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Ultimate Tasting Menu if it can't be French Laundry

Thank you all so much for your input, and sorry for the late response. I was in such a flurry to have something for the rehearsal dinner on Aug 15 and then consumed with my wedding and honeymoon.

I ended up going with Manresa, and my parents had an excellent time and enjoyed the very creative, fresh, seasonal, beautiful food, wine, ambiance, and service. They were thrilled. I definitely hope to try Manresa, and many of the others soon. Maybe for our anniversary :).

Dec 19, 2011
yumpassion88 in San Francisco Bay Area

Restaurant Mitsunobu in Menlo Park

A few friends were buzzing about it here down in the south peninsula, but I couldn't find any press on it yet, besides a few blurbs that Kaygetsu was closing and Mitsunobu was slated to open in its place.

The praise I mentioned was from reviews on Yelp, http://www.yelp.com/biz/mitsunobu-men...

Thanks!

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Kaygetsu Restaurant
325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Mitsunobu
325 Sharon Park Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Nov 11, 2011
yumpassion88 in San Francisco Bay Area

Restaurant Mitsunobu in Menlo Park

I've just started hearing buzz about the new Restaurant Mitsunobu, which just opened in the past several days where Kaygetsu closed. It is said to rival or even surpass the finest Japanese restaurants in the world, including Japan. Has anyone eaten here or know more about this place? I would love to hear what you thought.

Here's their temporary website, http://web.me.com/kmitsunobu/Site/Res.... Looks like they do a $75 prix fixe dinner menu and also have a la carte dinner and lunch.

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Kaygetsu Restaurant
325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Nov 10, 2011
yumpassion88 in San Francisco Bay Area

Ultimate Tasting Menu if it can't be French Laundry

I wanted to treat my parents to a meal at the French Laundry as a wedding gift (my wedding), but my dad will be out of the country after next month for several months and I don't think I can get a reservation before he leaves. I want the meal to be very special and an excellent and memorable food and wine experience that is creative but also doesn't leave you hungry from tiny portions or put-off by overly stuffy service.

I just moved back to the bay area from Seattle, so I don't know the food scene here well yet. Where do you think I should treat them to?

Here are tasting/multi-course dining experiences I'm considering. What do you think and do you have other suggestions?

Manresa
Cyrus
Morimoto Napa
Benu
Saison
Alexanders Steakhouse

Thanks for your help!

Jennifer

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Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Saison
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Aug 14, 2011
yumpassion88 in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to buy mullet roe / karasumi / bottarga in the peninsula? The one that looks like a tongue.

Hey all,

I am looking for Taiwanese mullet roe. It is firm, dryish, and butterscotch colored, and its appearance always resembled a tongue to me. Apparently the Japanese call this karasumi and the Italians call it bottarga.

In my family, we always pan fried it and cut it into thin slices. It's delicious! Does anyone know where I can purchase it in the peninsula?

Here's a link to what it is...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karasumi

Thanks!

Jun 18, 2011
yumpassion88 in San Francisco Bay Area

Birthday Dinner Plans for 10 fell through for tomorrow night. Help! Need recommendations!

Here's the ending... we stuck with Sel de la Terre in Back Bay and had a very nice time on Saturday night.

The service was excellent, and our waitress was very knowledgable about everything on the menu. Atmosphere was good -- lively, soft but not too dim lighting, modern but still warm. The food was well-executed, though not particularly interesting. Portion sizes were generous. I had the beef short ribs, which were tender but lacked a certain depth of flavor and moistness I would expect from short ribs. They were served with mashed potatoes, which were tasty, but a bit predictable. Seemed like everyone enjoyed their meal but no one was jumping out of their seats or saying much of anything about the food (and we LOVE talking about food!) -- except one. One of my friends ordered the gnocchi after our waitress told us they use less flour in their gnocchi than other restaurants typically do so they are very tender -- almost like little pillows. My friend was completely enamored with the dish -- amazed and distracted by how great it was the entire time she was eating it :). I tasted some and they were very tender and delicious.

I will say that we were very well taken care of, and they remembered that it was my fiancee's birthday and brought him out dessert with a candle and happy birthday message with his name properly spelled! We're lucky we were able to get a table at SDLT and still had a nice birthday celebration despite the evil idiocy of Citizen.

The nagging thing is, we're still curious about that darned pig dinner at Citizen. I would HOPE that the restaurant would recognize that their mistake last Saturday -- not only completely screwing up a birthday celebration for ten guests at the last minute (what if I hadn't called they day before and we just arrived for our reservation?) and then blatantly sidestepping accountability for their mistake is NOT the way customers should be treated. Such a thing should never happen. I mean, seriously.

On a positive note, I got so many recommendations from all of you for more great places to try in Boston, and it is SO amazing how many of you responded and tried to help.

Take care and see you around the boards!

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Sel de la Terre
774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

Jan 31, 2011
yumpassion88 in Greater Boston Area

Birthday Dinner Plans for 10 fell through for tomorrow night. Help! Need recommendations!

