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 Name: Gutenberg

 Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

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August 1-10, 2010


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  Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A train circled overhead at Izakaya Mai as I wound through a network of noodles. The strands were a little harder than I prefer, (verging on Alexander dente) but still good. A plank of pork, seaweed, scallions and kamaboko capped my Pork Ramen ($8.95):

... with a broth that was thinner than I was craving, but still slurpably solid.

The "crazy horse" roll ($8.95):

... contained no horse (I guess that's what makes it crazy) but was a lettuce loaded baton of tuna, salmon, hamachi and avocado to fill in the spaces left by the ramen.

Japanese TV complemented my noontime nosh nestled in this bustling business with a friendly and efficient staff.

Izakaya Mai Restaurant
212 2nd Ave.
San Mateo, CA



  Monday, August 9, 2010

I practiced my short staff technique with the chopsticks at Ramen Dojo:

... where I had a rematch with their garlic pork broth:

I went with the "mild spicy" variety today (since my last encounter with their extra "spicy spicy" version numbed my chucks with a weaponized wallop than I wasn't ready to take on today.)

Roast pork rested on a pool of creamy broth punched up with a hit of garlic. This noodley nourishment was a spar studded bowl worth attacking.

Ramen Dojo
805 S. B St.
San Mateo, CA



  Sunday, August 8, 2010

We immersed ourselves
in today's Sous Vide class at William Sonoma where culinary expert, Aaron Clarke bypassed boil in a bag Chicken a la King to take us through the (more up to date) steps to produce perfectly cooked, vacuum sealed packets of beef and salmon.

Pouches of proteins were placed in a temperature regulated, evenly-circulated, hot water bath.

This control freak's dream allows the food to come up to the water temperature (unlike say, roasting, which relies on an environment that is heated beyond the desired internal degrees of the chow.)

An IV bag of Creme Anglaise sacked the stirring (that this custard normally demands) as it swam to the synchronized temperature of this precise pool. We vanquished this vanillaed sauce over a bunch of berries:

... as this process was deftly demystified during this fed-ucational function.

This was a part of a series of complimentary classes held at Williams-Sonoma Corte Madera. Upcoming events this month include seminars on sharpening your knife skills and fish butchery as well as a demo by Chef Scott Howard.




  Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Pisco Sour ($11.00):

... bore the logo of Sauce Restaurant:

... in an egg white cloud hovering over this lime and lemon libation while an Elderflower Kiss ($11.00):

... had a refreshingly astringent edge to its sparkling sips.

We noshed our way through a bunch of "social plates" which are tapas-esque dishes meant for sharing.

The portobello fries ($10.00):

... took a dip in a ranch sauce to cap off these crusty 'shrooms that qualify as one of their signature starters.

Slices of steak ($12.00):

... were saddled in gem lettuce leaves to add a fresh crunch to these Asiago and cremini umamied morsels.

Napoleon worthy tots ($12.00):

... were infused with truffle oil and mushrooms. These deep fried fingers of soft spuddy, nouveau nostalgia came with a bacon cheese fondue for gilding purposes.

Mac & Cheese ($10.00):

... had hunks of ham hock trotting beneath the crispy crust of gruyere and Cheddar in this shell and béchamel bounty.

Cornmeal crusted pork belly ($12.00) was tucked into lettuce leaves with house made pickles and tomato to temper the hoggable hunks with a fresh crunch in this superior swiney dish.

Heirloom tomatoes and roasted corn ($10.00):

... showed off the season with a light touch of scallion oil mixed with corn juice.

Fried chicken ($19.00):

... was seriously succulent. This boneless bird was subjected to steam before a flight through the fryer and soft landing on a runway of whipped potatoes. Crisp tender haricots verts bean-ifitted this mushroom and gravy augmented breast and wing along with a 2008 Robert Sinskey Vin Gris.

The dessert sampler ($21.00) started with a patch of strawberries with brown sugar:

... on a cushion of sour cream lightened with whipped cream.

There were bon bons of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between layers of (egg and leavening-free) cookie dough as well as pb&j's made with cake, house made strawberry jam and peanut butter with a layer of ice cream, and a dish of donut holes to dip in a vanilla bourbon sauce.

