Friday, November 28, 2008

Lavanda

Dinner and drinks

Tristen loves this place so much, she went three nights in a row. I was there for drinks on night #2 and dinner on night #3. Really yummy (Tristen claims new chef) and great wine and atmosphere. You can sit at the bar for a nice glass of wine and snacks or wonderful sit down dinner.

Rabbit ragu is wonderful, as is their gnocchi. Brussel sprouts are supposed to be signature but unfortunately they had run out.

www.lavandarestaurant.com

185 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 321-3514

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mamacita

Dinner with Shreni

YUM. Favorite fusion Mexican place in the city, it was so delicious. Ceviche was amazing, as was the guac. Both our entres were amazing. Really great margaritas too :)

You can get reservations for half of their seats, and rest is walk-in, so especially prime time, should definitely try for a ressie.

www.mamacitasf.com

2317 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 346-8494

Lotus Thai

Dinner with Yell

Trendy Thai place. It was nice to sit on sidewalk with yummy drinks. I was somewhat limited by Yell's 'no meat, no spicy' but still had pretty good spring rolls, pad keemow and vegetables.

www.lotusthaisd.com

906 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 595-0115

Carpaccio

Dinner with Katy and Gerri

Kind of a funny scene - totally hopping for a weekday night in Menlo Park, but a slightly older crowd (say 40s). Yummy Italian food, quite full.

www.carpaccios.com

1120 Crane Street, Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 322-1211

Zanzibar Cafe II

Brunch with Yell

What a great brunch spot. Downtown San Diego, huge open windows to the street, tall airy space. DELICIOUS brunch. Eggs amazing, really fresh ingredients. Yell had this great looking latte too

(619) 230-0125

Sogno Divino

Dinner with Yell

My favorite place by far in San Diego. Middle of Little Italy, and it's basically a wine shop with a few dishes, but SO good. This eggplant wrap with cheese, tomatoes and goodness (I dont know what) was amazing, as were the paninis and salad.

http://www.sogno-divino.com/

1607 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 531-8887

Kasadela

Dinner with group

Pretty cool izakaya type restaurant in the East Village. Had dinner with a group of 10ish GSB and NY friends - the place does not take well to large groups since it's a pretty small space. Cute bar, then dining room. They have great selection of sake and shochu. Dishes are good but a bit small.

www.kasadela.com

647 East 11th Street (almost corner of Ave C), New York, NY 10009
(212) 777-1582

Terzo

Dinner with Wiser, Shane and James

Mediterranean/Italian place that we went to during Heirloom Tomato Week in August. We were not so impressed with their one heirloom tomato dish but the rest was ok. Everything is good (not sure if great), and somewhat limited menu though it's because they source all of their ingredients locally.

www.terzosf.com

3011 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 441-3200

Aburiya Kinnosuke

Dinner with Joyce and Eddie

Fantastic and authentic Japanese 'robata' grill restaurant. Lots of skewers of vegetables and meat, and their starters are true izakaya style dishes. Tofu is amazing. Good shochu too.

Service is Japanese = amazing. I had dinner with the Wu's before getting on Metro North at Grand Central a few blocks away. When I asked about train schedules, the host actually looked up all of the times online and wrote them out for me. Extraordinary for US, normal in Japan.

Same folks that do Yakitori Totto, which is another favorite

www.aburiyakinnosuke.com

213 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017
(212) 867-5454

La Bodeguita Del Medio

Dinner with Kate and Kai

Yummy, if somewhat pricey, Cuban place on California Ave in Palo Alto. Great mojitos. Cute bar too.

www.labodeguita.com

463 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 326-7762 ext 13

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Betelnut

Dinner and drinks

Great cocktails (bloody mary if you are in the mood), great food, a lot of scene, gets super crowded though

http://www.betelnutrestaurant.com/

2030 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 929-8855

Friday, September 12, 2008

Academia de Cachaça

September 2008

A low key bar in Leblon with incredible selection of the Brazilian liquor. While no one spoke English, we picked through their extensive menu (fortunately in English) and ordered 5R shots after the other, as well as other mixed cachaça shots. The Brazilian cherry one was kind of a miss, but I liked the shot with honey and brown sugar. My brother had had a shot of a really good cachaça at dinner – unfortunately the name is lost, but it was about 20R and totally worth it.

