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Peche - excellent

I really enjoyed my solo lunch at Peche. The peel and eat shrimp, while so simple, were very flavorful. And they came with the heads on so I could enjoy the delicious juices. Cobia collar was also excellent, they are really good at highlighting the seafood (some restaurants cover it up).

Brussels sprouts were a slightly greasy and I had no time for dessert. I'm looking forward to returning, although I agree with Sunnyside that I would pick Cochon over Peche if confronted with this tough choice.

about 14 hours ago
felice in New Orleans

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

I did think about sending them back but didn't know what the restaurant could have done about it, it wasn't shucking technique. This was the first time I experienced this and wasn't sure whether muddy oysters were the norm. When I got back to the hotel room, I found this thread...

about 14 hours ago
felice in New Orleans

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

I was really excited to attend happy hour at Luke's but the oysters turned out to be a disappointment because they were so muddy. Lines of mud streaked down the lower shell and clung to the edges of the oyster. Halfway through I poured water from my water glass onto my bread plate so I could swish the oysters in the water. Then I asked the waiter for a small glass of water and I dipped the oyster in the water and used my fingers to rub off the mud. The glass of water was very dirty by the time I was done.

Luckily the oysters at Cochon were as good as ever so I had the opportunity to eat some amazing oysters on this trip.

about 24 hours ago
felice in New Orleans

Emiril's New Orleans

I went during my recent trip and thought the food was mediocre but the service was excellent.

The two best dishes were the bread service and the mussels. The mussels were in a wonderfully complex Asian style broth and the bread was hot and house made.

Unfortunately the BBQ shrimp were head off and overcooked, far inferior to the version at Mr. B's. Fish and pork entrees were fine, and the cream part of the banana cream pie could have been silkier.

Even though the food wasn't great I felt like I was treated like a queen. I don't think very many restaurants achieve this level of service.

about 24 hours ago
felice in New Orleans

SFBA Dish of the Month (March 2015) - Nominations/Voting

FRUIT SMOOTHIES
They are not all good and we can do better than Jamba Juice.

Michel Bistro - Oakland

Had dinner there last week. Bison tartare and braised veal with cream sauce were outstanding. All the components of the tartare were in the right proportions. Bison was mild and could have been substituted with beef without changing the dish much. I overheard the table next to me opine that the tartare was too acidic but I thought it was perfect. In any case, differing opinions on acidity could be easily remedied with a basket of fries to balance the acid.

The cream sauce on the veal was perfect, I haven't encountered this type of sauce very much in Bay Area French restaurants.

Sole meunière was fine and the foie gras in the foie gras salad was beautifully poached. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the salad as a whole - there was a sweet component and an acidic component - both were strong and the savory flavor of the foie was muted by them sadly. I would have preferred this dish deconstructed.

The highlights were high so I would like to return for my favorites.

Feb 20, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Cholita Linda - any more reports?

I've been getting takeout from their Temescal location, and have been trying non-taco items on their menu. I've been very happy with everything, haven't encountered a loser yet. My favorites have been their as as asado sandwich and chicharron de pollo plate. Their black beans are fantastic and the pollo was served with a thick and creamy yellow sauce, it reminded me of the great cream sauce I had at Michel but more flavors. The yellow sauce was similar to the one in aji de gallina.

Feb 20, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Midnight snack?

Okay, points taken. I am staying several days and will not be getting up for 7:30 breakfast the morning after I fly in. But thank you for the warning. I will get to visit other restaurants during my stay, but just had these two constrained situations and you have all been great about solutions.

Feb 13, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Midnight snack?

That sounds like a good option if I am tired from travel and don't want to leave the hotel room. I will not be there during Mardi Gras. They have such a large menu. Any must orders?

Feb 13, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Weekday 7:30 breakfast

Heh. It will be a breakfast meeting (work) and afterwards we will be heading straight back to the Hyatt for the rest of the day's meetings. I was just trying to figure out whether I really had to spend the entire day cooped up in the hotel. We have back to back meetings with the 7:30 one being the first, so this is my best chance. We don't have much travel time between meetings and I can't ask everyone to get a cab since we are in the nonprofit sector.

Feb 12, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Weekday 7:30 breakfast

Since the midnight snack question was so easy for this board, I have another very specific request. I am looking for a full service breakfast place open at 7:30 within three blocks of the Hyatt on Poydras. If nothing fits that description, we can get breakfast at the hotel, but I would prefer to get out of the hotel.
Thank you!

