5/26/19 – San Francisco – Angler

Yes it is expensive but everything I have had at Angler has been perfect as are service and the setting. If the world ever returns to normal I would so love to have a repeat of this meal.

Tuxedo #3

Amberjack, cultured cabbage & pear

Parker House Rolls Sweet Chicory Caesar

Grilled Asparagus

Whole artichoke with swarnadwipa spices Hot fried quail Sundae


5/23/19 – Big Sur – Post Ranch Inn

I had wanted to visit Post Ranch Inn for quite a while and was so disappointed on this particular morning when I realized that the may gray was not going to burn off.  However even without a sunset (which I hope to get back for some day) the view is amazing.  And even when the fog rolled in limiting visibility to about a foot, the effect was still worth experiencing.  View aside, this was a really great meal with impeccable hospitality.  And I have been craving smelt ever since.

Morro bay oysters, rhubarb, sweet William, tarragon

beer battered smelt, anton’s borage, remoulade, meyer lemon

monterey abalone, post ranch mushrooms, fava bean, green garlic

romanesco cauliflower, nasturtium gremolata, meyer lemon confit, pine nut

farm egg, white anchovy, leeks, pencil asparagus

lone mountain wagyu beef ribeye, beets, spring onion, bone marrow jus


hazelnut & chocolate, hazelnut meringue, garden lemon curd

seared apricot, rosemary, buckwheat, local honey

10/6/18 – LA – Bavel & Simone

I can’t quite believe I haven’t been back yet.  My only criticism is that these fantastic dishes that stood out to us on the menu collectively came with too much bread.  If you haven’t been yet, a definite must-do in LA.

Josef – clove infused gin, apple brandy, almond, fennel, lemon


lamb tartare – burnt onion creme fraiche, pickled chive blossom, mint, cinnamon

grilled octopus – orange infused yogurt, sumac, dried bell pepper, sun golds, chervil

slow roasted lamb neck shawarma – tahini, pickled turnips, fermented cabbage, laffa

Simone was highly anticipated after a very delayed opening. But after being plagued by a host of ownership and management issues, and without food that compensated, it is now closed.

seasonal pickles

tomatoes, mustards, sorrel, whipped tahini

red lentil hummus, smashed cucumbers, nasturtium

pole beans, urfa chili creme fraiche, purple tomatillo, almond

ricotta gnudi, grated tomato, guanciale, basil

charred squash, nectarines macadamia salsa macha

hoja santa sturgeon, roasted corn, blistered shishitos

Costa Mesa & LA – 8/18/18 – Taco Maria & Vespertine

Taco Maria
The pork belly taco was the best taco I have had anywhere.


Aguachile – Hokkaido scallop, cucumber, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro oil

Arrachera – hanger steak, roasted chilis, applewood bacon, queso
Tocino – pork belly, piloncillo glaze, plums, salsa de aguacate

I’m still not quite sure what I think about Vespertine. The building is fantastic. Photos really do not do it justice as you need to see it within its neighborhood. I loved the outdoor space where we started and finished as well as the rooftop. But the dining room just felt odd and dark and cold and the music was mind numbing. I can’t say that any of the dishes were memorable but were all just good. At the very least it makes you think.

V E S P E R T I N E – Menu – 08.18.18

Los Angeles – March 31, 2018 – Son of a Gun & Pizzeria Mozza

Sun of a Gun
Still one of my favorite places. The pimento cheese and shrimp will never get old.

pimento cheese dip

peel & eat shrimp

salad of somewhat unknown ingredients

Pizzeria Mozza
I’m very picky about pizza and Mozza is still one of the best. But the carrots were so fantastic that I had to go back for them.

shaved carrots, fennel, mizuna rabe, caraway yogurt & rye

meatballs, mozzarella di bufala, tomato, chili flakes & fresh oregano

LA – 3/9/18 – Majordomo

I am so excited to have Momofuku on the west coast!!!!  Too bad it is impossible to get reservations but if you time it right you can get a seat at the bar. The egg and smoked roe bing was delicious and a fun take on the Ko egg. Too bad peas will likely not be on the menu by the time I make it back.

