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Randall Stickrod

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Everything posted by Randall Stickrod

  1. This discussion made me think of Hayes Street Grill, where I've not been in probably ten years, but at one time set a standard for seafood dishes in SF. Any recent visitors?
  2. Pan asked about my earlier post suggesting that local agriculture probably wasn't seriously affected. I'm not posing as an expert, but I caught something on the news that suggested that. Most agriculture is inland, almost all the large-scale agriculture to be sure. As far as the effect on estuaries, big waves tend to lose their energy quickly once they hit land, so a 50 foot wave, for instance, would diminish quite rapidly once it was not being propagated in open water. Probably more significant was the general upwelling of water, the abrupt rising of the ocean, much more subtle than a crashing wavefront. From that, estuarial waters surely rose, but again, the farther from open water, the less the effect. Again, I'm no authority, just a semi-science geek. And hoping for the best.
  3. For what it's worth ... reports of a perturbation to earth's rotation are strictly speculative right now. Our instrumentation (and theory) are refined enough to measure microscopic deviations in the motion of our planet, and a few scientists have calculated that the rotational period of the earth might be affected by a few microseconds. This is a negligible effect and of concern only to academics. Really. The flooding and inundation didn't have an appreciable affect on agriculture because crops aren't grown in any serious abundance close to the shoreline. The bigger concern is the outbreak of disease like typhus and cholera if sanitation and potable water aren't restored quickly. And dead bodies properly disposed of.
  4. Don't know about best, but I've had paella at B44, which should have been excellent but was overcooked, dried out and gummy by the time it came from the kitchen. Both times. Surely it's not like that all the time there? When Zarzuela on Hyde first opened, I had a wonderful, near-perfect paella there, but a second visit to impress a friend (naturally) it came out dry and disappointing. It's probably worth going back though.
  5. How about Venticello? I used to live across the street from it until a few years ago and it could be very good. A very stylish little place as well in an unlikely location on Nob Hill. Probably tough to get into as well. Too bad about Acquerello.
  6. Pesce on Polk for cioppino. Lulu for lunch. Folsom and Fourth.
  7. M-L, that was cruel of me because I don't think you can find it. I discovered it in a monstrous coffee table book on wine that was given as a gift years ago. I looked all over for it to no avail because it's such a perfect little literary gem. I even got to ask Le Carré himself when he went on line for a Q&A at Salon, and he said it appeared in a magazine years ago and he couldn't remember which. It's so good I'd copy it for you though.
  8. Marie-Louise -- Hope this bit of of-topicness doesn't get me ejected, but every time I see your name I think of a fabulous short story about wine and romance by John Le Carré titled "The Growth of Marie Louise." Brilliant, inspiring and sexy. Worth looking for.
  9. I've been to Maya a couple of times. Had good meals, to be sure, but nothing I can particularly remember. Something about the mix of style and location makes my instincts jangle -- I don't see it being around for a long time.
  10. I must be nearly the only one who had a disappointing meal there. But I confess that I went in prejudiced -- I loved Pastis, its predecessor, and was really bummed when it was transformed. Pim is right, though, in that it's the perfect winter night restaurant for San Francisco. I really must give it another chance.
  11. I'll add a nod for Quince. Had a birthday dinner there a few months ago and a downright fabulous couple of hours. The food was superb and the wine list seemed just right. But I can't remember the specifics of the meal or even which wine I ordered (a great mid-range Burgundy) because the "scene" was so much fun. Quince is clearly the venue of choice right now for the Pacific Heights old money swells. Danielle Steele was there, prominent in the corner window table with a half dozen of her daughter's chums. Willie Brown was holding court with a cluster of smartly dressed gentlemen. The next table had a guy who must have been 100 years old but dressed like a million bucks, with either his granddaughter or his trophy whatever. Great fun.
  12. Hey Carolyn -- That would be B44. There's a newer place there, Brindisi, with a very seductive looking menu. That's next on the list.
  13. Not sure if this is the appropriate thread, but I'd like to mention Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, where I have never failed to have a fabulous, outrageously memorable meal. Two of them were Thanksgiving dinners, the last just a few days ago. The meal was predictably fabulous. I'm convinced it had to be the best "traditional" Thanksgiving meal in the country. I wish I'd taken notes because I can't remember what the first course of oysters were poached in (had something to do with duck, as unlikely as that may sound) but it was so good I could have stopped right there. It is not possible to make turkey taste better. The dressing was ambrosial. Green beans, brussel sprouts, yams (sweet potatoes actually) all done in ways that seemed a revelation. And a fabulous wine list and perfect service, of course. God. Oh, and did I mention the pumpkin pie....? Sigh.
