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Everything posted by TrelayneNYC

  1. If you have been to Paris, how much of this article is true? https://www.eater.com/2016/10/19/13307432/paris-dining-etiquette
  2. Fava beans, jamón serrano Baked chicken thighs with tomatoes, olives and herbs
  3. Not the best lunch today at Ikaros, a Greek restaurant in Oakland, an understatement if ever there was one. We had gotten to the restaurant at 1:15 pm. A waiter didn't take our order until 10 minutes had elapsed. Then it was another 20 minute wait for this appetizer. I was furious but kept my cool although I was thinking of simply asking for the check at that point. I wish I could say that the wait was worth it. This needed salt amongst other things. Zucchini strips - basically grilled zucchini tossed with a vinaigrette. For $8.50. The restaurant was almost empty when we arrived and filled up while we were there. There were at least two servers on the floor - it's not a large space. The servers weren't doing anything other than walking around. We weren't able to get a waitperson until we specifically asked for one. B noted that the manager wasn't around which is a telling and not good sign. Fried eggplant accompanied with tzatziki. The eggplant was "fine". The tzatziki needed a ton more garlic and tasted mostly of yogurt mixed with sour cream. House salad with feta. B ordered a skewer of lamb souvlaki to go along with the salad. Was quite average although the feta was borderline bland. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one. Broiled half chicken brushed with lemon, olive oil and oregano, served with rice pilaf and steamed vegetables. The chicken was the unkindest cut of all - burnt, charred and OVERCOOKED. The bottom portion went uneaten - it was so tough you could have served it to a certain famous individual as well-done steak and gotten away with it. We paid $23 for the privilege of eating this plate of food. Ikaros 3268 Grand Avenue (Mandana Blvd.) Oakland, CA
  4. Blueberry galette, rosemary crust. Served with crème fraîche.
  5. De gustibus This sold for about $160. If it was aged for 50 years, it would have sold for $400+. It's not about a "brand" but about the length of the aging and the process by which it's made. You can tell because of the designation "extravecchio" and the fact that this bottle has the coveted "DOP". What Americans know as balsamic vinegar is basically sugar water with barely any wine and a lot of food coloring. I'll pass on those, many thanks.
  6. I'm never going to be able to go back to the stuff that gets sold here in this country after tasting a 1-2 drops from this bottle earlier this afternoon. There is simply no comparison.
  7. Pappardelle con sugo di nana ("pappardelle with Tuscan duck ragu") Nectarines for dessert
  8. WaPo's comment section is even more of a jungle than NYT's comment sections. I don't read them because it takes me about 10 nanoseconds before my brain explodes. We wouldn't want that to happen in real life.
  9. For breakfast today (Sunday), I made a cake: Apricot upside-down cake. Awesome with crème fraîche.
  10. Crostino with sheep's milk ricotta cheese, basil and slow-roasted cherry tomatoes Coniglio all'Ischitana ("Braised rabbit in the style of Ischitana") - Rabbit is browned in olive oil, then braised in a mixture of wine, lard and tomatoes. Any offal that comes with the rabbit is sliced, then wrapped in basil leaves and placed throughout the pot. Fagiolini al pesto ("Green beans and potatoes with pesto")
  11. Squid salad with sourdough croutons, Sungold cherry tomatoes and olives
  12. You order at the register, take your drinks (and dessert) to your table and a runner serves the food. Your utensils are in a wire mesh container, and your condiments are in a box. It's really casual and not fine dining at all. Souvla is a slightly more upscale version of 4505 Burgers & BBQ but not by much.
  13. Souvla is a great lunch place that we occasionally go to, although I've ordered from there more than dined there. I don't really think of it as "fine dining" though. For me, that's at a level of quality akin to Blue Hill or Gramercy Tavern in NYC, or Minibar in DC which is miles beyond. Souvla is more like 4505 Burgers and BBQ in terms of ambiance and food (quality, technical execution and attention to detail).
  14. Hamburgers with the works - lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, homemade bread-and-butter pickles and our version of "secret sauce" Potato salad with mint, lemon and scallion
  15. Buttermilk scones with currants, served with butter and grapefruit-Meyer lemon marmalade
  16. I understood that. I was just providing a frame of reference since most of you don't live here. Many thanks.
  17. Just to frame things: I live in one of the more desirable parts of town in a rent-controlled apartment. The flat above us rents for at least $6,000/month and is divided between three people, all of whom work for tech companies. I know that one of them is employed by Google. My salary is wonderful compared to when I was in NYC, but even with my income, there's little chance I could get my own place in San Francisco unless I won the lottery. So given those data points, you can imagine what things are like on the lower end of the scale.
