Archive for the 'Small Plates' Category

Here’s Looking at You – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

A few days before Here’s Looking at You officially opened to the public, my friend Thien and I attended a sneak peek for friends and family.

Lien Ta, the restaurant’s co-owner and front-of-the-house maven, is our friend and family, and seeing her longtime dream of opening a restaurant come true this evening was, dare I say, quite possibly even better than Chef Jonathan Whitener’s amazing cooking. High-five, L.T.! You did it.

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Thien and I were seated at the best table in the house—a bad-ass banquette overlooking the entire dining room. We thrived in our throne all evening!

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

We started with two perfectly crafted cocktails. For me: the Seascape Swizzle ($15) with
Mezcal Espadin, summer berries, fresh lime, cassis, Lillet Rouge, rose, and sea salt;
a drink inspired by Sqirl’s seascape berry & rose geranium jam. I’m a total lightweight these days, and this one did me in in the best way.

Continue reading ‘Here’s Looking at You – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’

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.

Continue reading ‘Ración – Pasadena’

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’

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