I had never tried Scandinavian food before (IKEA swedish meatballs don't count...) and after hearing plenty of good things about Plaj, I decided to make a reservation for my fiance's birthday. I confused him by tell him we would be celebrating his heritage (1/4 Norwegian, yeah!) by trying some food we'd never had before.
Being so close to the Opera house, many of the patrons were dining before a show. When we arrived for a 7:30pm reservation (on a Saturday) the place was packed, but it quickly emptied out as people left for their shows. The dining room was HOT, though - as you enter the hotel the lobby and hallway are nice and cool, but the dining room was sweltering. I counted 6 fans on in there - maybe there was a maintenance issue.
The menu is divided into the daily specials, from the garden, from the sea, and from the pasture (I won't embarrass myself here by trying to remember the Norwegian/Swedish names). There are both small plates meant to be appetizers and larger plates meant to be the main course - our waitress explained this to us but you can also tell by the prices, generally.
We went through the menu and picked out some dishes that caught our eye - we ended up with a starter and a main dish each, plus a cheese plate and dessert. I had the dungeness crab salad (daily special) and the pork belly. I found a small shard of shell and bone in each of my dishes - not a big deal for me, but it definitely keeps me from giving them five stars.
The dungeness crab salad was very fresh and delicious. It came with a cucumber sorbet which was delightfully refreshing. For the main dish, I got an enormous slab of pork belly. Seriously, this thing was huge. And tender, and fatty, and a little salty....wonderful. Then came two desserts because we're crazy like that - the cheese plate (with four cheese, fruit, bread, two jams, and crackers) and the waffle. Both were delicious but I'm partial to having cheese for dessert.
The service was a bit slow to start, as everybody was running around making sure that the theater customers made it to their shows on time. If you wanted to come on a Saturday I would recommend making your reservation at 8pm to avoid the theater crowd. Other than that, service was very attentive.
AYCE hot pot, super speedy service, what more could you ask for? (Shorter waits!)
Hot Pot Garden is, unsurprisingly, a very popular spot - if you go there later on the weekend expect a long wait. As long as you're not hangry to start with, it is worth the wait!
The few times I've been here I've been very impressed by the service - put down an empty plate and in a minute somebody has already whisked it away. They don't check on you, you have to flag them down - but there are always several waitstaff running around. Just put up your menu card (dry erase, wipe off) and they'll pick it up and have more food sent your way.
The food is pretty good quality - the meat is quite good, but I think the seafood could use some more work. The seafood is probably the most expensive part so it makes sense that there is less variety.
Proposition Chicken had great theming - I loved the decor and the menu. The problem, though, is the execution.
I ordered my chicken fried, on a salad (keepin' it healthy). The portion size was rather small (ok for the price), but the chunks of fried chicken breast were not doing it for me. They were rather dry and not very crispy on the outside.
My dining mate got his fried chicken in the entree, and though his chicken was better (he got dark meat) the portion size was really small for the price. (The entree is a buck more than the salad, but I've been conditioned to expect kale salads to be $10+).
All in all, we're going to wait for Greenburger's Friday fried chicken special next time.
I'm confused as to why they decided to open up a new sushi place two doors down from Sushi 509, but I stopped by Raijin Sushi tonight to check it out.
The wait staff and sushi chef were all very welcoming and nice, but the food just doesn't live up to expectations. I ordered: agedashi tofu, seaweed salad, the Angel roll, and shiro maguro nigiri. The agedashi tofu came out with the sauce separately, which had alarmed me at Sushi Delight and again bewildered me here. The tofu itself was fine, but the whole point of agedashi tofu is the delicious sauce it soaks up! The seaweed salad was good - it came with some red pickles and was a nice portion size. I tried my usual favorite, shiro maguro, as nigiri and it was pretty meh. The fish was a bit stringy and the rice was bland (no wasabi on the rice).
The Angel roll, however, is something I would return for - though it's definitely not, uh, traditional sushi (in fact, it is not sushi at all, seeing as there is no rice). Instead of rice and nori, the fish are wrapped in cucumber strips and come with a ponzu sauce. It is super American and it did suffer from some of the fish quality issues as the shiro maguro, but you know what? Sometimes this girl is on a diet, and it's tasty, filling, and the healthiest thing I've eaten all week. (Um, New Year's diet starts...after Dine About Town?)
I had been itching to try a new sushi place and grabbed a late dinner reservation at Kiji. I was expecting to pay regular sushi prices (read: expensive), but I was actually surprised by some of the high prices for the non-sushi options. In fact, the $17 I paid for the 5pc nigiri omakase of the night was a great deal!
The fish we got that night, in general, was very smooth and buttery but lacking taste. In some of the dishes (the tuna poke, some nigiri) this was alleviated through clever use of sauce and toppings. The poke in particular had a great sauce (though you get a tiny baby portion for $15). One specific complaint my dinnermate had was that his hamachi still had the skin on - and even a few scales!