Rua Conde de Bernadotte 26G, Leblon
2239 1542

Porçao Ipanema

September 2008

The Porçao in Flamengo is supposed to have wonderful view of Pão de Açúcar, but it was rainy for us, so we opted for its closer sister restaurant in Ipanema. Recommended by our concierge as one of the three churrascarias to go to (others being Espaça that we already went to and Mario’s which is a bit more expensive on the other end of Copacabana).
This was definitely my favorite meal in Rio, with a great salad bar (Espaça had more selection but I liked this one better) and amazing meat. The waiters are incredibly friendly and we were quite happy and full after a few hours. We learned to ask for meat malpasado, which got us rare, bloody pieces of animal. The dessert cart came around when we thought we couldn’t take anymore, but of course we got flan, egg yolk pastry, ice cream and coffee. Yum. With two bottles of wine and a bunch of drinks, I think it was about 600R total (63R per person).

They also have a bar area in front, with the most volume of Johnny Walker bottles that we (including my brother who works for Diageo) has seen.

Rua Barao da Torrs 218, Ipanema

Via Sete

September 2008

Via Sete is a cute lunch spot around the block from the H Stern museum and flagship shop – convenient for us post shopping since it was raining. Ended up being a great, light lunch, ‘light’ being the operative word – we were all craving salads and wraps by day five of our Rio trip. Had a really yummy meat carpaccio and greens wrap with a salad. Cariocas kind of drown their salads with dressing, but besides that quite good. Also had a nice glass of mate, a Brazilian tea-like drink that I like from Argentina.

Osteria Dell’Angelo

September 2008

Great Italian on Sunday night. Antipasti platter to start was fantastic, grilled eggplant, zucchini, warm baked parmesan, olives, marinated eggplant, fruta de mare. Appetizers of polenta with porcini was great, as was seafood salad and prosciutto. I had a veal and arugula dish that was quite rich, but my dad’s squid risotto in ink sauce was the best (and most famous) dish.

Rua Paul Redfern 40, Ipanema
2259-3148

Rio Scenarium

September 2008

Three story samba club in Lapa – Lonely Planet fairly described it as having a local-to-foreigner ratio of 50:50, but in September (off season), we found the “foreigners” to be from Sao Paulo or other parts of Brazil rather than real foreigners like us (though we could definitely point out the awkward dancing American pretty easily).



There was a line with several dozen people down the street when we got there around 10:30, 11pm, but we bought some bottles of beer to go from another bar and it wasn’t too long of a wait. There is a cover of something like 15-30R – they give you a piece of paper with your name, and the bartenders keep your tab on the sheet, so you pay for the cover and additional charges on your way out. Not sure what happens if you lose the paper…

The place is decorated in antiques – as Jesse described it, “it reminds me of my grandmother’s house.” Cool dark wood bars and walls with dozens of old school clocks, an old “drogeria” with rows and rows of corked dusty vials with “drogs” (that’s what they told my brother). The samba band plays on the stage on the first floor atrium with balconies that overlook the stage from the second and third floor.

http://www.rioscenarium.com.br/

Rua do Lavradio 20, Lapa
3852 5516

Espaço Brasa Leblon

September 2008
Churrascaria with all-you-can-eat buffet and roaming waiters with slabs of meat – different cuts of beef, pork, chicken, adult and kid, and not sure what else, since we didn’t understand most of them. I think I actually like the salad bar better than the meat, though both were good.