Bing – eggs & smoked roe

raw sugar snaps, horseradish, lemon, shallot

Santa Barbara rock crab – spicy cured, chilled & crab fat rice

San Diego – 2/25/18 – Cala Cala x Vino Carta

Loved this installment of the pop-up dinners at Vino Carta.  It is fantastic to see how these continue to grow.

roasted & fermented vegetables, trout roe, brown rice, charred bread

live scallop crudo, lardo, XO sauce, seaweed oil, preserved citrus

eucalyptus smoked lamb & beef tartare, blackberry, jicama, pine nuts

grilled chicories, pork, calabrian chili, kohlrabi

yakitori quail, wheat berries, green garlic, meyer lemon, wild mustard

San Diego – 2/17/18 – Ceviche House

Somehow they were out of the first two wines we tried to order but it was only up-hill from there.  I could eat these dishes everyday.

La Paz – big eye tuna, cucumber, orange zest, ginger habanero salsa

shrimp aquachile, cucumber, red onion, radish, serrano, cilantro, lime

grilled octopus, green pipian, toasted sesame, radish

Yellowtail – morita & hibiscus coulis, cucumber slaw, seasonal fruit, crispy hibiscus flower

San Diego – 2/10/18 – Cucina Sorella

It was finally time to branch out from Cucina Urbana which has been a go-to for more years than I can remember.  As good as expected and the Big Table Farm pinot did not hurt.

pesto & piquillo pepper flatbread – zucchini, pecorino, arugula, ricotta

market chopped salad – kale, fennel, celery root, grape, ricotta salt, cashew, white balsamic

pumpkin & goat cheese & zatar & crudite

grilled sicilian meatballs – amatriciana, guanciale, grana padano

San Diego – 12/17/17 – Born & Raised

I really want to like Born & Raised. The design is fabulous and I am happy for more high end concepts to enter San Diego. Unfortunately the service was terrible on this and a previous visit and unacceptable at this price point. My first issue, not unique to this restaurant, is being asked for a credit card when ordering the bar. It was not crowded and I was clearly ordering dinner. The bartender cannot keep track of me when I did not move? I despise this practice and what feels like punishment for preferring to dine solo at the bar while doing the restaurant the favor of not occupying a 2-top. I ordered 2 dishes that would be table side preparations if not at the bar (although I am told that if you order more than one table side preparation you will only actually get one). If I am not going to get the added show, could I at least have new flatware between courses? Or actually asked if I want the dishes coursed? While the tartare was excellent, the toast was a horrible choice as far too soft to actually support anything and created a collapsing mess each time I tried. I would have enjoyed a second cocktail, but alas I couldn’t get the bartender’s attention for 25 minutes. Perhaps why they need to ask for credit cards or people would get tired of waiting and just leave.


caesar salad

steak tartare

San Diego – 12/14/17 – Biga Wood Fired Dinner Series

A great introduction to Biga for dinner which was part of their wood fired series featuring guest chef Drew Bent soon to open Lola 55 in San Diego.  All very good and flavorful dishes with the bonus of a surprising dessert that I loved.  I look forwarding to visiting Lola 55 and have already made a return visit to Biga based on the great hospitality.

trio of tostadas
loca ceviche – pineapple, jicama, chipotle
beef tartare – papilla, avocado, leek
fried oyster – basil, tomato, serrano, lemon

beets, potatoes, wood fired octopus, smoked saffron aioli, pickled spring onion parsley

tamale of porchetta, mole manchamantes, pickled vegetables, coal roasted plantain

oak baked yams, charred marshmallow, horchata of allspice & sugarcane

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.


crispy mistake mushroom

spelt & rye dinner roll

sf coast halibut

sungold tomato, shelling beans, seaweeds, squid


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

San Francisco – 9/1/17 – Kin Khao and Saison

Kin Khao
Love, love, love Kin Khao so much.  The nam tok beans I can’t stop thinking about every time I have them.

nam tok beans – scarlet runner beans tossed isaan-style with lime, chili, rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint, herbs

som tum papaya salad – spicy chili, lime, fish sauce dressing, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts

