Category Archives: CALIFORNIA

Pancho Villa Taqueria, San Francisco,CA

Pancho Villa Taqueria, San Francisco,CA

 

 

Pancho Villa Taqueria on Urbanspoon

 

Food: ☆☆☆½

Service: ☆☆☆½

Ambiance: ☆☆

Cost: $

Must try: The salsa bar, any burrito

 

There is a reason why the Espinoza brothers Taqueria has been thriving in the wildly competitive Mission District of San Francisco for many decades now.

 Pancho Villa hits a home run when it comes to satisfying that burrito craving that one often gets. Delivering authentic, fresh Mexican food in huge portions has garnered this spot a huge fan following and several awards over the years.

 The line is out the door starting pretty early in the day. Service is helpful and pleasant and the digs are clean enough. What rocks is the fresh salsa bar they have the back of the restaurant, which serves up some of the most unique and tastiest salsas, I have had.

 Pancho Villa has all the ingredients in being the a cut above it’s competitive rest.

 

Here is some of what we ate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Pancho Villa Taqueria
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Mexican
* Street Address
3071 16th Street , San Francisco, CA 94103
* Phone
(415) 864-8840

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco, CA

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco, CA

 

 

Tartine Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Food: ☆☆☆☆☆

Service: ☆☆☆½

Ambiance: ☆☆

Cost: $$

Must try: Everything!

The first problem one faces in trying to get to Tartine Bakery is finding it. Located in the Mission District, the only way to identify this spot is by the huge line of people waiting outside to get their share of the outstanding goodies that are being concocted inside.

 Stepping indoors one encounters a totally different kind of problem – how not to eat the house?

The display cases flaunt a parade of stunning French inflected baked goods. There are breads, croissants, tarts, puddings, sandwiches, cakes and all kinds of bakes.

 The husband-wife team of Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt are several time winners of James Beard awards as well as many other accolades. Using only the freshest of local ingredients and organic as much as possible, the goodies served here are pretty much ‘off the charts!’

 Mark Bittman declares that Tartine Bakery is his favorite bakery in the United States – I might just have to agree!

 

Here is some of what we ate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Tartine Bakery
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
American Traditional / French
* Street Address
600 Guerrero St , San Francisco, CA 94110
* Phone
(415) 487-2600

OSHA THAI, San Francisco, CA

OSHA THAI, San Francisco, CA
OSHA THAI
149 2nd St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Ph: (415) 278-9991
www.oshathai.com



“Osha”  is the royal Thai word for delicious which is what I kept repeating after sampling the food at Osha Thai Restaurant on 2nd street.Osha! Osha! Osha!

Osha Thai is located in the up market SOMA area of San Francisco. The huge space is impressively modern , with many Thai decorative touches.

In 1996, Osha Thai was started as a tiny food spot on Geary by the combined efforts of two sisters, Wassana Korkhieola and Lalita Souksamlane. It has now morphed into an empire of hip-new age Thai cuisine with locations all over San Francisco city.

The food is stylized Thai cuisine. The dishes served at Osha, preserve the authenticity and essence of Thai food and yet focus on being inventive. They use local, seasonal greens and continue to change their menu offerings with new renditions of creative dishes.

In my book, at Osha Thai, they have perfectly blended traditional Thai with the progressive sensibilities of San Francisco. I did discover though that all Osha Thai’s are not equal. I tried the one in the Embacadero and found that the food there was not as good.

Here is some of what we ate:


TOM YUM SOUP

This traditional soup is a bit different at Osha. It tastes like a combination of a Tom Yum and a Tom Kha Kai, which gives it an interesting edge.


ANGRY PRAWNS

In this dish prawns are sautéed with curry paste and Kaffir lime leaf served over fried eggplant in hot plate. It is cooked with fresh Thai green peppercorns, which really adds great flavor to this dish.


LEMONGRASS CHICKEN

This sweet and sour stir-fried chicken dish was good but must be eaten spicy.


GRILLED SEA BASS

This was the best dish of all. The sea bass was flawlessly cooked to a silky tenderness and complemented with a tangy flavorful sauce that enhanced the dish perfectly.


CRAB FRIED RICE

This fried rice was made with egg, onion and green onion with fresh crabmeat. It was really “osha”!!


DESSERTS

Both the desserts were disappointing. Really not worth wasting the calories on – I’d just order more food next time.


Vanilla Sky

This had a crispy roti that was served with vanilla ice cream. The roti was not crispy – it was kind of soggy and too oily.


