Saturday, August 16, 2008

Upscale Indian: Good, But Not Worth The Price

We'd noticed that Amber India, a rather upscale place, had opened up near our old house. Although we are generally skeptical of high priced Indian (and Mexican and Chinese) food, Bauer gave it a good review, and we thought we'd give it a shot. It turns out the food was pretty good, but not worth 2.5 times what you pay at our favorite Indian take-out joint.

Lamb Shank with Baby Turnips $24
This was a huge portion and quite good. The meat was tender, and only slightly gamey. The turnips could have been a bit more cooked, but were quite good.

Butter Chicken $22
This is our favorite Indian dish and this version was tasty and sophisticated.

Plain Naan $3.25
Good, but not great.

Food: 1
Decor: 2
Service: 1

Amber India
25 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, 94103

Health Code Violations

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cumin Spiced Quinoa

This was a pretty hands-off meal, which is nice for a weeknight.

-8 chicken thighs
-3 carrots, diced
-4 zucchini, diced
-1 cup quinoa
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 ts cumin
-1 ts paprika

Layer diced veggies in a 9x13 pan and then nestle the chicken thighs in the veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Bake on 375 for about 4 minutes, until chicken is done and veggies are tender. While the chicken and veggies are cooking, boil the quinoa until tender, then drain. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin, then stir in the cooked veggies.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Traditional and Tasty Meal at Acquerello, San Francisco, CA

Acquerello, a Michelin starred restaurant has been on our list for a while. We finally made a reservation. The place tended towards an older crowd and definitely skewed towards romantic date nights. The decor was not my style, but nice enough. The service was very good. The service staff was gracious and friendly without being in-your-face. I ordered 4 courses, while Giao ordered the 7 course tasting menu, and for all but one course, I was sent out a complementary dish to match Giao's. At $72 for 4 (large) courses and a tasting menu for around $90, we got a lot of food for the money.

Blood orange and some sort of licqour, this gift from the chef was quite good.

Chilled Melon Soup
Giao quite liked this amuse-bouche, but Alexis is not a fan of canteloupe.

Beet Carapaccio with Fresh Ricotta
A subtle, but tasty, beginning of the meal.

Burrata Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Parmasan Crostini
This salad was absolutely delicious. Now, we do have quite a fondness to burrata in all forms, but the herbacious sauce served with this dish really made the creaminess of the burrata pop.

Lemon Gnocchi with Zucchini Puree and Fried Zucchini Blossom
These were also delicious. The gnocchi, while huge, were tender in texture and flavor and the puree was flavorful.

Lobster Ravioli
The pasta could have been thinner, but the flavor was great. The sauce was much like awell-executed lobster bisque.

Pappardelle with Sweetbreads and Chanterelles
While the components of this dish were all good by themselves, it somehow didn't come together. The sauce didn't have quite enough viscosity to hold everything together.

Stuffed Quail with Plum Sauce
The quail was tender, and the plums, while sweet, were a good match.

Short Rib with Roasted Root Vegetables
This was good, but not great.

Pan Fried Black Bass with Lentils and Shaved Artichoke Salad
The fish was perfectly cooked and the skin was very crispy. The lentils and the shaved artichokes rounded out the meal in both flavor and texture.

Cheeses (above and below)
We found this selection of Italian cheeses to be good, but we still like French cheeses better. The braised grapes with rosemary were a novel condiment.

Selection of Sorbets
Peach, grape and mango sorbet. They were all quite tasty.

Bourbon Caramel Semi-Freddo
This was an enormous dessert that was brought to Alexis, on the house, since she did not order dessert. She was so full that she could not eat it all, despite the fact that it was creamy and cold and good.

Almond Biscotti
These were the best biscotti we've ever had. They were light and incredibly crispy. The waiter packed them up for us to take with us.

Food: 2
Decor: 1
Service: 3

1722 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Health Code Violations

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Supermarket Dim Sum Smorgasbord

We made the grave mistake of going to the Sunset Super when we were on our way home from work and very hungry. So, we decided to make ourselves a big spread of supermarket, frozen dim sum.

Sui Mai
Not really like any sui mai we've ever had, but they were tender and tasty.

Dipping Sauce
-1/4 cup dark soy sauce
-2 tb rice vinegar
-2 tb hoisin
-2 tb chili garlic sauce
-1 bunch scallion, chopped

Mix all ingredients thoroughly for a nice, thick dipping sauce.

Instant Udon with Dipping Sauce
Carby and good.

Pork Dumplings
The skins of these had a nice, toothsome texture, but the meat inside was like a rock-hard pellet.

Pork and Cabbage Potstickers
Pretty tasty. No complaints.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Zuchinni Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna
Another one of our favorites, this time with turkey instead of beef.

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