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Archive for April, 2006

Oliveto (Oakland, CA) – Special Risotto Dinner

Went here for the special risotto dinner. Oliveto refuses to serve risotto in their day to day menu because they feel they can’t make it correctly. Instead, they offer a risotto dinner once a year where one chef is responsible for just cooking risotto. Since the timing is crucial, the dinner’s pace may not be perfect since the risotto must be served immediately.

1. Platter of house-cured salumi
Going from memory, one was more normal, one was aged longer and it had a more intense taste (similar to a Luger steak), a third used peppers and was a bit too spicy; and a mortadella (not my favorite in general so i won’t judge it.)

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Il Grano (LA) – Hitting on All Cylinders

In town for 1 night, just returned from a very good to excellent meal w/ Olivia & another co-worker. This dinner was much better than my previous lunch last November; of course, i used a special password – “the XXXX’s sent me” smile.gif

I think it worked.

We opted for the ‘tasting menu’; but I wanted my own dishes too. Well, what do you know – the dishes I chose were the exact ones Sal (the chef) served for the tasting menu.

1. Crudo
An oyster, line-caught fluke, line-caught snapper, line-caught tuna; & octopus w/ some sort of oil i forget. This was *much* improved over my crudo plate in Nov; in fact, the fluke & snapper were beautiful.

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47 Michelin Stars in 24 Days – The Final List

[edit 2: the original math, and post of this title, changed quite a bit during the planning of the trip. The final tally ended at 45 Michelin stars. edit 1: someone dropped out of Fat Duck, we are in. 44 stars has now turned into 47.]

My friend is crazier than I when it comes to food. When he secured a reservation at the elusive El Bulli in Spain, we found ourselves planning a trip across France and Spain. After a few months of waiting, and email planning, the plan has materialized.

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Rogue Chefs (Half Moon Bay, CA) – Off the Grid in the Grid

Rogue bills itself as a local ingredients-first restaurant dedicated to sustainable farming & sourcing methods. It’s located in Half Moon Bay, a quaint small town on the ocean that needs a few more restaurants like this.

The irony is that i couldn’t find anything roguish about this restaurant. Perhaps it’s a sign of old age setting, but i just don’t buy this anti-establishment story. First, they are part of the same local-ingredients-first story that 1/3 restaurants in this area subscribe to – nothing rogue there. Second, don’t all higher-end restaurants go through great pains to source from farmers who use near-artisinal methods (since the food tastes better) – maybe they’re trying to distinguish themselves from the lazy middle-tier who may pay lip service to sustainable agriculture & artisinal dedication? And third, the food is straight-forward ingredients-focused cuisine w/ nary an experimental edge to it.

All fine & dandy but i think they need to hire a different marketing consultant. They aren’t off-the-grid, they’re in Half Moon Bay.

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Bar Crudo (SF) – Learn the Art of Addition by Subtraction

Went here last night – moved out of the neighborhood but took the 25 minute walk to Union Square. I will have to temper my enthusiasm for the place a bit – it is definitely a 2nd-tier Uni/Nobu-type place. The menu doesn’t seem to change too much (most of the dishes were the same) and the service can be lacking (but it’s fine for the most part.)

The chef is talented but I think he needs to take a few lessons in reduction. Some of the dishes are just too busy and I really think he could take a page from Manresa’s fish book.

I’m still a bit perplexed why the crudo menu isn’t revolving but i guess he has some good farms for the stuff he serves; the cooked menu looks different this time around. They have also introduced specials.

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