Wednesday, July 9, 2014

saison (2) - san francisco, ca
178 townsend street
san francisco, ca 94107

- upon arrival, we were seated in the restaurant's lounge and poured a complimentary glass of krug grand cuvee before being led to a table right across from the kitchen
- saison's layout is the best i have yet encountered...being so close to the action yet having the privacy of your own table instead of a counter seat is awesome...the 80's pop soundtrack is pretty great too
- like our first visit, we opted for the longer "discovery" menu, and what we were served definitely lived up to our memories of last time
- my favorite dishes were the trout roe, diamond turbot (mountain yams!), uni, sea cucumber ribs and chicaron, black cod (best of the night), duck liver toffee, and the krug sorbet (!!!)
- the parker house rolls just might be the best bread i have ever had...we asked for seconds on both visits
- service was again fantastic, as the entire staff was extremely friendly and made us feel completely at home...i liked how certain dishes were presented by the member of the kitchen that prepared them
- as much as i enjoy places like alinea, eleven madison park, and sixteen, part of what makes saison so incredible to me is that chef skenes is able to craft an experience as good or better than the aforementioned restaurants without stories/concepts/tableside is just pristine ingredients and honest cooking
- if asked to name my favorite restaurant in the country, saison is one of three or four places that would immediately pop into my mind for consideration...i cannot wait to return, and am very confident that the restaurant will be awarded the third michelin star this year
tea, herbs from our garden and their flora

trout roe, corn, tomatoes dried in the wood burning oven

beignets of bitter vegetables and anchovy

diamond turbot, mountain yams, nori, sauce saison

trout, smoked in wood oven

sea urchin toast, river vegetables, avocado

abalone, roasted over the embers, sauce of the liver and capers

seaweed shooter

sea cucumber ribs grilled in the fire

sea cucumber chicharon made of the skin

black cod, roasted over the coals, sauce of rangpur lime and yogurt

parker house rolls

"fire in the sky" beets, bone marrow

fresh milk, heirloom beans, grilled eucalyptus

brassicas, dried over the fire

duck liver toffee, milk, bread and beer

slowly grilled lamb , fermented goddess melon, salad from the saison garden

pickle and a bouillon of lamb bones
krug sorbet
berries, french marigold, raw milk ice cream
 tea and canele

una pizza napoletana - san francisco, ca
210 11th street
san francisco, ca 94103

- we arrived 15 minutes prior to the restaurant's 5pm opening time, and were first in a line that became roughly ten people deep by the time the doors opened at 5:05pm
- the menu is very brief, consisting of just five pizzas (six on saturdays)
- every pie the restaurant serves is handmade by proprietor/pizzaiolo anthony mangieri...for more on anthony and una pizza, check out this video
- so how did it fare? lets just say it was well worth the hype/price as it was definitely the best neapolitan pizza i have had in my life
- recommended? see above...
margherita - san marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt
ilaria - smoked mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt

parker-lusseau - monterey, ca
731 munras avenue
monterey, ca 93940

- the canele, plain croissant, and apple galette were all fantastic...the almond croissant, however, was soggy
- recommended? yes, just skip the almond croissant and arrive earlier than i did (10am) to try a morning bun

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

aubergine - carmel-by-the-sea, ca
monte verde at seventh
carmel-by-the-sea, ca 93921

- first of all, carmel is a wonderful town...i wish we had been able to spend more time there
- easy street parking is available right around the corner
- we arrived a few minutes early, and after waiting in the lounge for a moment, were seated side by side at what was probably the best table in the (very small) restaurant
- the staff made us feel very comfortable right away, and were great throughout the entire night...i greatly appreciated the kitchen tour we received at meals end
- the meal's standout courses were...flavors of gazpacho, potatoes cooked in beef fat (best potato dish i have ever had), a5 wagyu from hokkaido (easily worth the extra $$$), vermont cheese with morels, and the peach dessert
- i was a bit surprised by the brevity of the meal...we are not fast eaters, and were in and out in just over two hours
- the take home menu is not very thorough, so you may want to take notes (i didn't) if you want to remember exactly what each dish entailed
- there is no doubt chef justin cogley is executing at a michelin starred's to hoping the red guide ventures a bit further south this year
- recommended? yes!

lemon berry soda

oyster with caviar

flavors of gazpacho

melon with yogurt

duck liver

potatoes cooked in a5 wagyu fat with nori

monterey bay red abalone, artichoke

cheddar brioche

presentation of a5 wagyu beef


grade a5 hokkaido beef

vermont white cheddar, morel mushrooms

sorrel sorbet, rhubarb

peaches, rice crisp, lemon verbena sorbet

praline two ways