I've lived in San Francisco for the past four years, a period of time which I fondly refer to as my prime drinking years. I don't say this to give the impression that I'm just a drunken party animal, at least not all the time. I'm pointing this out because when you think about it, there's a pretty large drinking evolution that takes places from your early to mid-twenties. For example, I used to call Blondies and Beauty Bar my favorite bars in the City. I also used to pre-party, down shots, and not know what the hell a "well drink" was. But like most people, my appreciation for good wine, thoughtful cocktails, and bars where you can move without getting mauled by some sweaty, drunk chick, has grown. Not just grown, it's blossomed. After four years of trying a majority of the City's most respected bars, I'm now happy to say that I have a go-to spot where the cocktails are crafted and the people are adults. That bar is none other but Bar Agricole...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, cocktails, james beard award, soma
What better way to follow up an extravagant meal at Meadowood than with an extravagant brunch at Redd?! Although going on a Michelin-starred restaurant spree wasn't in the plan, I was in Napa with nothing but time and wasn't going to settle for scrambled eggs. And, since I didn't have a backup reserve of Knead with me, I figured I'd settle on a couple of pastries from Nicole Plue, the Beard winner for best pastries in the country...Continue Reading
Tags: 100 best of the bay, brunch, california cuisine, dessert, fine dining, james beard award, Michelin-rated restaurant, nicole plue, yountville
4) Spring out of Winter, Eleven Madison Park
The best meal of my life, the best dish of the meal: “Spring out of Winter” was the ultimate expression of contrast and balance in every aspect of the plate. Variations of asparagus were served alongside delicate pea shoots and baby peas, Jamon Iberico, shards of dehydrated almond milk, and creme fraiche ice cream (frozen by liquid nitrogen). The concept of creating a dish that embodies the differences of Winter and Spring was executed through the plays on contrast: simple, fresh flavors highlighted through complicated technique, warm and cold elements, plays on creamy and crunchy textures, and salty, savory flavors combined with the slight sweetness of ice cream. Imaginative, seasonally appropriate, technically challenging, beautiful, and delicious, this was truly a masterpiece of a dish. To read more about that dinner, check out my full account of that night at Eleven Madison Park.
Tags: daniel humm, fine dining, james beard award, Michelin-rated restaurant, new york city, Top 10 of 2010
In my review of the French Laundry I wrote that, in terms of my culinary experiences, I hoped that I hadn't peaked at 22. Two years later, I'm happy to write that after indulging in the 11 course tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park, that fear is completely gone...
Tags: california cuisine, fine dining, flatiron, french restaurant, james beard award, Michelin-rated restaurant, new york city, Relais & Chateau restaurant
This is part 1 (lunch) of 2 reviews, otherwise it would be too long...
Let me start from the beginning...My love affair with Eleven Madison Park actually began at lunch last Thursday, where I limited myself (and my credit card) to 2 courses, dessert, and a couple glasses of wine. Instead of going into depth about every single course I had, let me say now that the dishes weren't just delicious, or even great, but that every dish blew me away. Every. Single. Dish.
Tags: california cuisine, fine dining, flatiron, french restaurant, james beard award, lunch, Michelin-rated restaurant, new york city, Relais & Chateau restaurant