Georges Blanc, in Vonnas, is the best restaurant in the world. I’ve never had a better experience anywhere else. It puts the French Laundry to shame for those of you who have been there. This is not going to be a long post since this blog is about San Francisco, but if you happen to be in France, and you have some money to spend, Georges Blanc is the place to go.
Gamine, in San Francisco, on Union St @ Fillmore used to be called Chez Maman. Stephane, the owner, changed the name (with some ownership status as well) several months ago and him and his wife Suzanna are now running the show.
This is no restaurant like any other. Stephane knows most of his guests, most of them being regulars, and appreciating his friendliness and kindness. You’ll see him going for table to table, sharing a glass of wine and probably trying to convince everybody that Marseille is the best soccer team in the world. Nobody being perfect, we’ll forgive him the Marseille part.
The food at Gamine is traditional french cuisine. It’s really like eating in France, in a casual atmosphere, where the food is good, company is great, and you drink lot of wine. That’s what Gamine represents, which is, in other words, some of the best aspects of France. I love the “escargots”, the “moules marinieres”, or even the goat cheese salad as starters. As a main, I usually get the steak with the fries and the sauce bearnaise. You just can’t beat that. I’d also have to say that the lamb is quite delicious.
I’ve been at Gamine, many, many times. You’re guaranteed to have a wonderful evening, with a fantastic host. I don’t seem to be the only one to think like this. Most of the reviews on Yelp are actually confirming my opinion!
2223 Union St
(between Fillmore St & Steiner St)
San Francisco, CA 94123
Zare at Fly Trap, on Folsom street in San Francisco, between 2nd and 3rd, is my new favorite restaurant in the city. It’s quite interesting how those things work. It’s not the fanciest. It’s not the best. It’s not the cheapest. And yet, I think this is where I’ve had 2 of my top 5 meals in the last 5 months.
First some history: Hoss Zare moved from Iran in 1986 and first worked at the Fly Trap. More than 20 years later, he decided to purchased the place (he had moved on since). I loved that story. Someone who cares! If he cares about the place, he must care about the food. I often say that the food you cook is a representation of the type of person you are: generous vs cheap, emotional vs dry, etc… It also works the other way around. Who you are will impact the food you cook!
Zare created a very relaxed atmosphere in his restaurant, probably due to his roots, where food is a social thing, where people just sit around a table, not to put things down their stomach, but to spend some time together. In my mind, that’s the spirit of Zare.
This relaxed but classy atmopshere goes very well with the food that Zare serves. It’s hard to describe, so I’ll just say it’s THAT good. Simple, fresh, & tasty. No fancy crazy stuff. Just good food. The lamb shank is a must have, served in a fantastic broth (so light!), with flageolets, potatoes and torshi (combination of pickles). My goodness, just talking about it makes me hungry! I go there these days just for this dish.
There are also some really interesting starters, my favorite one being the menage a foie, which is a combination of livers: foie gras, sheep liver and chicken liver. I’m a huge fan of bone marrow, and I wasn’t disappointed! Finally, I was really impressed with the cinnamon braised lamb tongue. That was really something unique, and very hard to do at home (so order it in a restaurant!).
As far as the wines are concerned, we’ve tasted several, and I may say that they have an amazing Santenay (from Thevenin) which is clearly on the pricey side ($50), but totally worth it.
If you want to know more, visit their website, or pay them a visit and say hi to Zare! He’ll be around!
LONDON (Reuters Life!) – British health officials said on Friday they were investigating 400 potential cases of food poisoning linked to top-rated Fat Duck restaurant, run by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.
The award-winning restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, is known for its chemistry-inspired dishes such as bacon and egg ice cream and snail porridge, with many courses frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Blumenthal voluntarily closed the restaurant last month after around 40 diners complained of diarrhea and vomiting.
The Health Protection Agency said the number had risen to 400 after media coverage of its investigation.
“This is a very complex outbreak,” said Graham Bickler, a regional director at the agency.
The agency said its probe would extend to all those who had eaten at the restaurant since late January, whether they reported being ill or not.
The restaurant, which has had a three-star rating from the Michelin guide since 2004, is co-operating fully with the investigation, the agency said.
Diners often wait months for a reservation at the Fat Duck, which seats 40 people and charges 130 pounds ($185) a head for its 17-course tasting menu.
Blumenthal has said he is mystified by the outbreak, as the restaurant conducts weekly infection tests and nothing has been discovered.
“It was out of the blue … I’m as fastidious about the hygiene side of things as I am about the actual cooking processes,” he told the Guardian website in a video interview.
“The last thing you want is somebody to leave the restaurant with so much as a slight headache.”
