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Heartlander's San Francisco Report


Zeemanb
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So I happened to be in the bay area for a couple of weeks…… and fortunately knew far enough in advance to do plenty of research, and work through the painstaking process of narrowing the trip down to a manageable list of meals. I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance to visit again, so I wanted to “max out” the experience and still accomplish the business goals that brought me to the area in the first place. Some general observations…..first, for any of my KC friends reading this; we don’t have traffic in the Midwest. We just don’t. The triangle at rush hour….I-435 and Metcalf during construction…I-35 from 95th to 635 with an overturned trailer……it’s all child’s play. And lucky me, a few minutes after I land at SFO I’m on the 101, heading towards the bay bridge. In reality, the traffic wasn’t bad at all at noon, I just have a panic attack inducing fear of heights and bridges, sooooo I guess you could say that a trip to Berkeley upon arrival was a little stressful for me. But I HAD TO go pay homage to one of the greats before heading down to Santa Clara…..

******Disclaimer: In many pictures, you’ll notice that the food is not very pristine on the plate. That’s just from me being two or three bites into a dish before I remembered to take a quick pic. This usually happened, but not always, in relation to where I was at with the wine tasting.******

CHEZ PANISSE

I’m one of those weirdos who genuinely enjoys fine dining all by lonesome. If I have a food-loving friend who wants to come along, that’s awesome, but I do appreciate being alone with my thoughts. Plus, when I’m bored, there’s an imaginary Zero Mostel who sits across from me, and we chatter back and forth like a couple of sixth grade girls. Chez Panisse was just what I was needing after a long flight and stressful drive. Mellow room, mellow crowd, decent if not great service….and excellent, fresh, comfy food.

I began lunch with the Marin Sun Farm Beef Tongue Salad w/Belgian Endive and Horseradish. Buttery meat, crisp veggies, a small amount of heat from the horseradish and some onion, and the bite of a little coarse salt. It was lightly dressed with a little oil, possibly some vinegar, but not much of anything really. Great ingredients. Stellar start to the meal, and to my bay area tour.

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It was a little chilly and rainy outside, and I was finally starting to decompress and enjoy my Glatzer (sp?) Sauvignon Blanc, so I decided to go with the Leek and Bellwether Farm Ricotta Pizza for my entrée. Very light, pillowy in the middle with nicely charred edges. The leeks and ricotta were a good, mild match, and as a whole it had the same effect as truly great mac & cheese on a dreary day.

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I like desserts, I usually get them when I’m having a nice meal out, but anyone who knows me knows that dessert isn’t usually something I go on and on about. So for me to go on and on about the one I had at Chez Panisse is really a big deal. I had the Sierra Beauty Apple and Quince Tart w/Crème Fraiche. This was very special, maybe the best dessert of the whole trip. Doing a mental check here…….okay, definitely the best dessert of the whole trip. Extremely thin, very sweet with a tart layer of quince paste, and the best crust ever…maybe sixty seconds shy of being too brown around the edge, allowing for maximum flavor. In my twisted “fruit dessert over chocolate anyday” universe, this tart honestly ranked a solid 10 out of 10. Absolutely perfect.

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I guess my restaurant rating system, if you can call it that, is pretty simple…. Is this a place that I’d visit again when I make it back to the area, instead of trying someplace new? In light of the restaurant experiences that followed, I’d have to say that while I enjoyed my meal very much, and it was the perfect way to start my very first trip to the bay area, I’d probably venture out and try someplace new instead of going back. As far as the use of fresh, local ingredients, I will say that Chez Panisse does an amazing job at incorporating a great combination of produce into the food without beating you over the head with the ability to do it. The simplicity just makes it a great, comfortable and familiar meal.