Unfortunately I ended up in San Francisco during a heatwave and most places don’t have air conditioning.  Saison unfortunately was no exception.  I hate to judge the experience solely based on the temperature, but it in fact did make the evening almost unbearable especially as the staff seemed to almost ignore it instead of acknowledging it.  When we tried to have a server take away the wool and fur throws and pillows on our seats which were making us sweat by looking at them, he seemed taken aback.  Two hot teas and a hot broth were on the menu and as the heatwave was forecasted I can’t understand why these dishes were not changed.    The signature uni dish was fabulous as was the antelope.  But my lasting impression was of my sweat soaked dress plastered to me as I stood up to leave.

saison private batch caviar

spot prawn

sea urchin


barbequed quail

pronghorn antelope


fruit & tea

San Diego – 6/24/17 – Craft & Commerce

It is really nice when the place two weeks away has really solid cocktails and quite good food.  Sadly they are guilty of what has quickly become my biggest pet peeve in San Diego which is every bar asking for a credit card to open a tab.  I get it at a crowded bar.  But when I am a repeat customer and am clearly not running out on my check, it is completely inhospitable.  Sit at a table 6 inches away and of course you would never be asked for a card.  Is the threat of dashing and dining any different?  Why piss off guest who is sure to return?  And after having all of my credit cards stolen more times than I can even count I don’t want any out of my possession for hours at a time.  So what I am I to do?  Pay cash for my cocktail and each plate as I order them?  Tip prior to actually receiving any service?

beef tartar – capers, cornichons, red onion, chives, egg yolk, levain

crudite salad – arugula, radish, snap peas, fennel, green goddess dressing

San Diego – 6/22/17 – Juniper & Ivy 

This was my first visit to Juniper & Ivy as I put it off on my interview and apartment hunting trips fearing that I would be disappointment but what was supposed to be the best place in San Diego. Thankfully it is awesome and I have been back so many times in the last few months that eventually I will have to stop posting about it. The menu has since changed many times but this bbq carrot dish is still one of my favorites.

big trouble in little italy – bourbon, montenegro amaro, mint, lemon, peach bitters

bbq carrots, jalapeno chimichurri, peanuts, apricot

asparagus, soppressata, salmon roe, meyer lemon, crispy potatoes, cured egg yolk

beef tartare, fave hummus, pickled eggplant, beef tendon chicharron

San Diego – 9/14/17 – Juniper & Ivy

I hope the Chef’s Counter tasting menu makes a comeback. But regardless I am so happy that Juniper & Ivy exists in what can otherwise be the dining abyss of San Diego.

hoshigaki, serrano ham
graffiti eggplant, ratatouille
sweetbreads, hot sauce
sea urchin, squid ink toast
oyster, pearls

yellowtail, mango, fermented jalapeno, achiote

foie gras, glazed walnuts, poached figs, watercress

porcini mushrooms, soft boiled egg, charred leeks, roasted chicken jus

spot prawn paella, chanterelles, corn, garlic aioli, lardo

ribeye, alaskan fingerling potato, crispy onion rings, broccoli

melon shaved ice

poached pear, fried ice cream

Favorite dishes of 2016

I started with more than 60 and have narrowed it down as much as possible. In no particular order here are my top dishes of 2016, whatever ‘top’ means on any such lists. Largely these dishes are not representative of my favorite meals of 2016 and many are from what I would consider casual restaurants. They may not all be the best dishes technically but are the dishes that I could eat every day and often have cravings for. In the interest of fairness of I have disqualified the Au Cheval burger, the Humm Dog, Black Truffle Explosion, and Oysters & Pearls as well as all bread courses.

balsamic, truffle, artichoke
Luskus with Kitchen Table @ Bubbledogs
New York

osetra – plantain, papaya, rum

elvis tartine
Eating House

beef crudo
Momofuku Nishi
New York

farm egg baked in celery cream
Miller Union

foie gras and truffle macaroon
Osteria Francescana

sheep’s milk gnocchi
Jockey Hollow
Morristown, NJ

passionfruit semifreddo
Contra @ Gramercy Tavern
New York

carolina gold rice

Xiao Bao Biscuit

snap pea sushi
New York
pike quenelle

nam tok beans
Kin Khao
San Francisco

spicy tuna toast
New York

ko egg
Momofuku Ko
New York

general tso fried chicken
Chaan Teng
New York

San Francisco – 9/8/16 – Tartine Manufactory

After driving in endless circles to find parking, and then waiting in line to enter, I was cutting it very close to make my flight.  I forgot to take a photo of the menu and pretty much inhaled my lunch.  But it was absolutely fantastic and should be your go-to spot if you don’t need to deal with parking and especially if you live in the neighborhood.  The salad contained all of my favorite ingredients and even when I was full I could not bear to leave any of the delicious bread.

