Friday, August 31, 2007


Five Spice Chicken and Mahi Mahi Plate Lunch

Don Quixote Supermarket***

Don Quixote - Sashimi: Ahi, Hamachi and Salmon

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Nico's at Pier 38 - Tuna Salad, Furikake Crusted Tuna.


Taste test between the two major shrimp places on the North Shore. First, Romy's. The shack is located on the shrimp farm, so it doesn't get any fresher. The shrimp come in two sizes, shrimp which are about two inches when uncurled or prawns which are thicker and about three inches. The prawns are the thing to order. The simple steamed giant prawns which the server likened to mini lobsters, sell out quickly. We arrived at around 3:30 p.m. and the person in front of us ordered the last serving. Bad luck. The prawns cooked with the sauces are smaller, though still big in comparison to the prawns you see on mainland. Butter and Garlic is just that, the garlic was fried to a crisp and the prawns had that fresh snap when you bite into them. Excellent texture with a strong buttery flavor. The Spicy and Sweet is more sweet than spicy and has a slight stickiness to them. Also good, but somewhat masks the fresh prawns.

Next, I headed down the road to Giovanni's Shrimp Truck which is known for it's Shrimp Scampi. First thing I notice is that there is only one size of shrimp about an inch and half uncurled. They don't have that fresh crisp bite of the prawns at Romy's. The preparation, however, is delicious. Scampi: butter, garlic, white wine and perhaps shallots. The garlic is soft and melts into a buttery paste. It dominates the sauce, though the white wine flavor still comes through.

I would eat at both Romy's or Giovanni's again. If forced to choose, I'd go to Romy's. The prawns are unusually large and fresh when compared to what is offered on the mainland. It's no surprise that the most popular dish is the very simple, steamed giant prawns. At Giovanni's the sauce is the star, it is more flavorful than the preparations at Romy's and compliments the shrimp very well. If I lived in the area and had access to large fresh prawns everyday, I'd probably frequent both places often.

Update: Shrimp Trucks of Oahu

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Lahore Karahi - in order from most to least favorite: Tandoori Fish, Lahori Chikkan Cholay, Saag Paneer, Saag Ghosht, , Bengan Bharta, Sesame Naan, Garlic Cheese Naan, Vegetable Pakora, Afghani Naan.

O'Farrel at Leavenworth

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Myth Cafe - Tuna Sandwich, Strawberry Salad, Cream of Chanterelle with Truffle Oil.

Pacific at Montgomery

Friday, August 24, 2007


Tartine - quiche, bread pudding, croque monsieur, morning bun (half eaten).

Guerrero and 16th St.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Le Grand Aioli Dinner at Sea Salt . The seafood was excellent, the family style format of the special evening was not well executed. The patio of the restaurant is beautiful and they need to work on getting the heat lamps working consistently. The food and the service was excellent. Definitely go back.

Radishes with Anchovy Butter and Olives with Acme Pan Levain***
Raw Bar with Oysters, Clams, Scallop Crudo, Marinated Mussels and Periwinkles***
Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers, Eggplant, Arugula Salad***
Octopus and Squid Salad with Sea Urchin Vinaigrette****
Roasted Baby Potatoes
Gigante Beans with red onion, lemon and parsley
Grilled Whole Maryland Sea Bass with Herbs and Lemon, Topped with Cigala Olive Oil***
Prawns, Lobster, Grilled Oysters, Steamed Clams and Mussels with a Shellfish-Fennel Broth*
Peach Sorbet with Summer Fruits***

2005 Clos Ste. Magdeleine

Last night a group of friends and I attended the special Le Grand Aioli dinner at Sea Salt in Berkeley. It was a prix fixe family style meal served on their outdoor patio. About fifty people were there, we sat on long tables of about 12 people and indulged in plate after plate of fresh seafood. The menu:

Radishes with Anchovy Butter and Olives with Acme Bread
Raw Bar with Oysters, Clams, Scallop Crudo, Marinated Mussels and Periwinkles
Lobster and Hawaiian Blue Shrimp
Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Peppers, Eggplant, Arugula Salad
Roasted baby potatoes
Gigante Beans with lemon, onion and parsley
Octopus and Squid Salad with Sea Urchin Vinaigrette
Grilled Whole Maryland Sea Bass with Herbs and Lemon, Topped with Cigala Olive Oil
Prawns, Lobster, Grilled Oysters, Steamed Clams and Mussels with a Shellfish-Fennel Broth
Peach Sorbet with Summer Fruits

It was a relatively warm night and our table had about twelve people. We started with an appetizer of radishes, anchovy butter and olives. The Anchovy butter had a strong anchovy flavor without being salty and worked beautifully with the bread. The radishes were fresh and the warm olives a good accompaniment.

The Raw Bar was one of the highlights of the evening. A heaping plate of Lobster, Giant prawns, and Clams. The prawns were huge (about four inches long) and incredibly fresh. Lobster and clams were both good and plentiful. The second standout dish for me was the Scallop Crudo which was soft white pieces of raw scallop melting into a bright vinaigrette with a hint of spice. I could've eaten a whole bowl of this. Overall, I thought the crudo and cold items were excellent and possibly better than the similar plate at Bar Crudo.

Next came the Heirloom Tomatoes with shredded mozzarella - very nice, the shredded fresh mozzarella had a nice texture and a mouthfeel like bottarga. Arugula salad was a nice break from the decadent offerings. The Gigante beans were also a very good rendition of a traditional Italian dish.

The other standout for me was the Octopus salad with sea urchin vinaigrette. I'm not sure if the portion I received had any squid in it, but the octopus salad was cooked perfectly, nice bite to it and no rubberiness. The vinaigrette brought out the freshness of the octopus. I was sad to see that this is not on their regular menu.

The rest of the courses were good, though I felt the Shellfish-Fennel Broth only average.

The service was excellent, prompt, efficient and graceful. We spoke with them about their use of sustainable seafood and were impressed by their clear commitment to it. My only comment would be that the family style arrangement of sharing one giant plate of food on a table of twelve didn't work well. Having twelve people with their hands on (or spoons in) a single plate is just too much, particularly when you are sharing a dish of sorbet with strangers.

To the restaurant and staff's credit they quickly remedied the situation by bringing extra plates of food when it became apparent that our table mates had not left anything for us. In the end they probably ended up serving us much more than necessary. The restaurant was incredibly generous by adding extra items like lobster and prawns and oysters to the menu. At our table, each person had at least one lobster tail, and more than one serving of giant prawns, oysters, crawfish, and clams, during the cold course alone.

Overall, it was a wonderful dinner and I'll be back.

San Pablo at Dwight, Berkeley

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007


Range is one of those quintessential SF restaurants with it's casual atmosphere, gourmet food and modern retro decor, complete with a retro fridge at the bar upfront. The cooking is unpretentious, yet thoughtful treatment of fresh local ingredients. The most popular items according to our server are the Roast Chicken, the Steak and the Halibut. Very straightforward. Other items, as listed on the menu: Braised halibut with leeks, pancetta, shiitake mushrooms; and Roasted chicken with a baby red romaine, chanterelle and bacon salad, balsamic jus. Each dish was flavorful, well cooked and of a high quality. I wouldn't mind eating here for a decent meal with predictable cooking, if the bill wasn't so high. Range is top quality for this style of restaurant -- high end comfort food. Personally, when I pay more than $30 for dinner, I'd like a little more adventure. With that said, I think this is an excellent place to take someone that doesn't want anything too adventures, but enjoys quality food.

Valencia at 19th