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SF birthday dinner for a 7-year-old

Well, except for the crowd issue (which I think would be a problem) what about Pier 39 (if the seals are there), there is an aquarium, lots of fun dessert type places and you can eat in a place overlooking Alcatraz and see lots of boats - but I haven't been for a few years so might be a bit different now?

May 08, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

When a menu is not a menu

I'm with you. clearly the chef has to make decisions a few hours ahead of service - so what is the big deal with typing up a menu on the computer to offer to those who would like it? Granted you still wouldn't know ahead of time, but I'd sure prefer this.
I went to Baum once and had such a poor experience that I'd never go back - so that one is easy for me to ignore.
Manresa - not so much, especially since IMHO I don't think the menu is entirely new EVERY night. Given the complexity and detail surely the staff has to be trained and I'm willing to bet (but more recent visitors can confirm or deny) that there are a lot of repeat dishes in a two or three week period. Things like the tide pool or into the garden that are sort of signature might be on most nights?
Anyway I'm with you on my comfort level :)

May 07, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Lazy Bear Review [San Francisco]

I think my dinner was around 180 - website says dinners are 120-150 plus tax and service charge.

Apr 10, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Lazy Bear Review [San Francisco]

Due to the kindness of a chowhounder I was gifted a reservation last week so here are some thoughts after mulling it all over I'm still conflicted about the meal

It's an interesting concept and I'm impressed that they are able to sell out so quickly for 2 servings a night BUT while I enjoyed the "community" aspect of dining I also felt it was a bit off putting.

Canapes are served in a small upstairs room along with drinks (purchased) as well as a complimentary rum punch (that not everyone seemed to receive). Most were similar to those previously reported. I found the noise level and small space difficult and it was awkward to talk to people because of the seating.

After this, people were led downstairs which again was awkward because if you met someone and wanted to continue the conversation that was not possible.

As for the food - they do provide a small book listing the menu (as well as verbal explanations) for each course. Much to my surprise my favorite courses were the onion soup and the rhubarb dessert (I didn't even know I liked rhubarb!)

The onion soup had an egg yolk (the second or third item with egg yolk of the evening) which I didn't like as much as the broth but had an interesting story. Because of the texture I asked how it had been prepared and was told that it was dropped into oil, the the oil was placed in a water bath and slowly heated. The yolk could have used some seasoning and had a somewhat gummy custard like texture.

The lamb course was described as the "best lamb" the chefs had ever tasted, but sadly for me I got a tiny piece and my neighbor got one 4x the size. Sadly she didn't like lamb so only had one bite.. This course was served with a blood orange and vanilla sauce which I found disturbingly sweet, but people around me thought it "made the dish" this dish is pictured but I don't know how to add text around the picture or even if the picture will post (sorry about that)

All the food (well, maybe except for the "bread" course) was presented artfully with (sometimes) too many things going on on the plate so flavors didn't "sing" or got confused/muddeled.

Lots of innovation, but all in all I prefer to have more control over my food I guess. Having had tasting menus at many high end restaurants I find the ability to peruse the menu and make individual requests more my style. The "cafeteria" style service doesn't seem so much like fine dining to me.

As for the "service charge" - it is clear that the servers do a lot of work (and I found mine to be pleasant if somewhat overwhelmed) with so many courses but since it is mandatory I don't really understand why they don't just adjust the pay rate and include the charge as part of the cost.

Would I go back? Probably not - for the same price (well what it would be if I hadn't been gifted)I could have meals at many places I would find more satisfying.

Am I glad I went - definitely.

Lazy Bear Review [San Francisco]

what is there to drink if you don't do the pairing? Water, I assume?

Mar 12, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Costco To End Relationship With American Express

The costco amex offers 1% back on purchases and higher for gas - not clear what they will do when they (presumably)change the conditions when no longer associated with Costco. So you'd need to evaluate when that is announced
As you said, for any non Costco amex you'd still get whatever benefits you've always had - so I fail to see the angst so many are expressing about loss of ability to use amex ;)

Mar 07, 2015
estnet in Chains

Chaya uni tasting menu [San Francisco]

any idea of cost and number of courses? (and I'm not familiar with the area - can I street park on a Sunday?)

Mar 06, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Haha....when I read the title I thought it was referring to a plan by Manresa to institute a dress code - which I found shockingly incongruous. This makes a lot more sense :)

Mar 06, 2015
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Costco To End Relationship With American Express

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET WHATEVER CARD THEY ACCEPT TO SHOP!

You don't want to give up your amex and get a new cc? Use your amex to buy costco cash cards online - then use them to make your purchases at costco. You get you miles/points on your amex and don't have to get another card. Yes, you lose other benefits that came with the card, but for those who simply don't want another card this is a simple solution!