MANRESA

I wasn’t expecting it. I knew it would be a good meal, but I was not expecting it to go so far beyond my expectations. Again, ignorance is bliss if I’m just easy to please, but you’ll never get me to shut up about my meal at Manresa. Granted, I have not been to The French Laundry, so my comment to the staff at the end of my meal may have been over the top for some who read this, but after looking back at the service, the food and the wine pairings that I experienced over four hours I told them…”You know, a couple of years ago on A Cook’s Tour I watched Tony Bourdain and friends get a custom chef’s menu at The French Laundry….and even after seeing something like that, I’d still pick tonight’s meal over that one any day of the week”. Sure, a mouthful for someone who has yet to have the chef’s menu at FL, and I ASSUME what I said was taken as a high compliment, but I was just floored by the experience. For the solo diner, Manresa is Shangri-La. I was greeted like a friend when I arrived, and immediately seated at a nice table back by the fireplace (btw, I think the tables are very generously spaced throughout the dining room). From the moment they hung up my jacket before I sat down to the tour of the kitchen after the meal, the service was perfect. My primary server Dana was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and professional with a great sense of humor. When people love the food they’re serving you it really shows. There were two major themes I picked up on throughout the evening, and both are things that make me the most excited about a dining experience and usually guarantee my return. First was the pride of ownership among the staff, and the general sense that they know they are part of something truly exciting and special. Second, and this is just coming from MY personal take on Chef Kinch and his cuisine…it is the ultimate kind of dining experience to eat food that is on the upswing of a chef’s evolutionary cycle. Where he is still kicking the tires a bit, feeling his way along and putting combinations and preparations on the plate that are not only new to the world, but reflect a brand new expression the chef has found inside of himself. There is a great risk involved, and a great reward as well. When I try to think of comparisons, I know that many have referred to Manresa as “French Laundry South”, and since I’ve not had dinner THERE, the closest experience I had up to this point was a dinner at WD-50. In light of such comparisons, my opinion of the food as a whole is that it is somewhat “experimental” in the flavors and combinations, but at the same time there is a degree of restraint that errors on the side of never upstaging the wonderful ingredients. The cooking techniques are easily understood, most of the ingredients are familiar, and somehow it is all brought together in an exciting new formula.

Anyway, I’m ramblin’….onto the food. I did list the whole menu over on the Manresa thread, so for the sake of time I’m just going to list some highlights and share a couple of pictures, although the lighting and the limitations of my camera didn’t allow for anything too great. One thing to note about the wine service…I definitely wanted wine, but had to be up somewhat early the next morning (AND had to drive back to my hotel in Santa Clara). The sommelier (Jeff) was a champion at setting up what I’m guessing is about half the total volume of a regular 21 course tasting, and obviously put a lot of thought into an incredible variety of pairings that even a wine neophyte such as me could maneuver through and understand. And anyone who can serve me that much white wine and have me truly love it is doing the lord’s work.

Amuses

Chestnut and foie gras croquettes- nutty exterior, molten interior, eaten in one bite…..basically as good as you can imagine.

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Oyster and sea urchin gelee- maybe the best single mouthful of food I’ve ever had. The Maryland oyster, along with the sea urchin, framed by the gelee made from sea water created a sweet, salty, smoky, rich and clean flavor and texture experience all at once.

Main courses

Foie gras and pickled pig's feet en verrine, long pepper- my comment when this came to the table was…”It’s a pretty gutsy move to open with a dish like this”. Kind of like getting the worst of the mortal sins out of the way to take the pressure off of you….man that was decadent. In the back of my mind I was thinking I HAD to be some kind of culinary reprobate to enjoy this dish so much….shredded meet from the trotter suspended in the most amazing, rich mix of foie gras and rendered fat. It made a butter stick look like a celery stick in comparison. When you’ve got so many more courses to come, there’s no way to take a dish like that as anything other than a challenge. Total madness. Dammit.

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Sea urchin and dungeness crab, lightly spiced coconut milk- I’m pretty sure I’m not going to trust anyone who doesn’t like sea urchin from now on. Beautiful dish. Sweet, smoky, great texture.

Shellfish in brown butter, bloomsdale spinach and chanterelles- This may have been my favorite dish of the evening. I can’t put my finger on what exactly pushed it to the forefront, but the similar textures of the sliced clams and the mushrooms combined with the difference in their flavors…sweet vs. earthy, along with the brown butter and sautéed spinach just sticks in my mind so clearly.

Mediterranean rouget, milk skin and salmon roe ravioli- Neat dish, the milk skin ravioli was something I was fixated on, and would normally sound a little gimmicky to me but it was awfully good along with the mild fish. Forgot to ask what was in the ravioli besides the salmon roe, seemed like there were very finely diced root veggies of some sort.

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Abalone with pig jowl-sous vide and cured...route choucroute- This reminded me of a very hearty German dish of meat and sauerkraut, but way better than what I’ve had up to this point in my life. The abalone was marinated (I think) and grilled, giving a nice little char flavor to it, and the pig jowl sous vide was like the greatest thickest piece of bacon-y goodness ever. The sharpness and crisp texture of the choucroute added some acidity that helped bring out all of the other flavors.

