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Everything posted by rdailey

  1. I live about 10 minutes north and I'd say there are a lot of great choices in Marin... I agree that Emporio Rulli is a delicious bakery and is so enjoyable for a morning pastry and espresso. Some of my current favorites are: Thai - Royal Thai (San Rafael), arguably one of the best in Marin Indian - Lotus (San Rafael) (lotusrestaurant.com) Sushi - Sushi Ran (Sausalito), not cheap, but incredible (sushiran.com) Mexican - Taqueria San Jose (San Rafael), great bay area-style taqueria Puerto Rican - Sol Food (San Rafael), crazy green building, great food (solfoodrestaurant.com) Burgers - In-N-Out Burger (MillValley), the best fast food style burgers, search various threads for reports (innoutburger.com) Seafood - Fish (Sausalito) (331fish.com) Steak - Boca (Novato), run by George Morrone of Aqua in SF (bocasteak.com) Also, be sure to visit the Marin Farmers Market on Sunday, outside of the Saturday one at the SF Ferry Building it is one of the best in the Bay Area... Brioche Bakery from SF sets up here and has incredible pastry too. Enjoy!
  2. I'm a huge Thomas Keller fan. I have been to FL and Bouchon in Yountville on many occasions and I have never been disappointed and after all of the posts here, I had to try Bouchon at the Venetian for breakfast. There were only about 6-8 tables taken when we arrived around 9:30am, but the hostess wanted to seat us well away from the rest of the patrons and the large windows which let in the morning sun. We asked for a table closer to the windows and were granted one. I will never understand why this happens in restaurants... but regardless... to the food. We ordered the cheese Danish, scrambled eggs with bacon, and the omelette special which was of the Denver variety and served with breakfast sausage. The eggs arrived with sausage and the cheese Danish did not arrive at all. Both issues were quickly remedied, but not the kind of delivery I have come to expect from a Keller restaurant. The eggs, as mentioned above, were served rather overcooked, and seemed a bit rubbery. The bacon ranged from way overcooked to underdone. Sadly, the sausage did not taste any different than what was available at the buffet. The omelette was properly done, but lacked any real compelling reason they were charging the prices that the were ($14). On the brighter side the Danish was quite tasty, definitely something you'd find at a top rate bakery. All in all, however, I left feeling disappointed. I spent over $50, for a breakfast that was no different than I could have had at almost any other cafe in town. The room was nice, the server had a nice smile, the coffee was hot, but I felt taken. Perhaps, I will stick to Yountville.
  3. Just north of downtown and a short cab ride from the Staples Center is Phillipe's. It is a downtown LA original, that is known for its amazing French dip sandwiches. Often there is a line but that usually tells me something about the place. Try a lamb dip sandwich, single-dipped or double-dipped.
  4. I was using Apple Music Store via iTunes. Then I searched around PodcastAlley.com. They both seemed to have a pretty similar selection. After listening to several of them now, I can't help but think of the SNL skit with Alec Baldwin as Pete Schwetty every time.
  5. I realize that podcasting is a pretty new technology, but there seems to be a fair amount of food related ones already. I was curious to see if there are other fellow geeks here that can recommend some culinary ones worth getting. I did happen to find one called "All You Can Eat" which had lengthy interviews with both Bourdain and the Canadian chef at Lumiere, Rob Feenie. As well, I have been subscribing to the podcast from KCRW, Good Food, which is also full of interesting content.
  6. This wine bar in San Francisco is drawing a lot of local interest. It has quite a gimmick to make the wine bar experience unique. VinoVenue Tasting events usually seem to be a great draw of patrons. I used to frequent an excellent wine bar in southern California that had scheduled tastings conducted by the winemakers themselves. Its great PR and selling opportunities for everyone involved and the customers learn a lot. I would imagine this would produce even more business. A good wholesaler would set these up when the winemakers are in town, touring around the country or happen to be in the neighborhood for trade events.