Feb 11, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Midnight snack?

Thank you, it is really impressive that there a handful of restaurants open until 2am. I'm leaning toward Root.

Feb 11, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Midnight snack?

My flight arrives late (11:15pm) and I was wondering if any chow-worthy places would be open at that time. I'm staying on Poydras and wouldn't want to wander very far at that time of night by myself.

Feb 10, 2015
felice in New Orleans

Kauai: The Feral Pig Pub & Diner in Lihue

We stopped here on the way to the airport. I didn't try my husband's pancakes, but I did enjoy the Kalua pork plate. The pork wasn't overly salty like it can be at some places, and the accompanying veggies (stir fried kale and mushrooms) complemented the pork nicely.

Feb 10, 2015
felice in Hawaii

Eater video: Atelier Crenn in 60 seconds [San Francisco]

I wanted to see the mushrooms!

Feb 10, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Inexpensive and small wedding desserts

The problem with cupcakes is that they dry out easily due to the high surface area to volume ratio. This problem is exacerbated with mini-cupcakes. When you taste test, let them sit out for 9 hours first.

Feb 05, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Buma's (former Marrow, Oakland)

Do you know if there is a delivery charge?

Jan 26, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa is accepting reservations [Los Gatos]

Hooray for new sommelier!!! During our spring 2014 dinner there our pre-meal conversation with the previous sommelier was memorably terrible. I couldn't believe how bad it was.

Jan 22, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Kauai trip report - Jan 2014

A few things to add for January 2015:

Tomkats is renovating their kitchen and has a limited menu during renovation.

Island tacos in Waimea were very good, we liked the shrimp better than the ahi.

The fruit stand across from Island tacos in Waimea had excellent fruit drinks/smoothies. I had mango/passionfruit and my husband had pineapple/coconut/passionfruit and they were both delicious. Perfect ratio of ice to fruit, nicely blended and really hit the spot after Waimea canyon.

Jan 21, 2015
felice in Hawaii

Po' Boy @ The Chef and Her Farmer (Oakland)

Have you had the bistro salad at Miss Ollie's? Exquisite oysters beautifully fried and the rest of the salad plays a supporting role.

Po' Boy @ The Chef and Her Farmer (Oakland)

My opinion is similar to karenfinan's. Great fries, need higher oyster to bread/slaw ratio.

Jan 16, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Red Velvet Cake in SF (or in South Bay)?

My favorite is Cupkates, they have trucks that sell in SF and red velvet is one of their staples. The cake part is really moist, which I think is a challenge for cupcakes since they dry out more easily than a standard size cake.

Jan 14, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

French Fries: SFBA Dish of the Month December 2014

Agreed on the Cafe 15 fries, I always get them.

Jan 13, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

1.5 days in Napa - Please Narrow this Down

I like Terra and am a big fan of Ad Hoc. Ad Hoc's salads have been excellent every meal I've had. With that said, you don't get to choose your food there, so if ribeye steak is on the menu you are stuck with it. 4/5 times the dessert is phenomenal too. The other 1/5 times it just hasn't been to my taste. Entrees are solid but have always involved meat, not seafood. The restaurant is well run, the 10 of us had a three course brunch on New Years days and were in and out in an hour fifteen without feeling rushed.

Jan 08, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

One-month Mark at Spoonbar in Healdsburg: Great Cocktails, Inconsistent Cooking

Yes, that's the name! They must be making a comeback.

Jan 08, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

One-month Mark at Spoonbar in Healdsburg: Great Cocktails, Inconsistent Cooking

Our service was not great either. There were no major mistakes but they fell behind in refilling our water glasses, to the point where our canteen of water was empty and our two glasses were almost empty.

We ordered two desserts and didn't love either of them. One of them was described as a cake but it had the texture of a dense brownie. We ate everything else on the plate and left the cake part behind. The other dessert was much better, and contained a sesame meringue as the garnish for the main component, which I forget the name of, but the waiter described it as a light version of panna cotta. Only this main component turned out to be more of a whipped mousse (yes, I realize that mousse is already whipped, this was even more airy). I liked all the components of that dessert but wish they were present in different proportions - more of the delicious sesame and less of the mousse.

