Archive for the 'Small Plates' Category

Ración – Pasadena

Racion - Pasadena

Every other Thursday evening, The Astronomer and I leave our respective offices at a reasonable hour, request overtime from June’s nanny, and escape for #datenight. Quiet dinners together are a really, really lovely treat.

Racion - Pasadena

On a recent outing, we finally made our way to critically-aclaimed Ración. Opened by Teresa Montaño and Loretta Peng, Ración has been wowing diners with its inspired and inventive Basque-style small plates since opening in 2012.

Dinner felt a little like a stroll down memory lane since The Astronomer and I honeymooned in San Sebastian. Ahhmemories

Racion - Pasadena

Without our little lady in tow, we went wild and ordered a drink each. I sipped some sangria made with red wine, sherry, and apple cider, while The Astronomer had some Spanish cider on draft.

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Al’s Place – San Francisco

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

On my second night in San Francisco, I met up with my Bay Area-dwelling cousins for a family dinner at Al’s Place, the newly anointed best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit.

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

Here at the corner of Valencia and 26th Street on a quieter stretch of the Mission, Chef Aaron London cooks mostly vegetables and a little meat.  This makes sense because prior to opening Al’s Place, he was the chef of the much-lauded vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu in Napa.

Al's Place Restaurant - San Francisco

We began with a duo of “Snackles.” First up were the brine-pickled french fries ($7) served with smoked apple sauce.  They were perfectly snackable and even palatable, but not quite the revelation that Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton made them out to be. Can’t say this is the first time I’ve fallen victim to hyperbolic food writing. Continue reading ‘Al’s Place – San Francisco’

State Bird Provisions – San Francisco

State Bird Provisions - San Francisco

State Bird Provisions came across my radar back in 2012 when Bon Appetit named it the Best New Restaurant in America. Owned and operated by chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, the restaurant is most notable for serving inventive small plates on dim sum-style carts and trays.  

State Bird Provisions - San Francisco

While State Bird’s service model sounded a little gimmicky, I was intrigued enough by the menu to make reservations while in San Francisco for a digital conference last fall.

Even though it’s been a minute since the restaurant was lauded by Bon Appetit, reserving a table at a decent hour is still quite competitive. A little good press goes a long way.

State Bird Provisions - San Francisco

The food started rolling by as soon as my dining companions and I settled in. In true dim sum fashion, hash marks were added to our “bill” as we selected various items from the carts and trays. Continue reading ‘State Bird Provisions – San Francisco’

Longman & Eagle – Chicago

Longman & Eagle - Chicago

If I had to pick a favorite meal from this trip to Chicago, top honors would go to Chef Jared Wentworth’s Longman & Eagle. It’s a whiskey bar that happens to have really good fucking food. What more could I ask for?

Longman & Eagle - Chicago

Recipient of a Michelin star for four straight years and counting (2011 to 2014), Longman & Eagle is my kind of place.

The food is creative and delightful, while the mood is perfectly chill. Best of all, the fare is more than fairly priced. It’s impossible not to fall hard for L&E’s charms, especially with a few $3 whiskies working their way through one’s system.

Longman & Eagle - Chicago

Behind the stoves are Executive Chef and Partner Jared Wentworth and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Kerney. The forward food is sometimes dreamed up while under the influence:

I think smoking a little weed makes the creative process better, especially for food. But it’s all based in classical French techniques, and then I start putting twists on things from there. – Jared Wentworth

Continue reading ‘Longman & Eagle – Chicago’

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