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Everything posted by hhlodesign

  1. I'm not surprised they tried to make up for their mistake. My experiences with Mark Canlis and the entire staff have always been excellent! It takes a good proprietor to recongnize when they've made a mistake and understand that a happy customer is worth tons of free press. In my opinion, in Seattle, only Canlis gets top marks for food, service, and view. It's impossible to find a place that can offer all three at a high level. Not to mention the best valet parking service I've ever experienced ANYWHERE! In case you haven't experienced it before: They take your car at the door and give you NOTHING. No claim ticket, nothing. You finish your meal, pay the bill, walk outside; and there is your car, running, doors open, and waiting for you. Its seemless. I love it!
  2. Happy Birthday Klary! I love Amsterdam and am dying to return. The last time I was there it was the summer of 1995, and I had no idea what good food was. I am looking forward to seeing this wonderful city through your eyes! PS. I love your balcony! It's great that you were able to have your first sunny dinner out there this year recently. I'm going to have to invite myself over for a dinner If I can make it out in the summer time
  3. I'd go to Sushi Sasabune for sure. It was my favorite place when I lived in LA. It's in a mini j-town like area on Sawtelle. Do the omakase. The best in LA in my opinion!
  4. I love the look this guy is giving you! How about an in-depth analysis of Cheese-steaks with picts!
  5. for those of you curious about Veil's Happy hour:
  6. My friends wanted to go to Bucca di Beppo (not me!) There were 8 of us and we arrived at 7pm. The wait was over an hour. While the rest of my party stood outside, I walk in and flashed a twenty to the hostess and asked if we could be seated sooner. She proceeds to yell at me in front of the entire waiting area people, "WE DO NOT TAKE BRIBES!!!" I walked out with my tail between my legs. Outside, my friend asked me how it went. I said, "You try, they want more money."
  7. I had dinner at Rare on Saturday night. It was really quite an exceptional meal. Most of the items on the menu appealed to my personal tastes. Lots of rich meats and interesting preparations! We starteed with an amuse: Pickled halibut cheek with rabbit rillettes. Very distinct flavor with the pickled halibut cheek. Like nothing I'd had before. Sour with a touch of sweetness. Nice starter. And the rabbit rilletes were a great accompanyment. just the right amount of richness to follow the halibut. I also loved the texture contrast with the fried cake it was sitting on. Oysters (closest to furtherst) gigamoto, kusshi, and effingham Accompanied with 3 separate mignonettes. I'm sorry I only remembered the one I liked the best. The middle one had jalapenos in it, but all three were very tasty. We tried them all alone first. I wish we had more oysters to pair them with. Morel mushrooms with shallots, butter, and stock (beef or veal?) Nice hearty flavour. Morels are my favorite mushrooms, and this preparation really celebrated the flavor of the mushrooms alone. Very nice. Pork belly with hazelnut foam Very lean for "pork belly". Probably not "belly" in the sense of the Chinese terminology. But very good nonetheless. The meat off the bone was the best part. I had to fight my date for it! She won. Quail stuffed wtih sweetbreads and boar bacon. This is the new holy trinity!!!! As much as I loved this dish, I expected to love it even more. These are some of my 3 favorite things on earth. Not that I'm complaining, wonderful full flavors, and great texture to the the bird! The palatte cleanser was a shot of ginger carrot juice. The juice was raw with a pretty strong hit of ginger. It was very refreshing and a nice way to change course towards the heavier dishes we had ordered. We finished with Veal breast confit Let's put it this way... I LOVE veal. I LOOOOVE duck fat!!!!!! Any chef that wants to cook veal in duck fat!?!?!?!? This guy is a GOD!!!!! We finished with caramel foam. I'm not sure how they made this, as I've never had anything of this consistency before. Very nice finish to a great evening. I should mention that even with the wonderful dishes we had, the best thing I ate was the homemade foie gras creme brule that Ling made for me and finished at the restaurant. She also made a side of portabellos with port wine reduction tp accompany it. It was as rich and delicious as it sounds! It's a good thing I live in Seattle, or I'd be at Rare every night! Good work Brian and Quang!!!!
  8. We'll have to pay the premium for Rolling Bay Gourmet next time!
  9. I've only been for lunch. Both times have had wonderful meals! My friends from the Bay area all claim the Cafe to be favored over downstairs (maybe as a factor of cost and / or reservation availability.) Preferences? thoughts?