Cepes en papillote, "biodynamic" rice- The achievement award for best presented dish of the evening goes to this one. It is first brought to the table and the bag is opened for you, then is taken back to the kitchen for final preparation. Normally not what I’d consider a “light” dish, but considering what came before and after, it provided a nice little break in the action.

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Ozette potato in two services:

Puree with our boudin noir- all this and they cure their own meats too. The texture and flavor of the blood sausage was outstanding. Nothing complex, just incredibly delicious.

Flourless gnocchi, beef roasted in suet- Absolutely delicious (what’s not to like about beef roasted in its own fat?), and kind of funny to me at the same time. Nearing the end of this roller coaster, religious experience of a meal I was presented with….steak and tater tots. At least that was my interpretation, and to be fair, the flavor of the beef and crisp, airy gnocchi were just a liiiiittle beyond your run of the mill beef n’ tots. Good way to bring it all back home.

Dessert

Hot chocolate with marshmallow, tonka bean- this little cup of hot chocolate just really stuck out to me. The Venezuelan chocolate was unlike anything I’d tasted up to that point, it bordered on savory and it had this huge aroma. The freshly grated tonka bean added an even more pronounced smell and complexity. I don’t usually go all crazy for desserts, but for hot chocolate this was something pretty special.

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A couple of wines to note (I don’t know what good wine is, but I know what I like. I probably had about 10 different ones, but these struck me as my favorites):

2003 Domaine des Persenades, Vin de Pays, Cotes de Gascogne- There was a “well water” quality and very faint floral/honey notes on the back end that just totally appealed to me. I went to winesearcher to see if it’s something that’s readily available and didn’t have much luck. The good news is, it’s way cheaper than the shipping from France would end up being.

2003 Domaine de Grangeneuve, La Truffiere, Coteaux de Tricastin- Just a nice, fuller bodied red. Again, I’d drink it if I could actually find it.

Finally, I’d say this meal ranks up there as not only one of the best dining experiences of my life, but one of the great experiences period. I remember at one point, about two or three main courses into the meal, where Dana told me there was a lot more to come and I said “Well I’m equal to the task”. Later I began thinking I spoke too soon. So many different flavors, ingredients, presentations, preparations….each one as wonderful and different as the last. At the end, needless to say I was FULL, and I was also mentally DONE. Not for beginners, that place. I won’t be back in the state of California without making it a point to dine there, that is an absolute.

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SWAN OYSTER DEPOT

Nothing new to say about this landmark, so I’ll keep it brief. To begin with, my second general observation of San Francisco (the first being the traffic) is…the hills. Sure, I’m out of shape, but I can do some serious walking. Movies and TV don’t do those damn hills justice, and I learned that pretty quickly as I headed up California street from down by the Embarcadero on my way to Swan. Geez.

I got there about 2:30 on Friday, and only had to wait about 20 minutes for a seat. The great thing about being a solo diner is that there aren’t that many of us, and all of the couples want to sit together….so the chances of getting a seat faster is much greater, at least in my case. The combination seafood salad is completely out of control. I can’t think of a single thing that is even remotely close to it in the Midwest. It would cost exponentially more and would probably get you a spot on the evening news once people here spotted it. I’m a big guy, and that thing pretty much did me in. It was only sheer determination that allowed me to follow it up with some smoked salmon, and that was like friggin’ heroin. Again, you’d get robbed for it in this part of the country.

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GARY DANKO

Funny story about my Friday night at Danko… I had just been to Manresa two nights before, and started panicking about whether to keep my Danko and Quince reservations or just go back to Manresa (I just bought a house, and my company’s per diem cuts down on the financial bleeding to some extent, but I had to make my dollars COUNT.) I emailed back and forth with another Heartland eGulleter, Judy Jones/moosnsqrl, and thankfully she helped talk some sense into me. No doubt Manresa was great, but sometimes just having a great meal that isn’t a religious experience is just the ticket. So I kept my reservation, but up until my first bite of food I was going back and forth…..will this place live up to its reputation? It’s obviously someplace the beautiful people like to be seen, and its right down by the wharf……how much of this place is total hype???? I love to eat alone, skipping over the bar dining option completely, but Danko on a hoppin’ Friday night (and my reservation wasn’t even until 10) can at first seem like a bit of a stiff room. Plus, I got a table sitting straight across from non other than George Lucas. It was a tad surreal. But the PUNCHLINE is…awesome meal, awesome service, my fears were put to rest quicker than immediately. I ended up having some of the friendliest, most helpful service of the trip, and well planned, custom wine pairings that made it the best wine service I’ve ever had. It’s not cheap, but I honestly think it’s a good value, no more expensive than many of the top tier restaurants here in KC. Man am I glad I kept my reservation. What in the hell was I thinking? I deserve your ridicule.

