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Dinner at Boulette's Larder?

I've been two a couple of dinners at Boulette's, although it's been a while since the last time I was there. It certainly can be a wonderful experience, especially if the guests are foodies, and it feels like an intimate and personal experience. The food can be great too. While I did not organize the dinners, a couple of things that I know are helpful would be to 1) nail down the menu and specific costs (we had a little surprise about the cost since we weren't aware of the use of truffles - oop$), and 2) find out who will be cooking in the kitchen (we had a "guest" chef one night, and let's just say that we would have preferred he stayed in his day job). But all in all, a private dinner at Boulette's is a unique and intimate experience that everyone will remember.

Oct 18, 2009
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

What's with Michael Chiarello's place?

For dim sum, go to Hong Kong Lounge, which is just a few blocks from Ton Kiang, but on the opposite side of Geary (near 17th Ave.) Probably the top dim sum in SF right now, the crowds of Chinese people lined up outside the door every day of the week is testament to that. And a lot cheaper than Yank Sing.

Aug 29, 2009
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Is Ton Kiang still good for dim sum in San Francisco?

I just had dim sum today at Hong Kong Lounge on Geary. The place was packed, with lines out the door (on a Tuesday!), but it moved quickly since it's a big restaurant. The dim sum was very good, better than what I've had a Ton Kiang (although I haven't been there for about a year). It's not cheap, but the portion sizes are generous, and it's nowhere near as expensive as Yank Sing. Large, plump, whole shrimp in the har gow (shrimp dumplings). We ordered extensively off the dim sum menu, and everything was very good. Definitely go there instead of Ton Kiang!

Aug 04, 2009
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

FINALLY going to Spain- need a list of must eats

Great choices! Hopefully you've spaced out the SS heavy hitters so you'll be able to enjoy them. We had Extebarri scheduled for lunch and Arzak for dinner, and had to cancel Arzak because we were stuffed after eating an absolutely amazing lunch at Extebarri (we let the chef create a menu for us, and it was incredible). Definitely in the Top Three meals of my lifetime. Mugaritz was good, the ambiance wonderful and the service superb, but the food didn't wow us.

In Barcelona, we enjoyed more casual dining, with Cal Pep and Kiosko Universal providing delightful meals. Superfresh grilled seafood, just cooked through, with some olive oil, parsley, squeeze of lemon...absolute perfection.

Only downside is there are smokers everywhere!

May 19, 2009
rcinsf in Spain/Portugal

Visiting from SF, need Father's Day restaurant rec

Funny you should notice the price differential, I had the same thought when I was looking for restaurants in Chicago a year ago. I'm from San Francisco too, so I have the same perspective. I find it interesting how the economics vary in different cities (e.g. I thought Chicago restaurant prices were more similar to NYC prices, but Chicago real estate prices are much lower than in NYC or SF). I do think Chicago restaurants are "nicer" than SF restaurants in that they spend more on their interiors (like NYC).
I'll be in Chicago in a few weeks, and will definitely be trying out some of the casual fine dining restaurants nsxtasy has recommended (thank you for providing such great information on the chicago board!) in addition to our finale "tour" at Alinea. We ate there several years ago 2-3 weeks after they first opened, so it will be nice to see how things have changed since then.

May 12, 2009
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Mother's Day gift

Thanks for all the great suggestions. All these restaurants look like contenders, although I haven't been able to get through to the Salts website.

I should have mentioned that the gift certificate would not be for Mother's Day, but for a date in the future of their choosing, so they could invite some friends along.

When I spoke with Mom this morning, she did throw a wrench into the works when she mentioned that someone had recommended L'Espalier. I looked at the website, and the menu didn't appeal to me as much as some of the others. It seemed very French and rather rich (I felt my arteries hardening as I read through the menu). Obviously it is not a casual restaurant; it looked like perhaps the most formal restaurant in Boston?! That's not an issue for my parents, but I'm wondering if the food is better than these other places. From my point of view, if I'm going to put on a jacket and tie to eat dinner, well the food had better be worth it!

If I based my choice just on the menus, I'd select either Craigie's for the rustic simplicity, or Clio for a more refined approach. Are my instincts correct?