Chocolate Soufflé

This was a warm chocolate cake, which was meant to have with a heart of creamy ‘A’ grade chocolate. It was over-baked and there was no creamy center.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆1/2

Service: ☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆☆☆

Cost: $$$

I recommend: Lemongrass Chicken, Grilled Sea Bass, Crab Fried Rice

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Osha Thai
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Asian Fusion
* Street Address
149 2nd St ((between Natoma St & Minna St) ), San Francisco, CA 94105
* Phone
(415) 278-9991
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Chez Panisse Cafe, Berkeley, CA

Chez Panisse Cafe, Berkeley, CA
CHEZ PANISSE CAFE
1517 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709-1516
(510) 548-5049
http://www.chezpanisse.com



Hidden amongst a grove of green, the understated Chez Panisse gently reveals itself in all its glory.

It’s famed owner, Alice Waters is one of the pioneers of California cuisine. She is the original advocate of sourcing fresh, organic, seasonal produce from farm and bringing it to the table. Alice Waters also created the now famous Slow Food Movement and the Edible School Yard concept.

Influenced greatly by French countryside cooking, the menu at Chez Panisse Café changes daily depending on locally available, fresh produce. Many of the dishes on the menu are named after the local farms or suppliers of their fresh meats or cheeses – such as Baked Andante Dairy Goat Cheese or Riverdog Farm Artichoke salad or Soul Food Farm Chicken and so on.

Chez Panisse has an upstairs café area, which is more informal and less expensive, which serves lunch and dinner. The more formal and expensive downstairs section serves a prefix dinner only.

Eating at Chez Panisse Café is truly a delight. Its art is in the simplicity of the dishes. The emphasis is really on the freshness and flavor of the ingredients themselves. You wont find very complex sauces or crazy gourmet dishes here. Everything is simple simple simple. That is the charm of their food.

Here is some of what we ate:


 

LITTLE GEMS LETTUCE SALAD

This crispy lettuce leaves were lightly flavored with anchovy, garlic and egg.


 

CITRUS AND AVOCADO SALAD

The combination of different kinds of citrus fruits with ripened avocado in this salad, topped with a ginger vingeratte was just fantastic. There was a burst of tangy flavor with every bite.


 

RIVERDOG FARM ARTICHOKE SALAD

These tender artichokes were paired with crisp arugala with lemon, crunch black pepper and thinly sliced pecorino. Delicious!


 

HAND CUT GREEN NOODLES

These fresh green noodles came with morel mushrooms, crème fraiche, thyme and peas. I loved how the emphasis was on the vegetables and the noodles, though fabulous, only provided the backdrop for the dish as the vegetables were the stars.


 

KING SALMON COOKED IN A FIG LEAF

This is one of the most delicious salmons I have ever had. It was cooked to perfection – so delicate – it melted in my mouth. It was served with asparagus, chervil and beet relish.


 

SOUL FOOD FARM CHICKEN A LA MILANESE

This tender chicken was cooked to a crisp and served with rocket and fennel salad and lemon.


 

MONTEREY BAY SQUID AND CLAMS

These tiny clams just melted in my mouth. The squid and clams were just divine. It was served on a bed of chickpeas, leeks and aioli. I didn’t care much for the flavor or the chickpeas but the seafood was just pure bliss.


 

MAGRUDER RANCH PORK LEG

This perfectly cooked pork was topped of with a fresh tapenade and served with airy fried spring onions and delicious wilted greens.


 

DESSERTS AND TEA

The desserts were all exquisite. You could really taste the freshness of the ingredients. I loved the both the tarts. The crusts for both were fresh and made all the difference to the tarts.


 

CRIMSON RHUBARB TART

This tart was served with a vanilla bean ice-cream.


 

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TART

This tart was served with fresh caramel cream and hazelnuts.


 

STRAWBERRY SHERBET

This was served with vanilla ice-cream and a coconut tuille.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2

Service: ☆☆☆ 1/2

Ambiance: ☆☆☆

Cost: $$$

I recommend: Everything!

Chez Panisse on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Chez Panisse Cafe
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
American New / French
* Street Address
1517 Shattuck Ave ((between Cedar St & Vine St) ), Berkeley, CA 94709
* Phone
(510) 548-5049
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Sushi Ran, San Francisco, CA

Sushi Ran, San Francisco, CA
SUSHI RAN
107 Caledonia St
Sausalito, CA 94965
Ph: (415) 332-3620
www.sushiran.com


Just a few minutes away from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, lies the picturesque waterfront community of Sausalito. It’s in this charming area that Yoshi Tome opened his highly acclaimed Sushi Ran.

Having received a prestigious Michelin star, the chefs at Sushi Ran work hard at the ever-changing menu that combines traditional Japanese and Pacific cuisine.

The fish here is very fresh and the cuisine is inventive. The service was friendly and efficient.

The restaurant has a sushi bar and main dinning room and an adjacent sake bar too.


