Toque of San Francisco Winter 2007
Happy Holidays to All!! 2007 was another great year for incredible Dining Experiences. We look forward to a great 2008.
The new Plumed Horse is open once again in the quaint and Historic Village of Downtown Saratoga. Their Contemporary California cuisine is prepared using locally sourced, sustainable, seasonal fresh and luxury ingredients along with French techniques. The décor is modern and the new owner’s goal is to personalize the art of elegant upscale dining. The new Executive Chef/ Owner Peter Armellino has honed his skills at some of the finest restaurants in the Bay Area including Aqua, Campton Place and Jardiniere.
Once we were seated we were immediately impressed by their Champagne Cart Service. We love Champagne and chose two of their fabulous offerings, the Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut and Louis Roederer Brut. Our dining experience was exceptional! We particularly enjoyed the Black Pepper and Parmesan Soufflé with its Dungeness Crab and Sea Urchin fondue. You must have the Maine Diver Scallops in “cocotte lutte” saffron lemon sabayon. This was the most exquisite seafood entrée we had enjoyed in a long time and came to the table in the pot and was plated tableside. It was an absolute perfection! Meat eaters will love that they can choose their knife for the Dry Aged Colorado Lamb Rib-Eye with French green beans, shallots and red wine jus. Save room for Dessert as you shouldn’t miss out on the fabulous Grand Marnier Orange Soufflé with sweet and sour Yuzu marmalade. Adding to this world class restaurant is Paul Mekis who is their Cellar Master. He manages the 28,000 bottle Wine Cellar which includes 1,800 International Selections. He assisted us with tastes of wines to accompany each course which really helped us to enjoy our superior dining experience. Our favorite wines included the 2005 Joseph Swan “Cuvee de Trois” Russian River Pinot Noir, the 2006 Isidoro Polenic Collio, Doc Italy Pinot Grigio and the 2006 Bonny Doon Le Vol Des Anges Dessert Wine.
The Plumed Horse redefines Fine Dining in the South Bay with its newly remodeled multi-million dollar upscale interior, a world class Cellar Master and an Executive Chef with the culinary credentials, vision and techniques to please. This winning combination also includes superior enthusiastic service which takes sophisticated dining to new heights. Reservations are a must as the word is out that this is the place to dine. We expect that Michelin Stars will soon be bestowed.
The Plumed Horse
Dining on Union Street just got a whole lot better with the addition of Palmetto. You can’t miss it as it is just behind the giant Palm Tree that was planted over 150 years ago. The interior décor is warm and we loved the teak floors. There is a communal table which is always a fun way to meet new people. The cuisine is Contemporary Mediterranean and is done well by the new Executive Chef Andy Kitko. He combines his old world Italian heritage with California cooking techniques he learned as the Sous Chef at Aqua. The Appetizer that we really enjoyed was the Warm Blue Cheese and Almond stuffed Dates wrapped in Serrano Ham. It was unique and delicious. We also loved the Seared Rare Ahi with tonno sauce, caper berries, lemon confit and nicoise olives, white anchovies. Definitely try the soups. We had the excellent Wild mushroom Soup with garlic chives and crouton. It was heavenly. Our favorite entrée was the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with creamy polenta, haricot vert and figs. Be sure to try the Sides. The Sautéed Spinach with pine nuts and raisins was exceptional. Be sure to save room for dessert. Pastry Chef Anny Wohn created a fantastic warm bittersweet chocolate cake with white chocolate-pistachio bark and vanilla bean gelato. We enjoyed a double Espresso which was a fine finish. Palmetto is the caliber of restaurant that the neighborhood deserves. It brings excellent dining to Union Street with an active upscale comfortable modern atmosphere and friendly prices that gives everyone a chance to dine on quality cuisine
Pete’s Tavern which is directly across from A T & T Park is San Francisco’s new favorite Sports Bar. Peter Osborne who also owns Momo’s right down the street just opened this classic Tavern that combines reasonably priced food and a fun atmosphere. As you enter you see the large horseshoe-shaped bar and the Twelve Flat Screen TVs. Upstairs you can enjoy music from the Juke Box as well as the Pool tables and Arcade games. The Fare is Pub food but better. You can have sandwiches, ribs, brisket, burgers, rotisserie chicken and more. There are 12 Beers on Tap and an extensive wine by the glass list. We started out with the Pete’s Ale and the 2006 Columbia, Washington Pinot Gris. We were immediately impressed by the Hummus with Grilled Pita Bread. Both the House Smoked Pork Spareribs with baked beans and cole slaw and the House Smoked BBQ Brisket Sandwich on a soft roll were excellent choices. We were too full but noticed another happy diner who had an Ice Cream Sundae. Pete’s Tavern is a casual place for good food and a good time.
