CarrieWas218's Profile

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Oyster Rookie

If they are shucked at Cook's you run the risk of having the oysters losing their precious and much-desired liquor. Do you know what kind you are getting? That will also determine what you should do with them; those big, Pacific oysters are better cooked (stew, broiled, fried) while the more delicate, smaller oysters (Miyagi, Kumamoto) are better raw, "on the half-shell" with a bit of lemon or Mignonette.

As others have said, find out if any of your guests have experience shucking. That will be your first determination...

Truffle Dinners at Quince [San Francisco]

My husband was intrigued and actually considering it until I called for the price...

Five courses for $350 or nine courses for $550.

Anyone going?

Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog

Orange Juice - like in a 'fridge? I was looking where the specialty liquor (that crappy pumpkin-flavored Fulton's Harvest Cream Liqueur) was sitting...

Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog

I went to the Safeways in Half Moon Bay (1) and Pacifica (2) and it doesn't seem to exist at any of the Coastside Safeway stores...

:-(

One Day in SF

Benu has many detractors from those of us that have dined there. Read this thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/726791

Personally, I would walk around the Mission for an all-day nosh (Craftsman & Wolves, a Mission burrito) during the day.

For your dinner, I would suggest Atelier Crenn or Aquarello.

Molecular Gastronomy 11/8/14 at Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, $55-$65

Darn. There are too many balls in the air to be able to determine our availability for next Saturday...

Pity; would have been great fun!

Molecular Gastronomy 11/8/14 at Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, $55-$65

We aren't members, but should be (own several telescopes and have gone on astronomical vacations).

But I will be curious about the molecular influences they are planning...

Molecular Gastronomy 11/8/14 at Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, $55-$65

My interest was piqued but the menu doesn't really expand upon what is being served that is molecular: Lamb Tagine and brownies!?!?!

Yet another conventioneer...

Nsxtasy, I saw your post just was we were heading out and it was perfect timing, so thanks for letting me know about the French Market! As it happened, breakfast at Nightwood was more than adequate to keep us sated for the day so we were fine not having dinner before arriving at The Aviary.

At Nightwood, we shared a scrumptious doughnut topped with bacon and two of the bigger offerings; my husband had version of Benedict with eggs on excellent toast, some prosciutto, grilled tomatoes and Bernaise sauce and I had what was essentially breakfast cassoulet. My breakfast was served in a cast-iron skillet with Borlotti beans, duck confit, wheat berries and two poached eggs. It was very, very rich and hard to finish. We both enjoyed the versions of salads that came with our dishes as well. Mine had thinly sliced potatoes which could have been mistaken for Asian pears. I didn't get to taste my husband's salad.

The brunch was so filling we had no need for a dinner at all and the few appetizers we had at The Aviary was more than sufficient. The amuse was a small offering of an Amari with cherry flavor. I have no idea, but it was an excellent beginning while we perused the menu. We decided on a three-course prix fixe tasting as well as an additional order to accompany what little food we decided on.

From the a là carte, we had the IFL Science (honey, blueberry, ginger, scotch) to have a "full molecular" experience. It was all that and then some. From the prix fixe, the Zombie Panda (lemon, raspberry liquor, lychee, pisco), Turista (coconut, rhum, sanbitter, china china), and the Thai Iced Coffee (cardamom, anise, milk, black strap). Because of our exuberance, we were comped a Heart of Stone (pistachio, fresno, peach, lapsang, whiskey).

For food, we had BBQ (crispy pork skin) which we initially found a bit over-seasoned but paired delightfully with the Zombie Panda. Trying to be a little frugal, my husband only ordered one Black Truffle explosion (apparently from the current Next menu). When he saw the look of rapture on my face - because it is a single bite that explodes in the mouth - he went ahead and ordered another one for himself. The Short Rib with root beer flavors was shared and a nice concoction of pulled pork under a creamy custard. We finished up with the Foie Gras described as (foie, peanut, caramel, satisfaction) and was more like an orgasmic Snickers bar. It was a perfect day and my husband was surprised (as an avowed lightweight!) that we had *NO* hangover the next day!

It was a great food weekend and thanks everyone for the help and guidance!

Oct 21, 2014
CarrieWas218 in Chicago Area

Yet another conventioneer...