I decided against the tasting menu, letting my server pick much of what I ate as well as all of the wines. I started with the seared foie gras (paired with a Sauterne). The pears and grapes that came with it were very similar to preparations I’ve had many times, but the caramelized onions (I was told those are prepared over a two day process) added a deep, savory flavor that set it far apart from the standard bread and jam style serving. The onions are cooked to the point that they resemble a thick, deep rust colored sauce. Not a bad start to the meal.

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Next I had the lobster risotto (pairing- Grüner Veltliner, Kamptaler Terrassen, Bründlmayer, Kamptal 2004). The contrasting flavor and texture of the finely diced root vegetables in the rice made it a lighter, less rich rendition of risotto. It let the rich lobster flavor shine through. Great dish.

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Next up…what may have been my favorite dish of the trip. Again, I can’t pinpoint the single thing that made it so great, but the “Pan seared branzini with fennel puree, nicoise olives, navel oranges and saffron” was nothing short of stellar. I just went nuts for this dish. The fish was so perfectly done, with the super crisp skin and mild flavor. And something about the combination of the fish, olive, orange and saffron was so right. Right out on the edge where the smallest additional amount of any of the ingredients would make it TOO dominant. Total harmony, and my highest recommendation. It was paired with: Chardonnay & Semillon, Henschke, Tilly's Vineyard, Eden Valley, South Australia 2004. I’ll drink that wine again if I can find it.

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Next …”the killer” (and this picture is SO BAD, I really ripped into it before I got the shot and there was already so much happening on the plate). “Lemon herb Duck Breast with Duck Hash and Spice Poached Quince- savory tart of fall vegetables with quenelle of goat cheese and mesclun greens”. I’m not even going to attempt to deconstruct this thing. There was so much going on that even the lengthy description really doesn’t do it justice. Flavors on top of flavors…a rich huckleberry jus, what tasted like a duck confit fritter…greens, smooth goat cheese, my first experience with medium rare poultry…I honestly said “holy SHIT!” at least twice while I was eating it, and wrote in my notes….”HOLY SHIT”. A wild ride that dish was. I recommend it like Robin Williams would have recommended speedballs. It was excellent, and struck me like its sole purpose was to portray a version of a Thanksgiving meal that would cause every uber-WASP in Range Rover-land to fall on their knees and weep at the futility of trying to recreate a dish that no amount of Martha Stewart or FoodTV could prepare them for. And as an added bonus, the wine that came with this dish: Mon Lis Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir 2002. Man oh man oh man oh man oh man, did I like this wine. A huge BLAST on the palate slowly followed by the dark, subtle flavors of a great pinot. Not readily available it seems, but I’m more than happy to pay shipping to truck it in here from out west.

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Lastly, the chocolate soufflé and a very thoughtful wine pairing from my server: Banyuls, Grand Cru, Domaines et Terroirs du Sud 1949. Not a bad way to end a meal.

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Overall, a stellar night (and if it’s good enough for George Lucas…). I didn’t sit down until after 10pm, and there was still never a hint of a rush at any time, even though I think I was the next to last customer to leave. It’s a very cool thing for a restaurant to be that popular and still execute the smallest detail with perfection. No hint of laziness or hype-driven apathy to be seen. It would be a go-to spot for special occasions if I were a local. The only negative thing, and this was totally beyond the control of the restaurant, had to do with a table across from me. A small point, but annoying nonetheless. We’ve all seen these people (here in the Midwest many of us refer to them as “peckerwoods”), they are a fine dining inevitability. You know the scenario……the high maintenance four-top that has the server constantly running back and forth all night fetching god knows what. Then when the bill comes they look at it like they were just handed a goddamn ransom note telling them their children have twelve hours to live…so they start in, “Now there’s the liquor….we don’t have to tip on that…….the wine either, we don’t have to tip on that……oh, and the tax too….”. It in no way affected me, you just feel bad for the people who have to wait on them.

