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One special dinner in SF!

A special friend wishes to treat me to a very special dinner in San Francisco. He has asked me to pick the place There is a bit of a problem, but it shouldn't be insurmountable. Cost is not an issue, but he wants something quiet, elegant and definitely special…but he is pretty much a vegetarian, and somewhat picky…does not like mushrooms, or eggs other than fully cooked chicken eggs, or ingredients that are not easily identifiable. He will eat some simply prepared fish…but only salmon, sole or perhaps halibut. We obviously need a kitchen that is somewhat flexible. What do you recommend? Are Gary Danko or Coi possibilities? Does something else come to mind? Many thanks!

about 5 hours ago
josephnl in San Francisco Bay Area

What's your favorite way to cook?

I pretty much always have the tv on while i'm cooking...either a news channel or the food network (depends who's on...I love Ina Garten, can tolerate Giada, Alton, and Bobby Flay, but truly despise Guy Fieri, and that folksy country lady). I clean up as I'm going along. I hate working in a messy kitchen, and like to know that when we sit down to eat most of the cleanup is done, and it's just about loading the dishwasher after dinner.

Jul 26, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Basic Greek Salad

I do not believe that garlic is a traditional additive to a village Greek salad. I've watched one made many times in Greece, and the dressing has always been simply lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper…no garlic!

Also, the beauty of this salad is simplicity. The only herb I've personally seen added to the salad is dried oregano which is often sprinkled over the block of Feta cheese on each serving.

Jul 26, 2014
josephnl in Recipes

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Even though I am very much a martini traditionalist (gin, vermouth and a carefully rinsed olive), Hendrick's gin and cucumber are a wonderful pairing. Hendrick's gin itself contains some cucumber essence, and serving it very well chilled with either muddled cucumber or a cucumber slice garnish is quite delicious. I generally serve it in a martini glass...but I won't get into whether or not it's a martini.

Jul 25, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Thx!

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Thanks...never knew that!

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Still don't get it. Why is a less botanical gin better on a empty stomach?

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Why do you say that? Isn't it more the proof (percent alcohol x 2), rather than the botanicals, that makes different gins more or less potent? Bombay Sapphire is especially strong because at 94 proof, it's one of the more potent gins.

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

+1. A classic martini is gin and vermouth!

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
1

Speaking of Newport Beach Restaurants - A Blast from the Past

She's long gone. I'm sure we're she still around Rothschild's would still be serving her cakes.

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Speaking of Newport Beach Restaurants - A Blast from the Past

Yep...they were made for Rothschild's by a local woman who was an amazing baker...perhaps Viennese. This was at least 25 years ago!

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

We're both on the same page Kevin. Now, I insist on at least a bit of vermouth in my Bombay Sapphire martini, something that has gone out of style. To me, by definition, a martini must have vermouth. What about you?

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Speaking of Newport Beach Restaurants - A Blast from the Past

Two restaurants from the 70's which still exist and are relatively unchanged are Rothschild's and the Quiet Woman. Rothschild's is still owned by the same family, is still quite good…but oh, the Viennese layer cakes they used to serve are long gone. They were apparently made especially for the restaurant by a local woman. The Quiet Woman has changed hands once or twice, but still serves pretty much the same menu and is still good. They no longer have the bluegrass music nightly…it was their signature…but they still have music.

Jul 24, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

It won't be a deal breaker for me in any case, nevertheless, it would be a shame not to be able to enjoy a cognac after a meal at TFL.

Jul 23, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

But no cognac, Armagnac or similar spirit?

Jul 23, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Wow Kevin. You probably are a kin-mate of mine. I generally will not go to any restaurant where I cannot get a Bombay Sapphire martini before dinner (I make great ones at home). But I guess I'd make an exception for TFL where I would hope that with a wine pairing, my thirst would be quenched at the end of the evening. But you know, after a meal like that, I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy a cognac at night's end. Does TFL have cognac or after dinner drinks available??

Jul 23, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
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If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

I can't imagine that all the hotels in the Napa Valley have an in with TFL, but I bet that the better hotels in Yountville right near the restaurant have some pull. I've heard from another source however that the Vintage Inn does have some clout there…as does AmExp Platinum (which has gotten me very tough reservations in NYC).

Jul 23, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
1

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

What do you mean…all these hotels? He was talking about different rates a the Vintage Inn!

Jul 23, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Three dinners in San Francisco.

