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Do onion goggles work?

I'm with you. I have expert knife skills, but am very sensitive to the fumes from cutting onions. No amount of trickery (fans, chilling, cutting quickly, etc.) ever spared me from pain. My ski goggles are tinted, so not ideal. I use the onion goggles and am now completely pain free. I love them.

Jan 06, 2009
monday in Cookware

Marche on the Square (Ghiradelli Square), SF - Skip it!

I live in the neighborhood, and was looking forward to a good spot for local, organic, etc. I had dinner there on a quiet evening. The service was great, both attentive and intelligent. The food was completely boring. French onion soup tasted like canned beef broth and was topped with a slab of melted cheese that might have been part plastic. The roast chicken was primarily the flavor of raw garlic and didn't taste like it was anything other than factory farmed. I skipped dessert and left feeling duped.

Dec 03, 2008
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

guru winebook

I'll second the Oxford Companion for comprehensive information, the Wine Lover's Companion for quick reference, and Immer's Great Wine Made Simple for an introduction. I have an extensive library, and these are the three that I turn to over and over again. Another great starter book is the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly. I think you'll find that as you learn, you'll look for the specialized books on the regions that excite you the most. These few books will give you a good foundation.

Feb 13, 2007
monday in Wine

Is there a term for a cheese expert?

I have seen a business card with the term "Cheese Monger" on it. Maybe it was made up, but it gives the impression.

Feb 13, 2007
monday in Cheese

What's the story with Open Table?

Whether or not you book on-line through opentable, your name is in our opentable system. When we take reservations over the phone, we enter the information in opentable. I wasn't trying to be confusing. I have access to the entire database of people who have reserved in our restaurant, on-line or otherwise. What I was trying to say is that it doesn't matter HOW you make the reservation. Opentable helps us care for you anyway, and we don't mind much how you reserve as long as you DO!

Feb 09, 2007
monday in Not About Food

What's the story with Open Table?

I use opentable at the restaurant that I manage, and I love it. I've only been managing there for a few months, and the system allows me to see which guests have been in several times. I can track their dining history, make notes about their preferences, and plan to seat them where they like to sit, present the wine list to the proper member of the party, remember their birthday or anniversary, etc. Whether or not you are using opentable to make your reservation doesn't matter much to us, (you are in our system either way) but I find that opentable users are less likely to "no-show," so I will sometimes hold a table longer for a late party if it is an opentable reservation. There is certainly no reason from our point of view that you should not use opentable. We pay a small fee for each reservation, but that cost is more than made up in the convenience that it provides.

Feb 08, 2007
monday in Not About Food

Which foods taste better organic?

So true. I think that in writing that post, I began to wonder if I was right or not. I've since switched to organic celery, and use less of it to better effect in my stocks. Now I have to find organic bananas!

Jan 28, 2007
monday in General Topics

What to order at McCormick & Kuleto's?

I haven't been in a while, but used to do business with them, so I HAD to eat there occasionally. The seafood is almost always very fresh because they do such high volume that there's plenty of turnover of product. That said, I always found it safest to order the simplest preparations. Stick with oysters, cracked crab, etc. Go early in the evening and watch the sun set from the bar with a bottle of bubbly and a plate of oysters. It is a beautiful spot, right on the bay, and it's easy to use up $100 on Champagne!

Jan 23, 2007
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Caveman Posture

Placing your elbows on the table makes it nearly impossible for a server to clear your plate or place one in front of you. I've always understood that to be the main reason for the rule.

Jan 23, 2007
monday in Features

Fried Chicken Special

Farmer Brown's fried chicken is as good as any I've had. My favorite recipe at home was Bradley Ogden's from his first (?) cookbook. Beyond that, Powell's is the standard and Farmer Brown's is better than that. However, the Crispy Fried Quail at Rubicon makes me wonder if we are not all barking up the wrong tree.

Jan 18, 2007
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Chicagoans visiting: Grubstake (for the Portuguese) and Iluna Basque?