De Schmire Restaurant has been pleasing diners in Petaluma for over two decades. We started our dining experience by ordering Michel Servin Brut Champagne from Vallet in France. The cuisine is Country French and is prepared well by Dan Eastman Executive Chef / Owner and his able Sous Chefs. We ordered a few appetizers as we enjoyed our champagne. The Smoked Salmon arrived and was particularly delectable. It was a delightful thinly sliced hickory smoked salmon served with horseradish sauce. The two large Crab Cakes were almost all crab meat and served with fresh aioli, red pepper and an interesting spicy Thai salsa. For our next course we tried a number of Soups which were all incredible. We loved the French Onion Soup which was excellent. It was a true Classic with toasted sourdough rounds and browned Gruyere cheese. We also recommend the Roasted Garlic Mushroom Soup which was also fabulous. We then relaxed and enjoyed more champagne.
The Entrees are all large portions so make sure you save room for dessert. We had to try the signature entrée De Whole Schmire and were quite pleased that we did. It consisted of a medium rare perfectly prepared Char-broiled filet mignon with Bernaise Sauce and jumbo savory Prawns Portuguese. This was the Best Steak we’ve had in a long time and the Prawns were delicious. We also loved the Grilled King Salmon Hollandaise which was served with a velvety Hollandaise sauce and garnished with caviar. Both the garlic mashed potatoes and the broccoli which accompanied the Salmon were cooked to perfection with just the right tenderness. Another great entrée which was a bit lighter was called Paris Nights. It was a medley of delicious fresh seafood including scallops, jumbo prawns, sea bass and mussels served in a creamy saffron sauce.
The Wine List offers something for every one’s taste and budget. The 2004 Kenwood Yulupa Cabernet Sauvignon paired perfectly with the filet mignon and the Michel Servin Champagne paired well with the seafood. The Desserts were delicious. We had an incredible Apple Crisp Ala Mode and a tasty Crème Brule. Coffee was the perfect finish to our excellent meal. After all these years De Schmire Restaurant continues to live up to it’s high accolades as one of the best in Sonoma County. You will enjoy the cuisine which is prepared with fresh local produce, the atmosphere which is friendly, and the service which is professional. We had a very enjoyable dining experience and look forward to returning soon.
De Schmire Restaurant
We love our trips to L.A especially dining and shopping in Beverly Hills. There is nothing like a late lunch at The BLVD in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for excellent cuisine and of course people watching. From our table we could see the bustling shoppers on Wilshire Boulevard. As we perused the elegant room we saw sophisticated diners who appeared to be both tourists and locals. We were happy to see that they had Prosecco by the glass on the wine list and ordered the Santa Margherita from Valdobbiadene, Italy. We like the fact that they offer The Big Pour for a little extra as a small glass never seams to be enough. Our first course prepared by Blvd Chef Brian Moyers was a delicious Shrimp Pizza with calamata olives, basil, pesto, fresh mozzarella and argula salad. We shared it as an appetizer and were impressed by the delicate taste and the paper thin crust. Next we enjoyed the luscious tastes of the Grilled Tandoori Chicken Breast with tomato, onion and cucumber salad with mint yogurt. Another hour of star gazing, another Big Pour and we were ready for dessert. The fabulous Strawberry Shortcake was created by Pastry Chef Aaron Lindgren. It was made with farmer’s market strawberries, strawberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream swirl. A double espresso allowed us to linger a little longer. The BLVD is a must on your next visit to Beverly Hills!
Gary Danko won two 2008 Zagat Survey Awards including Most Popular Restaurant and Top Food Restaurant in San Francisco. Tim and Nina Zagat announced the results of their 2008 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Survey which rates restaurants on Food, Décor, Service and Cost. The Awards were presented at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco where more than 100 local Celebrity Chefs, Restaurateurs and media dined on a delicious Eggs Benedict breakfast. Other survey results which are all in the new 2008 Zagat Book and at www.Zagat.com included The City’s Top New Restaurant which went to Perbacco ,Top Décor which went to Pacific’s Edge in Carmel, and Top Service which went to Erna’s Elderberry House in the Chateau du Sureau in Oakhurst near Yosemite. Tim and Nina Zagat explained that their survey results found that diners in the San Francisco Bay Area are spending more than ever with costs at the upscale restaurants averaging $103.00 per person. Diners were not complaining about the value and are quite pleased with their Dining Experience and the Cuisine but that Service still appears to be an issue both here and nationwide. Over 8,000 locals were part of the survey that included more than 1,100 Restaurants. The Zagat Survey was started in 1979 in NYC and the guides are now available in over 70 markets. Sometimes called “The Food and Travel Bible” Zagat is the leading provider of consumer survey-based Dining and Travel information.
Until we eat again…………
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