  7. Here is a brief review I gave from a dinner I had there in December. I was not expecting much, as I wasn't a big fan of Flay, the TV personality. The restaurant was really enjoyable, however. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...ndpost&p=793325
  8. Just got back from Vegas and wanted to add a report... MESA GRILL - Thought we would try it out, because we are big fans of southwestern cooking and wanted to see what Flay does in real life as oppossed to TV. The restaurant has a great layout and we had a great table to see Flay actually cooking and expediting in the kitchen... The waiter said that he shows up about every 3 weeks and stays for several days. The service was excellent, and handled all of our needs smoothly and with a smile. A beautiful scallop dish that had a pungent spice crust and a orange-tamarind dressing arrived alongside a chile-laden pumpkin soup with pomagranate seeds. Both were excellent and well thought out. A 16 spice chicken entree was perfectly cooked and served with the obligatory mashed potatoes. My pork tenderloin, which tasted like some of the best BBQ pork I have had in a while, was accompanied by a delicate and sweet corn tamale. A creme brulee tart for dessert was also a hit, especially the tangy mango sorbet and fresh mango and blackberries that were on top. Overall, it was a great surprise since we didn't know what to expect and had not been to either of his NY restaurants. I give it a big recommendation!!! DELMONICO - We had a previous experience that was outstanding, so we decided we would return. Unfortunately, the dinner did not live up to our previous trip. Our service was pleasant but lackluster. The waiter suggested the signature barbeque shrimp, but they were uneventful and had me wishing I had tried that night's gumbo. Our steaks were decent, but had been overly charred on the outside. As well, my medium-rare ended up being more like medium well. Dessert was the peach pie with buttermilk ice cream. It was a small tart with a chewy crust, with more whipped cream than anything else on the plate. Overall, very disappointing. CRAVINGS (Mirage buffet) - This new buffet certainly has many different types of food and there were a few tasty gems among the steam tables, but it is by no means revolutionary. The BBQ brisket, kung pao chicken and moist pork tenderloin were nice surprises. The dim sum choices were enjoyable as well. It was the first time I had seen a full bar at a buffet, although it remained empty throughout our meal. Many items still represented the more common buffet problems - the morning's scrambled eggs were atrocious, bread pudding was scary, sushi looked plastic and un appetizing.
  9. rdailey


    For the level of food and service that Piperade offers, I have not found a better value and enjoyable evening. Their wine list has some incredible Spanish wines at extremely reasonable prices. They even have lots of free street parking!!!! [edit for grammar]
  10. Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon are both great choices. I recommend them, as well. Oh, how I wish I could have Jeanty's rabbit terrine and one of those big bowl of mussels for dinner tonight!
  11. rdailey

    Per Se

    Ah, the mysteries of Per Se! Can you clarify what you ordered, and what it cost? You've listed two different fifteen-course tasting menus. My impression is that the "regular" menu offers a single nine-course tasting menu every day. However, if you ask for it, you can pay more for what's variously been described as a 1x1, a 2x2, or a VIP menu. What did you do? It was recently referred to by our captain at FL, as the "extended Chef's Tasting Menu" with wine pairings.
  12. Um, that's 29 percent higher, not 29 cents. Got it...thanks. Sheesh, I guess I should have said 37 cents as that is the 29% difference per half gallon versus the national average and my local supermarket. Only 8 cents off...
  13. I generally don't think about the cost of things like milk, bread, eggs, etc when I'm at the store. Is it really a cause for concern to pay a 29 cent difference from the average per/.5gal? I hate to get screwed by the man, but I'm more worried about paying my mortgage, property taxes, etc. My food costs are so minimal compared to other things. Of course, I would add that our milk tastes better in California. I pay for that too, everytime I cross it. Its been a few months, shouldn't GGT be raising the toll again... [edit for clarity]
  14. rdailey

    fingerling potatoes

    Duck fat sounds great. I'll have to try that since I love fries cooked with duck fat. However, I like to do them with some bacon, and oddly enough, some fava beans. Sounds weird, but tastes great.