Napa – 9/7/16 – Meadowood

I had no idea that a 3 Michelin star restaurant could be so polarizing.  I dined at Meadowood  in close proximity to several friends whose opinions I trust and had most to all of the same dishes I had.  They loved it, yet I was completely disappointed.  I utterly disliked many of the dishes and the menu as a whole.  To start with the positives, the eggplant foster was absolutely amazing.  And the squab and pasta courses I wished were 3 times as large.  But the menu overall  was just too many soft textures with no contrast.  A few things like this may have been fine, but far too many dishes could have qualified as baby food.  Teeth not necessary.  The braised cucumber in a damp rye is definitely the worst bread course I have had this year.  I suppose I just didn’t get it but nothing about this was a good idea.  Fermented squash juice squeezed over halibut sounded somewhat awful but was just completely flavorless.  And broth has to be the worst trend of the past few years.  I was so excited when lamb arrived but it was so fatty that I couldn’t find one decent bite of meat.  Not even a final bite of babka could save this dinner.  I wanted to love it and I will note that service was impeccable but I guess its just not for me.

okra flower

oyster okra seed caviar

eel smoked over cabernet staves beef tongue

braised cucumber rye dried albacore

tomato clam caviar

roasted gwen avocado walnut oil

sunflower pasta spot prawn chanterelle

halibut fermented squash

steamed potato cod purslane brandade

coal seared squab berries mustard

lamb broth

lamb plum pestled marigold

buffalo milk yogurt cultured with rose overripe melon

eggplant foster

candied peaches

chocolate babka

Napa – 9/6/16 – The French Laundry

With apologies to my still single friends and family, I fear that any wedding I attend in the future will be a disappointment. This was exactly what I would want for my own wedding, but since it has already been done I suppose I will have to stick to my Carrie Bradshaw city hall plan. Everything about this day was completely perfect from the weather to the ceremony in the courtyard, to the salmon cornets that I sadly have no photos of.  And of course being lucky enough to have such amazing friends who let me be a part of their wedding party.  While I had high expectations, serving an entire restaurant at once is challenging and I anticipated some service hiccups. However I could not have been more impressed. I would never have known that this was a wedding and not just a regular dinner or lunch service. Service was just completely impeccable. The food certainly was as well, so much so that I still cannot pick my favorite course. The classics are classics for a reason. Oysters and pearls, the hen egg custard and coffee & donuts will never ever get old. The others were equally as good.  And when was the last time anybody had a memorable wedding cake?  After two decades TFL is as good as ever and is further evidence that so many ‘best’ restaurant lists are pretty useless.

“Oysters and Pearls”
“Sabayon” of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar

Hen Egg Custard
with a ragout of Perigord truffles

Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras “Rillette”
piedmont hazelnut “Genoise,” Yountville figs, watercress and concord grape jelly

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Poached Gulf Coast Cobia
stewed garden squash, fino verde basil, nicoise olives and french vermouth

“Beets and Leeks”
Alaskan king crab, slow roasted beets, horseradish scented leek “mousseline” and garden sorrel

Cornbread Stuffed Thomas Farm Squab
brentwood corn, hominy, applewood smoked bacon, black winter truffle and “sauce mignonette”

Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf”
roasted garden eggplant, lobster mushrooms, ginger scented broccoli pure, crispy barley and miso “hollandaise”

Schmitt family farm apples, marcona almonds and buttered shortbread

Lemon Coconut Cake
K&J Orchards peaches and nectarine sorbet

Coffee and Donuts

Napa – 9/5/16 – Two Birds One Stone

A completely fantastic first night in Napa.  A  unique concept for the area, gorgeous space and fantastic company.

