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Everything posted by tanabutler

  1. I got such a sweet surprise in the mail today. The Blue Hill newsletter arrived (Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall/Winter 2004-2005) from Sleepy Hollow. It's double-sided, one for the City News and one for Country News (flip it over and turn it upside down). The Country News side features an article on a "young lady farmer" named Sara, and it is Sara who sent it to me. She is the daughter of my dear friend, Betsy, a chef whom I took to the dinner at Blue Hill Stone Barns in October, 2003, long before they opened. EDIT: duh. I hooked Sara up with the folks at Blue Hill, and she and her boyfriend got themselves hired as the farmer's assistant and the farmer's wife's assistant. Dan Barber interviewed her for the piece in the newsletter, for which she was rewarded with a dinner at BHSB. Like everything Blue Hill produces, it is tasteful, earnest, and lovely. The recipe is for "Fall Chicken Soup for _________" (insert "young lady farmers" or "expectant mothers"). The "expectant mother" is Blue Hill Wine Director/GM, Pam Walton, who by now has probably delivered her baby boy. Happy news. Sweet news.
  2. Ooooh, I love the Kathryn Kennedy suggestion. Also, along the lines of Bargetto, I thought about Soquel Vineyards (Paul Bargetto was one in the snowstorm), and since I live in Soquel, the terroir thing would be really emphasized. I had a red of theirs that knocked my fishnets off. Good suggestions, thanks, Samgiovese!
  3. As posted in the California board in the Ferry Plaza marketplace thread: So I came home and Googled, and found this: And this: They've got it in D.C. for $15 a bottle, though it costs $18 on the West Coast. Why are you still sitting there? Time's a-wasting!
  4. Hey, that's cheating! I could call him myself! (And now I will have to, since he doesn't specify which bottle, and they've got seven 2000 reds and five 2000 whites.) Thank you for noticing, CtznCane, that I specifically requested not only California wines, but wines local to the Santa Cruz mountains, where Manresa is situated. For this dinner, I am not interested in imported wines. I want to show off the local flavor, which is spectacular. Paco has traveled, as I said, the world over, and I am certain that he will be impressed with Manresa, but a little more informed about why we chose to move to this area, and remain here despite the high cost of living. In other words, it's its own little slice of Eden. I will also recommend that he visit Bonny Doon's tasting rooms, as I am a big fan of BD (the wines and the people who work there). Randall Grahm recently supplied many wines for an Outstanding in the Field farm dinner that took place in a redwood grove in Bonny Doon, which featured foraged foods and Harold McGee. Off to quiz Michael Kean on the Testarossa choices. Feel free to keep the suggestions coming, as long as they are specifically Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay region wines, in keeping with the theme here. Thanks, gang of many.
  5. I had lunch earlier in the week at the Ferry Plaza, for the first time ever at Mistral Rotisserie Provençale. I had been there in June, but thought then the food would be better suited to a wintry day. At last, that day came. Along with white beans and ratatouille, I ordered the Niman Ranch pork shoulder. With sides of spicy cranberry sauce and the best mustard I've had in years, it was absolutely delectable. Best of all, we took our plates to the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and ate in the bar. My friend had a flight of three reds, and I had a single glass of Huber Pinot Noir. One of her reds zinged me, though, and I came home with a bottle of Clos de Sixte Lirac, which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. It was wonderfully fragrant, with cassis and cherry notes in it, and it went perfectly with the pungent mustard. It was a charming wine. I'll be back to Mistral, most definitely.
  6. We ate at Gabriella Café this week (Santa Cruz) and had risotto with Dungeness crab and wild mushrooms and Meyer lemon. Dear God, was it fabulous. The baby sucked it down like the vacuum cleaner that he is.
  7. So my ex-husband's wonderful daddy is coming to town in January. He has traveled the entire world (including the South Pole), and he loves nothing more than a fabulous meal, which he can afford in abundance. I told them about Manresa, and the papa is going to take my ex and his wife for the chef's tasting. I told my ex that he could make an excellent impression on his daddy if he brings a bottle or two of really good wine. He likes this idea: his father won't let him pick up the tab, but it will make him (the son) look like a grown-up. I was thinking that a couple of bottles from the Santa Cruz mountains would be appropriate, since much of Manresa's menu is from the region. Assuming they would enjoy red wine with their meal (they're just that way), does anyone have any good suggestions for a bottle (or two) in the $50 range? Something distinct, perhaps unusual? Ridge is always the obvious choice, but I wanted to see what others thought. I know this is something I could ask the restaurant directly, but figured the collective knowledge here would have a chance to flex its muscles. This map might help. Thanks!
  8. Congrats, Chef Sean! Give Nashville a big kiss for me when you come home!
  9. I had wines from a few wineries last year when photographing an outdoor dinner at Blue Hill Stone Barns: October 12, 2003. The winemakers were: Fred Frank, Dr. Konstantin Frank, Vinifera Wine Cellars Trent Preszler, Bedell Cellars Christopher Tracy, Channing Daughters Winery All of the wines I had were wonderful, in particular I liked the Bedell Cellars Merlot. I seem to remember something called "Churchill," but can't remember and can't find my photo. (It stood out because it's my husband's last name.) That group, Outstanding in the Field, also did a dinner on Long Island in September, and featured Channing Daughters wines. They will be returning to the North Fork next year on September 17. I think you would love these events. I did not take these photos! Photos of Channing Daughters: looks like a totally cool place. I hope I can get to the Long Island dinner next year. I kind of have to pick and choose which ones I get to go to. I'm definitely going to insist on Hawaii, Alaska, and Mexico.