  10. Had dinner tonight at Shanghai River. We were only two people so I didn't get to try as many items as I would have liked. We ordered: Shredded pork szechaun style - yure shang rou si - fragrant fish flavored pork This was both of our favorite dishes of the night. Could have been more spicy for my taste, but very flavorful, and reminded me of dishes I've had in Taiwan. Boy was it oily! (that;s a good thing!) We even had some spinach in it. Had to got our nightly allotment of veggies. Steamed pork soup buns - shou lung bao - small dragon buns These are what we came to this restaurant for. A bit disappointing in my opinion. The filling and soup were a bit on the bland side. They could have used some more soup in the buns. Still better than anything I can get in Seattle though. pan fried pork dumplings - guo teia - potstickers Filling was bland. Needed more salt or soy. I did like the amount of soup in the filling though. And the bits of Chinese chives were a nice touch, as were the handmade skins. I've had better though. In fact, I've made better (sans handmade skins of course.) scallion pancakes - tsong yuo bing - scallion oil cakes Good number of layers. Needed some salt. The first time I had these deep fried. I prefer the pan fried version, call me a traditionalist. Coming from Seattle, it was nice to have some "real" Chinese food for a change. Even though it sounds like I'm complaining about most of the dished we ordered, I REALLY enjoyed my meal at Shanghai River! I can't wait to come back to Richmond and try Shanghai Wind. Heck, any of the "Shanghai" places! I saw Peking duck two ways on the menu. Should we come back to SR for this or is there a better place for Peking duck two ways in Vancouver?
  11. Tonight my friends and I had a going away party for our friend Emma. We hired Tibero Simone with La Figa to come to my house and give a cooking class. Tibero has been cooking all over the Seattle area for a few years, including stints at Crave and the Four Seasons. He prepared a 6 course dinner, while giving us lessons the whole time. It was around a 3.5 hour experience and he charged us only $60 a head for it. We started with Champagne mango salsa crostini. He started prepping the first 2 courses before the guests arrived. So that we would have something to munch on right when people showed up. Champagne mangoes, orange bell peppers, some jalepeno, italian parsley, and good olive oil. Very refreshing. He also prepared the mushroom spinach strudel for the guest as they arrived. portabella mushrooms, carrots, and basil, rolled in phyllo dough. Very nice. Our salad course was Volcano asparagus salad with orange dressing, butter lettuce, shaved fennel, monchego cheese, avocado, and truffle salt. He called this volcano asparagus because he got the dry pan really hot first, added some fleur de sel, then the raw asparagus, then, when everything was really hot in the pan, olive oil. The asparagus almost jumped out of the pan. Very cool! He showed us a great technique of cutting parchment paper to fit the bottom of a cake pan with the back of a knife. and mixed up a flourless chocolate cake. The pasta course was homemade gnocchi. We had so much fun rolling the gnocchi, I forgot to take pictures. Sorry! The sauce was very simple. Burnt onions (his words) with cherry tomatoes, some absil and mint, and fresh mozz. He added the gnocchi to the pan after it was cooked through and a few ladles of the pasta water. Very simple sauce but ddelicious nonetheless. I only got a pict of the early stages of the sauce: The main course was halibut cheek cartoccio with rocket parsley almond pesto; served with grilled belgian endives and wilted rapini. The sauce created from the pesto in the parchment pouch and the halibut juices were incredible! Dessert was the flourless chocolate cake with rasberry sauce. I learned that frozen rasberries are sweeter than fresh ones because the ones they freeze are overripe. I was amazed at how easy the sauce was to make. He just blended frozen rasberries with some sugar and strained it. All in all, it was a faboulous night of food and education. For cheaper than if we went out to eat. I highly recommend La Figa.
  12. And just to prove that we did not only eat on this trip: We drove down Lombard Street on the way to Napa. Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on the way out as well. I pointed out the Palace of Fine Arts and Alcatraz. Three birds, one stone! We even took in the Golden Gate on the way back to the airport too! Of course we were eating Bouchon Bakery Pastries at the time. What an incredible trip. Great food, great wine, great company, great setting. One of the best weekends of my life!
