Archive for the ‘Foodie’ Category

Bay Area Food Log

My family just got back last week from spending a month in San Francisco. While we’ve lived (quite happily) in Boulder over the past three years, we spent 17 years in the Bay Area and like to get back there on a regular basis for an extended stay to reconnect with old friends and to reconnect with the great cuisine the Bay Area has to offer.

Any of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook probably saw me post status updates as we did our food tour, but I didn’t always remember to do it at each meal. So I looked back at my calendar (and my news feeds) to try to reconstruct a (mostly) comprehensive list of where we went out to eat during our month in the Bay Area. While we tried a couple new places (La Ciccia and Range), our destinations were more oriented towards old favorites, honed over many years of living in Northern California. Here goes:

7/18 – Yank Sing, San Francisco (lunch)

7/18 – Kokkari, San Francisco

7/19 – Pizzeria Picco, Larkspur (lunch)

7/19 – Taylor’s Refresher, San Francisco

7/20 – Sushi Ran, Sausalito

7/21 – Golden Flower, San Francisco (lunch)

7/21 – Slanted Door, San Francisco

7/30 – Tres Agaves, San Francisco (lunch)

7/30 – Mijita, San Francisco (dinner)

7/31 – La Ciccia, San Francisco

8/01 – The Village Pub, Woodside

8/02 – Tacubaya, Berkeley (lunch)

8/02 – Little Star Pizza, San Francisco

8/03 – 21st Amendment, San Francisco (lunch)

8/04 – Quadrus Cafe, Menlo Park

8/04 – Spruce, San Francisco

8/05 – Sancho’s Taqueria, Redwood City (lunch)

8/06 – Stern Dining Hall, Stanford University (lunch)

8/06 – Straits Cafe, Palo Alto

8/07 – Tres Agaves, San Francisco (lunch)

8/08 – Ame, San Francisco

8/12 – Yoshi’s SF, San Francisco

8/13 – Gialina Pizzeria, San Francisco

8/14 – Fish, Sausalito (lunch)

8/14 – Isa, San Francisco

8/15 – Yank Sing, San Francisco (lunch)

8/15 – Range, San Francisco

We also made numerous trips (in person and takeout) to Pizzeria Delfina (Pacific Heights location), Bittersweet Cafe and La Boulange (Fillmore & Union St. locations), but I can’t recall the precise days we visited those fine establishments. The careful reader no doubt noticed my pizzeria and taqueria fixation. What can I say, they are two of my favorite food groups.

We also hit the world’s best farmer’s market (the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market) numerous times during our stay. Late July and early August are prime season for heirloom tomatoes and peaches and nectarines. And the king of all purveyors of stone fruit is, of course, Frog Hollow Farm.

The stand-out dinners for me during the month were La Ciccia, Ame and Range. The restaurant I’m most disappointed we didn’t make it to was A16, which we really enjoy, but somehow never made it there.

I’m always looking for suggestions of new places to try when I’m in SF (which is often). Please mention your favorites in the comments!

August 26th, 2009     Categories: Foodie    

Dominosteine

Dominosteine.JPGOne of my all-time favorite cookies is the Dominostein – a cubic inch morsel of goodness – a layer of Lebkuchen, jelly and marzipan, all enrobed in dark chocolate. My German grandmother to this day gives the whole family big boxes full of German treats every Christmas season, and the box always includes Dominosteine. Usually these cookies are a once-a-year thing for me, but my brother just took a trip to Europe that included a few days in Germany and Austria, homeland of these wondrous treats. And because he is such an excellent brother, he brought me back two boxes of Dominosteine, a supply which only lasted me a couple days. Thankfully, the holiday season is right around the corner…

September 30th, 2008     Categories: Foodie    

WAG Chronicles, Part 2

FlwagmAs I mentioned in my previous post about WAG, after our Saturday night feast up in Napa, we felt we had turned out a meal that would stand up well next to the efforts of the kitchen on Sunday evening at The French Laundry. Allow me to state for the record that upon tasting the first bite of Thomas Keller’s signature dish Oysters and Pearls, we all immediately agreed that “we’re not worthy” and that our efforts in the kitchen the night before, while impressive, were part of a different (and lower) culinary plane of existence. Keller truly deserves his place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest chefs.

