Posts Tagged ‘Michelin-rated restaurant’

Sons & Daughters: All Grown Up

Geranium Ice Cream Sons & Daughters

Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve been to Sons & Daughters twice over the years, first in 2010 when they were relatively new, and again in 2011 after they’d received their first Michelin star. Both times the food was tasty and modern, with a fairly unique approach to hyper-local, ingredient-driven cuisine. I left both meals feeling generally happy with what I had experienced, but in the back of my mind there was something missing; I felt as though the restaurant wasn’t reaching its full potential and that, with a few small tweaks, those meals could have been memorable instead of relatively unremarkable. That all changed last Sunday when, on my third visit to Sons & Daughters, I experienced a meal that wasn’t just remarkable, it was flawlessContinue Reading

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The Industry All-Stars: Yoon Ha

No matter how long you’ve lived in this area, if you call San Francisco “Home” then let’s just admit it: we’re really lucky. Anyone who shares my passion for food and feels a constant craving for culinary exploration (…I suddenly feel like a cross between Magellan and KD Lang…) is well aware of how lucky we are to be in such a gastro-centric city. Much like how amazing attractions like Alcatraz or Giants games get taken for granted because they’re are so many amazing things to do here, it’s easy to overlook just how lucky we are. It’s rare to take a step back and think, “Whoa, buying goats milk butter for my day-to-day needs is not normal. That’s pretty cool.” For me, one of those wake-up calls came when I was introduced to the man I consider the finest sommelier I’ve ever known. His name is Yoon Ha, he works at Benu, and let me tell you my friends, he is one of the finest industry all-stars you’ll ever meet...Continue Reading

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Aziza: An Essay on Evolution, Tears, Game Birds, and Super Mario Desserts

Rating: ★★★★★

You know what I find most exciting about dining out? It’s not the dressing up, or chatting with industry folk, or even laughing with close friends. It’s the unknown. Whether it be not knowing what’s on the menu before walking in the door, ordering a tasting menu dotted with unexpected treats, or flying blind and leaving my meal in the hands of the chef, the things that take me by surprise are the things that stand out the most. So, unlike the typical diner who becomes a regular because of one or two particular dishes that keep them coming back for more, I keep going back to my favorite restaurants because I have no idea what will be on the menu next. All of my favorite restaurants constantly evolve, and there is no better example of evolution than Aziza.

Anyone who has dined at Aziza in recent years knows that, other than its location, the restaurant has undergone some radical changes. The menu moved away from being tied to traditional Moroccan food to one which embraced California cuisine from a Moroccan angle. What that means, in less generic language, is that less emphasis was put on staying true to the exact ingredients necessary to create traditional Moroccan flavors and more was put into building a Moroccan flavor profile using local, seasonal ingredient. Little by little, this shift in philosophy transformed the restaurant’s cuisine into what I fell in love with (and wrote about) back in April of last year. Now, over one year later, I’m compelled to write again because, after 10 years, this evolution is still happening: portions are more refined, the proportion of each ingredient on the plate is more balanced, the presentation is, well, exquisite, and the food itself? Let me tell you, it’s only getting better…Continue Reading

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The Industry All-Stars: Bobi Adle

A good server has an attentive eye and a “customer is always right” attitude. A good server facilitates your meal, is there when you need him to be there, and otherwise leaves you alone so you can enjoy your dinner without much interruption. A great server goes further than this. A great server has an uncanny ability to read his tables and adapt to the vibe they’re giving out. A great server understands when a table wants to be left alone, or when a table wants him to engage and liven up their meal. An exceptional server goes further than this. An exceptional server has a killer sense of humor – pushing the bounds of what’s PC in the workplace, but never offensive. Because, again, an exceptional server can read his audience perfectly. Bobi Adle is an exceptional serverContinue Reading

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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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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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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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The Lounge at Coi Restaurant: Relaxed Dining, World-Class Cuisine

Rating: ★★★★★

My love affair with Coi began roughly one year ago, when I stepped into the serene dining room and proceeded to have one of the best meals of my life. That 12 course tasting menu featured some of the most inspired cooking I had ever had the pleasure to devour. So inspiring, in fact, that I was compelled by an unstoppable force to ignore all fiscal responsibilities and go back for that tasting menu two more times within the span of three months. I quickly realized that maintaining such a regular schedule at one of the most notable, and expensive, restaurants in the Bay Area was sheer madness, and a cloud of sadness crept over me. Until I discovered one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets: the Lounge at CoiContinue Reading

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Remembering the Tasting Menu at Meadowood Through Photos

When you wake up the morning after an extravagant dinner and call the restaurant to ask them around what time dinner may have ended so that you can estimate about what time you went to bed, you’re probably not fit to write a review about said restaurant. I’ll take it even further. If the details of how you ended up in bed are hazy, you’re probably not even fit to write a non-judgmental description of your dining experience, or for that matter, any course after roughly the first or second. So, while I had hoped to write a meaningful, thoughtful article about my dinner at Meadowood, prepared by Chef Kostow on the last night of their 12 days of Christmas series, I simply can’t. But, I have pictures!…Continue Reading

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Marea’s Press May be the Best, But in the Kitchen it Misses the Mark

Rating: ★★½☆☆

First of all, let me say that my last trip to New York City happened at the end of May 2010, so this post is sadly a bit outdated. But, it has been sitting as a draft in my files for the last 8 months, which means this article was written when the meal was still fresh in my mind. Although some tweaks may have been made to the menu, 3 of the 4 items that I ordered last May are actually still on the menu, and since I haven’t revisited the restaurant, my initial opinion has stuck with me. So, rather than let a completed article (and a couple of nice photos) go to waste, I’m sharing it now.

For many people, an ideal vacation may only need to consist of a hot sun, a relaxing beach, and a limitless number of naps. Others like to spend those precious few days exploring distant, unfamiliar countries. But if you’re like me, nothing says “vacation” quite like cramped subways, hectic daily schedules, little sleep, and constantly eating incredible food. Hello New York!

Prior to arriving in New York City, my fourth visit in 4 years, I had done a significant amount of research on what new restaurants were catching headlines and had already made reservations at all of my top picks. Although Marea wasn’t one of them, after only one day in Manhattan I realized that I’d had made a big mistake – everyone, and I mean everyone, was talking about Marea. With only two days notice and one incredibly lucky phone call, I found myself with a lunch reservation at New York’s hottest restaurant…Continue Reading

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