  14. Thought it worth a mention -- dropped by Belden Alley downtown, which I find irresistably appealing, and had an unplanned dinner at Plouf, the French mussels specialty place. Seemed the perfect formula for a chilly winter night in SF, the house specialty, a black crock full of steaming mussels in a white wine and garlic broth along with their just-right frites and a glass (or two) of Sancerre. The fact that all the help are French was a nice touch as well. I'm still a bit blissful, several hours later.
  15. Malik - No, I meant unflitered cold sake. The one I like most is quite neutral, not sweet at all (to my taste, anyway). I've had others that I considered too sweet to accompany food, but not this one. I need to specify it properly and find a link ..... I've not had it at Ozumo, but regularly at Yoshida-ya on Webster off Union where we go now and then. The food is not particularly noteworthy, but the ryokan-like ambience is appealing on wintry San Francisco nights.
  16. Tana, The House is in North Beach on upper Grant, just off Columbus. It's a genuine treasure, best power-to-weight ratio in the City, I think. Wonderful, occasionally inventive dishes, always perfectly executed. I tend to forget about it, and can't imagine why. I know they opened another one out in the Sunset somewhere, but I have no idea how that compares.
  17. You can check Ozumo's menu online (ozumo.com). A little pricey but interesting, complex, sophisticated. Plus it's simply a beautiful place to sit and indulge yourself. I'm partial to unfiltered sakes served cold. I don't think I could ever drink an ordinary hot sake again. Some, like my favorite Shirikagawa (hope I spelled that right) come served in little square wooden boxes. It seems a bit precious but it works.
  18. RG - Yeah, well, not much I can do about the name thing. I'm too lazy to invent a pseud. I think of Marimba as being very schizo. I stopped going there for dinner years ago, but we still love it for weekend lunches. The quality and uniqueness of the food is still right up there, though the service is mediocre and turnover seems high. Hold that thought about the drink. I'm game. Very cool about catering your wedding....
  19. Lulu is still there, last I looked. A perennial favorite, I've never been disappointed there.
  20. The Whole Foods store on California/Franklin is bursting with mushrooms right now. Just saw the biggest display of chanterelles ever.
  21. Chowfun – Well. This is my first post here, and I hope I can be useful to you. First things first. Lunch on the way to Point Reyes. My first choice is the Buckeye Roadhouse, just off the Stinson Beach exit (and you don’t have to drive all the way into Mill Valley). Buckeye is simply perfect, just what the name conjures up. I won’t even try to describe it. You asked about Japanese, irrespective of cost. The coolest (and maybe priciest) Japanese in town is Ozumo on Steuart Street just off the Embarcadero. A gorgeous place with a matching menu and an impressive BP bar scene on weekday nights. Otherwise, my neighborhood favorite is Toraya on Fillmore near Pine. Interesting robata grill and impeccable dishes. Breakfast? My favorite is Home Plate on Lombard at Pierce. Haven’t been there in awhile but they have creative and perfectly executed breakfast dishes that you’ll just not find anywhere else. Expect to wait outside on weekends. Tana’s Habana is a good bet with the kids, though we go there to eat at the bar, which is a lively scene and great fun because of the very cool bartender, Jason (who is on the verge of buying the place) and who is developing a specialty in high-end rums. He treated me to a snifter of an amazing Venezuelan Aniversario recently, which was sublime in the way a very old cognac can be. A near-religious experience. Mexican? My all-time fave is still Café Marimba on Chestnut Street (just off Lombard on the way to the GG Bridge). Exquisitely prepared Oaxacan and Yucatan specialties that I’ve never seen anywhere else. The best! And just down the street a block or two, the only Chinese restaurant we go to any more, Dragon Well. Extremely popular, and for good reason. Undecided? If you’re in the same neighborhood, the block of Steiner between Lombard and Chestnut has around a dozen restaurants, all fairly casual and all good to great, including Isa, which has achieved a certain iconic status here. Speaking of neighborhoods, the four-block stretch of Polk between Union and Broaday is a treasure trove of terrific food opportunities, including the over-priced and (I think) over-rated La Folie. I think the best fish restaurant (except the Biggies, Aqua and Farallon ) in the City is there, Pesce, though it’s a bit small and maybe not so kid-friendly. If Pesce is full, a few doors down is my #2 choice, Yabbie’s Coastal Kitchen. Probably our most consistent favorite, though, is Zuni. But only in a narrow window, Sunday afternoons between around 3 and 5. It’s somewhat calm, the transitional menu is limited but superb, and best of all, you can sit downstairs and watch the kitchen prep for dinner. It’s a show so good you should be charged extra for it, watching Judy Rogers making the rounds of the stations, tasting things, tweaking the preparations. And if you care about such things, the people watching there is first-rate. Visiting celebs like that time because they’re least likely to be hassled.
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