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm actually a Seattle chowhound until about a month ago, and moved to Boston for a stint working in food(!). I'm not too familiar with the Boston food scene myself, so I really appreciate the recommendations. I am keeping this as close to Boston as possible since that's where everyone was planning on going initially. I haven't yet broken the news that there will be no whole roasted suckling pig for us all the devour :(...

I've been calling all over the place and yes, as expected, most places interesting, highly recommended, and not too overpriced are booked. I was able to snag a table at Sel de la Terre Back Bay, so that's a big relief. I haven't heard many recommendations for SDLT and it seems rather "restaurant group with large intestors"-esque (which can get the place lots of press but doesn't necessary indicate food I'm interested in), but at this point it is a huge relief to have SOMEWHERE to redirect my party to. Thoughts on SDLT? Should I keep trying to get a table at other places and have SDLT as a backup?

Bob, love your idea about the Peking Duck, but looking for most of a western restaurant birthday experience for this one.

Here's what I've tried already (and been rejected by):
- Craigie on Main
- Eastern Standard
- Bondir
- Island Creek Oyster
- Rendezvous
- Scampo
- Towne

I have been a bit trigger shy with the italian places because it can be hard to tell one apart from the other just from the menus (whereas actually dining there could be transcendent).

Others I could keep chipping away at are:
- Oleana (interesting and has been recommended, but not as appealing to everyone in a crowd of 10)
- Erbaluce
- Asana
- Henrietta's Table (thoughts on this place?)

As a side note, if you're curious, the Citizen Public House pig dinner debacle was entirely Citizen's fault. It "may have been my fault" said the guy who is solely responsible for arranging said pig dinners and personally made the reservation and confirmed with me. Aaaaargh. Then he had the audacity to suggest I bring my 10 guests there to order off the regular menu and patronize their very restaurant that completely screwed over my birthday celebration. I could go on about this for days. I will spare you.

Thanks again for your help!

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Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Henrietta's Table
One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Scampo
215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

Oleana
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sel de la Terre
774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

Asana
776 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

Bondir
279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Jan 28, 2011
yumpassion88 in Greater Boston Area

Birthday Dinner Plans for 10 fell through for tomorrow night. Help! Need recommendations!

Hey All, my fiancee is in town from Seattle for his birthday, and we *had* reservations for 10 for tomorrow night (Saturday) at 8:30p for the Pig Roast at Citizen. Through inexplicable misfortune/incompetence (deep breaths, won't get into that), our reservation has fallen through.

I need help! I need a place with great atmosphere and fantastic food that would be appropriate for a birthday celebration that isn't excessively expensive (i.e. you can get a good entree for $35 and under). I have other guests from out of town and across the country who are here for the dinner, so if you have ANY recommendations and/or can work miracles, please chime in ASAP :).

Thanks!

Jan 28, 2011
yumpassion88 in Greater Boston Area

Chowhound worthy places that are baby friendly in Seattle?

I have visitors coming to visit me in Seattle, which includes my 1 year old niece. She's not a particularly noisy baby, but she does squeal and squirm sometimes. I really want to show them some of the yummiest places in town -- some more casual, some nicer. They will be here for 4 days.

Some places I've thought of taking them that would work are Matt's in the Market. Tamarind Tree, and Caffe Lago. Any recommendations for places that would be good?

Jun 21, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

Dinner Reco's in Whistler for a group of Chowhounds?

Thanks for the recommendations! Both of these sound right up our alley. I'd love to have several options to choose from-- any others?

Feb 01, 2009
yumpassion88 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Dinner Reco's in Whistler for a group of Chowhounds?

Where's the best food in Whistler? Going on a ski trip with some friends and lovers of great food this weekend. We want to get some reservations booked asap, as we just learned it is pride weekend and expect it to be extra crowded. Some of our Seattle faves are Crush, Matt's, Corson, Serafina, and will be happy with any type of cuisine as long as the food is delicious. We'd like to do at least one nice (expensive is fine) meal, as well as some casual. We'll be there for 2 dinners and 3 lunches.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

Jan 31, 2009
yumpassion88 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Chinese Breakfast in Seattle?

Oh, it's the one on Lake City Way. Hope you make it out, I want to get back to try the dinner!

Jan 12, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

Chinese Breakfast in Seattle?

Thanks for the recommendation! In my desperation I started scouring the internet, and the reviews for Chiang's Gourmet were so good on yelp, that's where we went!

It was just a short drive from Seattle (<10 mins!) and was seriously awesome. They serve their breakfast menu Sat-Sun 10:30a-3:00p.

I had:
- salty soy milk soup that has pork sung, cut up chinese donut, and pickled vegetables
- green onion pancake was thin, nicely browned and had lots of green onion but was not overpowering
- baked cake with beef stew was a baked sesame cake stuffed with stewed or otherwise slow cooked beef
- steamed wonton with hot chili sauce
- shanghai steamed dumplings

The standouts for me were
1) the steamed wonton with chili sauce -- delicate wispy skinned wontons swimming in bright red chili oil, some steamed green vegetable, and chinese pickled vegetable. This was actually not too spicy, but just had really great and well balanced flavors or spicy, salty/savory, sweet, and the pickled vegetables added some sour crunchy bits. Yum!
2) the salty soy milk -- rich and light at the same time, with lots of great flavor and texture to warm your tummy. Just what I think this dish should be.
3) green onion pancake -- thin, nicely crisp, but still tender on the inside with lots of sauteed green onion.

