give Tanglewood a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating:

Website: http://www.tanglewood.com/

Slanted Door

the slanted door

The Slanted Door is a modern Vietnamese restaurant located in the newly renovated Ferry building in San Francisco. It has a nice simple, clean design. If you can get a seat by the window (which we did) it has great views of the bay. Along the main wall to maximize space tables are situated tightly. Watch your bum cause you will likely bump the table next to you if you need to get up. The majority of the food was delicious including the Meyer Ranch shaking beef (filet mignon with garlic, watercress and red onions), Caramelized tiger prawns (garlic, onions and chili sauce) which had a nice kick, and for dessert a peach/apple tart. The only dish that didn’t meet expectations was the Slanted door spring rolls w/peanut sauce. This being a Vietnamese restaurant I was looking forward to trying their rolls. Bad choice, they were missing something….taste. On this rare occasion we chose to have beer with our meal instead of wine and we found an unexpected selection of German and Belgian beers. They were good but at a Asian restaurant — where is the TsingTao?! The service was another thing to be desired. I think our waiter was more worried about lookin good than servin good. The guy was nice and polite but we ended up getting our main course (after a very long wait) before our appetizer and never received the soup we ordered. Lucky for him we were not in a hurry and in a celebratory mood (Mike’s B day Weekend) so we didn’t let him ruin our evening. My suggestion to the waiter would be to write down an order instead of trying to memorize it. In theory that seems cool and sophisticated but when orders are incorrect or completely forgotten…I don’t mind the pen & paper. After all is said and done, I would go back to the Slanted Door FOR THE FOOD. Maybe take-out next time.

Tip: Adjacent from the restaurant they have a shop called “Out the door” where you can get some of The Slanted Door items to go.

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick rating
Website: http://www.slanteddoor.com/

Slanted Door on Urbanspoon

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