  15. In each of my four visits, they did call. This is spread out over the last four years so unless this changed recently, like no longer allowing walk-ups to make a reservation, they should call. But then, I always call as close to 48 hours of the reservation as possible. This means I usually call at 5:30pm two days before hand. And not knowing where I'm staying two months ahead of time when I make the reservation, I give them my home phone number. It's a nice little treat when you come home to listen to that voice mail, something to reflect upon. Hmmph...Not sure what their actual policy is... I've been 4 times, and I went twice in the last couple of months. They have yet to call, and each time instructed me to call and confirm with the confirmation number. I live locally so perhaps that has something to do with it. I know I would not want to risk not confirming two days prior and counting on them to call... To important to risk.
  16. They should have given you another number to call for confirmation. It is 1-800-944-1224. When you call two days ahead, you will get an answering machine that tells you to leave all pertinent info for the confirmation. from what I understand from my experiences, they do NOT call to confirm. Have a great time Jelly!
  17. Wow, Russ. That sounds like quite a special night. Chef Keller deserves it after such a tough year. FYI - Looks like FL has gone back to 7 days a week and lunch on Fri, Sat, and Sun, 11-1. Also the reservation line is open 10-5:30p. (this alwayas seems funny to me as on most days they are booked by about 10:30am.)
  18. Actually Merus does not make Cab Franc, only Cab. One year they did bottle splits of their Cab for the French Laundry, but that was only one year, (2000 I think), and they do not have any partnership or projects together with Thomas Kellar, just a mutual admiration there. You are right, it was Modicum not Merus Cab Franc, that she had sorry. I got them confused. Weird names, start with M... In my later post, I got it right though.
  19. You are right to some degree Robyn, it is over the top and gluttonous, but I can't think of too many other places I'd like to act on that sin. As I said, I had no idea what was coming out for each course, but it is all so damn good, that it is "difficult" to not eat it all. By the time the cheese course came around we were very full, but a 5 minute break walking around the garden and the very refreshing passionfruit sorbet, and I was fine - dessert was no problem. Melkor, I agree as well, to needing a bit of detoxifying afterwards. This time the food didn't effect us as much as I think the wine did.
  20. Well, Carolyn, I hate to give away my secrets...but, for you... Actually I have posted before, that the best time to try and make reservations is when the restaurant reopens after a hiatus. They have 2 monthes of reservations to fill up, as opposed to just a single night. Persistence is the other secret, I hit redial for all 4 hours, and got through once on the day they returned from the closure. The next day I called for another 1 1/2 hours before getting the second. Both reservations were very important to me and I also lucked out by not having to work over those two days. I don't plan to return for a long while now. The restaurant's approach to this issue does seem inconsistent. I certainly don't think going 3 prior times makes you a regular and I'm absolutely not a VIP. I know they do track quite a bit of information about you in their computer system though (based on your phone #), so perhaps they were willing to offer it to us considering my other recent visits. However, most likely, they are offering it the way they have been at Per Se. Interestingly, it seems the dinner menu has been pared back. Both times I have been recently, there has only been two choices for fish and two choices for meat. In the past, there was much more to choose from...
