Friday, February 01, 2008

Dinner at Nihon Whiskey Lounge, San Francisco, CA

We went to Nihon expecting a long wait (on a Friday night) and were pleasantly surprised to be seated in about 15 minutes. The service was friendly, if a bit slow.

Edamame $3

Wakame Salad $7
Alexis thought this was just going to be seaweed and instead she got seaweed with greens, which was good, but not what she had wanted.

Stuffed Shitake $9
Not particularly memorable.

Coke Kobe $14
High and low brow meet in this strangely good dish.

Mussels $13
Tasty and plump.

Seared Ahi $12
We didn't order this, but it arrived, and we ate it, and it was good. The plating was very pretty as well.

Potato and Taro "Fries" $7
These were not as crunchy as we would have liked the sauce and salts were nice.

Roll with Lots of Stuff $14
Tasty and fresh but very expensive.

Food: 1
Decor: 2
Service: 1

Nihon Whiskey Bar and Lounge
1779 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chicken Brocolli Bake

Giao called this dish a "half assed chicken divan", but he couldn't deny that it was tasty. There's really no recipe for this one. Alexis just shredded a rotisserie chicken, mixed it with brocolli flowerettes, covered it with cheese and threw it in the oven until the cheese melted.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Pan Fried Caraway Rubbed Pork Chop with Roasted Cauliflower

A work day lunch. The trick to making a pork chop in advance turns out to be taking it out of the oven before it is done so that when you reheat it in the microwave, it does not get too dried out.

Pan Fried Caraway Rubbed Pork Chop
-2 ts caraway seeds, ground
-1 ts salt
-1 ts pepper
-2 pork chops

Mix the spices together and season all sides the the pork chops. Then pan fry on medium high in a bit of olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes on each side (for a 1 inch thick pork chop), until slightly pink inside.

Roasted Cauliflower
-1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
-salt and pepper to taste

Season cauliflower with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish. Roast on 350, covered, until fork tender. Then remove cover and roast until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dinner at Cyrus, Healdsburg, CA

For Giao's birthday we headed to Cyrus in Healdsburg, which has also recently earned 2 Michelin Stars. The decor was warm and very subtle, allowing the food to really shine through. The meal was delicious and, at $120 pp for the 7 course tasting menu, more bang for or buck than the previous night's meal. One thing that we really appreciated about Cyrus was that there was a cheese course included in the tasting menu. So often you have to pay extra for that course and this was a nice surprise.

The meal started out with a selection of 5 canapes, each representing one of the 5 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. We apologize for the incredibly over-exposed pictures. Also, unfortunately, we don't really remember what each tiny bite contained.


Salty and Bitter

Sour and Umami

Goat and Regular Butter
Goat butter is gaining traction. It is a beautiful white color and has a nice, subtle tang.

Amuse Bouche
The meyer lemon in this miso soup added a nice, sweet-sour element and the picked enoki were nice both in texture and flavor.

Scallop Ceviche with Pickled Daikon and Sweet Potato
This was totally amazing in every way. The super smooth sweet potato puree was a perfect contrast to the ceviche.

Foie Gras Two Ways
The torchon en croute was tasty without the croute, which tasted like very dense cake and was unnecessary at best. The seared foie gras, on the other hand, was just awesome. It was sitting on a quail egg toad in the hole. Great combo.

Red Sea Bream with Smoked Soba Noodles, Crab and Oolong Tea Broth
The broth really made this dish. The matched very well with the smokiness of the noodles.

"Chicken and Dumplings"
This upscale play on a down-home dish was quite tasty. It was composed of a paillard with black truffle and brussel sprouts in a thyme jus. The tender on the inside, slightly crunchy outside, dumplings were reminiscent of spaetzle, but much lighter in texture. This dish was equal parts homey and refined.

Meyer Lemon Popsicle
A great little palate cleanser.

Waygu Two Ways
One with cauliflower, one with a wet risotto. Both tasty, but not totally memorable.

Cheese Plate
This was quite a hefty cheese plate...lots of choices. There weren't any totally amazing cheeses that we'd never heard of, however.

Green Cardamom Ice Cream with Pineapple-Yuzu Granite, Ginger and Honey Muscato
The flavors were nice, but this was a bit too sweet for us.

Blood Orange Souffle with Champagne Anglaise and Chocolate Torte
This was the second occasion of the day that proved to Alexis that she just doesn't like souffles. There was nothing wrong with this dessert, per se. We just are not really dessert people.

An Assortment of Sweet Treats
They always send you on your way with a selection of homemade treats. These were pretty tasty. They made us like dessert a little better.

Food: 2
Decor: 1
Service: 2

29 North St
Healdsburg, CA 95448

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Lunch at Greystone at the CIA, St. Helena, CA

Although we really were not all that hungry after our rather large breakfast, we decided to stop at Greystone, the restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America.

Olives and Olive Oil

The following 5 pictures are from the "Temptations" platter that was $10 pp.

Tiny Pork Tacos on a Crispy Thing
These were tasty sour-spicy bites.

Foie Gras Mousse with Pineapple
These would have been stellar with about half of the sweetness.

Salt Cod with Kalamata Tapenade
The salt cod by itself left a little something to be desired, but it was tasty with the brininess of the tapenade.

Fried Pork Won Tons
These were tasty fried bites filled with tender meat and topped with black sesame seeds.

Cauliflower Soup
Oh My God-Delicious. The flavor or cauliflower was at the forefront of this dish and the texture was so, so smooth.

French Onion Soup Souffle $11
Alexis neglected to read the "souffle" part of the description and was sorely dissappointed. She learned (for the first time today) that she finds souffles revolting. The soup had great flavor, but there wasn't enough of it and it was tainted by the souffle.

Half Dozen Oysters $14
Giao liked some of them and didn't like others...

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 2

Greystone at the CIA
2555 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574

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Breakfast at The Yountville Inn, Yountville, CA

We stayed at the Yountville Inn in Yountville and it was really quite nice. The room had a lovely private patio (although it was raining) and a fireplace, which led to the romantic appeal of the place. The (included in the price of the room) breakfast was catered by Bouchon Bakery and was pretty good for a hotel breakfast.

Cheese bread, a perfect hard-boiled egg, pain-au-chocolat, brie and goat cheese.

Fresh Fruit Salad

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