||Monday, January 31, 2011
I went into Inshou to eschew my hunger in this new nook of Japanese cuisine.
Oyako don ($7.50) was a warming wallop of chicken chunks in a scramble of eggs over rice. This green onion and nori garnished gohan hit the spot with a bowl of miso soup.
An addition of udon (75¢ supplement) was a noshable nest of noodles which had a nice chew to them, but didn't compete with my bird bowl.
Attentive service kept the clientele happy and fed in this friendly new San Mateo stop.
Lunch was satisfying, but I want to return for the more extensive dinner menu to check out the yakitori, sushi and small plates.
Inshou Japanese Cuisine
2942 S. Norfolk St.
San Mateo, CA
Mark your Calendar
This year, the Make-a-Wish Wine and Wishes event will take place at the Metreon City View where chefs including Roland Passot, Nancy Oakes and Sean O'Toole will create a winemaker dinner in concert with sommelliers Shelley Lindgren, Paul Einbund and Christie Dufault (to name a few.)
A walk around tasting (before these posh prandial proceedings) always includes notable nosh from top toque talent. Check out some of the previous parties to prime your palates and order your tickets here.
Make a Wish
10th annual Wine and Wishes
February 5, 2011
5 - 11 p.m.
tickets $150 for tasting, and $350+ for winemaker dinner
age 21+ only
Metreon City View
104 4th St.
San Francisco, CA
||Sunday, January 30, 2011
We popped over to Contigo with some friends for a fabulous feast of top notch tapas.
2007 Raventos i blanc sparked a spectacular spread of bites beginning with pulpo pinchos ($2.50 each):
Octopus, peppers and spuds skewed sensational in these simple spears of suction seduction.
Salt cod croquettes ($3.50 each) were ballistic bearings of crisp shelled seafood that got garlic glide from alloili to codify these cue balls.
A cutting board strewn with Iberico ham ($17.00):
... was a series of thin slices of heavenly hog.
Brussels sprouts ($6.00) with fried capers and toasted hazelnuts were leafy scoops of nutty headed deliciousness.
A plate of vegetables ($12.00):
... with delica squash, brocoli di cicco, leeks, fennel and romanesco sauce was a garden patch of market marvelousness.
I couldn't stop sopping the broth from the Hog Island clams strewn with ham ($12.00):
... in a garlic and sherry fortified fluid.
Bravo worthy patatas bravas ($8.00) were required eating with crisp edged potatoes, allioli and salsa brava.
Seared scallops ($17.00):
... sang with mushrooms, leeks and Tempranillo sauce while beets and citrus nestled in chicory ($11.00):
... in this sherry mustard tossed tangle of roots and shoots.
The kitchen customized a couple cocas by forgoing the ham and adding eggs to make vegetarian versions of the bacon flatbreads ($14.00). These sheep milk ricotta rounds were capped with sweetly caramelized onions and savored with a 2004 Vinedos y Bodegas Pablo Carinena.
... in a tomato sherry sauce rolled down righteously with garbanzo studded tripe with chorizo ($9.00):
Spanish cheeses ($12.00) included slices of sheep, goat and cow with toasted hazelnuts and quince paste to pave our palates for some sweets.
It was impossible to pass up the churros and chocolate ($8.00):
... which were a perfect pairing of hot, crisp fritters and a pool of rich chocolate.
The burnt caramel flan ($8.00):
... was a craveworthy circle of custard and charred sugar served with a palmera butter cookie.
A tarta ($9.00) of apples and huckleberries had a delicate, flaky crust circling the fruity filling. A scoop of cardamom ice cream gilded this gorgeous fruition to our nutrition as a pot of Blue Bottle coffee peped us up for our trip home.
Contigo never fails to deliver delicious dishes in a friendly setting. Coming with friends maximizes the melange of morsels at this excellent eatery.
Contigo Kitchen and Cava
1320 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA
||Saturday, January 29, 2011
Le P'tit Laurent was filled with 'philes of French bistrot food during dinner this drizzly evening.