Choperia Brazooka

September 2008

Three story beer house that we happened to stop for lunch during out Rio sightseeing tour. Our tour guide kind of made fun of us for wanting to try feijeoda, a black-bean dish cooked with salted pork and other meats. It is served with rice and stewed kale, and typically eaten on Saturdays. Super yummy, though rich, we had several refreshing glasses of chope (draft beer) and also fried fish and cheese.
Rua Mem de Sá 70, Lapa
3474 3363

Garota de Ipanema

September 2008

We stopped in here for a post-dinner drink because the recommended bar down the street, Devassa, was too packed. No matter, we loved this place – got some chope, or draft beer and a plate of chicken hearts, which was perfectly grilled and super garlicky, we have been talking about it all week! I had a yummy spicy tomato juice, which we were split on whether it had none or a ton of alcohol, but good either way. This is also a hang out of Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, of the famous bossa nova “Girl from Ipanema,” bar eponymously named.

We came here again for our last Rio lunch. We had the chicken hearts again, and palm heart salad, pizza, fried fish, soup and sandwiches.

Rua Vinícius de Moraes, Ipanema
2523 3787

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Zaza Bistro Tropical

September 2008

We had dinner at Zaza our first night in Rio. We sat on the outdoor patio with “French-colonial décor”, cute lights and nice ambiance. On the second floor, patrons take off shoes to lounge and eat on throw pillows. Everything is organic.

We started with wasabi-cream cheese, eggplant antipasti and herb butter to go with bread and crackers. Then the waiter recommended Germana cachaça shot... Yummy seared tuna for entre.

Rua Joana Angelica 40, Ipanema
2247 9101

SaLitre

September 2008
Wine and liquor bar in Leblon that we stopped in after shopping. Super cute with upstairs porch that we sat at. Wonderful bottle of CATENA 2006 Chardonnay from Mendoza (for about 60R)

Fellini

Bibi Sucos

September 2008

I stopped at this corner juice stand on my first day walking around Leblon in Rio. They had an overwhelming menu board, so I just fixed on the “açai” section and ordered a copa. I got a super thick glass filled over the brim with dark brownish-red slushie that I ate with a spoon until I had an ice cream head ache. I have no idea how to describe the fruit taste, but it’s good. I had them pour the rest into a cup to go though, a lot of slushie for one sitting.

Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 591, Rio de Janeiro, 22440-032, Brazil
2259 4298

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brothers Restaurant

August 2008
Dinner

Great Korean food in Inner Richmond.

4128 Geary Blvd (between 5th Ave & 6th Ave), San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 387-7991

21st Amendment

August 2008
Drinks

Interesting watermelon wheat beer

www.21st-Amendment.com

563 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 369-0900

Lingba

August 2008
Sunday brunch

Interesting Asian fusion-y menu at this cute place in Richmond (maybe? I have no idea where this really is).

Really yummy bloody mary's with an entire stick of bacon in it, pretty amazing. They had some great appetizers that we split - a corn fritatta kind of thing, fried egg rolls with risotto inside, taro chips with mango and tuna tartar, and ribs. My meal was kurobuta pork hash with roasted potatoes, kabocha pumpkin and poached eggs.

http://www.lingba.com/

1469 18th Street (and Connecticut), San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 355-0001

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sushi Yoshi

August 2008
Dinner

Fantastic authentic Japanese place in Newark, right on the other side of the Dumbarton from the Peninsula. The restaurant is in a strip mall by Arby's and kind of a hole in a wall, but Yoshi-san and his mother have a great izakaya menu on the wall. Unfortunately for many, it is in Japanese, though they'll give you an English menu, and will answer questions from behind the bar.

Yoshi-san has a decent selection of sake and will let you taste before pouring it into a "masu", or wooden box. He also has shochu, all "imo" or potato base.

We started with edamame, ika geso (fried squid legs), and a grilled whole mackerel. I had to order ankimo (monkfish liver), which is "foie gras of the sea" per Kenneth. Yum. Off menu, they also have home made shiokara, a salty-spicy squid 'pickle.' They also make a good home made gyoza (dumpling).

For sushi, we had some ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), and really amazing toro. Also worth getting the California roll with real crab meat.

Yoshi-san gave us ice cream to finish - green tea, azuki (red bean) or vanilla are the choices.

Not the speediest so I would expect to take some time there. But worth it!

