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California Cuisine or Cal-Med-Ital in NYC?

Thank you for all the suggestions, links, and clarifications. Definitely gets me started in a good direction. To answer the question of the choice for this cuisine while in NY--lots of reasons. First, my husband and I are hosting, so we wanted to share something we love, and it's not simply about the food and preparations, but for the laid back atmosphere as well (good to learn that that's not necessarily the case in NYC). Obviously it'd be better to do this in the Bay Area, but with everyone's busy schedules, not sure the family can all get together here in the next year or two. Second, we're Chinese and though born in the US, I've been eating Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese since I could hold a pair of chopsticks. When the family's together, wherever we are, the default is Asian food. Last year when the family came west for my wedding, I had wanted to take them to Chez Panisse Cafe, but everyone requested Yank Sing, sushi, and Indian instead! Actually, my parents and two of my siblings were totally intrigued when I explained in detail Chez Panisse, Gourmet Ghetto, Cal cuisine, and the whole slow food, local/fresh, sustainable/organic movement (and only my other sibling who's been living in LA for the past five years knew what I was talking about), so it'd be great to demonstrate what I was describing. Lastly, I have an organic heirloom tomato and vegetable garden, make my own food-scrap compost (go ahead, make the Berkeley jokes!), and work at a sustainable winery in Napa; though I'm not militant about eating organic, I definitely care about where my food comes from and the story behind it, and I'd be really glad if my family is open to the idea of considering the source of their food. So this dinner isn't really for me and my husband. Thanks to all the information everyone! PS, I'm going to be there for nine days--lots of meals to go around, don't you worry!

Nov 27, 2007
winewwine in Manhattan

California Cuisine or Cal-Med-Ital in NYC?

It's been over five years since I've been to NY. I grew up there but have spent most of my adult life in LA and Berkeley. Going to see family over the holidays and my husband and I are looking for a place to take my family to dinner. Of course I'm trusting my family from NY to take us to the real NY spots and the Italian food, Chinatown, ethnic foods, etc., but I'd love to find a great Californian place (fresh, local, lighter, borrowing from/influenced by various cuisines). In the Bay Area, I live four blocks from Chez Panisse and the Gourmet Ghetto, and our favorite places in the Bay include 1550 Hyde, Bacar, Delfina, Cafe Gibraltar near Half Moon Bay, etc. Looking for something along these lines, but not sure where to start. Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Nov 23, 2007
winewwine in Manhattan

New resident of Napa Valley

I live in Berkeley and work in Napa. I'm Chinese-American and have been eating Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian and all that my whole life, before the Slanted Door and fusion came on the scene. I've always had access to affordable, delicious ethnic foods wherever I've lived or worked, except sadly, for Napa. I can't believe that there isn't even a decent Chinese or Japanese restaurant there. I'm on the verge of begging some of the many ethnic restaurant owners in the East Bay to relocate up to Napa. They need a Pho 83 or something. Nothing fancy, just good, affordable, homestyle Asian cooking. That said, now that I've seen these posts, I will definitely try Asia Cafe!

Oct 19, 2007
winewwine in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Ethnic and Dive eats in Berkeley?

I hate to give this up, because already this place is quite small and crowded, with lines on weekends, but here it is: Jayakarta on University in Berkeley for GREAT Indonesian and Southeast Asian ethnic eats. Be warned though, the food is highly-seasoned and sometimes spicy (thinking of your kids). There's an amazing grilled chicken, and the nasi goreng (fried rice) is yummy. Brazil Cafe has opened a location on Shattuck just north of University in Berkeley (the corner cart on University right by campus is still there), and I love their salad with cilantro dressing (this is coming from someone who normally does not eat salad--vegetables, yes, but salad, normally no). Oh and we just tried Da Nang on San Pablo and Solano, for Vietnamese and Thai. I have to say that two of the dishes we ordered were delicious, though the Pad-see-ew noodles were not the best, HOWEVER, the owner or manager is the most welcoming person you will ever meet at a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, just gracious and friendly beyond expectations! He greets regulars with a pat on the back or a kiss on the cheek. Feels like being in a village in Thailand or Vietname, not a busy corner in Albany/Berkeley. Hope these get you started! Good luck!

Oct 19, 2007
winewwine in San Francisco Bay Area

Loring Wine Company

the Rosella's Vineyard 2004 I had recently was REALLY BIG. I don't know if it would've settled down over time or not. my dinner companion loved it, but it was way over-the-top for my taste (didn't fit my preferences, but I wouldn't tell anyone not to give it a try). I've read it described as "restrained" by someone, but it's probably the last word I'd use. it really held nothing back!

Oct 02, 2007
winewwine in Wine