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Visiting soon - pls review my San Francisco and Napa restaurant list

Redd Wood is pretty casual but not slovenly. I don't think the food is as good as Redd (it's obviously different fare as well) so I wouldn't really go out of my way for it. It's a great lunch stop during wine tasting, though.

If you want something along the lines of Redd, look into Celadon in Napa. It's frequently overlooked but is outstanding. Same sort of "elevated California cuisine".

Otherwise, if you want to keep it casual and you can get a table at Ad Hoc, go for that.

Visiting soon - pls review my San Francisco and Napa restaurant list

I would like to second pinotho's Redd recommendation. That really shouldn't be missed.

Skip Bistro Don Giovanni. Overrated, overpriced, and not worth the hassle/bad service. I don't know why this place keeps popping up on "must dine" lists.

Ad Hoc is not going to be quiet or romantic. The food is quite good, but it's a madhouse.

If I were to take all this into account and pick two places for dinner, it would be Oenotri and Redd, no question. Angele and Zuzu can both be done at lunch. Bistro Jeanty, while a longtime favorite, just isn't in the same league as these four.

Stop Bashing Paula Deen

Bourdain is doing stuff and eating things in No Reservations (and to a far lesser extent in The Layover) that borders on fantasy; he has access to people, restaurants, and food that most mere mortals cannot reasonably acquire. Sure, anyone can belly up to Au Pied de Cochon and drop $200 on what may be the least healthy meal they'll ever have, but it's not realistic nor is it intended in any way to be "everyday". I would also wager most people tune in to see the "exotic" locales and see just how drunk he gets, rather than take notes on what they should eat.

Furthermore, Bourdain has taken back most of the nasty things he said about Alice Waters in his most recent book. Painting him as some hypocritical misogynist is desperate.

Deen (and the rest of the Food Network stable, for that matter) is about selling a LIFESTYLE. The shows, the magazines and cookbooks; they're all about how to feed your hole in less time for fewer bucks. Deen is the worst offender in this arena; no moderation, no balance, and now she's bald-faced shilling for a pharmaceutical company. It's food appealing to the lowest common denominator and it's validation that eating garbage is ok. After all, it's on TV, right? The Food Network has created this market for itself with its Kwanzaa cakes and a homophobic hedgehog reviewing diner food; it can't stop now. It can't do a "Easy Vegetarian" series with its demographic. It wouldn't last a week.

Nobody complained about James Beard on boxes of steaks or Child's cream sauces because they weren't selling the lifestyle; it was an authentic recipe, or a reasonably harmless product that is usually a "special occasion" meal.

Maybe the reveling in Deen's illness is childish, but we all know the four sweetest words in the English language are "I told you so."

Jan 17, 2012
skinnysweaty in Features

Phone Etiquette at the Table: The Rules Have Changed

"The rules have changed" because a phone provides subjective enhancement? Nonsense. Put your phone away and converse like a real person.

I'm a frequent contributor to Yelp but the one thing I absolutely will NOT do while sitting in a restaurant is photograph my food. It is so insanely tacky I don't even know where to's really akin to wearing a baseball cap to dinner. Just don't do it.

Nov 08, 2011
skinnysweaty in Features

The 10 College Towns with the Worst Food

Heaven forbid that I defend anything Texas, but to be fair the College Station convention & visitor's bureau site lists exactly 25 *pages* of restaurants and bars. Under "Where to Eat" you click one of those newfangled "Search" buttons and voila! Chuck E. Cheeses, delis, and "roadhouse" type restaurants as far as the eye can see...

Sep 19, 2011
skinnysweaty in Features

Four Day San Fran Trip - Critiques Please!

Grace's Table is a good mention (the burgers are probably the best in the Valley, to be honest). I've never had a bad meal there and the staff is friendly.

For the under "$60 for two" budget you actually will be cutting it close with Grace's, though.

Bistro Sabor on First Street does an excellent job and is well in the budget zone. Very popular with locals, very fresh. Great service.

You may also want to check out Carpe Diem wine bar just off the corner of 2nd and Main. It *might* hit the ceiling of the budget but is also worth a look. It gets crowded FAST.

The Oxbow Market has lots of good dining options for $30/person. I can't think of one I wouldn't recommend.

First Street Cafe
4337 1st St Ste C, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Bistro Sabor
1126 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

Grace's Table
1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

Letter from Our Editor: Zagat and I Don't Agree

Oof, make a stand, willya? First she starts by stating that Google will kill Zagat...but maybe not. Maybe Zagat is too middlebrow, oh but wait people on Yelp are ignorant and it needs editors and it's too difficult to get results out of Chowhound.

Here's my prediction: Zagat will be "rebranded" as an edited Yelp...meaning it'll also be free for restaurants to be listed as opposed to how Zagat used to be: heavily edited and charging for the "privilege" of being listed. Crowd sourcing with Google doing the editing. It'll be streamlined into Google+...and THAT will be the revenue opportunity for Google.

Sep 12, 2011
skinnysweaty in Features

Help Us Fill In The Blanks

I would avoid Downtown Joe's; if you MUST have a "Brewery Experience" in the Napa Valley then Silverado is the way to go. If you just want some good beers then I'd advise crossing the street from Downtown Joe's and hit up Carpe Diem Wine Bar (just off the corner of 2nd & Main). They're a great wine bar but also have a respectable selection of good beer...AND excellent food.

Downtown Joe's Restaurant
902 Main Street, Napa, CA 94559

Leopold's - Finally good German/Austrian in San Francisco

I'm going to agree...but wouldn't classify this as Austrian as much as it is "just" German. Having been to Germany plenty of times I'll go ahead and say this is the best I've had in SF. Yes, the schnitzel is tops- as good as any I've had in Germany. The salumi platter has the best speck & bread I've had on similar presentations in "The Fatherland". Beer selection = winning.

Yes, it's insanely crowded, but the servers keep an incredibly cheerful demeanor (I, for one, would go insane after one night of working the tables or the bar).

Best wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Russian River for Pinots

Well, "best" is subjecttive as all get-out, but let me cast my vote for "favorite": Ancien winery in Napa. They're too small to have their own tasting room, so you can try their stuff at the Vintner's Collective in downtown Napa on the corner of Main & Clinton. Most of their fruit comes from either Carneros, although they have a Russian River pinot as well as a Sonoma Valley pinot. All are excellent & all are in your price range.