Chicago – 11/17 – Viceroy

I keep meaning to add some hotel reviews and for some reason I just keep skipping over them.  While hotels are certainly justified in doing it as I am sure people abuse it, this is the first time I had been asked for my AAA card in ages when checking in.  Of course I didn’t have my current card in my wallet and couldn’t remember my password for the mobile app.  I was told I had to come back with the information prior to checking out otherwise the rate wouldn’t be honored.  But when I went back the next day after sorting out my password situation to get a mobile version of my current card, the front desk agent looked completely surprised that I was offering this information.

The Viceroy has done a very good job in competing with the Thompson across the street (and winning).  I loved the decor, the chaise, the large desk, having a Nespresso, the large shower, and the long entryway.  Also a great touch that the closet opened on two sides, into the hallway and the bathroom.

Somerset restaurant on the ground floor from the Boka Group is so good that I almost went two days in a row (review in my next post).  Unfortunately Devereaux, the rooftop bar was a huge disappointment.  When I walked in, not only was I not greeted by the first 3 employees that crossed my path, but from the looks that they gave me I felt like I walked in 2 hours after closing wearing face paint.  I understand there is a seasonal pool and plastic glassware may make sense at certain times of day and the year.  But late in the evening, an expensive cocktail at a beautiful bar in a plastic glass is just tacky.  The bartender required me to give him my license even though I was staying at the hotel.  The bar was only about half full and wouldn’t it have just made more sense to ask for my room number and last name if they feared I was a flight risk?  When I closed out I was returned my license and only glanced at it and saw that it was from the correct state.  Probably an hour later when I was in bed, my room phone rang and it was the bartender who told me that he had given me the wrong license and tried to give another guest closing out my license, and the asked if I could come back up.  When my response to that was a clear no he came down with my license about 10 minutes later. Another 10 minutes and I would have been asleep with earplugs in and two people would have been without a license.

I would absolutely stay at the Viceroy again but definitely avoid the bar.

San Diego – 10/28/17 – Trust

Trust is definitely one of the better options in San Diego and I was pleasantly surprised by the food.  Service was quite good and even the wine list was a cut above most of the city.  However due to a poorly functioning exhaust system I came home having to launder everything I was wearing and wanting to wash my hair before bed, a feeling I haven’t experienced since the days smoking was permitted indoors.  I hope this was an unfortunate one time event so I will definitely give it a second chance.

hamachi tartare, black sesame, cilantro, avocado, sprouts, cucumber, trout roe, taro root

baja striped bass crudo, persimmon, apple, pickled chiles, fish eggs, citrus, herbs

arugula salad, yams, fried lentils, red onions goad fromage blanc, spiced pepitas, maple dijon vinaigrette

wood grilled cauliflower, golden raisins, mint, serrano aioli, curry vinaigrette

wood grilled pork sausage, yam gnocchi, bread crumbs, morels, charred broccoli, arugula cream

La Jolla and San Diego – 10/27/17 – Galaxy Taco and Juniper & Ivy

Galaxy Taco
I so wish Galaxy Taco was in downtown San Diego instead of La Jolla!

Juniper & Ivy
It’s always my first choice when anybody comes to visit!

carne cruda asada, quail egg, cotija, jalapeno

persimmon caprese, burrata, lemon balm, puffed rice, champagne vin, persimmon jam

country ham pancake, candied pistachio, persimmon

sweet potato agnolotti, maple glazed chestnuts, sage, brown butter

ahi tuna wellington, mushroom duxelles, gravy, kale, horseradish fingerling potatoes

La Jolla – 10/10/17 – George’s at the Cove

While its obviously all about the sunset, the food is delicious!


chili calamari – fresh hers, fresno chiles, sweet chili sauce

hummus – marinated olives, roasted peperonata, charred eggplant puree, za’atar, tzatziki, house made pita

grilled faroe island salmon, vegetable Lanson mills faro grain salad, watercress, chermoula

Healdsburg, CA – 9/3/17 – Single Thread

It was perhaps the most anticipated opening of 2016 and after so much hype I was sure that I was going to be disappointed. I tried to set very low expectations and even prepared myself to sweat on the roof before dinner.  I could not have been more pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was. One of the best examples of what hospitality is.  Delicious food, friendly and stellar service.  Really the type of fine dining experience that I gravitate toward.  I didn’t want to leave and can’t wait to return.



late summer in sonoma county








homemade tofu – heirloom tomatoes, jimmy nardello pepper, saikyo miso and olive oil

summer squash from the farm – scallop stuffed blossoms and courgette cream

bodega bay wild king salmon “ibushi-gin” – shio koji vinaigrette, char roe, and myoga

poached foie gras – tea of last year’s tomatoes, tokyo turnips, and their greens


black cod “fukkura-san” – leeks, vegetables from our farm broth of young lettuces and gyokoro tea


pacific rogue beef – noyaux cream, komatsuna, bing cherries, chanterelle mushrooms, summer truffle, and almond

sonoma grains – nettles, kasu-zuke, farro verde beignet, rib cap, and herbs from the garden

frozen peach – sweet corn granite, peach, corn pudding, and peach consommé

pennyroyal lychee sherbet – whipped lemon posset, fig compote, and plum

the check

wagashi – chocolate and mint, tomato and strawberry, yuzu cream

San Francisco – 9/2/17 – Tartine Manufactory and Lazy Bear

Tartine Manufactory
Absolutely perfect at anytime of day.

Lazy Bear
I was expecting to like Lazy Bear but perhaps not as much as I actually did. It was still a heatwave and so quite uncomfortable on the 2nd floor where dinner starts with snacks. But as we moved downstairs the ceiling fans made things tolerable. Considering that all diners are served at the same time at large communal tables execution was fantastic.  Most memorable were the reserve wine pairings which were definitely a good choice over the standard pairings.  Certainly a very fun evening and I would definitely return.

snacks




crispy mistake mushroom



spelt & rye dinner roll

sf coast halibut

sungold tomato, shelling beans, seaweeds, squid

abalone


king salmon and its roe, arrowhead cabbage, buttermilk, dill

corn, pork jowl, kale, egg yolk fudge

squab, smokey beets, huckleberry, pink peppercorn

blackberry, corn, butterscotch, basil

nectarine, nasturtium, white chocolate, oats

gummy bear, grilled strawberry, koi, olive oil
cinnamon macaron, white shocolate ganache
PB&J, raspberry jam, peanut butter mousse