May 10, 2009
rcinsf in Greater Boston Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Mother's Day gift

I just checked out the websites for those three restaurants, and they all look good! How would your compare/contrast these three, as they all seem to fit the bill. Bistro 5 is obviously Italian, which my parents love. Is the food more rustic or refined? Craigie's looks like it has a delicious menu, and perhaps the most casual atmosphere? Clio looks the most elegant of the bunch, with beautiful food and a pretty setting. I also remember a friend mentioning a restaurant on Beacon Hill, I think it was No. 9 Park. Is that any good?

May 07, 2009
rcinsf in Greater Boston Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Mother's Day gift

Instead of sending flowers this year, I plan to give my mother a gift certificate to a nice restaurant in the Boston area. My parents live in the 'burbs, but often drive with friends throughout the area in search of good food. I haven't lived in the area for years, so I have no idea what the newest and best restaurants are (when I was there Jaspers and Harvest were big). It should have great food, good service, but have a relaxed atmosphere (no strict dress codes), and have parking relatively nearby (my parents are elderly). Oh, and not crazy noisy like a lot of new places are these days. Price not as much of an issue (it's mom after all). Last year I played it safe with a gift certificate to the Four Seasons, which they enjoyed, but this year I figure I ought to be more creative. So what are some new places serving great food in (and around) Boston?

May 07, 2009
rcinsf in Greater Boston Area

Best Chinese Banquet-Style food in SF Area

Just wanted to report back on our dining experience at KP. Overall, the dinner was just ok. We ended up ordering a la carte since we had only 6 adults and 2 children. We did not order any dishes in advance, so we had to "settle" for the standard shark's fin soup. At $30 per bowl ($180 for six) it left a lot to be desired. While there was a good amount of shark's fin in each bowl, the soup base had very little flavor, and the addition of vinegar and pepper did little to enhance the flavor. If I hadn't known the cost, I wouldn't have finished my serving. The peking duck two ways was ok; most of us thought it was rather greasy. We also had the boiled shrimp, which my parents liked, although I thought the shrimp were so small that it wasn't worth the effort to peel each one for a tiny bite. The steamed fish was a bit overcooked, and the meat was "coarse", not delicate, for whatever reason. We guessed that the fish was rock cod or something similar. The waiter recommended the "coffee" spare ribs, which were a specialty of the house. While they were a bit different, they certainly were nothing to get excited about.

The only real highlight was the abalone, which was very tasty and tender. At $36 per serving, it certainly should be something to remember, and it was.

Overall, it was not the meal I had hoped it would be. I doubt I will return, but I'm sure KP won't mind. Even in this recession, the place was packed.

Dec 24, 2008
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Chinese Banquet-Style food in SF Area

It looks like KP is the "consensus" pick. I don't think we'll do the private room since we probably won't order the special abalone banquet and aren't big drinkers. I just hope we get a decent table. And maybe we'll do dinner another night at Great Eastern since I haven't been there in years and it sounds like the food is good. Since no one mentioned South Sea Seafood Village I assume it's not on the same level as R&G and Great Eastern.

Thanks for the 411!

Dec 14, 2008
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Chinese Banquet-Style food in SF Area

It's funny, I think the last time I was at KP was a few years ago for another dinner w/my parents where we had the BJOTW. It was good, but honestly, I don't know what the fuss is all about. It's kind of like they throw in everything that is 1) expensive and 2) has some perceived medicinal/health value, cook it for hours, and voila! My dad did enjoy it though.

What we didn't enjoy was being seated at a lousy table and sitting on folding chairs. I don't expect great ambiance at a Chinese restaurant, I'll settle for decent and clean, but sitting on folding chairs when you're spending big $$s for Chinese food is plain tacky.

BTW, I called KP and they said I could reserve a private room for one table, but the minimum is $800. On their website, they don't even have a banquet menu for $800, so I have no idea how they come up with that "minimum". Should I request a table near the bar in the back as Melanie suggests?

Dec 11, 2008
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Chinese Banquet-Style food in SF Area

My parents' 50th wedding anniversary is coming up later this month, and they want to celebrate with a great Chinese dinner. Cost is no object (they want shark's fin soup, etc), and it would be for one table of 8, so it's not a banquet per se, but we'd like banquet type food.

We have a slight preference to stay within the SF city border, but if the food is definitely better, we would definitely be willing to venture to the Millbrae and Daly City areas. We would definitely want to go to a restaurant that takes reservations, as we don't want to wait for a table.

