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Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Thanks for the suggestion. I may very well need to make that happen! Cheers.

Aug 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

I was actually meaning to post a review so thanks for the follow up.

I went to Zuni and ordered 4 oysters to start with Gimlet. Followed by Cesar salad, then the chicken (with a glass of the Mt. Edna Pinot which was apparently designed to go with the chicken per my waiter). The oysters were good. I got all three kumamotos and one that the server recommended. Decent oysters, but the ice they were presented on was somewhat melted and kind of spilled into the oyster shells. I enjoyed nevertheless.

The Cesar salad was nice with good flavor of anchovies but the lettuce could have been crisper. Not bad but I would go with another choice next time.

The chicken was outstanding. I ate about half of the bird with ample amount of bread salad. I really enjoyed this and definitely will be back with a dining companion to finish it off a whole order next time. I brought some home but the fresh version in the restaurant was much better.

After some walking and brief digesting I ended up at Cotogna. I sat at the bar and ordered two pasta dishes. The cacio e pepe which was toothsome and delicious, followed by the agnolotti dal pin that really hit the spot. Agnolotti was full of meaty flavor (veal, chicken and pork I believe) and really delivered. I enjoyed two glasses of wine. One was a dry tuscan wine and the second was a nebbiolo that paired very nicely with the agnolotti.

I didn't make it to Perbacco but was happy with my meals and would go back to either in a heartbeat. I failed to order dessert thinking I would pick something up from a bakery but the time crunch left me with an unsatisfied sweet tooth since I had to rush back to the airport. Next time I will make sure to rectify that.

Thanks for all your feedback. SF is a great food city and always a pleasure to visit. I will most likely be up there again in a month so am looking forward to doing something completely different (or the same - why not?) at that time.

Aug 11, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Yes, I've seen some of your previous posts on this topic. Thanks for the detailed reporting.

Agnolotti is starting to become more common in SoCal these days but tajarin with sugo done in the traditional style is a dish that I have rarely if ever seen outside of Italy. That would likely be my choice along with the cheese plate. The salsiccia di bra is also something that is hard to find in the US (raw pork aversions I guess). I may go for this if I am not at near capacity from all the preceding food!

I noted the squid with white and red beans on the Perbacco website. It sounds like a refreshing dish but I think I am going to try to keep the meal here to a pasta and cheese if possible. Things can of course change very rapidly ;)

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Some great tips here. Will probably skip the fries in light of the above. Plus, I want to save a little room for some after-lunch eats. Sounds like I will lugging a lot of food back from this SF chow session.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Perfect - thanks Robert.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

I will have from about 11a until I take my flight back to LA, which leaves at 7:30p so this is kind of a work sanctioned daycation.

Thanks for the rec on the charcuterie!

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Thanks for the tip. I think that is the order I will follow. I have a lunch res at Zuni for 11:30a. Perbacco is currently offline from OpenTable but I have the impression that I can just walk-in after 1/1:30p with only a minimal wait for a single diner. I may be completely off base on that so I will likely check with OT again to see if it is back online.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Great to hear and the granita sounds perfectly refreshing.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Yes, I like being able to be over the bridge before rush hour but I may just have to grin and bear it so that I can have the meal at Zuni. It sounds to me like CP is better for dinner in the actual restaurant so maybe I should save it for a more worthy meal.

It is looking like Perbacco may be the choice over Cotogna as well for the cheese and maybe a pasta dish.

Thanks for the feedback - it has been very helpful!

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Excellent. Thank you for the info. Being able to order the chicken does tip my choice in favor of Zuni. I was thinking: Martini or Gimlet, oysters, Caesar salad, and the chicken (maybe the fries as well). That seems like a big meal but I will plan to bring some chicken home to share with my family.

I will try to make it over to Perbacco afterwards for cheese and maybe a pasta dish if I have room.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Tuesday LUNCH - Boulevard vs Zuni vs CP Cafe plus Perbacco vs Cotogna?

Dear SF Hounds,

I will be solo in SF (FiDi area) for the day next Tuesday for work, which should finish around 11a. I have a 7:30p return flight (to LA) out of Oakland and will have a rental car. I plan to make the most of my time to enjoy the gustatory delights of the City. I travel up to the Bay about 2-3 times a year but seem to have missed a few institutional type places for one reason or another.

My plan is to hit at least two sit-down restaurants for lunch/late lunch. I am not limited SF (hence the Chez Panisse cafe question) but also do not want to drive all over the place.

I have been to Cotogna and greatly enjoyed it. I am thinking of a return visit to sample some seasonal pastas or going to Perbacco instead for the Northern Italian pastas and lamb stew. I have traveled and dined throughout the Piedmont and Ligurian regions in Italy so this cuisine is very comforting and sentimental for me. Plus, the cheese selection is a big draw.

Which would you pick?

For the other restaurant, I would like to go more Californian/F-to-T cuisine. I have missed out on Zuni in the past (can I order the chicken as a solo diner?) as well as Chez Panisse and Boulevard. I know the food at Boulevard is somewhat different than Zuni/CP (and I realize Zuni was opened by CP alum so the food may be similar) with different price points.

Which would you pick?

Other places I have enjoyed up North: Cotogna, Wood Tavern, Tony's Pizza Napoletana, Tadich Grill, Slanted Door, La Taqueria, Flour + Water, and a whole slew of places I can't remember right now.