Grubstake is only loved by locals for its hours. Iluna Basque was absolutely awful on my only visit there. So bad that I will not try again. Piperade combines modern SF restaurant values (excellent food and warm service) with surprisingly great food. If San Francisco is where you are for Basque food, then Piperade is surely the place to get it. Bocadillos is fun, but the food is more authentic (and worth the trip) at Piperade.

Jan 18, 2007
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Perbacco question - corkage policy and cost?

Beyond the price for corkage, some places have limits on the number of bottles or on bringing in wine that is on the list. I suggest calling ahead in every case.

Jan 16, 2007
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

HELP! Looking for restaurants in the Palo Alto area

I love Marche, warm service, great food. It may be expensive, but I always feel like I get what I pay for. It's also such a lovely place to go when you feel like a special dinner but don't want to drive to the City.

Dec 31, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Yuet Lee in downtown SF - downhill ?

I eat there often, as it is in my neighborhood. I think that the S&P Calamari is sensational, but it is not crunchy like more traditional calamari preparations. It's not made with a batter, but a dusting of salt, pepper and other seasonings. The soy with fresh jalepenos is simple but delicious enough that we put it on other dishes, and the cold beer just makes it all perfect.

That said, Yuet Lee is not great for Americanized Chinese food. I'm always happiest when I ask for suggestions (and specify that I want the freshest fish, and that I'm adventurous). The won ton soup is not good, but fresh flounder with tender greens is a beautiful dish.

Service is efficient. If you need more attention, you do need to ask. I've never really seen this as a drawback, just the way it is.

Dec 30, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

How do you keep cilantro fresh?

I second the "pesto" suggestion, but I'm usually using parsley rather than cilantro. I use what I need from the bunch and drop the rest in to the Cuisinart with a bit of olive oil. I freeze the puree and add it to the next soup or pasta sauce. I probably don't keep it in the freezer for very long, but it seems to have almost the same result in soups and sauces as fresh, and it's very, very easy.

Dec 28, 2006
monday in General Topics

Favorite New Restaurant for 2006?

I also don't get Tres Agaves. Didn't anyone else open a Mexican restaurant in 2006? My favorite is Perbacco, but maybe they opened too recently to make the cut. My second is Myth. I know that it didn't open in '06, but I'm a bit behind.

Dec 27, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area


Peet's is a 40 year old Bay Area institution. Would you explain what the connection with Starbucks is? I couldn't find anything on line in a quick search to support what you assert. Did I miss a buyout?

Dec 17, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Christmas Eve Dinner

Rubicon is open for Christmas Eve dinner. Amazing wine list, and the menu will be a slightly shorter version of the regular dinner menu with a couple of special dishes thrown in (maybe goose).

Dec 14, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Short reviews: Perbacco, Range, Hog Island

I had lunch at Boulette's yesterday, and the bread that we were served was from Acme. It said so right on the menu.

Lunch was lovely ase ever.

Dec 05, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Salt House--a new restaurant that I wanted to like--with some major issues...

Were you not given a chance to check the bottle? I'm just curious.

Nov 27, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Union Sq on a Monday?

Cafe de la Presse would seem to fit the bill. It's just off Union Square at Grant and Bush (right accross the street from the China Town Gate), pretty inexpensive, and could easily accommodate you.

Nov 27, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry-now on

This is the message that you get when the restaurant computers are off-line. It is probably no more than a temporary technical problem.

Nov 19, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Delfina - Menu Changes?

Consider going to Perbacco. It's a much quicker cab ride, and the food is better. We were there last night:

The bar is comfy and large, too.

Nov 14, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Delfina - Menu Changes?

The earlier you go, the more likely you'll snag a spot. There's also a counter overlooking the dining room. It's uncomfortable, but fun to watch the action.

Nov 14, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Blowout dinner for 10 people - where?

I'd second Rubicon. Boulette's Larder is another that will put together as elaborate a menu as you want. You'd have to bring your wine, though.

Nov 14, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Perbacco, go there now!

