Dominique Crenn’s Iron Chef Victory

9 Aug

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Dominque Crenn’s Iron Chef party at her Michelin-star rated restaurant, Luce, in San Francisco. It was an event with plentiful amounts of food and wine to go around for everyone as we anxiously watched the battle between Dominque Crenn and Michael Symon. The final results were as follows:

Symon – Taste: 24     Plating: 10      Originality: 10     Total: 44

Crenn –  Taste: 25     Plating: 14     Originality: 14     Total: 53

Crenn won by a landslide and from the very beginning, it was clear that it would have been a fantastic evening regardless of the results, as Crenn ensured us, as her fellow guests, to “eat and drink a lot!”

From lamb “lollipops”, authentic Gorgonzola cheese, and tasty cured meats like Mortadella and Prosciutto Cotto, we also got to taste some of Luce’s  dishes like their Arctic char and Tomato Water.

There were a range of wines to choose from, including a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet. My favorite, by far, was the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon by Unity.

A big applause to everyone at the Luce house for a job well done!

Malcolm & Luce team hard at work!

Dan & Dominique

Prosciutto, Coppa, Mortadella, Salami

Olives, Cipolline, Bell pepper salad, and various antipasti

Chilled sweet yellow corn veloute

Lamb “Lollipops”

Victory!!! OooOO Yeah!

Me & Dominique, who continues to inspire me


Yountville: Redd

6 Aug

I have been taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine and planning as many trips as possible around wine country and the city. This week, I went to one of my favorite restaurants on Washington Street, Redd.

Special Salad of the Day: Arugula, parmigiano reggiano, croutons, tomatoes, sherry vinaigrette

Glazed pork belly, apple purée, burdock, soy caramel

Prime new york steak tartine, balsamic onions, aioli

Date:  August 2010

Location: Redd
6480 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599

Style & Decor:  Modern, Clean-cut lines, Neutral hues & green
Crowd:  Dates and friends
Energy:  Relaxing and tranquil
Service:  Friendly and Kind

This was my first time dining outside and the experience was wonderful! The people there were very accommodating of requests. My friend wanted to substitute a side and they offered to do it without hesitation. They also gave us a few slices of their prosciutto pizzetta on the house, what a nice surprise!

Macarons hailing from Yountville, California

4 Aug

Bouchon Bakery always puts a smile on my face. Their patisserie is truly special because they create traditional delicacies but add their own twist to each one. For instance, their macarons are double the size than traditional macarons! This makes for a extra savory treat! I bought a box of the colorful, crunchy yummies and brought them home today. In addition, I also bought their new, summer berry tart and some Thomas Keller oreo cookies!

An Epicurean Adventure in San Francisco

3 Aug

Last week I had a fun filled adventure in San Francisco. The day included pit stops at some of the city’s best kept secrets…I had Parisian style macarons, a spicy hot chocolate, foie gras out of a truck and ate it in a parking lot by Jiffy Lube (I kid you not!), ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe, spicy tacos in the marina, and a cocktail served in a jar by the name of “Strawberry Fields” which literally had a generous serving of strawberry pieces at the bottom! How fun 🙂

First Stop, 5:47PM – Paulette’s Macarons @ 437 A Hayes St

I highly enjoyed the colorful treats at Paulette’s Macarons. I thought that the flavors they offered were more creative than two other internationally known macaron shops I have been a fan of this past year – Dalloyau (which was founded in 1802) and Sadaharu Aoki’s.

The Sicilian Pistachio was one of my favorites!

Second Stop, 6:15PM – Christopher Elbow @ 401 Hayes Street

Christopher Elbow creates some of the most beautiful chocolates I’ve ever seen but will run at $2 a piece. Their signature hot chocolate is also a real treat. Their shop has a comfortable lounging area so that you can enjoy your hot chocolate on a luxurious, plush couch.

Third Stop, 6:32 PM – Spencer on the Go

Owners of Chez Spencer came up with the concept of serving some of their specialty dishes in a portable manner so that they are able to sell out of a moving food truck, hence the name Spencer “on the Go”

Top Left: Braised Sweetbread “Vol au Vent”
Bottom Left: Lamb Sandwich
Center: Escargot Puff Lollipop
Far Right: Foie Gras Torchon and Toast

This is a real treat that I would highly recommend checking out!

Fourth Stop, 7:45  PM –  Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream @ 2790 Harrison St

This trio included the Peanut Buttery curry, Olive Oil, & the secret breakfast. I found the olive oil to be very refreshing and creamy!

Las Vegas: Joël Robuchon

28 Jul

Having dined at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas multiple times,  I had been eager to try Robuchon’s more formal restaurant. I finally made plans to go to Joel Robuchon, the restaurant, last winter. It is one of two (the other being the French Laundry) three Michelin star rated restaurants on the west coast.