On the "usual suspects" list in SF I have R&G, Great Eastern, and South Sea Seafood Village. South of SF I have Fook Yuen, Koi Palace, The Kitchen, and Mayflower (former HK Flower Lounge?). I haven't been to any of these places for at least a year or more, so I'd like to know what the current opinions area. And if there are some "must have" special dishes, please let me know. I'm not looking for great value, I'm looking for great food! And, hopefully, a decent atmosphere.

Thanks!

Dec 11, 2008
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Scarpetta on Friday Night...just ehhhhh

Just got back from a trip to NYC, and Scarpetta was going to be one of our "highlight" dinners. Wow, what a disappointment! Service ranged from ambivalent to rude across the board. First, they didn't have our reservation, but were still able to accommodate us. 15 minutes later, our friend who made the reservation gets a call on her cell phone asking her if she's planning to come to the restaurant for dinner! No apology for their mix-up. The waiter kept "barging" into our conversation, i.e. he wouldn't come to the table and get our attention before speaking, but would blurt out whatever he had to say upon arriving at the table. When taking our orders, he turned and stood with his back facing us for a while as we asked about some of the dishes. When we asked for parmesan cheese for the spaghetti w/tomato/basil (excellent) only 2 of the 3 diners who had it were offered cheese. Some water glasses were filled while others were left empty. It's been a long time since we've had service this bad, and I don't think I've ever experienced from 5 or 6 people at the same restaurant...maybe the occasional bad waiter, but here it was across the board.

As for the food, the pastas were definitely the highlight. The goat was hard and dry, and the sauce was way too salty. Desserts were eh at best.

Such a shame, ate at L'Impero several times and enjoyed the food and service. No plans to return to Scarpetta at this point. Also, we went on a Wednesday night (Scott Conant was there), and were surprised that the place wasn't buzzing and full. For a place that just got 3 stars in the NYT I assumed there would be more buzz. Even when we left, there were empty tables.

On the flip side, had a good meal at Babbo, and a great one at A&D.

Sep 06, 2008
rcinsf in Manhattan

SF Chowhound report on Chicago Visit

Agreed...walleye is delicious, but can definitely use a flavor boost...to combine it with a caesar salad was just bizarre as it was not integrated into the salad at all...

Next time I'll definitely look for more neighborhood "dives"...hopefully not too sleazy...Everest was just something to check out, especially with the "bargain" pre-theater prix fixe...it's a bit formal and stuffy, not really a place where you can roll up the sleeves and put your elbows on the table...

I saw your note about Chicago pizza...I forgot to mention we had "takeout" from a place called Edwardo's...apparently my sister-in-law's favorite place for deep dish (she's a native). For the life of me, I don't know why it's her favorite. Last time we were in town, we went to Giordano's...again, underwhelmed. Call me provincial, and uninformed, but my favorite deep dish is right here in SF, at Little Star Pizza. Crispy, buttery, cornmeal crust deep dish...cheesy, but not overly so...absolutely delicious, if you're into that sort of thing!

Jun 25, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound report on Chicago Visit

Just got back from our visit to Chicago (which was fantastic, btw) and wanted to give a quick report back on our dining experiences while they were still fresh in my mind....

Wednesday we attended a business function at Ditka's where the food was very mediocre...of course not much can be expected of pasta in a buffet line...but I reminded my partner that we had late dinner reservations at Cafe Spiaggia, which turned out to be a good choice. Attentive, professional service, addictive parmesan flatbread. We ordered 2 starters, an artichoke salad (which just needed a little more salt to bring out the flavors), and a roasted octopus (which needed some more char from the oven as it was a bit lifeless) which were both okay/good. Then we had the gnocchi w/boar ragu (feathery light) and the porchetta (delicious with the polenta and rapini). A scoop of pear/prosecco sorbet, and we were happily content campers.

The next night we had an early reservation at Everest to take advantage of the pre-theater prix fixe. $54 for 3-courses (plus amuse and sweets). Since it was quite early, and the sun was quite bright, the dining room appeared quite different than in the pictures I'd seen...it was almost like having brunch in a sun-filled atrium. The shades had been drawn down a bit because of the sun, so the view was obstructed. The food, however, was wonderful, and a great deal for the price. The amuse was good if unremarkable...I believe there was a fennel custard, a cold broccoli soup, and something else...we all agreed they were good but not great. The peekytoe crab salad first course was a winner...beautifully composed and arranged...delicious and light. The main course of venison was perfectly cooked and seasoned, with beautiful root vegetables and spaetzle. The dessert of berries braised in a pinot noir sauce with delicately cooked and diced pineapple and coconut cream was a perfect ending. The waiter mentioned that the portions on the pre-theater dinner were sized down so as not to lull anyone to sleep, but we found the portion size to be just right.

