Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Much Needed Break

I have been away for a while but with good reason. I am excited to share that a baby girl will be joining our family in May 2014. The past six months have been a roller coaster of emotions and hormones making eating, thinking, or writing about food nearly impossible!

We have had some amazing food experiences that I can't wait to look back and share. As I look forward I know some things are going to change, so in the meantime I am making up for lost time and getting my fill of some great new places and all time favorites.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

San Francisco Favorites

I just helped a friend with some travel info for an upcoming trip, so I thought today I would provide a list of some of my favorite places in San Francisco. I often have friends traveling there and love to give some fun recommendations. Since I don't live there and am only there about once a year at best, I am certainly not the most up to date on the most "in" places, but I have accumulated a few great finds and tried and true places that I visit time and time again.

Great Places to Stay
  • The Fairmont- To me this is the iconic SF hotel. It sits high atop Nob Hill and is just the epitome of old fashioned SF glamour.
  • Cavallo Point Lodge- while this is located in Marin county and not in the city itself they do offer free shuttles into Town multiple times per day making it a great getaway from the hustle and bustle. I highly recommend the spa and splurging for a suite!
  • Hotel Vitale- The location on the Embarcadero is a great launching point for exploring the city and the rooftop view is amazing!
More affordable:
  • The Mark Hopkins- This hotel also sits on Nob Hill just across from the Fairmont. It is the a similar style as a discounted price. The rooms and lobby are not quite as plush as its comparison, but it is more interesting than your typical hotel.
Things to Do
  • Bike or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. You can ride all over SF and the areas surrounding the bay. This is a great way to get some exercise to earn your dinner for later!
  • Climb the Flibert Steps to Coit Tower. Wind your way through the back yards of some interesting houses as you climb your way up to Coit Tower. Then take the time to see the tower itself. This is a great place for views and for the cool art deco murals inside.
  • See Golden Gate Park. This park is huge and has so much to offer. Pick up a map and pick an area to explore. I like seeing the animals as well as the Japanese Tea Gardens and the Windmill near the beach!
  • Ride a cable car!
  • Be at the Ferry Building for the Saturday morning market. Plan on staying to eat breakfast and maybe lunch. I could spend all day here, but they typically pack up by 1 pm. Go early for the best selection and the most food choices.
  • Take public transportation and or walk. Especially being from Atlanta, I love that even the buses are efficient and clean.
  • Take a Tour. There are tons, but I recommend the following:
Places to Drink
Places to Eat

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

San Francisco Part II: Rich Table

I have found a new favorite restaurant! While in San Francisco, I was lucky enough to snag a reservation at Rich Table.  Husband wife duo Evan and Sarah Rich opened this spot in 2012 in Hayes Valley. In  only one year, they were finalists for the James Beard Award for best new restaurant. The space is warm and inviting as well as unassuming. They pride themselves on being a place where you can casually get an amazing meal without the pretense of a fancy restaurant. We were given a great window seat near the bar and I got excited as we planned our menu choices with some help from the waiter. The menu features several sizes of dishes from bites to mid size plate to large more entree size offerings. We took the opportunity to try several things from each category. Each dish that arrived became my new favorite.

To start we sampled the dried porcini doughnuts. They were light and fluffy savory and doughy with a creamy dipping sauce that I couldn't get enough of.
This was quickly followed with sardines served inside of crispy house made potato chips. I learned to love all things little fish while in France and Spain and this was no exception. This was an amazing flavor with the salty and the softness of the fish paired with the crunch of the chip. It was visually interesting as well, definitely not something you would try at home. 

We marched ahead to the more entree like offerings including the chicken cannelloni. This was such a fresh take on what I often think of as a heavy dish. The flavors were offset by the crisp sweet peas and the salty crunchy chicken skin bits topping the plate. 

Our final entree was a lighter take on the popular pork belly. This dish featured asparagus (the monster flavorful kind that you can only seem to find in Northern CA) and mushrooms. The asparagus balanced the richness of the pork and made an irresistible bite.

We finished our dinner with the coconut pana cotta. This was served with a fresh lime meringue and coconut crumbles. The perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Short Trip to San Francisco Part I

Last month I had the opportunity to tag along for a trip to one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. I love when I have traveled to a city enough times to no longer feel obligated to see any tourist attractions. Its a nice release to give myself permission to just wander and do or eat whatever I want!

We started our weekend at Cavallo Point the location of our wedding in 2011. It was so nice to be there and relax, have some wine on the porch and look at the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We had a light lunch at the Farley Bar and our dinner at the Murry Circle restaurant who catered our wedding dinner as we reminisced about that great day.

Saturday we headed into the city and started off the night with an amazing dinner at Canteen. Canteen is almost like an incorporated supper club. The chef has two seatings each night at 6 and 8. The menu is 4-5 courses pre-fix with wine a la carte. When we arrived I was thrilled to see the restaurant was located in what used to be the diner like breakfast space of the old art deco Commodore Hotel. This was the first hotel that I ever stayed in when I visited SF. It had been about 16 years since I had been in the space. It is now a dorm for the San Francisco Institute of Art. It was so interesting to see the transformation. The lobby is now the dorm lobby and common area and the bar is currently closed.

Commodore Breakfast Space as I knew it!

Stepping inside we were one of about 20 people lucky enough to have a seat for the night. The chef prepped our food behind the diner style counter. Smells of the warm dinner rolls (which I heard were legendary) wafted through the air.

Our dinner was amazing. Such care and detail was taken with each dish. We had an appetizer of smoked lamb with butter beans. The lamb melted in your mouth and was balanced in richness by the beans. The second course was an English pea soup filled with lump dungeness crab. This was light and fresh and tasted like spring. The entree was halibut crusted in hazelnuts and mustard. To finish was my favorite a rhubarb shortcake with homemade cakes and tart and tangy rhubarb, perfect for the nice spring night.

To extend our evening, we walked up Nob Hill to the Fairmont Hotel. In the basement is the classic and kitchy Tonga Room. It was packed with tourists, locals, wedding parties and bachelorettes. This was so entertaining. For about $20 you can position yourself in this Tiki paradise to people watch, dance, and drink something with rum out of a whole pineapple. I had not been here in over 10 years and its still as entertaining as ever!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My To Try List

Every week it seems another amazing restaurant opens in Atlanta. I feel the urge to try them all and often have a hard time keeping up with where I want to go on any given night. I also struggle with revisiting old favorites or neighborhood spots. To remedy this,  I recently started a "to try" list so I have go to ideas for nights out. Here are a few places I plan to go in the coming months:
What is on your list?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Inaugural Wine Dinner at the Colonnade

Yes you read the title correctly. The Colonnade hosted a wine dinner and they did it with style. As soon as I saw this event come through my inbox, I jumped at a chance to see their kitchen swing into full scale gourmet action. Chef Ryan Cobb often sticks to the tried and true favorites that have been drawing folks to the restaurant for decades but he also offers specials that showcase his culinary skill on a regular basis. This dinner was a chance for him to pull out all the stops. As I entered the back dining room, a favorite regular waitress handed me a glass of champagne and showed me to my seat. The tables were graced with white linens and fresh flowers (yes this is the Colonnade, it was surreal). I enjoyed my drink and introduced myself to others at the table. Mostly regulars also looking to see what they were up to. They have promised that this will become a more regular thing at the restaurant and also mentioned they are ramping up the cocktail and craft beer selection at the restaurant. We were in for a treat!

 Duck Salad with Oranges

Champagne Sorbet

Tenderloin with Truffle Potatoes

 Apple Panna Cotta