QUINCE

This was my “no pictures, no in-depth analysis, just relax and enjoy it” meal of the trip, and I’m glad I chose Quince to serve that purpose. What a calm, friendly room. At full capacity on a Saturday night, but they don’t overbook and have people stacked at the door all night long. It has been said before, but it truly is like eating at someone’s (very, very nice) house. My server was a friendly guy who I swear sounded EXACTLY like Edward Norton when he spoke, and he was forthcoming with suggestions when I wanted them. It seemed that everyone in the room was just having a great time. Of all the great meals I had during my trip, I’d say that Quince got my nod for “Best Vibe” and if I lived in the bay area I’d be a regular there before any of the other restaurants. The menu has such variety, and the place is so inviting. I could see just stopping in for some pasta and a glass of wine on any given evening. The antithesis of hectic or rushed.

I started with the piquillo pepper stuffed with Dungeness crab. Fried crisp on the outside with the soft pepper and sweet crab tucked inside. The pastas get rave reviews, and my pick was the tagliolini with sweetbread ragu. It was much creamier and richer than I was expecting. I guess I instinctively think of tomato sauce when I see “ragu”, but this was very creamy with bits of sweetbread that I’m assuming were pan fried ahead of time, then chopped fine and added to the sauce at the end. I can’t remember ever seeing sweetbreads and pasta together in a dish, but it totally works. The pasta itself was just perfect. I guess I was just in a poultry mood that weekend, because for my third course I chose the “SB Farms Turkey with Serrano ham, roasted chestnuts & Guru Ram Das pomegranate sauce”. A total comfort food winner, with the Serrano ham being maybe a bit too overpowering for the turkey. Later I tried some cheese, and I’ll have to say that I LOVE the Wabash Cannonball goat’s milk cheese. It’s so great, different than any other goat cheese I’ve had….almost an ashy texture that I liked. Good news and bad news on the wine…the bad news being I think they should really expand their by the glass selection. The good news is I found a wine I really liked that I can actually find at my local merchant…..Melville Pinot Noir.

Again, I’m really glad I didn’t lose my mind and forego my trip to Quince. At the end of a busy couple of days in the area, it was a perfect choice.

Y BEN HOUSE

There’s something to be said for being the lone white guy in a huge dim sum restaurant at 7am on a Sunday. I highly recommend it to anyone whose idea of breakfast on a Sunday is IHOP or a bagel and a newspaper. I did take some pictures, but there’s really no new ground to cover as far as showing everyone what a potsticker looks like. The dim sum was good, nothing earth shattering, and since I was alone I could only enjoy so much variety. It’s nice to get totally stuffed for less than twenty bucks, that’s for sure. Out of all the usual suspects, I have to say their potstickers were fantastic. Totally STUFFED with meat, very satisfying. One thing that struck me as odd and funny was when something came out from the kitchen, and the people just ran up and MOBBED the cart before it had a chance to roll on out to the floor. Seriously, it was a frantic rush to get in on whatever it was. I only saw one cart’s worth get mauled, and it was full of little metal pots that looked like small pitchers. Shellfish of some kind? Not sure, but there’s no way in hell I was going to risk bodily injury to get a closer look. Okay, one pic of those potstickers on steroids……

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Last but not least, some Santa Clara quick hits…….since that’s where I spent MOST of my time in the bay area……

First of all, how great is the ethnic food selection on El Camino Real? I’ve never seen anything like it. Even if half of the places end up being less than stellar, you’ve still got twice as many great choices as many cities. I could have explored the immediate area beyond El Camino, but after a long day of training, and rush hour traffic outside to greet me, I was all about convenience.

Korea House- Overall, I had a good experience, but I’ve only had Korean food one other time in my life and wish I had brought someone along with more experience on what to order. I got the oysters fried in egg and the roasted squid. Both were tasty, and I especially loved the noodle appetizer that I guess comes with all meals. The dozen or so small dishes of various foods included with the dinners wasn’t expected at all, so I basically ended up with enough food for three people. I’d absolutely revisit Korea House after doing some more research on what to order and bring a friend or three. I feel like even a small amount of familiarity with the cuisine would have increased my enjoyment exponentially. On the other hand, I did enjoy the experience of having no clue what anything was or what to expect. Out of the 15+ dishes on the table, the only things that I really didn’t like at all were the tiny dried fish in a spicy paste, which I assume were meant to be eaten sparingly on top of the rice.

Pho Thanh Long- terrible service, good pho and fried noodle dishes. It’s constantly packed, so I give them some slack on the service because they need to turn tables. I’ve just never sat down in a restaurant and had a server ask what we wanted before we even had a chance to look at the menu, and then tell me “I’ll give you two minutes, but that’s it”.

Yoshinaya- ooookay, not sure what I was thinking here. It just looked like totally unfamiliar fast-food and I was curious. If like Arby’s style roast beef on top of rice sounds like heaven to you, go check it out!