Onion soup ($6.95):
... was a cozy crock of caramelized onions covered with croutons with a flavorful broth coerced by cheese. This traditional entry was a warming welcome to our meal with a 2009 Dry Creek Fume Blanc.
Superb sweetbreads ($10.25):
... were crusted in walnuts and sauced in a mushroom coulis. Even offal-averse eaters would enjoy this grand gland landed in a sensational 'shroom 'semblage that we sopped up with baguette. This dish is required ordering.
... were sped up with garlic, butter and parsley in their divots of deliciousness.
Sauteed bass ($22.00):
... swam in a pool of Grenobloise sauce scaled up with a cheesy zucchini gratin. This boneless, moist flapper flesh was complemented by capers, lemon and onion.
A luscious leg of duck confit kicked back in a beany bowl of cassoulet ($26.00):
Toulouse sausage linked this rich porky, duck dish washed down with a cherried 2009 Reserve de l'Aube Syrah Merlot blend.
Chocolate souffle ($6.85):
... had a subtle sweetness balancing this dark, delectable dollop. A scoop of coconut sorbet added a refreshing tropical breeze between hot, chocolaty, bites.
Pain perdu ($6.85):
... hit our sweet spot with its caramelized French toast topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A criss cross of caramel sauce syruptitiously elevated this combo.
French posters, corkscrew collections and chandeliers decorate the tin ceilinged dining room setting off Chef Julio Caceres' bistrot fare.
The friendly and efficient staff kept the crowd in steak frites and profiteroles at this nicely priced nook of French food.
We'll have to return to check out the $22 prix fixe, 3 course "neighborhood menu" which they serve Sunday thru Thursday.
Le P'tit Laurent Bistrot
699 Chenery St.
San Francisco, CA
||Friday, January 28, 2011
Good Bites Cafe doesn't look or sound like a Filipino/Mediterranean/American restaurant, but this Mom and Pop stop melds masticatables like lumpia, tabouleh and omelets in a modest Belmont building.
Their all day breakfast beckoned with sweet bacon but the menu of meats also included Filipino sweet sausage. My dining dilemma was dispersed by the owner who offered the option of doing a half/half helping ($7.50):
This pleasing plate of pork pieces, a stubby sausage and scrambled eggs, a side salad, warm pita with nicely seasoned hummus:
... and garlicy rice was a spot-hitting spread capped off by a little scoop of ube ice cream:
This purple yam-infused, lovely lavender lump finished my meal with a Filipino flourish.
Good Bites Cafe
1504 El Camino Real
||Thursday, January 27, 2011
I scanned the dining room of Town:
... (which was teeming with businessy types) as I dug into The Philly cheese steak spring roll ($9.75):
... which teamed with cheese and cow. A deep-fried egg roll touched down with a molten middle of melted American and Provolone cheeses in this fusiony take on Superbowl snackage.
I dunked this beef baton into horseradish sauce and spicy ketchup before this novelty nosh gave way to the sensible selection of a Cobb salad ($13.00):
This Cobbination of chicken chunks and bacon bits with a perfectly hard boiled egg, tomatoes, lettuce and blue cheese had a bit more dressing than I prefer, but this ranchy ration was still a tasty tumble of tucker.
TVs were stationed at the bar and in the bathroom (the kind with screens that is):
... for those who need AV at all times.
A friendly and efficient staff kept this American eatery bustling with some nice looking burgers bounding to late lunchers. I'll have to try one next time I make it to Town.
716 Laurel St.
San Carlos, CA
||Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Science of Cocktails event has evolved to exhibit signs of advancement at this evening's peer reviewed look at libations.
All the top tipple talent:
...was shaking, stirring and sipping in the Exploratorium during this after hours pondering of potables.
Campo de Encanto was punched up in a bowl of Duggan McDonnell's enchanting elixir:
Darren Crawford of Bourbon and Branch:
... made a stirring glass of chocolaty, orange "Dragon's Breath" using the cocao kissed lot 9 of St. George whisky, Amaro Nonio, Carpano Antica and Aztec Chocolate bitters.
Lamb shank over risotto:
... fish tacos and an array of edibles from McCall's catering:
... kept citizens upright while experiments demonstrated the effects of alcoholic intake:
... as a cautionary (cock)tale.
