Stunning, Simple, and Seasonal at La Bigarrade

Chocolate Cake La Bigarrade

Rating: ★★★★★

It’s no secret that Coi is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. So, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon what seems to be the Coi of Paris: La Bigarrade. There are many similarities: a small, limited-seat dining room, utter precision and immaculate presentation on the plate (so much so that I recently designed business cards featuring a picture I took during my meal), a focus on serving the best, local ingredients available, and a careful balance of flavors – so careful that even a single, extra grain of salt could throw it off…Continue Reading

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Tataki Sushi: Eat Well, Save the Planet

Rating: ★★★★★

Finding good sushi in the City is difficult. Add in the words “affordable” and “sustainable” and it becomes nearly impossible. Enter: Tataki.

First and foremost, what really sets Tataki apart from almost every other restaurant in San Francisco is their commitment to sustainable seafood. Ask yourself, and be honest, if you can tell the difference in taste between Yellowtail Tuna and Albacore Tuna? Or, for that matter, Yellowtail Tuna and Mackerel? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably no. My sushi knowledge goes as far as knowing that I prefer firmer fish to buttery fish, shrimp tempura is magically delicious, and my rolls need to be dunked in wasabi-spiced soy sauce for ultimate satisfaction. Novice at best. So when I don’t see “traditional” sushi selections, like Bluefin Tuna, and am instead greeted with a list of Pole-Caught Skipjack Tuna (katsuo), Closed-Containment Farmed Striped Bass (Suzuki), and McFarland Springs Trout, I’m not disappointed….Continue Reading

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Septime, Paris: The New School of Casual Fine Dining

gnocchi septime

Rating: ★★★★★

Fine dining in a casual setting; ingredient-driven cuisine that’s been prepared by kitchen pros and a kick-ass chef but is served on tables unadorned by tablecloths; a wait-staff that is at all times professional but jokes with you at the table. The concept has been around awhile in San Francisco, but apparently in Paris, a city that for years has adhered more to tradition than modernity in its cuisine, this trend is really just emerging. And, no restaurant seems to embody this movement better than the newly-opened “modern bistro” Septime.…Continue Reading

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Who Makes the World’s Best Chocolates? Jean Charles Rochoux, Paris

A lot has happened in the last three weeks. After traveling to Rome, Naples, and Paris with the primary goal of eating everything in sight, you could say that I have a lot to write about. So much, in fact, that it’s rather overwhelming. So in order to simplify my life, instead of delving into an analysis of multi-cultural food movements, I’m just going to write about my favorite chocolates in the whole wide world, found at le chocolatier Jean-Charles Rochoux…Continue Reading

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Aziza Spices Up Seasoned California Cuisine

Rating: ★★★★★

Prior to my first visit to Aziza, my idea of Moroccan food was something involving raisins, powdered sugar, and a huge pile of grain meant to be eaten with your hands. It left a strange, lingering impression on me as being too sweet, and too sloppy. I held onto that unattractive memory for a long time, which is the reason why, despite knowing about all of the accolades Aziza has received, I avoided it for years. If only I had only known about our mutual love of goat’s milk butter sooner! But after hearing an industry friend, whose opinion I rate very highly, rank it as his favorite SF restaurant, I knew it was time. I was finally ready…Continue Reading

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NOPA Restaurant: Consistent Californian Cuisine + a Damn Good Burger

Rating: ★★★★☆

Even if you’ve been living in a secluded cave for the last five years, chances are you probably would’ve still heard about NOPA. As a restaurant that defined and shaped an entire neighborhood, NOPA has been a prominent force in the City’s culinary picture for years – one which everyone seems to have an opinion about.

While I was familiar with the name, I had heard from a few people that it seemed overrated, so I was always hesitant to try it out for myself. Thank god a good friend of mine finally dragged me there for a late-night feast, because as soon as that first bite hit my mouth I knew all of those other people were just flat-out wrong: NOPA deserves all of the attention it has received…Continue Reading

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Finding the Best Eggs Benedict at Local: Mission Eatery

What was your single favorite thing that your parents cooked when you were growing up? Was it some kind of special pasta? Or maybe your mom cooked chicken a way that no one else has ever been able to replicate? Because my parents happen to be quite adept in the kitchen, I could probably list 20 different dishes that are deeply ingrained in my memory. However, if I had to name just one, there’s a particular dish that has always stood out: I grew up eating the best eggs benedict most people have ever tasted…Continue Reading

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Sustainable Seafood Swims Into the Mainstream

My first Culinary Trends article of 2011 has finally arrived! I chose to write about Sustainable Seafood for this issue, a more serious topic than my previous articles on flowers, eggs, and foraging. Because this is a very complex, difficult subject in nature, I took a more serious tone and included longer quotes from the experts that I interviewed. But don’t worry, I still managed to throw in plenty of fishing/ocean/water puns!

Below is the full, unedited version. Enjoy!…Continue Reading

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The Coi Lounge: A Final Look Through Photos

As mentioned in my most recent post on Coi Restaurant, the dining room will be expanding in early April, and the amazing lounge will transition from being casual, affordable offshoot to a formal, tasting menu only extension of the dining room. While I’m sad to see it go, I’m excited for the transformation and what surprises Daniel Patterson and his team have in store for us lucky diners. That said, I obviously had to sneak in one last time to give the lounge a proper farewell.

Because I’ve already gone into great detail describing how incredible recent experiences in the lounge have been, I’ll refrain from writing another essay here. Instead, I simply wanted to convey my most recent visit through a few beautiful photos. Enjoy!…Continue Reading

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Seasons Restaurant Should Only Have One Season: Steak Season

Rating: ★★★☆☆

After more than a year of seasonal, hyper local, vegetable-driven cuisine, it was about damn time I ventured out of the norm and found myself a giant, no-frills, juicy steak. While associated places like Bobo’s or, more recently, Alexander’s Steakhouse with the idea of a steakhouse, my hunger for meat led me to an unlikely location: Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons.

Honestly, because Seasons isn’t situated on the ground floor I didn’t even realize there was a notable restaurant in this hotel. But what the fourth (or possibly fifth) floor has that the street lacks is a beautiful view of the city. Sure, it’s not the entire skyline hitting the bay, but it’s still impressive. And, having recently changed the menu’s concept from what I like to refer to as “seasonal power lunch” cuisine to one found in a more traditional steakhouse, I was excited to see if the transition was successful…Continue Reading

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