(Reporting by Tim Castle, editing by Paul Casciato)
I just ate 6 fresh spring rolls from The Slanted Door, bought from the ferry building out of the door store, and I just wanted to say it again: those are the best spring rolls ever! EVER! I already wrote about The Slanted Door, so I won’t repeat myself too much. But boy, it was good…
It was about time. For ages, I’ve heard about Boulevard, at the end of Mission Street next to the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I’ve walked by it so many times. And yet, i’ve never paid a visit to one of the most famous restaurant in the city.
A few nights ago, a few friends and I decided to go. Just like that. Because when the economy goes down, you need to find a few crazy things to keep you alive: your family, your job, and of course, good times with friends. It’s on this last option that we bet on for that night. And it worked!
We called very late on a thursday night asking for a table for three. The receptionist told us that they would have a table in 30 minutes. That was perfect. Just the time we needed to move from the bar we were in, to the restaurant.
We arrived there. The place was packed. Since we were actually a bit early, we ordered a bottle of wine at the bar. Very soon after, they came to tell us our table was ready. They actually put us in one of the best table. The one by the corner, facing the Bay bridge. My friends being true French gentlemen, and knowing that this was my first time at Boulevard (they had been there at other occasions) decided to give me the best seats. So here I was. At Boulevard. Admiring the Bay Bridge at night and about to eat some amazing food.
The waitress came by very quickly and was extremely polite. We gave her our order and very soon, we were served with our first starters. As good Frenchmen, we decided to try the sweetbreads. And let me just say this: that was absolutely awesome! Just thinking about it makes me want to drive right back there and order some more! The sole was also very nice, especially accompanied by the rock shrimp and the maine lobster bouillabaisse.
As a main, I ordered the Lamb T-Bone (medium rare of course!), with some nice shiraz from california. The combination of the two was just magic, and the lamb cooked perfectly. As in really medium rare! My friends decided on the duck, and they both looked very happy. Note that at this point, we were not sharing dish anymore, as we all became way too selfish to get all we could from this amazing feast!
Finally, once we were done with our main, we decided to order all the cheeses. Yes, ALL the cheeses! We also decided to order a bottle of cabernet franc, highly recommended by the sommelier, which really pleased us.
After all this, as if we didn’t drink enough, we decided to opt for some calvados. Just to make sure we were making this dinner one of the best dinner ever. That was actually quite good, but at this point, what wouldn’t have been good?
So yeah, we had a great time. The food was delicious. The wine was phenomenal. And we had a great time. Good food, good drinks, and great company. What could you ask more?
Yesterday dinner, we went to Tataki Sushi Bar, on California Street in the lower Pacific Heights area of San Francisco. It’s just a few seconds walk from where we live and we had never tried it!
Tataki is tiny and very well decorated. We had no problem to sit at the bar (which is our favorite spot as you all know by now!) and we started reviewing the menu.
First of all, this place is all about sustainable food. I actually quite like that, especially since it was very discrete. I had read some reviews indicating that they don’t stop explaining why sustainable is, why they’re supporting it etc… Well, either this wasn’t true, or they’ve changed something, but there was zero mention of sustainable food by anyone there. Just a card on the table to make us aware of the issue, which i found quite subtle.
Like any good sushi place, you can find the classic sashimi, nigiri sushi and rolls. But Tataki is very good for the funky stuff…
Again, I had read reviews raving for their fancy rolls. So we’ve decided to focus on the rolls, and ignore the nigiri. We started with a Pacific Sunrise, which is basically cucumber rolled into 4 varieties of fish without any rice. Yes, a roll with no rice! Well, that was just a blast. They have this “tataki” sauce that they use for this dish, and that was just playing with all the tastes. So good. +1!
Then we had the 49er. Again, a big, big winner. We picked it because the guy next to us just had it. It looked so good that my wife just asked the chef to cook one for us. That turned out to be a great decision. It’s basically tobiko roll topped with avocado. Tobiko is the Japanese word for flying fish roe. It gives the roll a funky texture, and the mix with the avocado and the rice works very, very well.
The third roll we had was inspired by a review I had read. It’s called the “extinguisher”. Yes, you bet it was spicy! As in very spicy. Even the plate comes with real flames (from burning rhum on salt). This roll is a kampachi roll, with some very spicy sauce on top. It’s spicy enough to make you realize you’re eating something spicy, but you will be able to eat it, which is always nice. For me, that was the winner of the night, but it may just be because I love spicy food.
Finally, we had some sashimi, just to make sure we were also trying some classic dish. It was also very good, especially the salmon and the yellow tail.
Overall, we’re really glad this place opened in our neighborhood. Prices are reasonable, it is much, much better than Godzilla Sushi, the chefs are really nice and the service was perfect. What more could we ask?