Chef Ben Paula:

... continues to cook up craveable chow at this comfort food corner pocket with friendly service and a homey vibe.

We needed a nap after this feast and found that they had started a business to cater to this common conclusion to their meals. They opened a guest house:

... over their eatery called Sleep over Sauce where they have modestly priced, cozy accommodations.

Sauce Restaurant

131 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA



  Friday, August 6, 2010

We recollected a room with plastic bunches of grapes dangling from the ceiling, but found the cheesiness was shifted to the chow as we sat down for some drinks and snacks at Benissimo.

The bar had also changed during the decade since our last visit. My Mojito was mintily muddled into a tangy tail while Chubby went with the Margarita ($10.00 each):

Calamari ($9.95):

... were crisp rings and tentacles, but were sliced very thinly (making them more about the crunch than the squiddiness) while the Pizza Napoletana ($13.95):

... was a crackery crust with a tangy tomato sauce, capers, garlic, anchovies and olives.

This place is really about the old school, friendly, neighborhoody vibe...and tasty mojitos...

18 Tamalpais Dr.
Corte Madera, CA



  Thursday, August 5, 2010

House made pastrami ($14.00):

... hit my navel spot at The Refuge:

... where I returned to take advantage of their bovine dining. I haven't found a superior specimen of this cowcoction on the left coast.

I mortared my mouth with chopped liver ($3.00 supplement) between slices of rye bread replete with their reputable 'rami. A slice of Swiss lactopped this tender stack of pink palatable, fleshy flaps (which qualify as required grub at this San Carlos pub.)

The Refuge

963 Laurel St.
San Carlos, CA



  Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Previous visits to Comforts Café have made us meditate that their moniker was a miscalculation. Fortunately, the only sharp edge to this visit was the mustard on the ham and Swiss ($7.95):

... which was standard issue sandwiching. A chicken sandwich ($8.25):

... of white meat and sun-dried tomato spread would have been improved by using thigh meat. Both of the bullseye bread bordered bundles were a little dry, but still okay. The star of our late lunch turned out to be the gazpacho:

... which was made with care to produce a balanced, cool, nicely seasoned, texturally tantalizing tub of cold comfort.

We wedged in a slice of mixed berry pie:

... which was a little sweeter than I prefer, but still good with a crumb covering.

We perched on the patio for our pleasant visit to this counter service café for our refreshing repast to get past our past 'pasts.

335 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA



  Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We grabbed some gastrogrub at Martins West:

... beginning with a pork belly butty ($8.00) buffered by brioche. Fatty morsels of midsection came to fruition with a slaw of peach in this sweet swine starter.

Hopped up on Dogfish 90 IPAs, we continued our bread bordered bonanza with lamb tongue pastrami ($12.00):

... with pickled cabbage and potato salad and a smoked beef sandwich ($13.00):

... with a arrangement of lentils and arugula. The tongue had a touch of gristly texture (but not enough to stick out) while the cow was good grazing.

An ice cream sandwich ($5.00):

... completed the circle with chocolate cookies bracketing the lactosey loot within.

Olive oil pound cake ($8.00):

... came with a pot of Devonshire custard for slathering. A compote of strawberries shorted out this patchwork cake.

Sticky toffee pudding ($8.00):

... came with a hunk of honeycombed sucrose and a scoop of brown sugar ice cream to contrast with a scattering of crunchy almonds. This sumptuous cylinder arrived warm to increase its sweet appeal.

Then came time to sip from their 'stensive selection of Scotch.

Martins West continues to generate gastro intestinal gratification.

Martins West
831 Main St.
Redwood City, CA



  Monday, August 2, 2010

I asked the sales associate at Mr. Pickles:

... for a recommendation and was steered towards the "Carlmont Scot" sandwich ($7.99):

... which was filled with hot pastrami (that had a suboptimal packaged luncheon meat texture.) Bacon didn't alchemize this cream cheese and avocado spackled food folio, (but it didn't hurt either.)

As much as I appreciated the ordering assistance, I might have found something more towards my taste with the more classic combos at this brine dining chain.

Mr. Pickle's
1432 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA



  Sunday, August 1, 2010

French Laundry List

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth put us through some extra cycles at The French Laundry where he combined delicates with beet-stained business at this coin op shop.

