About

This blog is a five-plus year journey into haute cuisine – pursuing a passion. Hopefully it inspires others to do the same. New posts appear, on average, every two to three weeks – I don’t blog about day to day life – though Twitter is good for that.

Artistry

Food can be art – to make visible what was previously unknown or invisible – new links, connections, and concepts – to the world around us. Taste, like beauty in art, is not fundamental; but it does make it all the more enjoyable. Posts have been excessively curated over the past three years – less than 1/4 of my meals have been written – only the best and most fascinating – ranging the spectrum from the majestic fish at Sawada to do-it-all-yourself The Sportsman.

Vision

These are not restaurant reviews per se; you could consider them meal reviews. The questions revolve around “what can the chef accomplish”, not “what can the average diner expect.” There are many other blogs that try to answer the latter question. Fortunately, this blog has had some success and, sometimes, when the stars align, the meals featured here can not be bought. Any comped meals and relationships are disclosed.

Favorite Things

Pristine sushi, interesting vegetable dishes, raw fish & meat, sufficiently aged meats, citrus, foie gras, Burgundy (particularly Vosnee-Romanee), Mosel Spätlese, squid ink, uni, bottarga, fresh eggs, raw milk, ice cream, grains, wild strawberries, fresh almond milk, New Orleans iced coffee, perfect pasta, canales, Neapolitan pizza, hamburgers, Manhattans, and more.

San Francisco

Ideas for SF would include Cotogna (good luck), One Market (very under-rated), 4505 Meats hamburger (the best), Humphry Slocombe (secret breakfast coke float), Una Pizza (the best, needs a post), Fog City News (great selection of chocolate), Boulette’s Larder (canales!), La Sanctuaire (insanely priced cookbooks), Blue Bottle (New Orleans iced coffee addiction), Dynamo Donuts, Rickhouse (spectacular drinks), and Amber India (butter chicken – mmmm.)

Inspiration

And, finally, between the (sometimes) pretty pictures, I am trying to write compelling stories. Some things that (currently) inspire me: Blood Meridian, Deadwood, Italo Calvino, Jim Jarmusch, JG Ballard, Daniel Day Lewis, Larry David, Thomas Pynchon, McCabe & Mrs Miller, Tom Stoppard, Alan Moore, Mark Knopfler, and more.

- chuck

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    I just found your BLOG today and I love it! WHAT A HIT… PLEASE-PLEASE-PLEASE, do a little work on your close-up photography. Just to many are soft and out-of-focus. Besides that I love what I found.
    QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©
    by Wilbur M. Reeling
    epicurean raconteur
    http://www.WilburMReeling.com

  • Administrator

    thanks Wilbur, i’m trying… too often, the restaurants are a bit dimly lit to get a clear sharp picture. nonetheless, the photography is one area i’m determined to get right.

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    THANKS — My daughter & I will be trying Jose Andea’s MINI BAR in Washinton DC when she comes home for spring break from Kutztown U. (I’ll take pix – how do I send ‘em?)
    When last I looked a couple tasted the the entire menu at IlBulli w/ pix but now I can’t find the article or pix to send to the daughter — please advise
    PS
    try partially holding down ur focus finger for an extra few seconds until the until the camera finishes buzzing & wheererering and then jam the shutter down. My 2 Nikons often give me the same problem on dim light auto focus

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    I called MINI BAR tonight and our earliest reservation is for April 14 at 6:30PM — They have 2 seatings the other at 8:30 but at both there are only 6 total seats. For us the drive is 1 1/2 hours. It’s not too pricey $100 p/p 22% tip and $15 valet added to the bill. I spoke with Chef/owner Jose Andre & photos of all the food items and a pix w/ him and autograph of his book (I’ve had for a year) is OK
    – anything on where to find the ElBulli photos?

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    whatZ the World’s best VODKA? — Next Wednesday I’m meeting people in Baltimore for (BOBBY’S ‘WORLDs BEST’ ANCHOVY STUFFED MANZANILLAN OLIVE MARTINI) but it’s been so long I don’t know what’s out there Vodka wise … and I want the best!!!

