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Tag Archive for 'dining'

I’ve Been Busy

Thanks to Sheldo for letting me know my blog was hacked, again. Great.  The upside is I was able to fix it and it was nice to know that I actually have people still paying attention to this little site of mine. I have been way behind on posting so for those of you who don’t have me as a contact on Flickr, here’s what I’ve been up to. Expect to see reviews for most if not all of these places soon.

Visiting Prakash in SF

Like much of the exciting times in my life, this plan came together rather quickly. Thanks to Google Calendar, I was able to find a weekend P$ wasn’t busy (harder than it sounds), and after a few IM’s and despite many emails (due to my detailed planning), I was set to visit on the weekend of August 16th.

I did the research, made the reservations, and arranged dates. We were all set. The flight out of SBA to SFO was uneventful. I still cannot sleep on planes and the flight was early enough that it made me wish we had. Prakash picked me up in his beautiful IS350 and we were off to Berkeley. We actually had time to kill since the reservation was for 1:15 PM. We went to Haight and Sutter. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at La Boulange and shopped at True Sake and HUF.

Then, we headed off to Berkeley where Dave and Jessica met us at Chez Panisse for a late lunch. I was hoping they still had their duck confit but I settled for grilled squid instead. After, we crossed the busy street to visit a cheese shop and pizzeria. Prakash and I got some bread pudding. Then we drove about 5 miles away to Ici where we had some of their innovative ice cream flavors which ranged from Basil to a 50/50 orange sherbert.

As we said our goodbyes, I handed Jess three bottles of sake to give to her parents to take back to SB for me. I still need to pick them up! Anyway, we head back to Sunnyvale and hang out at Prakash’s apartment which was super clean and nicely decorated, I might add!  We hung out for a bit, watched some movie clips then his (former) PM met us and we went off to Los Gatos to Manresa. The meal was a marathon and we were literally the last ones to leave the restaurant. When we got back, everyone just went to bed, exhausted. 

The next day we got up early and got some boba (not too good), and drove to Napa to meet Noelle at Ubuntu. I had arranged to have Chef Fox cook us a tasting menu and boy did he deliver. We were seated outside on a picture perfect Napa afternoon. Then we went to Bouchon to get some pastries, wine tasting at a castle, and Dean and Deluca so Noelle could get some European butter. Yummy.

Back to Berkeley to change, then Ame at the St. Regis for dinner. Tropic Thunder (hilarious) then sleep for the flight the next morning. We woke up at 7AM for the flight and when we were almost at the airport, United texted me saying it was delayed. It was too late to turn around and I ended up leaving over an hour later than planned. What the heck? Shane picked me up at SBA and after grabbing a quick lunch I went to work.

P.S. Recently, when I told people about where I went in SF, they all exclaim “all those places?!” Sitting in the car and talking to a friend I’ve known for years made time fly. I do realize that it was an enormous undertaking (having me visit) and I am eternally grateful.

P.P.S. Complete reviews of Chez Panisse, Manresa, Ubuntu, and Ame coming.

North Pond

On my last leg of my Chicago Four Restaurants in Four Days Tour, I had brunch at North Pond. Besides the myriad of recommendations and loads of reviews I’ve read, I also had a friendly connection to the restaurant, so I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

I woke up around 9:15 AM, after hitting the snooze button twice. I was on a fairly strict schedule because I had a plane to catch and needed to be at the MIdway Airport by 2 PM. I walked outside, excited that the bus stop was right across the street form the hotel. I headed to the Grand and Michigan stop to catch the 151 northbound bus. One small problem. Grand is a non-existent street. Actually, that’s not true. Grand is the street that runs perpendicular to Michigan Ave, but at the point of intersection, it is under Michigan. That’s right, the Marriott that we stayed at was literally on a bridge. After pacing around for about 5 minutes, I realized where the stop was. I waited for about 10 minutes, then I was on my way.

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Somehow I was able to convince Ted and his coworker to join me at Boka on Friday. I think it had more to do with the neighborhood it’s in (Lincoln Park, just a few doors down from Alinea) than the food. By around 7:30 PM Saturday night, the earliest reservations they had were at 9:30 PM, so we took it.

We were late to the restaurant (surprise surprise), and even though it was only a few minutes, we ended up waiting about half an hour until we got seated. The restaurant is very nice with not one but three hostesses. It’s dimly lit and many of the patrons are actually in the lounge and bar area. It reminds me of Osteria Mozza but maybe a tad nicer even. We kept getting in the staff’s way while we were waiting, but I don’t think it was our fault. There was nowhere to stand and I didn’t want to wait outside because it was raining.

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Someone told me that Alinea was booked for the whole month, but I had to try anyway. At first, the best I could get was a tasting on Thursday night. I tried the next day and was offered The Tour at 9:30 PM. For a meal that would last 3.5 to 4 hours, I realized this was pretty late. They asked me what time I’d like to dine at. I didn’t understand, didn’t we just make a reservation at 9:30? Yes, but what time would I normally like to eat at? I said six or seven. She said she’d see what she could do. I told her that this reservation was the reason I was flying to Chicago. She didn’t seem phased by it at all. Throughout the week leading up to the actual date, I received at least three more calls confirming food allergies, physical ability (to walk up stairs), dress code (men must wear jackets) and the availability of an 8 PM spot. Perfect.

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