Service was very prompt and friendly throughout the entire night, but I think the price to fish quality ratio is too high to return soon.
Zero zero had been on my list for a while, but I was always turned off by the wait (and always too procrastinate-y to make reservations). Solution? Come when everybody's gone!
I came with a girlfriend on Dec 26, and there was still a 45min wait - but space right away at the bar. We ordered the chickpea bruschetta and the Castro (mozzarella, sopresetta, house made sausage) to share and happily munched away. The bruschetta was fine, but I probably wouldn't order it again - I would order two pizzas and take some leftovers home ;) The Castro was thin (but not superthin), crispy, and had a little zing from the sausage.
I really enjoyed the pizza, the drinks, and the ambiance, but I'm not sure if I would be willing to wait 45mins on a normal day. This is a perfect after-work spot, though, so hopefully next time I get a reservation on time.
Guys...at Kitchen Story they give you fried chicken...and then CURRY to dip it in! This is amazing! I've officially added curry to my list of Condiments for All Occasions.
I wanted to try out a new restaurant on a weekday night and made a reservation for Kitchen Story. We wandered over and were seated immediately. I ordered the raspberry lemonade, which was tasty but pretty small (a mason jar filled with ice) (also, can we talk about how sick of mason jars I am? I can't drink out of these things).
My fiance and I shared the samosa appetizer, which was really good - all about the cilantro dipping sauce (I guess dipping sauces are the theme of this review). I got the aforementioned fried chicken with yellow curry dipping sauce, named "Finger-lickin'" on the menu. My apologies, but I definitely ate it with a fork! The Finger-lickin was super super delicious, and my dinner mate looked on it with jealousy. He had ordered the burger, which he would have been satisfied with had he not learned about the magic of dipping things in curry.
The entree portions were fairly hefty, and I was stuffed - sadly, no room for dessert. The check comes out between the pages of a paperback, which was a cute and creative touch. I can't wait to come back - maybe brave the wait for brunch some weekend?
In place of my Sunday-at-home-with-glitter Crafternoon, I expanded my crafting horizons and spent an afternoon at Revere Glass in a glass blowing class.
Lael started the four hour class by explaining some safety rules, terms, and even a bit of science. After a demo, Lael turned on the propane-oxygen flame to THIRTY-EIGHT HUNDRED degrees, and I was on my way!
My first few terrariums looked like...somebody's first few attempts at glass blowing. I eventually got the hang of it, though, and ended up with a few tiny, adorable terrariums.
I'm calling myself an amateur glass blower now, and I can't wait to come back!
San Francisco, CA 94107
I love getting my craft on!
Back in the days of yore when I actually had free time, I imagine I would start screen printing my own shirts, tea towels, and tote bags (using the low-tech freezer paper method). Guess what? Life got in the way. Yelp, Etsy, and Rick Kitagawa to the rescue! Under Rick's direction, I silkscreened an adorable caffeine monster and furthered my crafting pipe dreams.
Afterwards, I took a great guided stroll through the museum's exhibits and sat in one of the much-lauded Aeron chairs. Man, those are comfy!
Lots of thanks to Jessica and the Yelp crew, and the super friendly museum staff for another great event!
Another Dine About Town, another try at a new restaurant! For some reason (other than State Bird and the annual jazz festival) I rarely make it over to Fillmore. After my delicious mean at 1300 I'll have to come more often!
My fiance and I came on a Sunday night and the space was about halfway full, but with all the seating in the front half of the dining room. It was surprisingly loud, given the number of diners. Our hostess seated us immediately and left us with the menus, but it took quite some time for our waitress to arrive. Once we put in our drink orders they appeared very quickly, but we waited yet again for our waitress to take our orders. This would be a theme of the night - every employee of 1300 was incredibly quick and efficient, with the exception of our waitress.
The DAT menu offered a watermelon salad, a choice of hangar steak or petrale sole for the entree, and a strawberry "shortcake" for dessert. I opted for the DAT menu with the sole, and my fiance ordered off the regular menu - artichoke with poached egg for appetizer and their baby back rib special for entree.
The appetizers were very good - I especially loved the interesting flavor combinations in my salad. The salad included watermelon, pickled watermelon rind, and feta cheese, which I had never tasted in combination before.
The petrale sole was great as well, and came with some wilted chard, mashed potatoes, and the delicious balls of flavor that are capers. The sole was light, yet flavorful in a way I can never hope to replicate in my home kitchen. The capers (with browned butter support) really made this dish, though.
My fiance's ribs came with abundant accoutrements (two sauces, a slaw, and mac and cheese), but the ribs themselves were a little bland. These ribs are rubbed and smoked, but you really need the sauces to introduce serious flavor.
Dessert, while not overwhelming with flavor, was a nice, light end to dinner. The strawberry "shortcake" consisted of triangles of shortbread, strawberries, and puffs of whipped cream with strawberry puree, balsamic syrup, and whiffs of basil as well.