  10. Um, actually, not. Unless you mean there and back? I agree, though, it's not exactly a day trip. Paso Robles would be a good jaunt out of town, but to haul butt up to San Francisco would be a pretty big commitment. If you're broke, be aware that gas is over $2/gallon now.
  11. I just wanted to bump this up and see if anyone's been lately.
  12. You can still have the chef's tasting, PD99. You just can't have the wine pairings. I took my sixteen-year-old daughter and her friend there last month: her as a late birthday present, and him because he'd survived being stuck in a blizzard for six days with nothing to eat but five peanuts a day. I think two connoisseurs were hatched on the spot! You'll love it. Happy early birthday!
  13. I think Russ Parsons lives in Long Beach. I think I'd let him lead me by a rope to anywhere in Long Beach he recommended. Hopefully that wouldn't be to the slaughter. But BBQ? I'm up for that.
  14. I can't answer that, but I bet a call to the restaurant could. I would also think there must be some good Indian restaurants in Las Vegas. Will try to find out more. Good luck!
  15. 1) Rosemary's. Check out the dinner menu, and look at the sides. Very caring preparation: seasonal, artful, highly recommended here and elsewhere. 2) Canaletto in the Venetian. Yes, it's a grill and rosticerria, but they have lots of pastas that are vegetarian. Not overly pricey, and the food is truly Italian. 3) Borders Grill in the Mandalay Bay. Excellent, mid-priced Mexi food, which always has plenty of vegetarian options. 4) Broken record: Lotus of Siam! 5) Wolfgang Puck at MGM Grand has some dandy salads and pizzas. I'm sure other options, as well. The food is GOOD. Again, mid-priced fare. When you say you're vegetarians, does that mean real vegetarians, or the kind who eat fish? (Seriously. You can't believe the people I know who claim to be vegetarians who eat animals!)
  16. Yow, you can have open containers in parking lots? Not here!
  17. You're talking about Manresa, right?My experience in traffic is very different than yours, I guess. I go to and from San Francisco once or twice a month, and I rarely encounter traffic. I avoid the South Bay between 3:30 and 6:30 and seem to do fine.
  18. Yeah, too bad the link to the eG article on the menu at El Bulli is dead, too.
  19. Our Trader Joe's opened about twelve or thirteen years ago, and has quadrupled in size, taking over store after store that failed in the mall where it sits. It has a fresh fish and meat section, filled with selections from Niman Ranch and other respected producers of meat. There is a sizable organic produce section (people in Santa Cruz being pretty adamant about having access to things organic). And there is one whole wall with artisanal, organic tequilas (over 300 kinds!) that benefit co-ops of people of Mexico and Central America. Okay, I'm kidding about the tequila.
  20. I figure if you're asking where to go for a completely amazing meal, it doesn't hurt to mention that you have get a mind-blowing one just a short distance farther away...with a lot more bang for the buck. Especially if money is no object: the bang is just as big and the bucks don't count. Think "Whose Line Is It Anyway" for foodies. No harm in recommending, is there?
  21. Tommy, you know not to eat from the buffet, right, but to order from the menu? Wait, yes, you do--I see you've been there before from the Lotus of Siam thread. I just sent my ex and his wife to LOS over Thanksgiving weekend. He was skeptical about Nim Ka Tod (the sausage app) but telephoned the next day to rave about the flavor. He was less happy with the sea bass (I told him to get catfish, the big chicken). Next time I bet he takes my advice!
  22. RG, I've got "The Girls of Hooters Valentine's Day Surprise" cookbook, if you want to swap me something similar.
  23. For anyone wrestling with the Auto-Focus issues of the Canon PowerShot Pro S1 camera, there is a new firmware update available that supposedly addresses this issue. http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/pspro1/firmware-e.html I performed the upgrade last night, and will give it a proper test tomorrow evening, when I'm photographing a Slow Food dinner for the chef.
  24. I wasn't offended, but amused. I'm always the dragger, not the draggee!
  25. Fifth Floor recently lost its amazing chef, Laurent Gras, and I would give it some time before Melissa Perello hits her stride there. She is very young and very green. (I will decline details on how surprised I am that she inherited that position. I don't think she will last. That is based solely on one meal I had this summer, which was not in her then-restaurant, Charles Nob Hill.) May I please suggest that you consider Manresa in Los Gatos? Jay Rayner from the London Observer visited recently, on a weeks-long trip in the states. He ate at Per Se and wrote an article about Thomas Keller, titled something like "Is this the best chef in the world?" And then he went to Manresa. And then he had his socks knocked off. Or bonnets, or biscuits, or whatever the Brits call them. Read this. I finally got to go myself, and I had foie gras two different ways (and I hate foie gras) but I loved David Kinch's foie gras, so I guess he can make anything taste good. Actually, brussels sprouts would be the litmus test. I want to shave my tongue after I taste them. From everything I've read of Mina, I would decline. It seems self-conscious and pretentious to a painful point, and who can enjoy a meal in those circumstances? That is seriously one more reason I suggest Manresa. We were so comfortable there, and it can't possibly be because we are ultra-rich and stylish and carried our network devices in there. I did see people who were very, very dressed-up, and I also saw little old Asian ladies in nice pantsuits. It seemed to me that one could dress up or be moderately dressed-up and enjoy the evening freely. Hey, I just realized you're the one who made that post in the Alinea thread. I liked your post. When is your upcoming birthday? Ciao for now.
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