Mar 06, 2015
estnet in Chains

Lasarte - lunch?

Has anyone been since they reopened? I think it was closed for redecorating - is that right?
Also does anyone know if they still have a lunch menu that is a special price?

Jan 15, 2015
estnet in Spain/Portugal

Costco returns?

Guess I can't edit so....
I think there is a difference between spoiled wine and buying too much. My guess is if there is something wrong they will take it back, but not if you just buy too much.
This is a good thing, if true b/c they do sell some pretty pricey stuff :)

Dec 26, 2014
estnet in Chains

Costco returns?

Don't know where u live but can't return in California

"Cigarettes and alcohol: Costco does not accept returns on cigarettes or alcohol where prohibited by law."

Dec 26, 2014
estnet in Chains

Costco returns?

In california you cannot return alcohol

Dec 24, 2014
estnet in Chains

Recommendation for a moderately priced champagne/sparkling wine? [San Francisco]

I like Roederer Estate Anderson Valley - which can sometimes be found on sale for around 16 or 17, but now closer to $20. It, is, however perhaps overkill for mimosas

Dec 23, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Crab season is upon us

Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought. I've had some that is really good, but the chance of getting some that isn't "off" seems IMLE to be about 1 out of 10 - just wondered how a restaurant could offer it is not something that can be counted on (altho I guess they do enough volume that they can pick the good ones)
Usually if it is a lighter color - like the pictured ones it is good, but if it is darker brown - then bitter and acrid tasting (but this is a limited sample)

Dec 23, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Crab season is upon us

When I try the crab fat from crabs I've cooked myself and bought live (both from the dock and at ranch 99) I find it is often bitter and not edible.
Is there a secret I'm missing?

Dec 19, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Pavlova, Eton Mess or other meringue-based desserts in SF or East Bay

Had one at Ame a few years ago (pavlova) but it was horrible so even if they still have it I wouldn't recommend.

Oct 06, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Little China Kitchen - Downtown San Mateo

I don't find LS greasy, but was asking more about the quality of the prep - I'm buying for a group of (homeless) people who are asking for their favorites I know the quality of LS, but (at least on yelp which I can't evaluate) people are complaining of small portions and more important overly salted or otherwise bad food.

Aug 29, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Little China Kitchen - Downtown San Mateo

Any updates? I'm buying food for about 10 people and was going to to to Little Shanghai (which I know), but someone suggested this place, but from the reviews here (old) and yelp (which I don't trust) doesn't seem like I should try this place.

Aug 29, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Paid Food Testing Event - Downtown Oakland

If there is an age criteria (which there clearly is once you waste time filling out the form) you could save us all a lot of time by just saying so up front!

Aug 06, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry solo? [Yountvile]

coi does not accept reservations for singles!

Jul 29, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

campton place? [San Francisco]

Realize it's different, but how would you say it compares to La Folie in terms of taste sensations?

Jul 11, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

campton place? [San Francisco]

Thanks. Photos look great - did they taste as good as they look?

Jul 11, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

campton place? [San Francisco]

Thanks Melanie, I was searching in the search box for this board. I had no idea that there was a way to search otherwise (duh) and I can see that the search I was doing was only picking up the string in the titles, but yours picks up within the posts. Learn something every day :)

Still, there is relatively little posted about the tasting menu and other experiences so if I do end up there I promise to post here.

Jul 11, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

campton place? [San Francisco]

Okay, so I found something from 2008 also asking about experiences. Has no one here had any more recent experiences? There was an article I the chron today, but I trust this board more.

Steak tartare

Wow, ketchup???? Never even thought of that - this wasn't an option any of the times I had it in France ;)

Jul 10, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

campton place? [San Francisco]

Can't find anything more recent that 2006 - am I missing something?

Jul 10, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

What happened to 231 Ellsworth? [San Mateo]

http://www.231ellsworth.com says they are closed, which you already know. From other sources I'd guess it closed in May, but couldn't find anything about the chef.

Jul 06, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area

Barcelona Restaurant recommendations

I've had 2 different experiences there (both lunch), first was exceptional but the second was somewhat disappointing. dishes were served at the wrong temperature (should have been hot but served lukewarm), taste not nearly as good as the first time. It was almost empty so no excuse for being too busy..... maybe the chef wasn't in the kitchen the second time (he certainly was the first tie and even came out to speak to me - not sure why I rated such attention VBG)

Jul 04, 2014
estnet in Spain/Portugal

China Bistro San Mateo

Drove by tonight and there is a BIG banner saying GRAND OPENING - same name????????

Jul 04, 2014
estnet in San Francisco Bay Area