I'm in the middle of my trip now and having a lovely time. We arrived on a red-eye Friday morning and after a little nap, while hubby went straight to his convention, I headed towards Blackbird. Their prix fixe lunch was amazing, starting with the revelatory steak tartare - on an eggplant purée, mixed with mustard seeds, sesame seeds and toasted poppy seeds and topped with slivered mushrooms - easily one of the best tartars I have ever tasted. That segued into duck confit with turnips, pumpkin bread with sage butter, and Few aged gin with a single rock. There was a large disk of turnip which topped the duck that was a tad over-powering and I believe the confit to have been minimally cooked (meaning, it did not have the true tenderness of a long-confit'd piece of duck), but was still tasty. I finished up with chocolate mousse with fig leaf ice cream and crispy apples and because of the OUTSTANDING pumpkin bread with whipped sage butter, was too full to finish dessert.

I was happy to have been able to fit in the Architectural Boat Tour that afternoon since the weather definitely has got colder since Friday afternoon! Dinner that evening was oyster happy hour at Chicago Oyster House. Honestly, their menu and service seems a lot to be desired, but since all I wanted was oysters (three or four dozen in total), it was adequate and I was thrilled to be able to taste east coast varieties like Old 1871, Effingham, and Deep Cove. I also tried their Rockefeller which was a bit too cheesy for my tastes.

Saturday was spent at the library doing oyster research and I was thrilled to stumble on the Open House festivities. Around the corner from some of the buildings I toured was Pastoral Artisan Cheese and that was just the ticket for a nice a light lunch (French cheese plate) before dinner at Acadia.

Preferring to make our own tasting, we opted to sit in the bar and order from the bar menu and a la carte appetizers instead of their tasting menu. First up were a half-dozen Belon oysters (yeah!) before sharing an exquisite lobster roll and mussels. I loved that the mussels were steamed in beer (and butter!) instead of wine and the only complaint was that the focaccia served with it was a bit on the salty side. I adored my gin-and-tonic with cucumber & Kaffir lime ice cubes as one of the finest gin drinks I've experienced. Even my husband - who really doesn't care for gin at all - was impressed. We then shared sweetbreads and a burger. The sweetbreads had a nice, crunchy exterior but I thought the compressed shallot was a bit overwhelming. Really kick-ass burger! We finished up with two desserts, Caramel Apple bay leaf bavarois, pumpkin seed crumble, olive oil ice cream and Gooey Butter Cake with pear, toasted hazelnuts, triple crème sherbet. My husband was all over the olive oil ice cream and despite his love of triple crème as a cheese, preferred the rest of the butter cake and pears to the dairy offering that accompanied that dish.

We have two more days to go and I think he is going to play hooky from the convention today. We have Publican reservations for dinner, but as we have been there before, I think we are going to head to Nightwood for a big brunch instead, possibly stopping at the French Market for a lighter (and cheaper) dinner before cocktails at Aviary.

Oct 19, 2014
CarrieWas218 in Chicago Area

Preparing for French Laundry! Napa Winery advice!

If you have a Sunday FL lunch, you may not be finished with the meal until 4:00ish so I'm not sure what "stops after" would still be open. You may be happier, as Maria Lorraine said, to just stretch your legs and wander around Yountville.

Most winery tasting rooms start closing up at 5:00 and 5:30 (Merryvale) and you will be too full to want to do any tastings and pretty rushed as well. Across the highway is Domaine Chandon and they have lovely gardens as well; you could have a closing glass of bubbly.

The exodus traffic on Sundays can be horrendous so it is nice to have a driver. I'm sorry you have to dash back to Carmel so quickly; an evening stay in Yountville this time of year can be lovely with the fall colors descending upon the vineyards.

Napa birthday dinner, group of 13

Grace's Table got listed in Michelin's Bib Gourmand this afternoon. A first time for them, I believe...

Napa birthday dinner, group of 13

You are thinking of Oenetri which has declined since the two owners split...

What size is your group? I would also recommend Grace's Table; walking distance and I have often seen larger groups there.

Chris Cosentino Deeply Regrets Television Appearances

So many f-bombs detracts from whatever he is trying to convey.

Haggis / Burns Night in San Francisco

I've had them... They can be purchased at The Whisky Shop on Sutter. Not very haggis-tasting, I have to say...

Yet another conventioneer...

Oh man.... My trip isn't for another three weeks - sorry to have missed it!

Right now, I am leaning towards the Blackbird lunch prix fixe for just me. A good friend who was just visiting thinks I should spend the money to eat at Aviary and I'm just not sure it is a good fit for my husband who really doesn't enjoy hard alcohol (although I think he'll like the rest of it!)

Fat Rice and Girl & Goat are high on my list for dinners for him.

Sep 27, 2014
CarrieWas218 in Chicago Area

Yet another conventioneer...