Since it is lunch a lot of the top end fine dining is out unfortunately.

Thanks!

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

Settebello Newport

Here's a couple photos from last night. The DOC marg is unfortunately not very visible in the first photo but it is the bottom pie.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

Settebello Newport

I also went last night as part of the free dinner deal. Had a blast! I was really impressed that there seemed to be no limitation on what we could order as part of the promotion. Our table enjoyed a well-made Old Fashion, a Stone IPA (it was a bit less fizzy than normal as noted by JAB), a cucumber/gin cocktail, the DOC Margherita, the Settebello pizza, 4 apps (polenta bites, duck crostini, Roma salad, foccacia) and an order of zeppole to finish off.

The foccacia was a tad too salty and the zeppole was a bit chewy and tough (like the batter over-mixed) but everything else kicked ass. This was my first time at a Settebello so I have no prior experiences with the chain to which I can compare the DOC margherita pizzas. Was it as good as the special margherita at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in SF? Not IMHO, but it was delicious nonetheless. Flavorful and chewy crust, bright sauce and fresh ingredients. For me, Pizzeria Ortica now has some serious competition in the OC Neapolitan pizza department. Plus, the space is very open and nicely designed. I like the trees located throughout the restaurant.

My SO and I were impressed and will definitely return. With our toddler. It seemed very family-friendly, which is not always the case for the other dining options in the Crystal Cove shopping center.

Parking was tough but we lucked out and found parking almost in front of the restaurant.

Jul 27, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area
1

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

I really can't recall after dinner spirits (I believe we drank some relatively dry but semi-sweet glasses of spumanti after dinner). I do recall a cigar menu though. A couple selections were enjoyed by us out in the courtyard with said spumantis.

Jul 25, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

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

Thanks for that correction Peter.

Jul 25, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

best cioppinno?

I think Sotto Mare has a good version.

Jul 21, 2014
Searching4Dunny in San Francisco Bay Area

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

I was there during a December so I believe the prices are lower during off-season.

Jul 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

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

I know - what am I doing?! LOL.

Jul 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

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

Try booking a room at Vintage Inn in Yountville and have the concierge book a table for you at TFL. There are a few tables reserved for guests of that hotel and a few other ones in the area. The room rates are around $200-250 per night so it would be less than obtaining an AMEX Plat card.

EDIT: I realize now that this post is from 2013. Anyway, my recommendation for reserving TFL through the Vintage Inn still stands.

Jul 16, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area
2

Who do you follow on the Los Angeles board, and why?

I agree with everything Ernie has said about Porthos. I also feel we have similar tastes and have been introduced to some great spots in OC because of him (Ramen Zetton, Kasen, and others). I also check his posts on the France and Italy boards when I plan to travel to those countries. Plus he knows his stuff when it comes to Neapolitan pizza!

Jul 11, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

Best bets for sushi, thai and mexican joints in orange county

Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills/El Toro may be worth a look for breakfast/brunch. It's not sushi, Mexican or Thai but it is creative cooking with some Vietnamese touches on some dishes.

Jun 29, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

Introduction to good food in Orange County.

Lamb consumme (with the birria/lamb chop dish) may not be to everyone's liking. Cracklings also may pose problems for some. Caviar (served with the fish) as well as squid ink may discourage "neophytes" (as you say).

None of these are that crazy for those that have more seasoned palates but could intimidate less adventurous diners when they have limited control over menu choices.

Jun 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

Introduction to good food in Orange County.

I don't think you need to have a prior experience with a cuisine to enjoy it. Needing to have a basis for comparables seems to imply that enjoyment of cuisine is simply an intellectual exercise where one derives enjoyment primarily from comparing and ranking amongst prior experiences. I think this cuts out a substantial swath of the eating experience where encountering new flavors/textures/etc. can incite a passionate response. This also broadens scope and experience of the diner. Then there is the service/room/intangible aspects that play into the overall dining experience one seeks when they are planning a special night out.

Jun 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

Introduction to good food in Orange County.

Totally different types of places. MM is a bit older in vibe and a bit less casual.
French food has also been known to ignite food passion time and time again.

Other choices: Pizzeria Mozza; Cucina Enoteca (may be good for less foodie types); Ways and Means; Arc; Tamarind; Mastro's (expensive steakhouse). These choices are more traditional in nature. MM is also a grown up restaurant if that means anything.

Jun 17, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area
2

$1100 later... URASAWA report! - VERY long!

The pleasure would be mine, JL. Would love to do an omakase excursion with you with all proper sake trimmings. I am game next time you have an early day at work.

May 31, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

$1100 later... URASAWA report! - VERY long!

You're right - on all accounts.

May 30, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

$1100 later... URASAWA report! - VERY long!

The shabu shabu is cooked by one of the geisha-like waitresses at your seating area.

I don't think a short break would be a problem as everyone seemed very accommodating when I was there.

Funny tidbit: when one of my dining companions told the waitress that he was starting to get drunk towards the end of the meal, she replied, "It is my duty to get you drunk." We thought that was amusing.

May 30, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area
2

$1100 later... URASAWA report! - VERY long!

$375 per head. With drinks you are closer to $500+pp

May 29, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

$1100 later... URASAWA report! - VERY long!

It was $375pp (I believe) in December '13.

May 29, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area

SERIOUS BBQ COMING TO CULVER CITY

Ugly Drum guys?

May 19, 2014
Searching4Dunny in Los Angeles Area