||Toque of San Francisco July 2006
Fine Dining in San Francisco, Carmel and Ottawa, Canada
By Carol & Joe Davis Dining Detectives
Monte Cristo Caf
Monte Cristo Caf Executive Chef Anthony Lemortellec
We had an exceptional lunch in San Francisco at the Monte Cristo Caf?. It is located in the Embarcadero Center on the Promenade Level and has a great view of Palm Trees, the Ferry Building and the Bay. The d?cor is quite nice and there is a fair amount of privacy as the tables are nicely spaced, creating a feeling of serenity. The new Executive Chef Anthony Lemortellec is from France and previously had worked with famed Chef Alain Ducasse. We enjoyed the delicious Seared Day Boat Scallops appetizer. It is prepared with celery root puree, Granny Smith apples and fabulous mushrooms. The Main Course that you must have is the Short Ribs. It was served with mashed potatoes, asparagus, shallot confit and a red wine sauce. It was succulent and fell off the bone! The Dessert we loved was the Entremets Cake with raspberry and dark chocolate. It was light and refreshing with a lovely presentation. Monte Cristo Caf? is a great destination for lunch, business lunch, and dinner or for drinks after work.
Monte Cristo Caf
Four Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, Ca 94111
Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Lounge
Tres Agaves is definitely the hot new place to be for Mexican Cuisine and Tequila in San Francisco. It was named for the three types of 100% Blue Agave Tequila which are: Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. Of course, we had to begin our dining experience with Margaritas. We had the Don Felipe Margarita made with El Tesoro Anejo which is a spicy, fruity and light body tequila and the Hacienda Margarita which is made with Herradura Reposado which is an herbaceous and more robust tequila. We liked the fact that you could taste the differences between tequilas. These Margaritas are superior as they are made with the juice of hand squeezed Mexican limes and are only sweetened with Agave nectar.
Tres Agaves Chef de Cuisine Alex Moreno
We met the Chef de Cuisine Alex Moreno who told us that Tres Agaves features Mexican cuisine from Jalisco in the Central Highlands of Mexico, which is also known as the birthplace of Tequila. We started out with two excellent Botanas Y Antojitos (Appetizer Plates). We loved the Queso Fresco which is Mexican Farmer's Cheese made from Cowâs Milk. It was very light and tasted a bit like cottage cheese but lighter. The Guacamole Al Tres Agaves is a classic guacamole, which has Serrano chiles, tomato and onion. It was much chunkier than most and had a nice spicy kick to it. Our favorite Platillos Fuerte (Main Plates) was the Carnitas. It was a fabulous slow roasted pork shoulder rubbed with Mexican oregano and chile. This was the Best Carnitas that we had ever had. Another delicious main plate was the Chile Relleno con Huitlacoche en Salsa Jitomate. This stuffed Poblano Chile was filled with queso, fresh corn, zucchini and Mexican mushrooms. The presentation was lovely and the taste was fabulous! It was actually quite light as well. Crab lovers should definitely have the Chilpachole, which is a hot Dungeness Crabmeat broth of roasted tomato and chile.
Tres Agaves fills a need in San Francisco for a fun place to have Margaritas and superior Mexican Cuisine. Bring the gang from the office and donât be surprised if after a few Margaritas the accounting manager is dancing on the table!
130 Townsend Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94107
Asia De Cuba
Asia De Cuba at the Clift Hotel is a sophisticated restaurant and bar. It is the place to see and be seen. Donât be surprised if you see the Hollywood ãAä list when they are in town, as they frequent this upbeat and elegant dining room, which shares an open wall with the lively bar.
Asia De Cuba Executive Chef Philip DuBose
Executive Chef Philip DuBose serves an innovative fusion of Asian and Latin Cuisine. He honed his culinary skills in France including internships with Master Chef Roger Douille at Les Echets and Master Chef Alain Chapel at Mionnay. We enjoyed the Tunapica Appetizer. It was a fresh Tuna Tartare served picadillo style with Spanish olives, black currents, almonds, coconut, soy-lime vinaigrette and wonton crisps. It was served with both soy sauce and a Habana sauce giving it an either Asian or Latin taste.
Asia De Cuba Alaskan Butterfish
We loved the Miso cured Alaskan Butterfish. The Cuban black bean edamame salad and tempura shisito peppers were excellent and rounded out this fabulous entr?e. A side order of Lobster- Boniato Mash was also an excellent choice. We had a lot of fun at Asia De Cuba and look forward to returning soon to try other dishes! Congratulations to the Clift Hotel as they are currently celebrating their 5th Anniversary in San Francisco.
Asia De Cuba
At The Clift Hotel
495 Geary Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94102
Faz is located South of Market on Steuart Street in San Francisco and overlooks the Embarcadero and the Bay. Executive Chef- Owner Faz Poursohi serves Mediterranean-Near Eastern Cuisine. We started our dining experience with Fazâs Passion Plate, which is a mixture of fresh garlic, tabouleh, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and grated parmesan, served with house made crispy flat bread and focaccia. Youâll enjoy the Jumbo Prawn and Grilled Avocado. It consisted of a grilled avocado filled with Chipotle Aioli accompanied by plump Jumbo Prawns on a bed of organic baby greens tossed with citrus vinaigrette. The Jumbo Sea Scallops were also delicious! They were pan seared with garlic confit, olive oil and Serrano chiles served on a bed of linguini. Faz also has outdoor dining which is great for warmer days.