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    VODKA VOTE SO FAR (///’s ARE ADDITIONAL VOTES)
    Level / / / /
    Imperia-Russian Ultra / / /
    Ciroc / / /
    Precis / /
    Roberto Cavalli Vodka / /
    Hangar One /
    Belvedere /
    Stoly 100
    Stoli Gold
    Elit
    Tino’s Vodka
    Siku-glaciers
    44°North flav
    Modern Spirits flav
    Russian Standard
    Grey Goose-crappie
    Square One organic

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    – SORRY — I 4got that my friend Art Bocutti in Ragged Point, Maryland says …”I like Stoli 80″… But he did work for Stoli-Pepsi 20 years in Atlanta and he got it by the 55gal drum for free! (also drank it directly through a specially designed Russian STOLICHNAYA 100 straw [maybe that affected the taste] `ole Pres Boris gave him the straw in `92) ~ and I said to him later on — Art, …”UR 1 of the 5 Doctors (all proctologists) w/ their OWN opinions”… VODKA OPINIONS ARE LIKE ASS-HOLES … EVERYBODY HAS ONE!

    QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©
    by Wilbur M. Reeling
    epicurean raconteur
    http://www.WilburMReeling.com

  • Wilbur M. Reeling

    Da-Da … “The World’s Best Premium Vodka” …

    So, FIN ~ CONCLUSION ~ EXTR`EMIT`E ~ END`e! … The World’s Best Premium Vodka tasting got out of hand — “so many vodkas … so little time” — and then there were all those damned OPINIONS to deal with and the threats of physical violence if their cheesy vodka hadn’t made the BIG-BOY-LIST, my knee caps and what was going to happen to them. Not to mention the many … can’t you just tell me who the top ones are, I won’t say a word to anyone…

    Anyway there are thousands of opinions and 29 that were repeatedly offered up and worthy enough to make ‘a’ list, (no flavors allowed) tossed, were the $4.00 bottles of local Jet Fuel used in the last NASCAR race that da’ good-OLE-boys thought should `a been `n clewed`ed. The count drop off from the 4th to the 5th was great, so the top 5 actually became the four that are listed but not in the actual order. Four out of thirty v. thousands of votes is good enough and it’s all just “opinions” anyway.

    Surprise to me was the originator (Pepsico spirits Div) back in the mid 70s and in the Vodka Pepsi challenge “Stoli 80 proof” was only brought up one time by a guy still stuck living in the early eighty’s but big Stoli’s like 100 – Elite – and a few Gold, all came up over `n over but never past the midle of the pack.

    Me, you say? Well, I enjoy my vodka made from Polish potatoes — I keep it in the freezer and drink her up neat with a manzillian olive stuffed with anchovy (Goya pasteurized olives with anchovy mousse are preferred over non-pasteurized) because of the strong salty fish and brine taste seems to overwhelm the potato finish. The one I enjoy is cheap, relative to the $50 and $100 ones out there and it sounds like the University name where my daughter attends college in Kutztown, Pa., so you figure it out.

    Now lost on many was the original question — “WHAT’S the BEST” and not the one you drink or that you may like a lot so my vote for best taste goes to Chopin, but I can buy 4 bottles of my stuff for the same price. I do KEEP BOTH at home. Big boy for the guests.

    Does that do it for you? THAT’S MY OPINION!!

    ~Chopin $40ish – 80 proof, (birthplace of vodka) Polish; distilled from potatoes (smoothest vodka & 1 of the best)
    ~Belvedere $35 Poland (birthplace of vodka)- 100% Da^kowskie Gold Rye
    ~Jewel of Russia, Classic $40 – Russian; Birthplace of the last Szar – distilled from hard Russian winter wheat and rye (smooth and delicious)
    ~ULTIMAT $58 – (birthplace of vodka) Poland; Three Polish vodkas go into Ultimate: potato for richness and body; wheat for light smoothness and rye for flavor **** the bottle is worth $20 bucks alone, LOL
    $$$ is aprox.

    QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©
    by Wilbur M. Reeling
    epicurean raconteur
    http://www.WilburMReeling.com

  • http://www.ForkandBottle.com Jack

    “QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©
    by Wilbur M. Reeling
    epicurean raconteur
    http://QuintessentialCuisine.Blogspot.com/
    http://www.WilburMReeling.com

    Too Long. Too Many. What’s up with the longest signature? I thought the Golden Food Blog rule is that you only get one LINK per thread. Wilbur, I think you’re banned for five years. :)

  • http://QuintessentialCuisine.Blogspot.com/ QUINTESSENTIAL C U I S I N E©

    5/28/07 — SORRY JACK, NEVER GOT THE “LIST OF Golden Food BLOG RULES” AND ONLY TODAY WAS NOTIFIED BY YOU … PLEASE 4-WARD YOUR LIST of SAME A.S.A.P.