Here is some of what we ate:


CALIFORNIA SALAD

This was a true California cuisine salad. It had fresh crab, cucumbers, avocado, tofu and crisp mixed greens with delicious sesame dressing. Everything was just fresh fresh fresh! Outstanding!


CRUNCH ROLL

This roll was highly recommended by our server and he was right on the money with this one. It was the best roll we had. The eel, spicy crab, shrimp and avocado melded beautifully with each other while the tempura flakes added a perfect bite of crunch to it.


SALMON & AVOCADO ROLLS

These were very good. The salmon was fresh and melted with the avocado in this roll.


NEGITORO

These rolls made with fatty tuna, grilled green onions and fresh scallions were really interesting. I loved the play of the grilled and fresh scallions with the fish.


SPICY TUNA ROLL

This was a different take on the traditional spicy tuna roll. Served with chunks of tuna, miso aioli and togarashi – it was rather unique – not exquisite but interesting.


SOFT SHELL CRAB ROLL & EBI TEMPURA ROLLS

I wasn’t very impressed with their soft shell crab and tempura roll.


SALMON & TUNA SUSHI

Their sushi was not as impressive as their rolls.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆ ½

Service: ☆☆☆ ½

Ambiance: ☆☆ ½

Cost: $$$

I recommend: California Salad, Crunch Roll, Salmon and Avocado Rolls


Sushi Ran on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Sushi Ran
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Japanese
* Street Address
107 Caledonia St , Sausalito, CA 94965
* Phone
(415) 332-3620
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Academy Cafe, San Francisco, CA

Academy Cafe, San Francisco, CA
Academy Cafe
The California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 876-6124
www.calacademy.org

I hate going hungry to any kind of museums, zoos or theme parks because I just cant stand the standard pizza, hot dog, chicken nuggets fare that is served up, all across America.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into this:


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Asmara – Eritrean/Ethiopian Cuisine, Oakland, CA

Asmara – Eritrean/Ethiopian Cuisine, Oakland, CA
ASMARA
5020 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 547-5100
www.asmararestaurant.com/



Asmara, (named after the capital of Eritrea) has been serving up Eritrean/ Ethiopian delights in North Oakland since 1985.

What begins with a rather mediocre facade opens into a roomy, inviting space with cute touches of ethnic décor.


The food is pretty good overall though in certain dishes I felt like there was something missing – perhaps something in the spices they use. Their injeras were very good and we were given plenty of them.

The service is a little slow but overwhelmingly warm and friendly.

All in all – Asmara is a really good bet!


Here is some of what we ate:


POTATOES & CARROTS AND SALAD

The potato and carrots combo and salad are usually served on the shared plate with an injera at the bottom. I thought the potato dish was very bland and devoid of spice and flavor. The salad was nice and crunchy and went very well with the rest of the meal.


TEMTMO/ YEMISSIR

This red lentil stew marinated in berbere sauce was very good. It really had great depth of spices and flavor.


DORO AND GOMEN

This boneless chicken cooked with mustard greens was outstanding. The chicken was cooked down to a perfect tenderness, which melded really well with the cooked greens.


SHIRO

This roasted grounds peas cooked in berbere sauce is one of my favorite Ethiopian dishes. I found Asmara’s shiro very lacking. It was disappointing.


TEBSY

This dish had pan-roasted strips of beef, simmered with onion, butter, and mild spices.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆

Service: ☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆☆

Cost: $$

I recommend: Temtmo/ Yemissir, Doro and Gomen


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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Asmara Restaurant
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Ethiopian
* Street Address
5020 Telegraph Ave ((between 49th St & 51st St) ), Oakland, CA 94609
* Phone
(510) 547-5100
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Miette – Patisserie and Confiserie, San Francisco, CA

Miette – Patisserie and Confiserie, San Francisco, CA
MIETTE
Ferry Building Marketplace
Shop 10
San Francisco, CA 94111
ph # 415 – 837-0300
http://www.miettecakes.com/


Miette


Miette is french for “little crumbs”. What a perfect little name for a perfect little place. Housed in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Miette is just as adorable as it sounds. Read the rest of this entry

Bittersweet – The Chocolate Cafe, San Francisco, CA

Bittersweet – The Chocolate Cafe, San Francisco, CA
BITTERSWEET – THE CHOCOLATE CAFE
2123 Fillmore Street
San Francisco,
CA 94115
Ph#(415) 346-8715
Website: http://www.bittersweetcafe.com


Bittersweet

Bittersweet – The Chocolate Café, on Fillmore street in San Francisco, is an ideal place that really hits a chocoholic and bond-aholics spot! This is the kind of place that every street corner in the world should have. A delightful little café that serves up perfectly sized choco-filled desserts to go with all kinds of yummy drinks hot or cold. Bittersweet is a definite must do if you are in and around the Fillmore area in SFO. Grab your best buddy and be prepared to spend a day of true decadence that will be so worth your while. Read the rest of this entry

Ame, San Francisco, CA

Ame, San Francisco, CA
Ame
689 Mission Street at Third Street
San Francisco
Ph# (415) 284-4040
www.amerestaurant.com



Restaurateurs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, have truly outdone themselves in creating Ame – their most recent food endeavor. Ame is housed in the graceful St Regis Hotel in San Francisco. This restaurant epitomizes zen elegance in both setting and food.