iberico de bellota pork, spiced vietnamese caramel, kimchee

head on prawns, charred lime, sudachi salt

fried forbidden rice, lap cheong, sunny side up egg, chili oil

chicken meatballs, green onions, hoisin

savory japanese pancake, green onion, sambal mayo

barely cooked king salmon, myoga, pickled negi, chilled dashi gel

“chips n dip” pickled plum kewpie mayo
“radishes and butter” dashi compressed radishes, roasted nori goat milk butter
lotus root kimchee

hirame sashimi, cucumber, compressed melon

japanese green tea soft serve ice cream, ginger crumbles
black sesame soft serve ice cream, roasted plum

San Francisco – 9/4/16 – Kin Khao and the Progress

Kin Khao
Months later I wish I could rewind and do over this day.  I love everything about Kin Khao and would be quite happy to eat here on every single trip to San Francisco.  There are few places where I eat past the point of being full because I literally cannot stop.

Pak Pow – lager, appleton reserve rum, allspice dram, ginger, lemon, nutmeg

Nam Tok Beans – ayocote morado beans tossed isaan-style with lime, chili, rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint, cilantro

Som Tum Papaya Salad – spicy chili lime fish sauce dressing, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts

Pad Kee Mao – spicy stir-fried drunken noodles with ground pork, rice noodles, garlic, birds eye chili, onions, bell peppers, holy basil

Khao Mun Gai – chicken fat rice, ginger-poached chicken, served with pim’s secret sauce and a cup of chicken broth

The Progress
It took me far too long to get to the Progress.  As I knew I would, I loved everything about it.  The space is gorgeous, service is fantastic, and all of the food as excellent as expected.  But now I a torn and I see Progress/State Bird double dinners in my future.
(Apologies for the caption-less photos which is what happens when it takes me too long to update this blog.)

melon with sesame & dukkah, zucchini bread with pickled carrot creme fraiche, fried pickles with buttermilk & smoked hot sauce, claim cocktail with avocado & seven pepper cracker

pig’s head charcuterie, korean melon, fish sauce & chiles

hog island sweetwaters, yuzu pickled local nori

San Francisco – 9/3/16 – in Situ, Aaxte, Louie’s Gen-Gen Room and Lord Stanley

In Situ
I have to admit that when I first read about in Situ I didn’t get the concept at all and I really had no interest in going.  A restaurant based on reproducing dishes of various chefs from around the world seemed almost like a fad.  But I wasn’t considering the setting and when I finally visited it all made perfect sense. In Situ is located in the SF Museum of Modern Art and it is actually the absolute perfect museum restaurant as it is own museum of rotating dishes from famous chefs and restaurants around the world spanning decades.  The dishes themselves are classic and are faithfully reproduced.  Now I just need to dig back to that old photo of the Clove Club chicken.

Buttermilk fried chicken & pine salt – Isaac McHale, The Clove Club

Summery warm tomato & basil tart – Michel Guerard, Les Pres d’Eugenie

Ketchup fried rice – Roy Choi, LA Son

As our first stop of the evening we sadly had to limit what we ordered.  But I will definitely be back for a full dinner.  An adorable place, excellent service, and some shrimp that I could eat everyday.

Louie’s Gen Gen Room
I didn’t have time to try Lilhio Yacht Club on this trip unfortunately but did have a chance to check out this recently opened subterranean cocktail spot below it.  The space is adorable and the drinks bright and refreshing.  The abbreviated food menu contains a large number of waffle options.  A strange choice I initially thought but they were far better than I expected.

Lord Stanley
It was quite late by San Fran standards by the time we reached Lord Stanley and I felt badly that they allowed such a late reservation as we were the last table seated.  I don’t think I really appreciated how good this dinner was until the next day.  The vegetable preparations are really fantastic and refreshingly different.  The eggplant accompanying my lamb was hands down the best I have ever had.  It has never been one of my favorites and was completely transformed.  I”m looking forward to a return trip for the tasting menu.  Indeed one of the best new restaurants in America!

