Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Old New Again

Hosted by HM & B.
Favorite dish from childhood, but adding a new twist to it.

Ca ri ga (Vietnamese chicken curry)

Mandoo Dumplings

Confit of carrot and cumin

Roasted carrot and red lentil ragout

Taiwanese Five Spice Chicken Wings with pickles

Filipino fresh lumpia

Chocolate Killer Cake / King Cake

Friday, January 28, 2011

PLUM - January 2011

The food keeps getting better and better.  I'm becoming a fan of Chef Charlie Parker.

We had the whole menu.  Many of the dishes we had had before though the names sound the same they are all tweaked a bit.  The chicharrones had an added bit of flavoring. The oyster stew was very creamy (the one item where I prefered the prior version).


Wild Greens Panisse
Braised leeks - though it was different this time with an added bit of cheese
Short Rib 
Squid dish with smoked lentils - my favorite of the night

Desserts were not as impressive as on previous visits.  Cheesecake in a jar was not nuanced and not up to our previous visits.   Chocolate parfait dessert was just o.k.  Plating of the gingerbread cake dish was odd and though the flavors went well together it was a bit of a pain to put it all together in one bite as everything was strewn about -- kudos for the mini merenge batons.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Arrived five minutes before their dinner service and there was already a small line, surprising for an otherwise empty strip mall in Santa Clara.

Tonkotsu Ramen - broth was excellent with a layer of flat floating on top.  The noodles had great texture, springy with a slight chewiness.  Very simply topped with a  slow cooked egg and a little sprinkling of togarashi.

Orenchi Salad - nice starter, light miso dressing refereshing - get again.

Karaage - fine, nothing out of the ordinary.

Orenchi and Santouka are my current favorites in this area.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Westlake Lamb Dumplings
Extremely Spicy Peppers #28
Tofu w/ Parsley - appetizer
Hot Braised Beef Tendon
Warm Pot with Fish - sour good

Raw Potato dish a little too oily and overcooked, but still pretty good.
Vegetable pancake fry - not exciting

Open for lunch every W, F.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Brunch at Prospect.  Modern space, professional, if somewhat formal service. Standouts were the baked goods, but everything was fine.  Worthwhile if in the vicinity.

James Beard's French Toast
- great, textures and delicious - only slightly sweet. 

Egg Sandwich - nice egg with beautifully cooked pork belly and a pepper jelly to round it out.

Biscuit - excellent, get again

Corn cake - moist and airy

Ricotta donuts - light moist and airy - though lacking in a sweet element.  A cake-like donut hole without much flavor.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SPQR - January 2011

I had not been to SPQR after the arrival of Matt Accarrino. We finally made over and were not disappointed. The cooking has a more refined balance to it.  I'm not sure it's because my memory has fadedm but the food was better than ever.

California burrata crostino chili, blackberry honey, hazelnut, fried herbs - nice, creamy burrata balanced perfectly with the honey and hazelnut.

Crispy pig ears pickled vegetable, dandelion, chili oil - pieces of pig ear about one inch squares crispy exterior and soft interior not chewy at all really well balanced with the sweet and sour and spicy pickled veg dandelion and chili oil.

Fried surf clams had more fried batter than clam flavor - not greasy at all, but probably would pass on this one.

Slow roasted carrot salad umbrian lentil, medjool date, carrot marmelatta, lardo - loved this very rustic presentation of carrot, cut into about two inch pieces along side some baby carrots and a sweet and sour lentil with the lardo very nice.

Hand cut tagliatelle sea urchin, spicy tomato sauce, green onion a very large piece of sea urchin which I mixed in, this was good though not as creamy and urchin flavored as I expected.

Squid ink spaghetti, had nice chew and structure though there was a little bit of graininess in the pasta I need to check the menu as it might've been buckwheat pasta.  Nice bits of crab but I felt like their flavor was a little lost in the strength of the sauce.

Pasta with duck ragu a bit spicy - my favorite of the night

Sonoma rabbit warren pear, chestnut, parsnip, dandelion, mustard - was two rolls of rabbit meat rolled in a skin, the chestnut puree and the combination of flavors was nice though overall it was not too interesting.

Butter torte with meyer lemon almond and orange was outstanding. When we asked who the pastry chef, we were told that Accarino does the pastry too.

We'll need to return soon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bay Area Pizza Taste Off

Pizza taste off

The cooking club decided to do a little series of pizza tastings, one in the East Bay and another in SF. In order to taste pizzas from a variety of places we had to do take out pizza only. Each of us were assigned to pick up pizzas with no specification on toppings. In other words, this was not intended to be a scientific comparison, but rather a fun exercise in overindulging on pizza. Each taste off had more than 14 eaters.

Summary of Results
East Bay overall winner was Pizzaiolo.  It won the thin crust division and then went on to beat Zachary's, the winner of the deep dish division. Eaters had a set number of votes they could cast. We were all a bit surprised by how much we enjoyed Zachary's. Some folks were disappointed by the pie we got from Little Star in Albany, feeling that it wasn't as well executed as pies from the Mission location.

San Francisco's overall winner was Little Star with Pizzeria Delfina's Margherita coming in a close second. We decided not to divide between deep dish and thin crust and Joe conducted very scientific computerized rank choice voting. This seemed like a very close contestant views were fairly divergent except for the top two. Because we had a variety of pizza styles, Chicago, Neapolitan, NY Neapolitan, NY Street, it was difficult to compare as most felt that they had a preference based upon style though thought that all of the pizzas were good representatives of their particular style.

East Bay - hosted by C & J

Thin Crust Division
Pizzaiolo - Monterey squid, tomato sauce and aioli - 21
Cheeseboard - jalapeno and something I've forgotten - 20
Arizmendi Lakeshore - forgot - 19
pizza sample

Deep Dish Division
Zachary's on College - Special, sausage, green pepper, onion and mushroom - 29.94
Little Star Albany - forgot - 29.06

Overall favorite between the winners of each division.
Pizzaiolo 7
Zachary's 5

SF - hosted by E & P

Overall Rank
1. Little Star (deep)
2. Pizzeria Delfina Margherita
3. Zero Zero & Pizzeria Delfina Clam
4. Patxi's (deep)
5. Tony's Pizza Napoletana
6. Arinell's & Amici's

There were a few well known places we would've included, but we discovered that not all places offer take out and some were closed on the particular evening of our gatherings.