I’ve also posted an image of the menu from the evening, which includes the wine pairings. One item that does not appear on the menu is a chestnut agnolotti with celery root cream sauce. My wife Katherine had requested a menu without red meat or poultry, and they served this dish for her in place of the beef course on our menu. We all took a taste of her chestnut-filled pasta and declared it one of the best courses of the evening. Overhearing this, our waiter had the kitchen prepare an extra course and served each of us a plate of the agnolotti. Nice touch.

March 22nd, 2005     Categories: Food and Drink, Foodie, Wine    

WAG Chronicles, Part 1

A few weeks ago, Katherine and I spent the weekend up in Napa Valley at our friends Dan and Stephanie’s place along with four other couples for a long weekend to enjoy our quarterly gathering of our wine and gourmet club, known fondly as WAG. WAG has been gathering since we all met while Katherine was getting her MBA at Stanford in 1998. Initially the event started out as a relatively low-key potluck where each couple brought a dish and a bottle of wine. Over the years, the event has snowballed into an over-the-top feast propelled to new heights by epicurean one-upmanship that sometimes borders on gluttony. As William Blake observed, “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

This weekend was no exception. We had our feast on Saturday night and then on Sunday we went to dine at the French Laundry. We typically choose a theme for each meal. Since we were in Napa we decided to serve Napa-influenced dishes using local ingredients and recipes from nearby restaurants, or, in some cases, each couple simply created a dish they felt was inspired by wine country. Here’s our menu from Saturday night:

Food Courses

Dungeness crab salad with avocado mousse, beets and ruby grapefruit (from the excellent Terra Restaurant Cookbook)

Sonoma Foie Gras and Roasted Chestnut Soup surrounding an island of seared Petaluma rabbit on a bed of green lentils in a crispy bacon cup

Ravioli stuffed with braised Napa Valley lamb shank, Cowgirl Creamery crème fraiche, and wild Napa Valley black trumpet mushroom duxelles with a slaw of green apples and Napa Valley mustard vinaigrette

Sonoma rabbit (from Polarica) two ways: seared loin wrapped in spinach and prosciutto on a carrot puree and braised rabbit paw stew with carrot gelee and roasted red carrots. Accompanied by steamed broccoli with chili garlic oil, solid broccoli jus, and roasted Romanescu broccoli

Crème Brulee of foie gras (from Polarica), Straus Family Creamery unpasteurized cream and Tahitian vanilla, served with butter-poached Peking duck hash and walnut fig compote

Homemade organic Straus Family Creamery ice cream sandwiches: Scharffenberger and Schokinag dark chocolate cookies with peanut butter ice cream complemented by peanut butter cookies with Scharffenberger and Schokinag dark chocolate ice cream

Wine Courses

One mangnum 1997 Viader

Two bottles 1998 La Gomerie from St. Emilion

Two bottles 2001
Viviani Cabernet Sauvignon “2003 Copa de Napa Napa Valley Wine Auction Selection”

Two bottles 1997
Neyers Syrah Hudson Vineyard

Two bottles (one corked, alas) 2002 Echezeaux from Domaine de la Perdix

One bottle 2002
Martinelli Gewurztraminer

One bottle 2001 Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon

One bottle 1998 Kongsgaard Chardonnay

One bottle 2002
La Crema Chardonnay

Two bottles 2003
Bella Vineyards Lily Hill Estate late harvest Zinfandel

After this meal, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves, and decided that Thomas Keller at the French Laundry had his work cut out for him if he wanted to impress us on Sunday evening…

March 19th, 2005     Categories: Food and Drink, Foodie, Wine