  13. Question? Out of all the wineries to go in Napa, how did you settle on Darioush and Cakebread? Both are very solid mid tier wines but a rather odd pair. Did you BYOW the half bottle? The whole roman thing is a little cheesy at Dariosh. I prefer tasting in garages and knowing that the price I am paying for is not covering the morgage (although as others will know I am one to talk). Your whole post is making me want to go back to SFO ASAP - and fueling my desire to blow off Bay Street big law and try out Market Street big law (only reason is so I am closer to Napa since the hours suck just as bad). Too bad the current price of real estate is so evil in the bay area. Nice to see Dariosh is still making bottles that can be used as weapons. ← Not being a wine expert, I asked two of my favorite chefs up in Seattle what wineries we should check out. Shannon Galusha of Veil suggested Cakebread (he lived in Napa for a while when he worked at the FL) William Belickis of Mistral suggested Darioush. I did mention to them that we didn't want to go to the touristy ones. And Darioush is meant to be Persian. Not my style, but still nicely executed. They did have my favorite chairs though: By Le Corbusier
  14. We were probably average spenders at Bobby's. Apps, main, dessert, a few bottles of wine around the middle of the list. It seemed to me the server kept the whole 100. She did tell us to take care of the doorman and escort though. Definitlely talent (or maybe just watching enough movies and reading threads like these), not beauty! Note: In the cab on the way to the airport, we told the driver about our experiences tipping people (this was all new to us). He mentioned that what we were practicing was not called tipping in Vegas, but "Toking." It seems a tip is for services already received, while a toke is an advanced payment for future services. Found that to be interesting.
  15. My friend's and I were dining at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Cesar's Palace last year. We asked the server about were we should go after the meal, she said this new club called Pure just opened on the other side of the casino. We looked out the window of Mesa Grill only to see hundreds of people in line waiting to pay the $30 cover to get in. We slipped her a hundred dollar bill and asked her if she could get us in. She made a phone call, and after we paid our bill, some guy walked across the casino to get us, and escorted us into the club. We tipped him $20 and the doorman $20 for a grand total of $140 spent. $40 less than the cover (there were 6 of us.) I've learned that in places like Vegas and NY, this technique works great. In Seattle, it doesn't buy you much more than a dirty look.
  16. I should also note that Ling and I asked to have 3 half bottles paired with our meal in the $50-$60 range. The sommelier chose some very nice wines that actually came in under what we asked. Klien Constantina, "Vin de Constance" Constantia, South Africa, 2000 Ancien, Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2003 Renard, Syrah, Dry Creek, 2002 and with our foie gras course we had glasses of Brundlmayer, Reisling, "Zobinger Heiligenstein-alte reben," Kamptal, 2003 The service was impeccable. I can't think of a single hiccup that night. We had our main server, the sommelier, and one other guy at our table all night. Plus numerous other, too many to count, bringing out courses and filling water glasses and bread. Aside: We had 3 choices for bread, parisien baguette, ciabata, and some wheat kind. Ling asked, "Would it be gauche if I asked for all three?" When he came back with the bread for the cheese course, he went straight to Ling and placed the basket on the table for her! They found a perfect balance of extremely professional service, without feeling stodgy and stuffy. Was it worth $400 a head? Is any meal? I think of it as a once in a lifetime experience. It was one of the best meals I've had in my life. (But I also have meals that cost less than $10 on that list.)
  17. Here are a few shots we got at Cakebread Cellars: We took the hour and a half tour of the facility which culminated with a tasting of 6 different wines. I guess only in wine country do you not feel guilty about drinking before noon. My favorite was the non-reserve Chardonay. I found it to have much more intersting flavors than the reserve, which was much smoother. We learned all about the Cakebread family and the methods in which they make wine. I learned a lot about malic acid conversion.
  18. 1. See Ling's response. I was just eating chocolate. 2. I'd recommend any number of other places for that kind of $ over MM right now. 3. Quince has risen to the top of my list. I'd also consider driving across the Bay Bridge to Chez Panisse Cafe (or downstairs if you can get a table) That was one of the best meals of our trip! Also... the couple we talked to at Bistro Don Giovanni really make me want to try Fleur de Lys.