Onion petals with sherry vinegar

Grilled trumpet mushrooms, garlic and almond

Wagyu beef tartar with chanterelle and summer truffle

Sweet potato with shemeji, horseradish creme fraiche and nasturtium

Lamb loin and belly with charred eggplant, black olive and lemon

LA -7/25/15 – Petit Trois, eggslut, Bestia

Petit Trois
I arrived a few minutes before opening to find a number of people already in line. Luckily some of their parties were not complete by the time the doors opened so I had no problem getting a seat.  I absolutely loved everything about this meal from the service, to the fantastic cocktail, to the beautiful salad, to the copious amounts of bread I ate to soak up the juice from the mussels.

Heirloom tomato salad, buffalo mozzarella, lemon verbena  Moules Frites, white wine, shallots, garlic, creme fraiche  

With several hours to kill before dinner, of course the most logical thing to do was have a second lunch.  The line would have been much more bearable had it been about 10 degrees cooler outside but at least it moved quickly.  I’m not even a fan of breakfast sandwiches but eggslut could convert anybody!

Fairfax – soft scrambled eggs and chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and siracha mayo in a warm brioche bun 

There is definitely a reason that Ori Menashe of Bestia was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs for 2015 and that Bestia is a favorite for so many. I only wish I was with a larger group and could have ordered more because everything I saw around me looked so good. A perfect ending to this weekend trip.

Farro salad, shaved heirloom cauliflower, pine nuts, avocado puree, pickled chili, mint, montasio    Smoked whitefish crostino, dill, potatoes, scallions, fresno chilies, celery leaf     Spanish prawns, salumi, cherry tomatoes, charred potato, cucumber, plums, oregano Yellow peach and santa rosa plum crostata, frangipane, buttermilk ice cream 

LA – 7/24/15 – Jon & Vinny’s, Night + Market Song, Smoke.Oil.Salt, The Walker Inn

Jon & Vinny’s
It’s definitely the sign of a vacation day to be able to go out for breakfast.  Luckily my early flight landed on time and despite having eaten on the plane I was starving by the time that I arrived.  I loved my seat overlooking the kitchen and could see spending far too much time here if I lived in LA. Such a great breakfast and I can’t wait to make a return trip for dinner (and the avocado toast) and to buy some wine! This is yet another fantastic addition for John Shook and Vinny Dotolo and now I can’t even pick a favorite.

Peach Crostada 
Kenter Canyon Stone Ground Porridge, toasted almonds, gaviota strawberry, orange blossom honey

Night + Market Song
I love an addictively spicy dish so much and I haven’t had a good one in quite some time.  My mouth was on fire but I just couldn’t stop eating the papaya salad. Not after I had downed a few glasses of water and wine and not when I was completely full.  The LA Times review summed it up perfectly with “just eat, don’t ask.”

Som tum – mortar pounded green papaya salad with palm sugar, lime juice, bird eye chile, peanuts

grapow khai dao – wok fried minced chicken, long beans, chile, garlic, thai basil with steamed rice, topped with fried egg

I was debating keeping Smoke.Oil.Salt on my itinerary as Chef Perfecto Rocher had departed right before my visit.  But I’m not one to cancel reservations last minute and I’m so glad that I went anyway.  Stephen Gelber is a wonderful host, I had my favorite wine of summer and the octopus was one of the best that I’ve ever had. My only regret is leaving before Caitlyn and Boy George showed up. Oh LA!

olivos con bitet – olives, toasted almonds, pickled vegetables

zanahoria – slow cooked carrots, carrot salad, carrot puree

pulpo con tomate – smoked spicy octopus, sliced chorizo, caramelized onion, tomato chutney

The Walker Inn
Of course I am a sucker for a cocktail bar with any form of secret door and doorbell. Although more so I like the ability to make a reservation. The Walker Inn is tucked in the back of the Normandie Club which perhaps would be fun earlier in the evening but was overwhelmingly loud late at night. The space is fantastic and actually slightly larger than I was expecting. Sitting at the bar you don’t receive a menu so unfortunately no descriptions of these but I enjoyed both and they were perfect based on the description I provided to the bartender.