  21. I have been twice before and once only four weeks ago, but nothing compared to the dinner I had last Saturday night. I had the good fortune to secure reservations for a 6:30pm seating. Upon arriving with my best friend David, I immediately felt something was different, I seemed to actually feel an aura about the restaurant that I haven't experienced before. Little did I know what was to happen. We were greeted by Larry Nadeau, the maitre d' who brought us glasses of champagne and sparkling wine and gave us a few minutes in the garden before promptly seating us at 6:30. Our captain, Michael, who was the dark haired gentleman that presided over Tony Bourdain's table in the now infamous Cook's Tour episode, brought menus and introduced himself. It was the usual 9-course chef's tasting, 9-course vegetarian menu and 5 course dinner menu After having been a few times before,ordering seemed to be difficult for us. We wanted the chef's tasting menu, but there were many items on the dinner menu that looked great as well. As we hemmed and hawed, Michael approached and offered something I had not been offered before - the chef's extended tasting menu.... He explained it would be two DIFFERENT menus of 15-18 courses of Chef Keller's choice for an additional $50. SOLD! Put the menus away and let's get started, however what about wine? How would we possibly choose the appropriate wines to span all of the courses? Michael explained that they will also do wine pairings with small pours with each course. No brainer again. However, I forgot to ask the cost of the wine pairings and spend small parts of the evening wondering about second jobs on the weekends. Turns out, even after pouring 71 D'Yquem, the tasting was $100. Considering, most half bottles on the menu are over $40 and the corkage is $75, I thought it was a deal for the 13 wines poured. It was all very exciting. A meal with no menu - at the mercy of Chef Keller - a pretty good place to be. At the time, I wondered aloud if my feelings were comparable to what people feel that are going for their first sky dive, a calculated risk, that no doubt will thrill and amaze. I have never actually heard of the French Laundry offering an extended menu and wine pairings before, although I have read that Per Se was doing such things. Seems very interesting that such an offering wasn't made on prior trips... (sidenote - I completely forgot about the new Chef de Cuisine, Doug Pslatis, and to see if he had begun working in the kitchen yet.) Now before I provide the run down of the menu, I must say that the service was the finest I have ever experienced. All of the staff was perfect - attentive but distanced, charming but professional, prompt but leisurely. Larry Nadeau checked on us after around course 12, Michael, our captain, actually encouraged us after hour 3 to take a stroll for a few minutes and stretch our legs. The bus boy, (not sure of the proper term for this position considering he was in a suit) not only explained what kind of coffee they were serving, but gave us a brief description of the company, where the beans came from and the type of roasting it was subjected to. They staff is just like that there...ask about the napkins and you may be subjected to a explanation as to the type of linen used and why Keller felt it was best. I'm sure I'm going to miss some details so please forgive me. Here is what was served and the accompanying wines. Four of the courses were the same for both of us, only about six courses were on the menus and some of the wines stretched over two courses. I will be happy to provide further descriptions of individual dishes if anyone wants or you can PM me, but I figured the post would just be too much if I did that. However I must describe that the pasta course arrived along with the maitre d' and a locked box which contained a black truffle the size of a man's fist, which from about 2-3 tablespoons of shavings were grated over each pasta dish. As well, both the foie and beef were presented tableside prior to slicing. All very dramatic! It was very difficult near the end of the meal to finish dishes. We were very full around the cheese course. At one point I even thought we had made a mistake.... Not a dish was disappointing, in fact my friend exclaimed three seperate times that the particular dish he was enjoying was the best thing he had ever eaten. There is no doubt, on that night FL was back and better than ever. Canape Cornet of Atlantic Salmon Cornet with Red Onion Creme Fraiche Soup Avocado Soup with Red Pepper "Bavarois" Carrot Puree with Curry Mousse Rene Geoffrey Brut Rose NV Caviar Oysters and Pearls Cauliflower Pana Cotta with Iranian Oesetra Caviar Mukune Root of Innocence Sake Escargot Jacobsen Farms Escargot with Perigord Truffle Mousse and Cepe Mushrooms 2002 Louis Michel Chablis Egg Pickled "Deviled" Egg with Perigord Truffle "Pop Tart" White Truffle Custard with Ragout of Perigord Truffles Salad Hawaiian Hearts of Palm with Breakfast Radishes Haricot Vert Salad with Roasted Pepper Tapenade 2002 Movia Ribolla Pasta Handcut Tagliatelle with Perigord Truffles Sweet