We made an unplanned stop at Frontera Grill for brunch on Saturday, and were pleasantly surprised. We had eaten at Topolobampo a few years earlier, and were very disappointed with our meal. Knowing that restaurants all have off nights, I thought we should drop in to Frontera if we could get in without much fuss as it was close to our hotel (the Trump, which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone who is thinking of staying there). The food was quite good. Granted, it was brunch, so it wasn't fancy or anything, but the flavors of the ingredients came through, bold and satisfying, and I would go back for brunch/lunch in the future if it was convenient. I wouldn't go out of my way, however, to eat there.

Dinner that night was a special event at North Pond for my partner's birthday. It had clouded over and rained that afternoon, but come dinner time, the skies had cleared, and the sun was shining on the city skyline. Absolutely beautiful. We were seated at a nice table in the front room with a great view. The dinner was very very good, some dishes were excellent, others were just good. I had the egg appetizer (is that the new "tuna tartare"? It seems to be on every menu these days...) which was very good...the egg was fine, nothing great...the potato nest was nice, as were the morels and favas. Salads were definitely in the "ok" camp...my caesar with wall-eye...well, I just didn't know what to think of the combination...I just kept on wondering what that square of fish was doing next to the greens...it certainly didn't add anything for me. The veal entree was much better, with some nicely roasted veal medallions, braised veal with fresh pasta, and some decadent sweetbreads, it was a well composed and executed dish. Desserts were a bit of a struggle, we had six different ones at the table, and no one was enamored with any of them. However, the overall experience was wonderful, with the great setting and ambiance, professional service, and very good food.

I can't wait to return to Chicago to try more of the great restaurants you have!

Jun 22, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

We're looking forward to our trip next week to Chicago...one last request...I need a restaurant recommendation for dinner next week that's near the Westin Chicago on Michigan Ave. (I think it's on the northern part of the Magnificent Mile). We're going to be there for a conference for a couple nights before heading down to the Trump. Something with good food, casual atmosphere, mid-priced (entrees in the $20s as opposed to $30s)...not looking for a drawn out dining experience, since it's a work night. Something within walking distance would be ideal.
Thanks!

P.S. I just saw that Cafe Spiaggia is on the same block as the hotel, so I think that's probably where we'll go since it was recommended earlier.

Jun 14, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

cupcake/wedding cake/Miette

I've gotten cupcakes from Kara's in the Marina twice...each time getting about 10 assorted cupcakes for a group. We cut them up so everyone could have a taste of a bunch of different ones. Must say that as a group we were underwhelmed. The cake was often dry (both the vanilla cake and the chocolate cake, not the banana) and many frostings were just too sweet. Of course, some people love sugary frostings, but the majority in our group found them overly sweet, with just too much frosting to cake ratio. Kids, I'm sure, would love this though. Some of the filled cupcakes were very nice, but again, some were simply too sweet.

A couple weeks later I went to a kid's birthday party where cupcakes from Sweet Things were served...they were much better...moist cake, and not-too-sweet frosting. They don't have the same variety as the specialty cupcake places, but I thought they were executed much better.

May 23, 2008
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

hopefully you'll have a chance to eat in SF proper on one of your future trips...I think the quality of the restaurants is higher in SF, as well as in Berkeley and Napa. I also find that the restaurants in the suburbs are priced higher, since there isn't as much competition as in SF.

Also, I wouldn't say the Chronicle 100 is a great guide to Bay Area restaurants...there are a lot of restaurants on that list that are pretty mediocre. Better to check here on Chowhound...

Finally, I find it interesting that SF hasn't embraced cutting edge or avant garde restaurants like Alinea. Maybe it's the whole Alice Waters thing and the focus on the integrity of the ingredients and simplicity of preparation, but it really isn't that popular. Daniel Patterson is doing interesting things at Coi, but a few restaurants that took a similar approach have folded in the past.