The bill came out to about $24 for all this! The service was slow, but very friendly, and the dining room was actually quite nice -- much better than what I read online, but they have recently redecorated.

I am definitely going back! Jane917, I grew up in the bay area, too, and this was very satisfying.

Jan 11, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

Chinese Breakfast in Seattle?

Hounders,help! I've been craving Northern-style Chinese breakfast since I went to bed last night -- not dim sum, but hot salty spicy soy milk you drink like soup and dip those fried sticks of dough in, green onion pancake, dumplings, pan fried pork and veggie buns, steamed shanghai soup dumplings, sesame pancake stuffed with pork and hoisin and scallions...

I don't know if a good place for this exists in Seattle, but I really hope one does.

Thanks!

Jan 11, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

Crab Pot in SEA worth going?

Let me just say the only wholehearted recommendation I've ever heard for the Crab Pot was from the zany driver/tourguide of Seattle's 'Ride the Ducks' vehicle who was wearing a duck hat, blowing on a quacker, and dancing to Kool & the Gang's 'Celebrate'.

Went with friends once a while back. Wearing bibs and whacking things with wooden mallets is fun... for a bit... but then there is the cold seafood of questionable texture and unfresh shrimp with totally limp shells that REALLY needed to be deveined, but was not.

Could be good for kids or people whose food taste sophistication does not extend beyond mass chain restaurants! As many others have said, TOTALLY not worth the drive from Vancouver BC.

Jan 10, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

New Urban Eats (SEA)

Haven't tried any of the promotions yet, but a couple bits of info. The original chef of Bin Vivant, Lisa Nakamura, left recently, and the former chef de cuisine (from barking frog) has stepped up as head chef. They seem to be in somewhat of a transitional phase, but the original reviews (from when Lisa was in the building) I heard were that there are definitely some high points to be had, esp. the foie gras. I doubt it is included as part of the 3 for $30 though :).

Also, as of Monday of this week, the sister restaurant of Betty in Queen Anne, Crow, also has a 3 for $30 menu being offered. I've eaten at both restaurants several times and prefer Crow, personally. Unfortunately my favorite entree was not part of the promotion -- the pan roasted chicken. It doesn't really need to be though, as it's priced at about $17!

Would love to head about your experience at any of the restaurants participating in the New Urban Eats promotion. It's sad that many local restaurants are struggling and even closing these days, but I have to admit I love the great deals to be had with the promotions! Yummm.

Jan 07, 2009
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

Seattle Best Breakfast

Whoa! Hadn't been back to Crave in a while. Sad. When did they close??

Dec 28, 2008
yumpassion88 in Greater Seattle

Third Annual Ultimate Seattle Restaurant Poll (2008)

There are some restaurants I'm still dying to try on this list, and though I've eaten at most, I feel I'll never get to them all. I LOVE that about the Seattle food scene. Here's mine, though it's hard to stack rank them -- they're my bucket of go-to's and which one depends on my mood!

1. Matt's in the Market
2. Crush
3. Serafina
4. Cafe Lago
5. Samurai Noodle

Dec 23, 2008
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest

SEA- Oceanaire for Dinner.. Yes or No?

Hey, I tried Oceanaire a while back when I was craving some great seafood and was very disappointed, the seafood was not very interesting, and the flavors did not work well. It was several months ago, and my memory is not perfect, but I know I'm never going back.

We started with raw oysters on the half shell, which were fine. I've had better at Flying Fish, Shuckers, and many other places.

I ordered a whole brandade with some kind of asian sauce that ended up being like the fish was literally dipped in an overpowering teriyaki sauce that masked any enjoyable qualities of the fish. We ordered a cauliflower side with romesco sauce that was poor. The cauliflower was bland and without good texture, the romesco sauce did not have any depth or smokiness, and was strangely skewed too acidic. I can't remember what my boyfriend ordered.

We were hoping they could at least do a decent dessert, and ordered a baked alaska with (I believe) rocky road ice cream. The waiter poured some very strong liquor over the top and lit it at the table, which was kind of cool, but he must have used bacardi 151, or close, because we could still taste so much alcohol soaked in everything that the dessert was barely edible.

On the positive side, the service was great, and had that large, old fashioned fancy seafood restaurant kind of vibe from 50 years ago, with a pleasant and attentive old man as our server.

Overall, I definitely do NOT recommend.

Of the other restuarants mentioned, Matt's in the market would win hands down. Their food is extremely fresh, very well executed, the ingredients are well thought-out and each one adds something to the dish, and the portions are very generous. The food and atmosphere are relaxed and warm. Only minor complaint is the service has been slow, but this is far outweighed by the positives.

Dec 02, 2008
yumpassion88 in Pacific Northwest