Our favorite dessert of the trip was at neither Meadowood nor Spoonbar, it was at Ad Hoc. A Meyer lemon pudding with Chantilly cream. As an aside, I really cannot keep up with all the names for different desserts. The pudding was actually called something else, which I had to look up on Wikipedia, and I have already forgotten the name of it. These days if I have a question about the menu, 95% of the time it has to do with an unrecognizable dessert. And if the waitstaff can't describe it correctly, then I think I'm ordering one thing and receive something else.

Jan 08, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

AS B-Dama [Oakland]

I sat at the counter and watched them make the agedashi tofu, it looked delicious and thought that I must order it soon.

Jan 08, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

AS B-Dama [Oakland]

I hadn't ever been to the original B-Dama, but the new location in Swan's Marketplace is a hit. Just a few months after opening, they are quite popular during lunch hour. Both times I had the lunch set - the lure of many different dishes on a tray was just too much. But, I've been wanting to try their udon and hand rolled sushi. Any other hounds tried it yet?

The miso soup, salad, pickles (both times takuan) are all well above average, not afterthoughts. The tempura in the lunch set is not fried to order (understandable given the lunch crowd) and served at room temperature. It's the only part of the lunch set that I have mixed feelings about.

As for the main component of the lunch set, I tried the chicken karaage and grilled salmon. Both were excellent. The portion of chicken was huge and it is cooked and served bone in, which probably adds to my perception that the portion size is large.

I liked the food and am grateful for such a solid Japanese option in this neighborhood. And it's a better value in my opinion than most of the other places in Swan's. Can't wait to try the rest of the menu. If the udon is good, they will be getting most of my lunch money.

Jan 07, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

Restaurant at Meadowood [St. Helena]

We went in December 2011 and again last month, and the food and wine were considerably better. Back in 2011 the food was unremarkable, and the chocolate ribbon dessert stands out in my memory as the epitome of unremarkable. It was pretty but didn't taste much better than a good chocolate mousse. The savory dishes were well prepared but none of them seemed new. The wine pairing was fine.

3 years later, the food has dramatically improved and the wine pairing was excellent. Most of our courses were interesting and well composed. For example, one of our desserts was an incredibly creative date dish in which the dates seemed to be puréed with cream to achieve a consistency similar to red bean paste. There was plenty of date flavor but the texture was transformed. On the savory side, we had an aji sashimi that was garnished with celery (amongst other things), the celery was perfect for the dish. My copy of the menu is a few thousand miles away, but I'm not one to go into every dish in great detail anyway.

The pairings were not too predictable/canned and complemented the food. Service was excellent. I have no idea what the bill was for the 10 of us, but I'm sure it cost a pretty penny. I would gladly return and next time I'd like to sit at the table in the kitchen.

Jan 07, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area

One-month Mark at Spoonbar in Healdsburg: Great Cocktails, Inconsistent Cooking

When our extended family gave us a last minute night off from the baby, it was a mad scramble to figure out where to go. It was a Sunday night, and some of our top choices weren't open or were fully booked. We ended up at Spoonbar, a place we had been wanting to try since watching the chef cook on Top Chef.

The two cocktails we had were the best I've had. Even with the rise of fantastic cocktails in the Bay Area bar and restaurant scene, these cocktails really stood out as perfect. The first was a pomelo margarita, and the second was a citrusy rum cocktail contains passionfruit juice.

The best dishes we had were the sashimi over rice and the beef rib cap with lobster sauce. The sashimi over rice was fantastic because of the grilled yuzu that the diner squeezes over the dish and the green onion soy sauce. I've had so many versions of chirashi with perfect fish and perfect rice, but this version was new and delicious. My only complaint is that the slices of fish were on the large side so I did have to cut a few of them in half with my dinner knife.

The beef arrived atop a lobster sauce that was sublime. I misread the menu and thought I was ordering a surf and turf dish, so was a bit surprised when the lobster arrived as a sauce. But this sauce tasted like the essence of lobster and went great with the beef in a way that can't be accomplished with the traditional surf and turf.

My least favorite dish was the chicken skin cracklings, which was disappointing since it was one of Melanie Wong's top bites do 2014. Our version was garnished with mole and cilantro, which didn't add much to the chicken skin and instead made me wish I was eating chicharrones instead. The dish wasn't bad, it just wasn't very interesting.

Overall we had a good meal with flashes of brilliance and phenomenal cocktails. I would definitely return.

Jan 07, 2015
felice in San Francisco Bay Area