We just got home from dinner at the new restaurant, Perbacco. It's at 230 California St. between Front and Battery (next to Tadich, two doors from Aqua).

We ordered the Salumi Misti which consisted of house-made finocchiona, Salmae al barbera, coppa piccante and ciccioli (pork pate) as well as imported mortadella di bologna and prosciutto di san daniele. It was cured meat heaven. The house-made salumi had a softer, more lush texture than any I've had, and the flavors were amazing. I've never tasted finocchioni that had such a lovely fennel flavor, not overwhelming but a perfect accent. I will make a trip here just to have a glass of wine and the salumi plate over and over again.

The most ordinary thing we ordered was a beet salad garnished with crumbled castelmagno and ruccola. It was perfect, but just the simple thing described. Compared to everything else, perfect just wasn't exciting.

The pastas were transcendent. We had agnolotti dal plin: squares of house-made pasta filled with roasted veal in a simple butter sauce with braised cabbage and garnished with grated parm. The pasta had perfect texture, and the richness of the veal filling was balanced with the cabbage on the plate. The other pasta we shared consited of ravioli filled with red chard and ricotta in another simple butter sauce wtih crushed walnuts. The balance was unreal with flavors of chard melting with walnuts and ricotta wrapped in (again!) perfect pasta.

We were so satisfied that we skipped dessert in favor of a cheese course that consisted of a couple of big hunks of well aged parmesan and castelmagno (we had plenty of red wine left to finish). The cheeses were served with chesnut flower honey (delicious, if not a match with the wine), marcona almonds and local moscato grapes.

Honestly, the only regret that I had was that we didn't walk in with bigger appetites. I LOVE Delfina, but right now feel like I could forget all about it and not regret.

Go to Perbacco now. Talk to the sommelier, Mauro, about wine. Order as much as you can. Salute!

230 California St.
(415) 955-0663

Nov 14, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area

Bradley Ogden's Ceasar salad recipe?

You're quite welcome. It was nice to pull out this cookbook again.


Nov 13, 2006
monday in Home Cooking

Bradley Ogden's Ceasar salad recipe?

2 egg yolks

Sorry, must have missed that line. I don't actually register what I'm reading when I touch-type!

Nov 13, 2006
monday in Home Cooking

Bradley Ogden's Ceasar salad recipe?

Here it is:

2 heads romaine
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon capers, rinsed and minced
6 anchovy filets, mashed with a fork
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh craked black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
parmesan croutons (see below)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Trim the romaine lettuce of any brown ande bruised leaves. Tear the leaves in to 2-inch pieces. Wash, dry and refrigerate.

Combine the garlic, capers and anchovies, mixing together to form a paste. Add the egg yolks, dry mustard, lemon juice and salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepperr. Whisking continuously, very slowly add the olive oil. Continue whisking until all the oil has been added and the dressing is thick and smooth like mayonnaise. Refrigerate the dressing for 30 minutes to develop its full flavor.

Place the romaine in a large bowl and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Pour the dressing down the sides of th bowl, lifting the lettuce up and over, coting the leaves evenly. Add the parmesan croutons and toss. Place on plates and garnish with the shaved parmesan.

Parmesan Croutons

2 cups french bread cut in to 3/4 inch cubes
6 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheeese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Comvine the garlic and butter in a small saucepan and place over moderate heat until the butter has completely melted and is bubbbling but not browning. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the butter and discard the garlic cloves.

In a bowl toss the bread and butter, evenly coating the cubes. Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Stir them 2 or 3 times while baking . Once the croutons have become a deep golden brown and are crisp all the way through, remove them from the oven and place them in a large bowl. Add the parmesan cheese to the croutons while they are still warm and toss the croutons and cheese together.

Nov 12, 2006
monday in Home Cooking

DC Chowhound would like feedback on her picks

We've only stopped by for a glass of wine, but the menu looks great. They have a special salumi fridge behind the bar, so it can't be bad!

Nov 11, 2006
monday in San Francisco Bay Area