May 17, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

Actually, I would put Farallon in the "splurge" category as far as SF restaurants are concerned...the interiors are much fancier than most other restaurants, Gary Danko included. I think there's a difference in perception since SF has become so casual (I think you could go into practically any restaurant, save the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, in jeans). And as far as pricing is concerned, at Danko's 3 course/$65, 4 course/$81, 5 course/$96...so it's not nearly as expensive as the top tables in Chicago. But it probably isn't a comparable experience. I guess our "nice" restaurants are more akin to Chicago's "casual fine dining". Boulevard, another one of our "splurge" restaurants, prices its entrees mainly in the $30s.

I guess what's different is that many of our "top tables" are a ways outside of SF, e.g. French Laundry in Yountville, Cyrus in Healdsburg, and Manresa in Los Gatos...all little towns at hour or more outside of the city. There all the fixed price menus can run well over $100. In SF, it seems that all the restaurants price under $100 to remain competitive (exceptions being tasting menus at Michael Mina, and maybe one or two other places).

May 13, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

Thanks for all the great info, I'm definitely going to keep this list of recommendations handy as we'll probably be making annual trips to Chicago from now on. I think I'll stick with Everest (it's such a great deal, and it's on my list of Chicago restaurants I've wanted to try), and my partner is big into views. Will definitely try one sixtyblue, Aigre Doux, and some of the other restaurants when we're in town next, assuming they're still around.

One thing I've found kind of interesting in looking at the menus of these restaurants is how much more expensive the food is in Chicago vs. San Francisco. In the SF "casual fine dining" places, entrees would generally be in the $20+ range, with a few exceptions $30+. In Chicago, all the entrees are $30+. Then again, I think the interiors of the restaurants in Chicago are probably nicer....

I was looking at the Chicago Tribune's website, trying to find restaurant reviews, but couldn't locate any. Is there a good food critic in town?

May 10, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

Ok, I'm having some second thoughts on Everest...read some other reviews which said the decor was something out of an 80's country club, and in this youtube video the restaurant looks exactly like that! It does not look as beautiful and glamorous as on the restaurant's website.

Since my partner's parents will be with us (we're in our 40's), I want a place with an ambiance they might enjoy, i.e. not too hip, or too loud, or too styled, or too casual.

May 09, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

I have no idea why there's such a divergence of opinion, but certainly everyone brings a different perspective when critiquing a restaurant. We went to Topo on the recommendation of a good friend who used to cook with Mark Miler of Coyote Cafe, so we had high hopes. It was probably 3 years ago or so, so I don't remember details on the food, other than being really disappointed. I do remember seeing his cookbook prominently displayed in the front of the restaurant and thinking he had totally sold out and wasn't minding the store. I have eaten a fair amount of Mexican food as we have great taquerias in SF's Mission District, as well as wonderful "haute" Mexican cuisine at Izote and Aguila Y Sol in Mexico City.

May 09, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

SF Chowhound needs advice for Chicago Visit

My partner and I will be visiting Chicago in late June with his parents. Based on the great info I've found on this Chicago board, I have already arranged for a special birthday dinner for my partner and his family at North Pond. I debated the food vs. ambiance issue for a while, and decided to go for the "special occasion" ambiance over the "wow" food factor (it needs to be a relaxed and casual place, and when we went to Alinea when it first opened, my partner hated the length of that dinner and the pretentiousness of the food). I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that they'll have an "on" night in the kitchen. BTW, are there any recommendations on particularly good dishes at North Pond?

We will probably have one other night where we will be able to pick the restaurant. What would be a good place to go for a nice dinner near downtown (we will be staying at the new Trump property on the river) that isn't too expensive? I have a feeling that his parents might want to treat us to dinner one night, and I want to keep the price reasonable. I read that Everest has an "early bird" dinner for $50 pp which sounds like a great deal, and I think his parents would love the old-world style and service. Any other thoughts for nice places to eat for a great price? And when I mean "reasonable cost" I mean around $50 or less pp w/o wine.

The only other restaurant of note we have eaten at was Topolobampo, which was a disaster, so we won't be going back there, or to any other of Rick Bayless' restaurants.

May 09, 2008
rcinsf in Chicago Area

Your favorite recipes using Trader Joe's products

My quick weeknight go-to dinner is pizza, and I have two favorites. I try to work in as many veggies as possible, and go light on the cheese, to keep things as healthful as possible.