Hubby and I will be staying at the Hyatt near the McCormick center for three nights and four days next month. We did this two years ago and were able to enjoy Publican, Mercat a la Planxa, and Purple Pig during our stay. I did hit the Russian Tea Room for lunch by myself and remember a fun breakfast at The Bongo Room, but don't recall my other lunches.

The rub this time is that we are on a tighter budget and DH doesn't want to spend more than $150 for the two of us, total with tip, for dinner. The cheaper the better... He will be in meetings all day so he only has dinner availability while I'll have the days to myself, so lunch recs would be appreciated.

I would really like to explore Chicago's Polish (or other ethnic?) offerings, but if it involves a $40 cab ride, then it might not be worth it. I'm considering BlackBird for one, blow-out meal and Fat Rice looks interesting. Chef Luciano doesn't seem far from the hotel and gets decent ratings on Google. And Chicago Oyster House is intriguing as I'm working on an oyster book (but I could make that a lunch stop for me).

We are much happier ordering lots of appetizers and small plates and tend to avoid big entrees, if that helps. Lastly, we have no interest in deep-dish pizza or any of Rick Bayless' offerings (flavor profiles I just don't appreciate).

Thanks for your help!

Sep 18, 2014
CarrieWas218 in Chicago Area

Three nights' dinners in Napa Valley

Great reports - thanks for reminding me how much Press costs... I just can't justify those kinds of prices for MEAT.

San Jose, Half Moon Bay and Sausalito

Note that Barbara's is cash only and actually at Pillar Point Harbor (technically, El Granada) and not in the downtown Half Moon Bay area that most people think of. If you are actually *in* downtown Half Moon Bay, I would recommend Pasta Moon. There is a Sushi on Main in HMB, and their $10.95 bento box isn't bad.

One nice dinner at a classic San Francisco restaurant on a thursday night

Concur with others; Boulevard and Zuni will cover the bases with both nice and classic for dinners.

If you are here on a Saturday, make sure to hit the Farmers Market at the Ferry Plaza in the morning for breakfast. Otherwise, breakfast and lunches could easily be filled with dim sum at Yank Sing or Ton Kiang, a Mission crawl for burritos or tacos, and whatever you do, avoid Fisherman's Wharf at all costs (food wise) = tourist trap.

Napa: Critique my Day

Uber is not a big deal in the Napa valley and you would be much better suited to finding a driver for the day then hiring cabs and taxis. It will even out on the cost and you will spend less time waiting around for the taxi to arrive (they aren't that prevalent in the valley and so you aren't factoring in the wait time).

Creative tasting menu or a la carte menu for special birthday lunch?

I understand you might not want to do Chinese, but Hakkasan is also open for lunch. There is also Meadowood...

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

Gary Danko is riding coattails that are ten years old and most of the clientele are tourists who are reading old city guides.

I have found Danko's menu to be staid and mired in the past. They have a nice cheese selection, yes, but the rest is high on my mediocrity list.

Napa Valley Biscuits - what happened???

That is very sad...

Coi or Crenn [San Francisco]

I'm the same with BBulkow. Having season tix to both the symphony and the opera, I think I've only gone to Jardiniere once in three years...

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

I prefer Mandalay Bay over Burma Superstar (always less of a wait as well). Burma Superstar got famous because of its Food Network coverage, but that's all.

I like Robert's suggestion of Burmese Kitchen on Larkin, but only if you are in the Tenderloin for something else.

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

Uniquely San Franciscan would be places like Tadich Grill (for history) or Sotto Mare (for cioppino) or Swan's (old oyster bar).

Also, there are a TON of great Burmese restaurants in the city which is also unique to the area.

San Francisco 4 day, 3 night trip - Wine is important!

What do you like in cocktails? I recently did a cocktail trawl that included Trou Nourmand and I found them too alcohol-forward for my tastes. Alternately, the second part of my trawl included The Cavalier which I adored (as well as the food).

Other spots for cocktails include Smuggler's Cove for unforgettable rum drinks, Bourbon & Branch (must have reservations), Alembic (go early to avoid the crowd) and Trick Dog.

Manresa fire

CBS News on the Radio cited the "owner/chef" as David FINCH.

Wonder how many calls they will get on that error?

Traditional Wedding Cake - Coastside/Half Moon Bay, Peninsula

Honestly, I live near HMB and for my recent nuptials (a courthouse wedding last November and a coast side reception in April), I drove to Crixa in Berkeley TWICE.

I had a small wedding so I wasn't looking for something "decorated," but desired pure, exceptional taste.

For the courthouse wedding, I got Black Forest Cake (my husband's preference for chocolate and cherries) and for our reception, I got a Clara Ward (rum and raspberries), a fruit tart, and a chocolate pave.