    PS
    DID YOU SEE THE 20/20 ABC-TV Special last week ON PREMIUM VODKAS ??–
    BU CHANCE THE 20/20 FOLKS AGREED WITH ME ALMOST-TO-THE-LETTER

    Wilbur in Maryland

  • http://www.sygyzy.com sygyzy

    Chuck,

    I just found your site today (linked from a discussion I started on molecular gastronomy). I too am trying to make my way around the world on a restaurant tour. I am oh so envious. I noticed the first comment spoke of your photography. I too have a question about that – do you feel weird taking out your camera and taking pictures in 3 Michelin star restaurants with patrons probably in suits or tuxedos? I felt really awkward doing it at The French Laundry even though I know lots of people do it and the staff didn’t have a problem with it.

  • ChuckEats

    It doesn’t bother me anymore… what discussion was this? i don’t see anything in my referrals (nor on your own blog.)

  • http://www.sygyzy.com sygyzy
  • Fabiola Aida

    I came upon your blog as I’m obsessed with trying marrow…I have been entirely entertained but only felt compelled to write when I read that you enjoy reading Jorge Luis Borges (the master of short stories!)
    Simply wanted to say hello.

  • http://5starfoodie.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Those look like perfect dishes indeed! I enjoyed looking through your site and will be coming back. I will plan on adding it to my list of links and would definitely appreciate a link exchange if you think it fits in your blog. Thanks!

  • http://www.jadedfork.com jadedfork

    A foodie who likes Alan Moore! Wow. I’ve only read one TPB of his, The Killing Joke. I liked it a lot even though the story was quite disturbing…

  • John

    Great site with great suggestions I can try on my travels.
    Ubuntu Rocks, and it it great to see how non-vegetarians respond to the creative and flavorful foods at Fox’s restaurant. Keep mup the good work.

  • http://eat-tori.blogspot.com Tori

    Hi Chuck

    Have been loving trawling through the archives. Japan most certainly on the upcoming list, so will certainly be leaching off your expertise :) Just about to head off on chapter three of the holy grail (adding El Bulli, Fat Duck, Bras and Osteria Francescana to the list…). Have been doing some online renovations, hope you don’t mind that I included you as a site that regularly makes my day. Cheers Tori

  • http://www.sweetcuisine.net Brian

    Hey Chuck , just found your blog, love it, Im off to spain for a month to eat and work in Mugaritz, El Poblet, El Celler, Arzak, Sergi Arola and more, reading your reviews is building my expectations, love it!!!

  • http://www.adama-pottery.com Dov Lachman

    Hi
    I realy like your blog, practically, i spent a lot of time looking for the best picture and found my self runing around and around with more and more passion to see and feel…
    Great, simple as that
    Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/1mandabear Manda Bear

    your reviews & pix are amazing. You are right in my city ;-) glad i found your blog! Keep eating ~ drool ~

  • Linda Locicero

    Have you ever tried Chantilly in Redwood City? It’s one of the most beautiful and romantic restaurants (ladies get a long stemmed rose as they leave the restaurant) that my husband and I have ever been to. Not to mention the best food and selection around. Gus, Bernardo and their team go out of their way to please. We have moved to Southern California 6 years ago and miss this restaurant terribly. By the way, Fettucine Chantilly is always a favorite.

  • http://www.ulteriorepicure.com the ulterior epicure

    Having known you for years, I’ve finally gotten around to reading “about” you. As always, I look forward to good things from this patch of cyberspace.

  • Micah

    I had a 4505 Meats burger over the weekend. Definitely the best I’ve had.

  • per

    First off all I want to thank you for great rewiews even if it sometimes cost me a lot of well needed nights sleep ;)
    I´m finally going to SF and Napa in June and is wondering if you have any good ideas to share.
    Will be travelling with friends that are going to get married in SF and they are looking into having there dinner att sons&daughters if it´s possible.. ( it`s a crowd of 30´ something in age that wants more personal rather than stiff service )
    We have allready booked Ubuntu, will try to get a table at F.L when in Napa, and for myself I will try to get a seat at Benu and Saison in SF but where more to go, Coi? Quince? any other new restaurant to be looking out for?
    Thanks!
    Per/ Sweden

  • http://twitter.com/welocally WeLocally

    Great blog, I really love the places you go. Hope you will look at what we are doing to help people find the kindof places you are talking about. BTW We like JG Ballard too. Especially high rise.

  • espino

    would you be posting again soon?