San Fran – 10/10/14 – Kin Khao & State Bird Provisions

Kin Khao
I have read so much about Kin Khao recently that I was initially puzzled to arrive for lunch to an almost empty dining room. My first thought was ‘I guess I didn’t really need a reservation.” But of course it turned out that all of the tables were reserved and San Fran just starts lunch a bit later than I do running on EST. For being in a somewhat strange space in a strange location I loved the quirky decor which contributed to an ultimately homey atmosphere. The perfect amount of heat in each dish…the kind that makes you unable to stop eating. I must get back for the wings!


Som Tum papaya salad – shredded papaya, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, garlic, peanuts, lime, fish sauce


Blistered green beans in XO sauce


Pad Kee Mao – spicy stir fried drunken noodles with ground pork, rice noodles, garlic, bird’s eye chili, onions, bell peppers and holy basil


Khao Soi Gai – northern style chicken curry broth, egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, and spicy chili oil


After stops at Mikkeller Bar and Smuggler’s Cove….

State Bird Provisions
If I lived in San Fran I’m afraid that this blog would be half State Bird as I would be there every week. It’s so much fun that you don’t want to leave (which makes it even more impressive that they can turn tables at regular intervals). Thankfully I had some help on this trip so I could order more. But I still left too full to order an amazing sounding lamb dish (I am seriously full if I can’t eat lamb!). I started out trying to keep a list of all of the passed dishes but just gave up because I just wanted to enjoy the experience instead of documenting it. I think I may have missed a few pictures as well.







Toasts – chanterelle and pickled local anchovy





Butter clam ‘picatta’

Rose geranium ‘ice cream’ sandwich, chocolate cardamom ganache, pistachio and ‘world peace’ peanut muscovado milk


If there is a more unassuming and gracious chef than Stuart Brioza I have yet to meet him. Thank you Ryan Anderson for the truly fantastic hospitality! Looking forward to what’s next at The Progress!

San Fran – 7/20/14 – Bar Agricole, Humphry Slocombe, Flour & Water

Bar Agricole
The only disappointment of the weekend was missing out on Bar Agricole’s cocktails. I woke up with migraine induced nausea so terrible that I didn’t know how I would possibly make it to brunch. I forced myself out and thankfully rallied but a Radler seemed to be a better idea for an upset stomach.


Avocado and beets with goat cheese and seeds


Baked eggs with black eyed peas, house-cured ham, wild spinach and goat cheese


Humphry Slocombe
As it just happened to be National Ice Cream Day I needed no further justification for an afternoon ice cream! I’m not sure that there could be anything better than bourbon ice cream.




Flour & Water
I waited in line but unfortunately lost our first table as my friends were stuck in traffic. How convenient that Trick Dog was right across the street while waiting for them to arrive! It all worked out perfectly and I had plenty of time to make it to the airport. I wish I had gotten the name of the absolutely lovely hostess who texted me updates on or new table.

Heirloom tomato panzanella with cucumber, mozzarella Di bufala & basil


Grilled stone fruit with herbed ricotta, salsa verde, purslane & pistachio


Corn cappelletti with honey & chocolate mint


Pork cracklings with calabrian chili aioli


Pici which braised rabbit, gypsy pepper & prosciutto soffrito


Pomodoro – heirloom tomato, fior Di latte, garlic & basil


Salsiccia – pork sausage, Calabrian chili, capers, lamb quarters


Chocolate budino with espresso cream & sea salt


Zucchini cake with fried squash blossom, chantenay carrot & gelato di bufala


Seasonal gelato


San Fran – 7/19/14 – SPQR, State Bird Provisions, Trick Dog, Wilson & Wilson

After a morning walk up and down a few hills I kept walking the whole way to SPQR for lunch. I so rarely eat pasta that I appreciate it even more when I do and this was delicious. Of note, there were more solo diners here for lunch than I have ever seen at any other restaurant. We actually outnumbered the 2 and 4-tops. I know it’s not a good thing for the restaurant’s bottom line, but I did love seeing it. Even though I’m quite comfortable dining alone, there are still moments when I feel like a complete outcast.