Faz Restaurant Jumbo Prawn and Grilled Avocado
155 Steuart St
San Francisco, Ca. 94105
We stopped in at Modern Tea in Hayes Valley for Weekend Brunch. They are known for their teas, teapots and teacups, which can be purchased, to go but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Of course we had to try the organic and sustainable harvest teas to start. We enjoyed the Warm Breakfast Jade Tea. The Civil War Waffles, which they serve only on the weekends were just wonderful! They were light and tender and came with some fresh fruit. They were made with cornmeal and fired on the open range, using irons from the 1840âs and are served with butter and syrup. The Chicken Meatloaf Sandwich was another tasty dish. It was made with Organic Chicken with their special house recipe, chicken sausage, breadcrumbs and seasonings served on rustic sourdough and house made mayonnaise. The green salad that came with it was excellent because of the fabulous beets. This is a cute spot in the City to enjoy great tea and food!
Modern Tea Civil War Waffles
602 Hayes Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94102
We had the pleasure to dine in Carmel on Bastille Day at Executive Chef/Owner Kericos Loutasâs LâEscargot. They feature classic Country French cuisine. We ordered from the very reasonable Bistro Menu. We loved the Provencal Pistou Soup. It was filled with tasty vegetables and the broth was excellent. The Entr?es were both delicious. The Scallops of Veal Saut?ed with wild mushrooms and white wine and the Cog au Vin on garlic mashed potatoes were both classic French dishes that were done perfectly. Our favorite dessert was the Granny Smith Tart Tatin with vanilla ice cream. You will enjoy an excellent French meal in a charming romantic setting.
LâEscargot Executive Chef/Owner Kericos Loutas
Coq au Vin
Mission at 4th
Pacificâs Edge Restaurant Wine Director Mark Buzan
Pacificâs Edge at the Highlands Inn in Carmel overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has fantastic views of the cliffs, rocks and ocean. Whale sightings are common while you experience elegant dining including attention to detail and world class cuisine. Executive Chef Mark Ayers with the able help of Sous Chef Greg Lopez offer you the choice of the 3, 4, or 5 course pick your own dinner menu or a 5 course Prix Fix Chefâs Menu. We ordered 3 courses from the Dinner Menu. We loved the Soup of White Asparagus with morels and English peas. Next we had a fabulous Butter Braised Maine Lobster with potato risotto, pearl onions and sweet corn bisque. Our Entr?e was the Porcini Crusted Rack of Colorado Lamb with Porcini confit, Gorgonzola Bread Pudding and rosemary glaze. We were too full for dessert so we must come again. Wine Director Mark Buzan recommended that we have the 2005 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, which was delicious. View Dining at Pacificâs Edge is exquisite and youâll feel that the cuisine is worthy of the view.
Porcini Crusted Rack of Colorado Lamb
At Highlands Inn
120 Highlands Drive
Carmel, Ca. 93923
Toque of Ottawa, Canada
By Carol & Joe Davis
Black Cat Caf
Black Cat Caf. Chef Rene Rodriquez
We had a fabulous dinner at the Black Cat Caf?. Chef Rene Rodriquez is very talented and knows how to please the palates of both tourists and sophisticated Ottawans. We loved the Chilled Cucumber Gazpacho, which was made with Champagne Gelee cubes Granny Smith apples and yogurt. The Soya lacquered Duck Breast entr?e with Parsnip mousseline, watercress, and teriyaki onion ö carrot marmalade was outstanding. The dessert that we loved was the Tuscan Amedei dark Chocolate Fondant with celeriac- vanilla Cr?me Anglaise and red wine poached pare.
Soya lacquered Duck Breast
Black Cat Caf
93 Murray Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5M5
Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar
Juniper Chef Norm Aitken
Chef Norm Aitken serves new Canadian Cuisine at Juniper. Our favorite appetizer was the Spice Rubbed Smoked Tuna Loin. It was accompanied by tangy mango catsup Acorn Creek sprout salad and topped with delicious banana chips. A very unique and tasty vegetarian entr?e was the Ginger-Sesame braised exotic Quebec Mushrooms. This consisted of asparagus and sweet pea served in scallion crepes with miso ö almond vinaigrette and hoisin drizzle. The desserts were also delicious. Try the Rhubarb Cream Cheese Tart in a honey cookie crust. It was delightful.
Ginger-Sesame braised exotic Quebec Mushrooms
Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar
1293 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 3B1
We stayed at the Arc Hotel and were pleased that they had a restaurant, as we arrived late and didnât want to search for dining on our first night in Ottawa. Executive Chef Jason Duffy created some excellent dishes. We loved the New Brunswick Scallops Appetizer. It consisted of black bean and ham, red beet puree sea greens and sesame salad and fabulous scallops. For our entr?e, we loved the Grilled Lobster Tail, which was served with blackened fennel relish, lemon Du Puy lentils, pear and crab roll. The Arc Hotel is a great place to stay and the Arc Lounge restaurant is definitely worth dining at.
Arc Lounge Grilled Lobster Tail
140 Slater Street
Ottawa Ontario Canada K1P 5H6
Until we eat again·."
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