  18. oh, one more thing. you can actually hear conversations at your table without having to shout to make yourselves heard. this town has very little white tablecloth restaurants particularly on the high-end. we should do all we can to keep such places in business.
  19. yes, it is but the difference in quality of service between the two are miles apart for instance, we were both wearing dark pants and mere seconds after having sat down, were given dark napkins instead of white napkins so that our pants wouldn't be marred by white flecks. after B made his cheese selections, they plated the cheese, then waited until my dessert was ready before serving both plates. we mentioned to the sommelier that we were interested in Italian wines and were given multiple tastings to help narrow down our choices. it's this attention to detail that I felt set Acquerello apart compared to SPQR. That we loved the food at the former is the literal cherry on top.
  20. Turbot with Taggiasca olives, potato, clams and brown butter. Not very visually appealing but it did taste wonderful. Sea scallops, cauliflower, blood orange, candied kumquats. This was interesting and well-prepared but not something I would order again. Flavors were on point though. FYI, Acquerello's food is "modern Italian". I thought it was operating at a higher level than that of SPQR. Cheese cart. All selections are Italian. The cart is arranged so that cheeses in the background are hard and those in the foreground are soft. Cheeses on the left side are the most intense and those on the right side are fairly mild. Vin santo Cheese plate. Clockwise from upper left: buffalo milk cheese; aged cow's milk and sheep's milk cheese mixed with Barolo wine; sheep's milk cheese; hazelnuts and raisins mixed with chestnut honey; apricot marmellata; candied fennel. Napoletano - strawberry mousse layered over pistachio mousse, surrounded by chocolate mousse, covered with white chocolate and served with 66% dark Caraïbe chocolate. When I reserved, I mentioned to staff that my hubby's birthday was the occasion and they pulled out all the stops. Birthday dessert plate. Clockwise from left: lychee-apricot panna cotta with apricot coulis; meringue; dark chocolate truffle over chocolate ganache; chocolate bar. Clockwise from foreground: vanilla spongecake stuffed with pastry cream, soaked in Italian liqueur; chocolate caramel; almond cookie. Wine list - wines-by-the-glass page. Total bill was $459 (including tax and 20% tip) for two people. This place is definitely on our "return" list. Simply lovely.
  21. We celebrated my hubby's 60th birthday tonight at Acquerello. Highly recommended and much better execution than our experience at SPQR which is another place that does "new-style Italian cuisine". Orange juice and vermouth Smoked mascarpone and herb financiers Lobster beignets with espelette pepper Savory egg custard, mint and pea puree, white chocolate-almond dust", pea shoots The custard was lighter than air which told me that someone in the kitchen has serious attention to detail. It made me sit up and take notice. Butter is house-made, topped with lava salt. The dish with the sea salt has a mother-of-pearl spoon. I judge restaurants by the bread they serve. At Acquerello, it's piping hot, fresh from the oven. Venetian seafood salad - with mackerel, pickled shrimp, calamari, trout roe and finger lime Smoked sturgeon galetta with leeks, crème fraiche, brioche and ossetra caviar Risotto with abalone, roasted turnips and seaweed. B prononced it one of the best he's ever eaten. Each grain of rice was distinct and fused with flavor. Raviolo with slow-roasted tomato, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano crema, served with brown butter and balsamic.
  22. Probably the influx of high spenders who live in the City these days. Those without taste or knowledge aren't limited to only one culture.
  23. China Live is supposed to be the San Francisco version of Eataly except it's Chinese, and I have to tell you that Eataly doesn't have anything to worry about. AT ALL. The prices are about what you might expect... These were just "ok". Soup dumplings, six for $11. Peking duck, a quarter duck portion. The pancakes were actually dough pockets and way too thick. Not memorable, for $14. Crispy chicken, served with rice and chile paste. I think we ordered wrong. It was just plain old roast chicken with crispy skin. I could have had that at home. I know we can get better in SF - it's just that I had heard so much about this place, and we were sorely disappointed. Oh well...
  24. For lunch today, we had Green salad with tomatoes and homemade ranch dressing BBQ chicken Baked potatoes with homemade bacon bits, chives, shredded cheese and sour cream Homemade peach ice cream
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