We suds up with a 2005 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne which had a crisp as linen finish.

The tide of tastes began with their touchstone gougeres and cornets before we soaked up a fragrantly fresh, cool cucumber soup:

Radish, cucumber and Frog Hollow peach hid beneath this jade pool of jardin juice before we progressed to another course of fluid 'freshment.

A consummé of Santa Rosa plum splashed a shock of color under almond milk sorbet:

Braised fennel and a fennel cracker anised up this fruit, seed and stalkable soup.

The strand of signature salivatory sustenance brought us "oysters and pearls". Plump Island Creek oyster feet waltzed with tapioca sabayon and white sturgeon caviar in this classic hit.

2007 Nigl Riesling Privat made up for an economical use of vowels by being a consonant companion to the raw power of razor clams, eeny uni, beech mushrooms, young fennel, ice lettuce and toro sashimi:

This petri dish of infectiously awesome sea-lacious segments trumpeted in yagara with sauce Japonaise, rice and a Toyko turnip.

We scraped every trace of the truffled egg custard from its shell and knocked the chive chip from the soft shoulder of this umami baby.

Sensational sweetbreads:

...were glazed with a veal reduction which glanded on a bed of cauliflower, raisins and pine nuts to re-veal a sweet, creamy, crunchy combo.

Pain au lait got further gilding from the churnings of Andante Dairy (unsalted) and Vermont butter and Cheese Co. butter with fleur de sel.

A geometric gathering of compressed watermelon with fetal, flowering cukes, ice lettuce, avocado puree and pink peppercorn agrigole:

... was a reviving, wet, sweet, crunchy, peppery palate perk before we bridged our 'bibing with a white Rhone.

Guigal 2007 Condrieu mined its minerality with Yukon Gold gnocchi with Australian truffles:

These fungi were furloughed from Perigord 18 years ago to give birth to Perth-fection. This down under delicacy metamorphosed the potato pupae into melting mothras of microbial mastication.

Halibut with Nicoise olives, squash, peppers, baby basil and saffron vierge:

... was virgin on Mediterranean.

They shook their usual tail by adding a beet tortellini to their "beets and leeks":

This butter-poached lobster motivator was pom pommed by both pommes Maxime and pomme puree to plug the King Richard leeks of this wiki-worthy, horseradish and beet puree brushed blending.

We were stuck on the 2007 Meyer Fonné which wed with the clover honey glazed terrine of foie gras:

Crabapples were cored and stuffed with a perfect micro-dice of their brethren bordered by nasturtium petals, celery, toasted walnuts and coins of Burgundy truffle. We created a brioche bread crumb blizzard from the regularly refreshed toast while slathering it with this foie-nominal filter.

2003 Brunello di Montalcino took flight with a poulard which was given a hot milk bird bath and terryclothed in bacon. Blackstrap molasses, corn pudding and kernels, blackeyed peas and chard added ex-hen-tricity to this peck culinary portion.

Tender veal with crispy crusted eggplant parmesan and creamy house made buratta:

... was given further Italian flair with dried tomatoes, basil, garlic and capers.

Montgomery Cheddar with bacon-infused pain perdu, cipollini onion and stewed cherry wheeled our mouths towards the sweetness to follow.

White Apron Ale foamed a beautifully bitter head over an apricot sorbet anchored by a base of barley and capped with earthy cilantro spouts.

Hot cinnamon sugar coated brioche donuts and a cappuccino semi-fredo (aka "coffee and donuts") remains another of their slam dunk shots.

The caramel notes of the 20 year old Dow Port raised the index of a caramel souffle:

Although this dessert appears to be a flat disc, the plate is actually a dish that hides the molten meggma which was fortified with caramel ice cream and bourbon creme anglaise to sauce up this fab 'fle.

Chef Thomas Keller often leaves a little note to welcome back regular customers but today we didn't spy an envelope on our table and reasoned that he must be incredibly busy with Bouchon Beverly Hills. But Chef Keller surprised us by coming out for a quick chat to make our evening complete.

Espresso and mignardises capped off our caloric budget for the rest of the year so we spun out after thanking Chef Hollingsworth for such a magnificent meal.

The French Laundry

6640 Washington St.
Yountville, CA









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