We'll be in SF for 3 days in November and are looking for 3 excellent dinners. We've been many times in the past, but not for many years. A few considerations...we like nice places that are comfortable and not unreasonably noisy, one of us is a vegetarian, but sometimes eats fish, we have a $100 dinner gift card for Campton Place (we're staying there) that we'd hate to waste, but will if need be, and one of us would like to try Gary Danko (unless CH's really pan it). Where would you go?

Jul 22, 2014
josephnl in San Francisco Bay Area

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

No one has mentioned Gary Danko! Is GD no longer the very special restaurant it once was?

Jul 21, 2014
josephnl in San Francisco Bay Area

Please 3 dinners in Amsterdam!

Unless one is used to bicycling in a very busy city, with narrow streets and often frenetic traffic, and knows precisely the route they wish to take, I think that the trams are a much more relaxing, efficient and safe way to get around in AMS!

Jul 21, 2014
josephnl in Europe

Gluten Free Diet, how do I alter/change recipes?

Of course you are right. It still amazes me that so many folks are misinformed and think that somehow a gluten-free diet is healthier. Just had dinner at a very high-end restaurant in southern CA where they bragged that at least half of their menu was identified as being gluten-free. Interestingly, no such identifier was on the menu for vegetarian choices (I'm not a vegetarian, but know many). It's ridiculous! Unless you have celiac disease and/or are truly gluten intolerant (~1% of the population), there is no benefit and perhaps even harm from avoiding gluten containing foods.

Jul 19, 2014
josephnl in Special Diets

Gluten Free Diet, how do I alter/change recipes?

Does your wife have celiac disease and/or true gluten intolerance? If not, it not only makes no sense to be gluten-free, it's absolutely ridiculous and indeed not healthy to avoid foods containing gluten. See:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kit...

Jul 19, 2014
josephnl in Special Diets

Removing Oil Stains From Fabric - Any foolproof methods?

But, as I said "on something of value". Yes, I'd much rather spend $5 to dry clean an oil-stained silk shirt or cashmere sweater worth perhaps $100 or even much more, than to risk setting the stain and ruining the garment by using talc, Dawn or whatever else. For "something of value", I would definitely leave it to the professionals...without thinking twice!!

Jul 18, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Simple Cannelloni!

The Mel's Kitchen recipe (apparently based on the ATK version) looks great, and seems to be pretty much like that which I loved. I'm going to give it a try...and if I'm really lazy might use some Rao's or Silver Palate jarred marinara.

Jul 18, 2014
josephnl in Home Cooking

Simple Cannelloni!

About 6 months ago I was at a catered party where one of the entrees was a truly delicious cannelloni. I was unable to get the recipe from the chef, but one of the servers told me that it was really a very simple recipe with lasagna noodles wrapped around a cheese mixture with added herbs, seasonings and egg, and topped with jarred marinara sauce, grated Parmesan and then baked in the oven. I suppose I could try to replicate by trial and error, but am wondering if anyone has a simple similar recipe.

Jul 18, 2014
josephnl in Home Cooking

Bread and Butter

The closest to Poilane bread I have found in southern CA is at the Pain Quotidien in Newport Beach. I've had the same bread at the PQ in West Hollywood, and although very good, the bread at the NB store seems better.

President butter from Normandy is readily available in southern CA, but I'm not sure that it's better than the Kerrygold Irish butter which is my current fave.

Jul 18, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Best pan for flipping eggs

Durability is totally a non-issue if the non-stick pan is used only for eggs, and the eggs are flipped in the air. No utensil (other than perhaps a silicone spatula occasionally for a guest who likes scrambled) touches the pan, and the $20 pan will likely continue to serve me well for a very long time.

Jul 17, 2014
josephnl in Cookware
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Best omelet pan?

I've been doing it for 3-4 months now, and have become pretty much a pro. It's not that hard and it's fun. The main trick is to make sure the eggs move freely in the pan, and then flip briskly without hesitation. Although I've broken a few yolks, I've never missed the pan, but I still flip over the sink. Go for it...or as the folks at Nike would say "just do it"!

Jul 17, 2014
josephnl in Cookware

If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

Porthos...you have seen that n/naka does have a strictly vegetarian tasting menu much as does TFL? Although my partner does eat some fish, he would likely opt for the "safer" all vegetarian menu. You would still opt for TFL?

Jul 16, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area