Friday, December 20, 2013

craftsman and wolves - san francisco, ca
746 valencia street
san francisco, ca 94110

the rebel within - asiago, sausage, green onion, soft cooked farm egg
pear, almond, yuzu croissant
smoked cheddar, hot pepper gougere
plain croissant, two morning buns, chocolate croissant stack, root vegetable and harissa croissant

Thursday, December 19, 2013

atelier crenn - san francisco, ca
3127 fillmore street
san francisco, ca 94123

our final dinner in san francisco was at chef dominique crenn's michelin two star restaurant atelier crenn. like saison and coi, atelier crenn is a place i had been looking forward to visiting for a long time, and i hate to say that i came out of the meal with mixed feelings. while the food was mostly very good and at times exemplary, i found the service and overall vibe of the restaurant disappointing. we arrived to a restaurant that was just 1/3 full, yet were seated right next to another couple. i have no problem dining in close proximity to others in a loud/busy restaurant, but when the place is very quiet (music at inaudible level) it can be a bit awkward hearing your neighbors every word and vice versa. as for the staff, everyone seemed rather disengaged and uninterested in what they were doing. unlike meals on previous nights at saison, sons & daughters, and coi, there was no ongoing dialogue with the staff about the food, the city, or anything for that matter. plates were mostly removed in silence. i found this to be particularly odd at a place with such whimsical and unique presentations that deserved to be served with exuberance and passion. we were also not offered assistance with a taxi at meals end. i have heard of chef crenn often making visits to the dining room, but this did not occur while we were there, leaving me to believe she was not in that night. the whole experience reminds me of my meal at graham elliot, which i contest could have been an excellent meal under different circumstances. i would like to say that i will give atelier crenn a chance to redeem itself, but with there being so many restaurants in the bay area i am itching to try (let alone ones to revisit), i really do not see it happening in the foreseeable future.
autumn has come with its cool breeze
kir breton

mellow serenades of colors licorice and orange
uni, caviar, licorice, yuzu bubbles

charred buckwheat crackers

where the broad ocean leans against the spanish land
squid, iberico ham, lardo, black truffle broth

a gentle smell, oceanic, a yummy feeling
aji, tempura vegetables

sitting on top of the dune, feeling of beach sand under my toes
shellfish, sweetbreads, bone marrow, pork belly

the half moon, silky and smoky
charred onion soup, comte dumpling, brioche

woody and stone
carrot jerky

palette cleanser

natures rejoice, chasing childhood memories
grains and seeds, roe, dashi

wrapped in a yellow blanket
fermented wagyu tartar, egg yolk wrapper

walking deep in the woods, as the earth might have something to spare
mushrooms, pine

birth which gives its morning mystery
duck liver, corn silt, porcini dusted chocolate

where the wild beauty is sleeping under the beautiful leaves of autumn
venison, cabbage

dotting the fragrant flora


eucalyptus lollipop

autumn has come and is full of sweet surprises


cotogna - san francisco, ca
490 pacific avenue
san francisco, ca 94133

chef michael tusk's michelin two star restaurant quince did not quite make the cut for this trip, but lunch at his more casual cotogna was an easy choice. the space filled to capacity very quickly and was rather loud and boisterous throughout our meal. service was a bit awkward as the duo handling our table did not seem to communicate with each other very well, and the pacing of the meal was rather slow given the number of dishes we ordered. with the above noted, the most important thing about a restaurant is the food, and cotogna left me very satisfied in that regard with everything from the opening pizza to the buttery gateau being stellar in flavor and preparation.
cocktails to begin

bread available upon request (do it!)

house made bacon, pecorino cheese, hot pepper

stracci with devils gulch rabbit

raviolo di ricotta, farm egg, brown butter

gateau bretagne, amerena cherries, almond

gelato del giorno

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

coi - san francisco, ca
373 broadway
san francisco, ca 94133

looking back at my evening at coi, i would be hard pressed to find fault with any aspect of the meal. the restaurant was at full capacity upon our arrival, and even though the dining room is quite small and the tables are rather close, the atmosphere was very relaxing. service was also laid back, with our captain and the back servers being very knowledgeable yet very approachable and easy to talk to. i liked the restaurant's approach to wine pairings, with the shortened 5 glass option being perfect for my tolerance level. as for the food, the highlights were the custard like egg yolk paired with caviar and crème fraiche, the crab and beef tendon soup (the popping of the finger limes took this to the next level), the unexpectedly rich black trumpet dumplings, and the poached lamb (which may have been my favorite lamb dish of all time). coi is well deserving of its two michelin stars, and i truly hope to revisit the restaurant in a few years to see how it has progressed. oh, by the way, the coi "cookbook" is one the best restaurant books i have ever seen.
california bowl

sno-cone - blood orange ice, pink peppercorn, black lime

california sturgeon caviar - poached egg yolk, crème fraiche, chive
mv gonet-medeville 'brut tradition' 1er cru, champagne, france

geoduck - radish, yuzu, rau ram
2012 scribe, 'ode to emil no. 11' sylvaner, sonoma, california

whole wheat pain au lait

beet and goat cheese tart (broken, inverted) - rye, dill

dungeness crab and beef tendon soup - asian pear, finger lime, cilantro
2011 finca vinoa, ribeiro, spain

black trumpet-sunchoke dumpling - braised lettuce, brown butter, mushroom dashi
2010 maison l'oree, chassagne-montrachet 'chenevottes, '1er cru, burgundy, france

new olive oil - brassicas, dandelion-potato puree, charred onion broth

emigh ranch lamb - chard leaves and stems, garum, rosemary
2006 finca villacreces, ribera def duero, spain

pink grapefruit - ginger, black pepper, tarragon, cognac

mango - yogurt, matcha
2011 brooks, 'tethys' Riesling, eola-amity hills, Oregon

chocolate - chicory, malt
european porter