MInds were simultaneously expanded and numbed as guests were blinded with science.
Science of Cocktails 2011
3601 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA
||Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sommelier Eugenio Jardim took a group of us along a path of potion possibilities:
... in anticipation of Valentines Day. Although Jardiniere has not finalized the menu for their romantic repast, Eugenio's dr-inklings on liquid refreshment were a hearty herald of terrific two-top tipple.
A Domaine Allimant-Laugner sparkling rosé:
... was an elegant entry to our evening paired with a tuna tartare:
... to complement this rosy Cremant d'Alsace.
The 2007 S.A. Prum Riesling:
... bloomed with 'shrooms in a tiny tartlet:
This Kabinett unhinged our palates with its delicate demeanor of pear-fection.
The 2009 Gerard Raphet Bourgogne:
... was light on its feet but with a complexity to carry a bit of beef and potato between spicy sips.
A 2005 Clos de Nouys Vouvray:
... had a citrus echo to the candied rind of a chocolate pave:
This dulcet drink was an invigorating enhancement to the cocao configuration.
Eugenio kept us laughing with wonderful stories during this preview of prandial pairings. We loved the direction of this energetic selection (without any weighed down, coma inducing quaffs) in an aim to accentuate appetites.
300 Grove St.
San Francisco, CA
||Monday, January 24, 2011
The rotisserie chicken ($18.00):
... at Brick and Bottle was a hefty helping of poultry given 'shroom to improve with porcini jus. Braised escarole added a garlicy garden of greens to this spun-done brick chick.
We can't pass up the neat frites at B&B, they have that shatteringly sharp shield to their fluffy filling that keep us salivating with saline support. These spud sticks skirted the steak ($21.00):
... served with blue cheese arugula salad and aioli.
We tapped into their wine on tap program with a 2009 Brack (Brick and Brack go together right?) Mountain Pinot Noir ($9.00) and a 2009 Preston of Dry Creek Rhone Blend ($7.00) which qualified as casual quaffables.
Brick & Bottle continues to be a solid, protein pitstop shop.
Brick & Bottle Restaurant
55 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA
||Sunday, January 23, 2011
We checked out Prime Rib Sunday at Alexander's Steakhouse where $35.00 paved the way for some marvelous meat, a hamachi shooter and one side dish.
Generous slices of beef arrived to the requested rare:
... with horseradish 3 ways (creamed, garlic and harissa) as well as some fleur de sel:
... to customize this pepper-crusted cow to taste. We loved this protein palooza served au jus, but before we got to the main attraction, an amuse of miso gelee:
... offered an Asian-influenced entry to our sumptuous supper.
Alexander's hamachi shooters:
... shot into our mouths with bursts of ginger, avocado and radish. These signature fin-tastic starters are required eating.
We supplemented our meal with a bowl of Brussels sprout soup ($9.00):
... which was a creamy, peppery potion balanced beautifully with pureed petite cabbages and swirled with creme fraiche.
An intermezzo of raspberry mint gelee with passion fruit pearls:
... offered fruity 'freshment before we cut into those slabs of satisfying prime rib.
We chose roasted Brussels sprouts:
... as one of our sides. These crispy-bit infiltrated headquarters had golden raisins to sweeten the deal.
Cauliflower macaroni gratin:
... had a bread crumb crust concealing creamy elbows in a white Cheddar béchamel with truffle oil and bits of cauliflower.
We couldn't call it a nox before we had the "Winter Solstice" ($12.00):
Citrus cheesecake ice cream hovered over a cardamom graham cracker crumb base with kumquat, red currants and yuzu under a blanket of blood orange gelee in a composed, deconstruction of cheesecake with a fruity flourish.
A pink poof of bubblegum flavored cotton candy:
... allowed us to float away on a sucrose cloud after our muscular meal.
Prime rib, a side and a hamachi shooter for $35 is a sweet deal at this steak station with top notch service and chow.