Given the sublime flavors that are served here, Sone and Doumani couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name for this restaurant. Ame, in French means soul – and the masterful menu that combines Japanese, American, French and Italian influences is divinity that truly touches ones “Ame”! I tried the tasting menu but got to sample a vast array of dishes from what my family ordered.


Oh Ame! What a gorgeous meal with fabulous service– it’s a dining experience that truly speaks to ones soul! I, for one, cant wait to go back…….


Here is some of what we ate……


THREE PREPARATIONS OF SASHIMI

Three Preparations of Sashimi

I started with an appetizer of Three Preparations of Sashimi. I thought this dish was very good. It was not the best sashimi I’ve ever had but the fish and scallop was very fresh and the combination of flavors was remarkable.



LOBSTER BISQUE WITH LOBSTER TORTELLONI

Lobster Tortelloni


My next course was the Lobster Bisque with Lobster Tortelloni. I think that this is one of the best Lobster Bisques I have ever had. Unlike other lobster bisques, this one was not heavy and laden with cream. It was actually refreshing to be able to taste the clear flavors of this wonderful soup. The Lobster Tortelloni just took the Bisque to a whole new level. When I bit into the Tortelloni, it was like an explosion of flavors in my mouth – it was unbelievable!



BROILED, SAKE MARINATED ALASKAN BLACK COD

Broiled, Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in a Shiso Broth


My next course was their signature Broiled, Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in a Shiso Broth. This is one of those dishes that  just makes you go weak in the knees with every bite. How can anything taste so darned good? I’ve had black cod at many different fine restaurants but this dish can only be god’s own creation!



LAMB TENDERLOIN WITH CARAMELIZED ENDIVE, BLACK TRUFFLE AND POTATO PUFFS

Lamb Tenderloin with Caramelized Endive, Black Truffle Sauce and Potato Puffs


My next course was the Lamb Tenderloin with Caramelized Endive, Black Truffle Sauce and Potato Puffs. This dish was very good too, the lamb was very tender and the truffle sauce complemented it very well.



GRILLED BERKSHIRE PORK CHOPS & SPAGHETTINI WITH MAINE LOBSTER

Grilled Berkshire Pork chop with Boudin Noir, Caramelized Apples, Mashed Potatoes

Spaghettini with a Maine lobster


I also tried the Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with Boudin Noir, Caramelized Apples, Mashed Potatoes and Sauce Dijonnaise and the Spaghettini with a Maine Lobster. Both these dishes were very good, nothing outstanding though.



GRILLED DRY-AGED NY STRIP STEAK

Grilled Dry-aged NY Strip Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Puffs


We had my children with us too and so they made their Grilled Dry-aged NY Strip Steak into a kid friendly dish topped with their version of chicken nuggets. I don’t eat Beef but was told that the Strip Steak was unbelievably good ( better than most local steakhouses). The chicken nuggets were to die for – it was like biting into fluffy clouds of chicken that had been deep-fried to a perfect crispness. I think the adults enjoyed those nuggets more than the kids did!!



DESSERTS

Brown Butter Chocolate Gancahe Crunch with Amontillado Sherry Ice-cream


You would think that we would have been done by now but wait till you see the desserts! We ordered the Brown Butter Chocolate Gancahe Crunch with Amontillado Sherry Ice-cream. I loved the chocolate crunch in this dessert and the ice-cream complimented the chocolate decadence perfectly.


Parfait of Roasted Strawberries and Strawberry Ice Milk with Sesame Honeycomb


I thought their Parfait of Roasted Strawberries and Strawberry Ice Milk with Sesame Honeycomb was truly outstanding. All the layers that went into creating this dessert kept each bite interesting.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆☆☆1/2

Service: ☆☆☆☆

Price: $$$

Overall experience: ☆☆☆☆

I recommend: Broiled, Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in a Shiso Broth, Lobster Bisque with Lobster Tortelloni, Parfait of Roasted Strawberries and Strawberry Ice Milk with Sesame Honeycomb.

(All ratings are out of a possible 5 stars. Each establishment is individually rated based on my experience of that particular meal.  Ratings are also based on my expectations of quality of food, value for money, service, ambiance and overall experience)

Ame on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Ame
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
American New / Japanese
* Street Address
St Regis Hotel, 689 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105
* Phone
(415) 284-4040
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