  19. I would try to get to the Getty Center. The art collection isn't great, but the views of the city and architectural setting is fantastic. And if you end up on the West side, I'd suggest: Lares - my favorite carnitas in LA not from a roach coach. Versailles - Garlic chicken is just this side of heaven There's an IN-N-Out Burger in Westwood Village If you go to MOCA, you must get to Olvera street. It is very touristy, but worth checking out. And that puts you right next door to Phillepe's the Original. This is where the French Dip sandwich was invented. A must stop for any LA trip. Make sure you ask for "double dipped"
  20. After the Ferry Market, Ling indulged me as I wanted to see one of my favorite buildings in person. Herzog and DeMeuron's new DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. I know this is not food related, but I just wanted to prove that everything we did on this trip did not revolve around food. Back on topic: Dinner was at Michael Mina in the lobby of the Westin St. Francis right on Union Square. The room has very high ceilings and corinthian columns throughout the space giving it a classical yet modern look. Not my taste, but I liked the high ceilings. We started with the Lobster 3 ways amuse. The only one that stood out for me was the corn dog. Very distinct lobster flavor. It was served with a dijon mustard sauce. The other two ways, I forgot. Ling? For those of you unfamiliar, Michael Mina is known for presenting one ingredient with 3 different flavors. All on one specifically designed plate. A very interestingh concept to me, and the main reason I wanted to try his restaurant. Ling and I decided to order the 3 course menu in which we select a starter, main, and dessert. We each chose differnt items so that we could trade and try double the amount of food. Course 1: Seared Diver Scallops. Served with... Meyer Lemon and Osetra Caviar Butternut squash and black truffle and scarlet beet and Maine lobster By far the best of the three was the squash and truffle combination. The truffle was imbeded in some sort of pan fried cake under the scallop which provided a very nice contrast in textures. The caviar and lobster versions both seemed a bit bland to me. Although I liked the caviar second most and the lobster last. Roasted Foie Gras - Torchon Served with... Lychee nut, star anise Maui Gold Pinapple, vanilla seckel pear, port wine We both found the seared portion overdone, and the torchon portion to be miniscule. The flavors were good, but they just needed a bit more kick (for lack of a better term.) I enjoyed the pineapple one the most. Course 2: Kurobuta Pork Lion, cheek, and belly with peppercorn spaetzle Fuji Apple, red cabbage, cinnamon pineapple, brussel sprouts, star anise passion fruit, savoy cabbage, nutmeg I enjoyed the pineapple one the most. The slightly sourness of the pineapple complemented the pork flavor very well. I was really looking forward to the belly, as I order this all the time in Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. It might be because I'm used to the stronger asian braising flavors, but I found these to be very bland tasting. The prok cheeks served with spaetzle were all very tasty! The rack of lamb pictures are on Ling's camera. We'll have to wait for her to post about those. Dessert: Citrus Grapefruit ginger pie, ginger ice cream. I loved the ginger ice cream, but I love ginger anything! The pie was... ehhh. Meyer lemon cheesecake, meyer lemon sherbet. Fairly pedestrian to me. Not very memorable. Key lime napoleon, Saffron ice cream. One of the few things Ling and I disagreed on. I loved the saffron ice cream. It was not very sweet, alomst a savory quality to it. She found it inedible. The chocolate desserts are also on Ling's camera. We finished the meal with some min popsicles. Oreo with white chocolate shell and Vanilla with Valrhona chocolate shell. A nice touch at the end. I should also mention that Ling and I ordered a half bottle of burgundy to go with our main courses. The bottle did not show up until 15 minutes after our mains had arrived. We took small bites and eventually stopped eating so that we could enjoy our wine with our meal. When it arrived, I noticed that the vintage was not the one printed on the wine list (2002 on the list, 2001 on the bottle.) This was not a big deal, but I would have liked them to point this out to me, rather than the other way around. All in all, the food was above average but not extraordinary, the service was great but for those two minor incidents I mentioned above. They were, in fact, very patient with us as it took a while for some in our party to figure out the bill (partially due to my math errors ). I might give it another try after I try every other place i need to try in SF. 6.5/10 for me.
  21. I was warned by my local friends that this was not a place for food. Since it was Ling's first trip to SF, I thought it would be nice to have drinks where she could take in the entire city. It was a perfectly clear night as well. I was told that the Carnelian Room was a bit less touristy than the Top of the Mark. Although I must admit, the decor of the CR lounge leaves quite a bit to be desired. But we did enjoy our corner window table.
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