448 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA
||Saturday, January 22, 2011
We arrived at Atelier Crenn:
... with tempered expectations (since it was only the second day of business at Chef Crenn's latest San Francisco dining venue) but our trepidations evaporated as a slab of salivation sparkers surfaced:
A glass of orange "air" wafted by before a poached oyster bathed in beurre blanc and an uni emulsion. A miso dotted potato chip, rice crisp and brioche with foie gras and apple gelee completed the slate of what we ate for our amusing entry into the tasting menu ($95.00, $10.00 cheese supplement and $53.00 beverage pairing).
The sphere "Kir Breton" was a frozen orb of apple cider:
... that exploded in a currant of cassis as we closed our mouths. This bouche amuser was a herald of the playful, portions to come.
The wine pairing began in Burgundy with a Pierre Morey Pinot Noir to echo the fungus in a fabulous formation of cooked and raw 'rooms stacked over a mushroomed dashi.
Abalone shucked its shell for a hammier home in a sheet of speck-tacular pork:
A sorbet of grapefruit and Campari added velocity to this sea snail and swine between sips of grapefruity Prinz Riesling.
Gouge Eye Farm's winter harvest of beets, carrots and radish:
... was arranged under a shower of yogurt "snow." A periphery of parsnip puree and pecans sweetened this sensational, seasonal expression.
Seared foie gras:
... was dotted with beet and rhubarb meringue morsels to add earthy, tangy, sweetness to the luscious, lobey, loot verved with a Vouvray .
Liquid nitrogen captured a cloud of eucalyptus air which had a refreshing koala-ty:
Bold moves by the sommelier included the progression from red to white and forgoing a flute for the Louis Roederer Champagne served with a cuttlefish gnocchi. A scent of smoke came from an oyster under a "sand" of anchovy and sesame:
Seabeans and lemon oil added saline and citrus to this excellent aquatic expression washed down with a bubbly surf.
The stylistic decision not to mention vintages during the delivery of beverages had the effect of emphasizing the winemakers as we progressed to the peary pairing of a Domaine Fevre Chablis with a sous vide egg:
Orange marmalade and truffles hatched a handsome harmony with this nasturtium-nested nugget.
Pigeon was plucked from a salt crust to roost with quinoa, sunchoke puree, wild rice, coffee and chestnuts:
This bird took flight with a Clos de l'Hermitage while beer bolstered the lamb neck:
Meantime porter added a chocolaty chug to the sensational scruff collared with green onions and yogurt.
The "Fromage Garage" pulled up with a bleu d'Auvergne, Garrotxa, Red Hawk and Carmody which was a well edited round up of wheels:
Thin ribbons of crisped bread and Gouge Eye Farms honeycomb sweetened our four wheeling excursion.
Red quinoa grained supreme in a winter porridge with hazelnut pearls and oxalis:
... the subtle sweetness was sustained with an accompanying Vouvray.
A coconut conclusion contained variations of this fruit flesh - from liquid nitrogen nudged to gelee jigged:
Pineapple guava kept this dish on tropic to wind up an inspired tasting tour.
Chef Dominique Crenn's:
... cuisine communicates her defined and unique vision.
We love her risk-taking approach in this sleek settling and look forward to returning to try the sweetbreads, trout "fume" (with a dramatic flourish of dry ice) as well as the peacock (which will be available in November.)
3127 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA
||Friday, January 21, 2011
Lombard may be San Francisco's crookedest street, but Droga is San Francisco's rockiest road.
We busted open boxes of these bumpy bites to pave our palates with Guittard chocolate-coated salted peanuts and housemade marshmallows.
Both the milk and dark chocolate versions were worthy of the "Droga" (Italian for "drug") designation, but our fave was the darker demonstration of these crunchy, puffy, cocao clusters.
There are plenty of salted caramels competing for attention nowadays, but Droga's "Put your Money on Honey":
... are buzzworthy for their bee juice-sweetened, fleur de sel-ibratory, dark chocolate-dunked delectability.
These slim profiled, tasty tiles are elegant amalgamations of the classic sweet, salty and chocolaty treat triad (without any filling-yanking resistance.)
You can get these goods online or at select shops including Bi-Rite Market.