Tastiest Caviar

Chestnut Soup

Duck & Foie Gras with Potato Puree  

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Date:  December 2009

Location: MGM Hotel
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV

Style & Decor:  Innovative, trendy, black with one contrasting solid color that changes seasonally (Purple when I went)
Crowd:  Dates..dates..and more dates, & plenty of new money
Energy:  Energetic, Fun, Exciting
Service:  Professional but slightly pretentious

The restaurant was glamorous, and the complimentary limo is a huge plus if you would like to impress your date. In addition, you are escorted to the restaurant through the MGM Mansion, not through the MGM casino doors.

The restaurant’s design is breathtaking and unlike any restaurant you have ever seen before. I must admit though, this is no typical experience and a little too “glamorous” – for lack of better terms – for my personal liking. It is the epitome of Las Vegas, and goes against everything a traditional restaurant is supposed to be.

At the end of the day, while I am still a huge fan of Joel Robuchon, I would like to add that it’s not for everyone…but it is a phenomenal and unforgettable dining experience I would highly recommend, if you don’t mind a splurge.

Un Danse Alchemique “Whiskey Dinner”

27 Jul

I had one of the most memorable and enjoyable dining experiences at this private Chef’s tasting with whiskey pairings (interesting, non?) in San Francisco recently. Chef Dominique Crenn, Amy Murray, Chef Daniel Corey and Chef Russell Jackson prepared a delicious meal. A huge huge applause for this deliciousness!

The dinner was hosted at Lafitte, situated right at Pier 5 in San Francisco.

Lobster / Porcini / Farro / Coco nibs paired with Ad Rattray Mortlach Cask Strength 19 Year

Scallop Dish by Chef Russell Jackson paired with Auchentoshan 18 year

Sweet Bread / Abalone / Pickled Onion / Oxtail paired with Ad Rattray Bowmore Cask Strenght 18 Year

Tomato Water

Poussin / Black Olive and Almond Soil / Cherry 3 Ways paired with Springbank Fino Sherry Single Cask 12 Year

Foie Gras / Corn Soubise / Pop Corn / Corn Sorbet / White Chocolate paired with Murray MacDavid Highland Park Chateau Lafite 14 Year

Livermore: The Restaurant at Wente

25 Jul

I enjoy dining at the Wente Restaurant because each time I go, they change the menu. They change it more or less seasonally!

Summer is my favorite time to visit. They incorporate some delicious fruits and vegetables into their dishes.

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Date:  Saturday July 24, 2010
Location: 5050 Arroyo Rd Livermore, CA
Style & Decor:  Californian Modern
Crowd:  Families, Dates
Energy:  Calm
Service:  Professional & Friendly

San Francisco: Luce

21 Jul

Every month I add a restaurant to my “list” of where I’d like to dine at. Let’s just say, Luce has been on my list for quite some time. Finally, for my birthday this evening, I went! The food, service, and ambiance are all excellent. I was blown away, especially because this place is very affordable for being Michelin rated and the portions are generous!

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Appetizer; Quail, 3 Textures of Farro, Pickled Mustard and Rhubarb

Main; Lobster, Carrot and Uni

Main; “12 Hours” Lamb Belly, Lamb Loin, Sweet Potato, Sicilian Pistachio and “Pillow,” Baby Turnips

Dessert; Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Soil, Chocolate “Dehydrated”,
Chocolate “Ice”, Basil and Mint

Date:  Tuesday July 20, 2010
Location: 888 Howard Street San Francisco (888 is lucky # in Chinese! More of a reason why you should dine here 😉 )
Style & Decor:  Modern yet still elegant!
Crowd:  San Franciscans, business folks, dates
Energy:  Calm yet comfortable
Service:  Warm and friendly, just the way I like it!

Espresso e Gelato

17 Jul

Gelato: Giandiua e Nocciola

Caffe: Illy espresso

ALMARE Gelato Italiano

2170 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

Lemon Curd Fans

15 Jul

I am blessed to be surrounded by great people, but even more grateful to know people who are knowledgeable in particular types of food, cuisines, dishes, wines, and sweet treats…because they continue to inspire me to try new things and introduce me to undiscovered ingredients.

After a recent afternoon tea with my girlfriend Amanda G., we were discussing the variety of creams paired with the scones including the lemon curd, cream, and marmelade. Amanda thought about making her own lemon curd.

Upon returning to my home, we went to my lemon tree and picked the tiny lemons my tree has to offer (tiny but at least very juicy! Quality over quantity is key). Amanda whipped up her own batch of lemon curd from scratch and gave me a jar the following week.

I’ve been enjoying it, and I have to say…it’s quite delightful. Thank you, Amanda!