White Corn Angolotti with Corn Pudding 2001 HDV Chardonnay Fish Atlantic Cod with Summer Beans and Thyme Infused Oil Rouget with Red Pepper Tapenade, Roasted Spring Onions 2003 Isabel & Claude Fonquerle Minervois L'Oustal Blanc White Lobster Peas & Carrots - Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Carrot Ginger Emulsion and Pea Shoots Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Braised Fennel, Crystallized Fennel Chip and Sauce "Noilly Pratt" Foie Gras Whole Roasted Foie Gras with Jacobsen's Farm "George IV" Peaches, Toasted Green Almonds and Marinated Peaches (presented whole at the table) 1971 Ch. D'Yquem Meat #1 Ballotine of Four Story Hills Cuisse de Poularde with Melted Endive, Poached Dried Apricots and Apricot "Coulis" Pan Roasted Liberty Valley Duck with Roasted Mission Figs, Sauce "Epice" 2000 Joseph Swan Pinot Noir Meat #2 Snake River Ranch Calotte de Bouef with Sauce Bordelaise, Braised Hen-of-the-Woods and Cepes (presented whole at the table) 2000 Modicum Cabernet Sauvignon Cheese Pecorino Toscano with Tomato Tarte Tatin and Basil Vinagrette St. Marcellan with Roasted Pepper and Rye Cracker 1999 Kiralydvar Tokaj Sorbet Cassis Sorbet with Plum Soup Passionfruit Sorbet with Roasted Maui Pineapple, Coconut Bavarois Dessert #1 Coffee and Donuts 199 Forteta Dr La Luna Muscato Passito Dessert #2 Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Mousse Timbale with Espresso Anglaise Silverado Trail Strawberry Shortcake - Strawberry Terrine with Balsamic Glaze, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Creme Fraiche Cake Chambers Rosewood Muscat NV Mignardise Peppercorn Pot de Creme Vanilla Creme Brulle Petit Fours Equator Coffee Now, if you have stuck with me through this lengthy post, was perhaps our favorite part. Upon settling the bill, our captain asked if we would like to "visit" the kitchen. Duh! We were taken back through the hallway and greeted warmly by Chef Keller at the pass, who we thanked profusely for the culinary night of our lives and wished each other a happy Fourth. He looked tired from his new bi-coastal duties and we suggested he get some rest, defiantly he said he couldn't stop and had to just keep moving. We are so thankful for that! What a night!
  22. To get this thread back on track... I had the dinner of my life last Saturday at French Laundry. Needless to say, it will take me a little while to put together a full report for those interested, as it was quite an extensive evening of about 32 courses (2 different menus for myself and friend and most courses were off the menu), 13 wines, and 4 1/2 liver-damaging hours.
  23. FYI, Thomas Keller uses Bellwether Farms (Calif) lamb for a few months in the spring and early summer, the rest of the year uses the Elysian Farms (Penn) lamb. He prefers the Bellwether Farms meat. Not sure about Trio...
  24. Well Mike, sounds like you enjoyed it all in all. I forgot to mention the coffee service. Although we had cappuccino's, the coffee and espresso was excellent and very well done. I'll never understand why more high end restaurants don't put more attention on the coffee/espresso after such a focused and detailed dinner. (ie French Laundry will offer choices of breads, butters, salts, etc, but no choice in coffee???) As for the sashimi, I would guess that the reason he served it in the chef's tasting would be because the fish was extremely high quality and felt that it did not need to be covered up by a sauce or other adornment. Was the sashimi at least cut properly? Did it taste good? It certainly seems to coincide with the Asian themes that Chef Gras uses, but I understand your point. It is odd that he would do that considering the abundance of creativity on his menus.
  25. Foie gras is far less inhumane than the Tyson chicken most people in this country eat for dinner every night! If you really care about animal rights you should start there. Foie gras is being targeted only because it is a luxury product. This entire law is based on emotionally-reactive misinformation!!! Hey Mushroom, I wrote nearly the exact same thing further back on this thread. I can't believe that there aren't more people on eGullet upset by this legislation, but then again it is the California board. I even made the same comparison you did about Tyson chickens crammed into little cages. You could also say that pulling a fish from the ocean and letting it suffocate is cruel as well...no law about this...YET! Most people see this law as a way to make a few geese a little more comfortable before they die - and who wouldn't want that...but at its roots it is really blatent pandering by John Burton to highly funded and committed animal rights terrorists. The same kooks who nearly destroyed Sonoma Foie Gras' small cafe in Sonoma a couple years ago. The same things were done to the fur industry. The real question is, does it end here? What is next? Something tells me that the animal rights groups will not be satisfied. PS - There are too many laws to count that are based on emotionally-reactive misinformation. [edit for grammar]
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