Jack in the Box- laugh all you want, but the Jack in the Box “Monster Taco” could easily take the place of the White Castle slider when it comes to very bad choices made late at night. The weird thing is….even with the variety of foods I had from night to night on my trip, the ONE THING that tore up my gut was that Monster Taco. That name makes sense in so many ways. To anyone from KC…..think In-A-Tub tacos, only bigger and greasier.

Fish Market- On El Camino not far from San Tomas, close to Afghani House. It was recommended by a couple of people I was working with. The menu is really huge, so maybe I just didn’t order something they are known for. I got the panko crusted calamari steak, and it was okay. The cole slaw is bad, bad, bad. No dressing at all. The scalloped potatoes ended up being the best thing about the meal, they were really good.

Afghani House- I’d never had Afghani cuisine, so this restaurant made it to the top of my list. In hindsight, I think it would be the perfect place to take someone who is shy about trying new things. Very straightforward “home-style” food, and Afghani House is beautiful inside with a great low-key vibe, friendly service. I got Sambosas to start, and especially loved the mint/garlic sauce that came with the food. For my entrée I got the combination kabob, and have to say as someone who loves to grill…they do a fantastic job of getting a good char on the outside of the meat without drying the whole thing out. The lamb and chicken were both perfectly done, and for the money you get a ton of food. I’ll definitely go back when I’m in the area, or try another Afghani restaurant for comparison purposes.

Dusita- I ate there a couple of times, and it ended up being my favorite weeknight spot. I really wish I had discovered it sooner in my stay because I would have had lunch there a couple of times to try more items, especially the curry. The fish cakes were very good, and the dipping sauce/cucumber salad with peanuts and onions was a total winner. I also tried the pad see ew (stir fried, wide flat noodles) with chicken, and I couldn’t tell if the greens in there were broccoli rabe or what, but they added a little bitterness to the dish that worked. I have no clue how traditional or popular pineapple fried rice is in Thailand, but the rendition at Dusita is out of control. It reminded me of the dim sum sticky rice I’ve had, but with assorted meats, pineapple, eggs, peas, corn, raisins and cashews. The sweetness of the pineapple and raisins was a little strange at first, but it was a good dish. The service was friendly, and everything there just tasted fresh, sauces not overly thick, etc. Would go back.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a trip, I am excited and I did not even eat it. I have been wanting to try Manresa for a while and I must make it a priority.

Great Report,

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a trip, I am excited and I did not even eat it. I have been wanting to try Manresa for a while and I must make it a priority.

Great Report,

Molto E

Aw, he never left KC -- those are stock photos and the rest is pure fiction. (That's what I am telling myself to keep me from hating him, anyway.)

It is a well-written report, Z. I feel completely deprived and thoroughly envious and am impressed that you showed so much restraint in taking photos before you devoured the food. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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So I happened to be in the bay area for a couple of weeks……

Great synopsis of your trip. I hope you get out here to work AND to enjoy the options again. I grew up right behind the Wienerschnitzel on the El Camino between San Tomas and Benton St., and live in West San Jose now. So I get over there frequently. As kids we used to hop the fence to get a dog at Wienerschnitzel. Things have changed a lot since then, especially the density of Korean, Chinese and Indian restaurants there. It is a miracle mile of food, that's for sure. Actually, many miracle miles strung together - Santa Clara from the university right throught until Menlo Park.

Glad you visited Manresa. It's named for a local beach in Santa Cruz County, about 30 minutes over the hill from Los Gatos. Most of my friends find the food is just as good as FL but for much less money.

After having tried all of the local Thai places I find Dusita one of my two favorites. Good choice, Jerry. The other is behind the Fish Market you mentioned, in the little shopping/eating center. In that little shopping center there are three great eateries. You can get excellent pizza (Pizz'a Chicago), great Indian (and fresh parathas) at Rangoli (they specialize in sweets and shut down during Diwali just to make and deliver them), and Thai Chili Cuisine, my other favorite.

Thanks for the pictures - great post.

John S.

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John, believe it or not I almost ate at Thai Chili Cuisine in addition to Dusita. The same person recommended both to me. After the mediocre seafood at the Fish Market, I was regretting not going there instead. A couple of people also recommended China Stix for dependable, basic Chinese, but I never made it over there.

I was staying at Candlewood Suites right across from the University, and I thought it was funny that out of all the restaurants I saw on the way to and from the office the closest one to my hotel was a Quizno's.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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