Sweet carrot and lentil salad, medulla date and vadouvan curry crema


Buckwheat tagliatelle, cider and bacon braised suckling pork and spigarello broccoli


State Bird Provisions
I had a moment after I had been waiting in line for about 45 minutes when I was seriously questioning my sanity. I hate waiting in line. Perhaps one too many times of trying to be in the front row of a general admission show. I’ve only waited at a restaurant twice before, oddly both for pizza, Di Fara and Pizzeria Bianco. The former I barely remember as we were so hungry by the time we got our pizza that we would have eaten cardboard and so totally inhaled it without even tasting it. And the latter is my absolute favorite pizza in the US so it was well worth the wait.

If I lived in San Fran I think I would be at State Bird once a week, line and all. Hands down this was the most fun I’ve ever had dining alone. I never even picked up my book. The dim sum concept is just fantastic when so well done. It’s a bit like gambling in that you don’t know if you should take the 1st dish that comes around, or hold out for something you may like better. At first I wished there was a list so I would know how many choices there would be and strategize appropriately (actually there is a list online but I wasn’t sure how frequently it changed, etc). But I quickly realized that being surprised made it so entertaining. Next time I do need friends just so I can try more. In the end I only ordered 2 things from the actual menu but saw so much leaving the kitchen that I wanted to be able to eat. Lastly I think it takes a certain personality to work in this type of concept and everybody here had ‘it’ in spades.




Shrimp ‘Louie’ bean salad


Guinea hen dumpling


Garlic bread with burrata


Air dried beef with chili juice, rice powder & garlic chips


Smoked trout-avocado chip & dip


CA state bird with provisions


Yeasted butter cake, sing old tomato caramel & peaches


Trick Dog
Thankfully not everybody went to Tales of the Cocktail!



Coit Tower – Rittenhouse rye, raspberry, thyme, lemon, cider


Dragon Gate – campo de encanto acholado pisco, muscat, Szechuan pepper, lemon, ginger, egg


Wilson & Wilson (in Bourbon & Branch)
Even better than a basement speakeasy is one with a password. I’m still trying to figure out what I said to get myself labelled as a scotch drinker! I needed you dad.



San Fran – 7/18/14 – Coqueta, Mikkeller Bar, Coi

A lovely lunch at Coqueta but why do I always get the clueless diners? A table of guys thought they were so cool, yet tried to order chips & salsa (at a clearly Spanish restaurant but I guess Spain and Mexico are the same) and then despite a great cocktail list, a T&T as if it was the greatest drink of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I love a G&T but not when there are much more interesting versions on the menu.

Tariff- jamon iberico infused gin, acorn & apricot tonic, orange, cava

Esparragos Trigeros con Romesco – wood grilled green asparagus with coal roasted romesco salsa, raw manchego and Marconi almonds


Huevos Nacional – deviled eggs filled with spring pea, smoked pimentos aioli, on pickled saffron potatoes and olive oil poached bonito


Jamon Serrano




Albondigas a la Feria – Grilled duck and pork meatballs with tart cherry and Tempranillo salsa and crispy shallots


El cazador – oloroso sherry, Campari, lime, honey




Mikkeller Bar
I couldn’t stop thinking that as much as I enjoyed this place my brother should have been with me because he would have loved it more. I do find it interesting that while the brothers don’t get along, they clearly respect each other’s talents as Evil Twin is featured predominately here (as is Mikkeller at Torst).




Lovely is the only word that comes to mind to describe this evening. Exceptional service. Great wine pairings. And the most perfectly portioned tasting menu I can remember having.


California Bowl


California Sturgeon Caviar, egg yolk poached in smoked oil,crema fresh, chive


Seared Spot Prawn, watermelon, cucumber, opal basil


Cherry tomatoes, purée of grilled zucchini and wheatgrass, green olive oil, herbs and flowers


Chilled spiced eggplant soup, pole beans, charred okra, fermented chile, flowering cilantro


Wild king salmon, crayfish bordelaise, lovage, fennel pollen


Steamed shiitake potato dumpling, mushroom dashi, brown butter, tatsoi


Emigh ranch lamb, chard leaves and stems, garum, rosemary


Coconut Mochica bun, kiwi, shiso


Ha’ogen melon, olive oil, holy basil


Blueberries and Violet


Frozen dark chocolate yuzu marshmallow