Shrimp and Asparagus Pesto Pizza

TJ's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 lb Frozen Raw Shrimp (thawed and squeezed dry of excess water)
1 package fresh asparagus tips, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 tub TJ's pesto sauce (the refrigerated kind)
TJ's shredded 4-cheese Italian blend
Grated Parm Cheese (optional)

Squeezing out the excess water from the shrimp is important or else you'll have a soggy pizza crust. Toss shrimp with a tablespoon or so of pesto. Roll out dough, spread remaining pesto on pizza. Top with however much shredded cheese you like. Then top with asparagus tips (which you can toss with a little olive oil or not) and shrimp. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake at 450 degrees until shrimp are cooked through and pizza is done to your liking, approx. 15-20 mins.

Sausage, Mushroom, and Spinach Pizza

TJ's Whole Wheat Dough
2 links of TJ's raw Garlic Basil Sausage, cut into chunks
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out.
Your favorite TJ's tomato sauce/pasta sauce/marinara sauce
TJ's 4-cheese blend shredded cheese
Grated Parm (optional)

Again make sure to squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach or else you'll have soggy pizza. Roll out the dough, spread on as much or as little tomato sauce as you like (not too much or again you'll have soggy pizza). Sprinkle on the chopped spinach. Top with a much or little shredded cheese. Top with mushrooms (you can you a lot, they really shrink in the oven) and then with sausage. Sprinkle with grated parm if desired, then bake at 450 until the sausage is cooked through, about 15-20 mins.

A variation on this last pizza which takes more time but is delicious is to broil or grill some olive-oiled eggplant slices till they're browned beforehand, and place them on the pizza instead of the spinach (or with the spinach if you really want to up the veggie quotient). Continue with rest of recipe.

Nov 01, 2007
rcinsf in Home Cooking

NY Foodie on Business in San Fran

I would second the recommendations for Slanted Door and Perbacco. Both places have good food and a fun vibe. If your clients are young and hip, they'll enjoy these places. While I also love Boulevard, it has more of a "special occasion" feel to it, and the service is more formal (though not stuffy). Slanted Door and Perbacco have a more bustling scene, with very active bar areas, so you wouldn't feel uncomfortable rolling up your sleeves and relaxing.

I wouldn't take clients to the Mission unless I knew them quite well and felt they would enjoy the scene there. While many of my favorite restaurants are there (Delfina, Range, Bar Tartine, to name a few) it's definitely more funky and edgy out there. Plus, it's not nearly as convenient as the other restaurants. Boulevard would be incredibly convenient since it's across the street from your hotel.

Oct 18, 2007
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Pres a Vi Report

I've been there twice for dinner, and agree with you on your assessment of the place being between "ok and good". And I am TOTALLY with you on the parking situation...when the guard directed me to the underground pay garage, I promptly put my car into reverse and drove further down the street for free parking. I was kind of miffed that the only free parking was a hike away, but at least we were walking through the Presidio. I will pay up for food, but not for parking unless it's otherwise unavailable.

Oct 16, 2007
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Spruce in Presidio Heights

I haven't been, but it sounded like the atmosphere was key in the overall rating. I would also guess that MB is trying to support a restaurant in that area since there aren't many truly good dining options in the neighborhood. I live nearby and can attest to that. Unfortunately, it sounds like the restaurant is rather pricey for the quality of the food, $$$$ for **1/2 food. But I will definitely check it out since it's nearby.

Oct 16, 2007
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Sweet Treats For Holiday Gift Giving? Need help with ideas...

Candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate. I didn't make them, I received them as a gift from someone who did make them for the holidays. Not everyone is a fan of ginger and dark chocolate, but for those who are, this will be a memorable treat!

Oct 16, 2007
rcinsf in Home Cooking

THE Top Dim Sum Place, please.

In the Chinatown/Financial District area, I like City View which is at 662 Commercial St. It's a more upscale environment, popular with the financial district types, so not a cheap place. The dim sum is very good, the ambiance is nice, and the location may be more convenient if you want to stay in the city.

Oct 02, 2007
rcinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

Double Dishwashers? Worth it?

having 2 dishwashers is great if you entertain a lot. There are only 2 of us as well, so the FP dishdrawers are convenient because we will fill a drawer each day. There are, as I mentioned a number of drawbacks however. When we entertain we typically go through a lot of wineglasses, usually white wine, red wine, and water glass per person, and it's so convenient to just put them in the Miele and run the crystal/china setting. I used to wash all the glasses by hand which was a big drag and I ended up breaking more glasses that way.

Sep 29, 2007
rcinsf in Cookware