On Yelp

39261 Cedar Blvd (between Magazine & Mowry Ave), Newark, CA 94560
(510) 797-3835

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lemongrass

August 2008
Dinner

Great Thai place near Lizzie's on Polk between Green and Union. Their Tom Yum Gai soup was fantastic, spicy enough but not too much with chicken and mushrooms. Got quite full off the chicken and spinach with peanut sauce and even brought some home. Quite reasonably priced for dinner and bottle of wine, about $35 each.

www.lemongrassSF.com

2348 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 346-1818

Palo Alto Sol

August 2008
Dinner

Popular Mexican place on California Ave with great and potent margaritas. I love the food, though I always go back to the carne asada plate or fajitas. Everyone is always happy with their choice though.

www.paloaltosol.net

408 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 328-8840

Ristorante Parma

August 2008
Dinner

Standard Italian on Steiner between Chestnut and Lombard. Gerri and I went there at 6pm the night before our half marathon for our "pasta dinner," as was the rest of the customers for the restaurant to be packed at such a geriatric hour. Good authentic, though not super exciting Italian food.

3314 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 467-0500

La Bodequita Del Medio

August 2008
Dinner

Yummy though pricey Cuban restaurant on California Ave. Great drinks and pretty amazing food.

www.labodeguita.com

463 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 326-7762

Maru Ichi

July 2008
Lunch

Pretty good ramen place in the Asian Fast Food Mall (Ranch 99 shopping center in Milpitas). It gets super crowded at lunch time so try before 11:45pm. After that they put your name down and you wait outside. I actually like their traditional ramen (miso, shoyu, etc) rather than their specialty black ramen.

Looks like they have another location in Mountain View on Castro as well.

530 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 434-5991

Monday, July 21, 2008

Homma's Brown Rice Sushi

July 2008
Take-out dinner

Total hole-in-a-wall sushi place off of California (take a left on Birch coming from El Camino, and it's on your right, but in a little alleyway). It's family run I think and just has a few tables inside and out. We ordered about 5 different rolls to go, and they told us about 35 minutes. So not speedy. But it was good. Brown rice in sushi is a first for me but was ok. Fairly reasonable too, $22 for five rolls and ikura.

*Cash only

*Per Yelp - Hours: Mon-Thu 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Tue 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Wed-Thu 12:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Fri-Sat 12:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Fri-Sat 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

2363 Birch St Ste B, Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 327-6118

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pampas

Marie's Going Away Dinner
June 2008

Great new Brazilian churrascaria across the street from the train station at Alma and Hamilton. Pretty big and trendy venue, with a lounge/bar space up front and several dining areas. They have pretty good caipirinhas and other fresh mixed drinks.

Like many churrascarias, there is a phenomenal salad bar buffet ($27 I think), which would be worth it by itself. Add $20 and you get all you can eat meat too. Yum. Not the cheapest place, but fun and you definitely get full.

http://www.pampaspaloalto.com/

529 Alma St, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 327-1323

Assab Eritrean Restaurant

Dinner
July 2008

For those of you now familiar with African geography (I am guilty also), Eritrea is next to Ethiopia in northeastern Africa. The food is like Ethiopian, with flatbread you eat by hand.

Assab is in what yelp says is Western Addition/NOPA. The food was good -- when we finally got it. We had an 8:30pm reservation for 11 people, but I think our appetizers didn't come out until 9:45 and dinner about half hour later. I was pretty cranky and hungry to say the least, then overcompensated and felt gross, but that's my problem. Sambusas are good, liked the meat better than veggie. Assab is known for vegetarian food, though I liked the meat dishes too.

Apparently the honey wine is one of their specialities - made from honey and hops, it was syrupy and sweet, not quite what I wanted for the night though others seemed to like it.

2845 Geary Blvd (between Collins St & Wood St), San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 441-7083

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tomales Bay Oyster Company

July 2008
Picnic with Take, Carolyn and James

Wonderful trip to Tomales Bay up Route 1 about an hour north of San Francisco. There is a parking lot, picnic tables and a counter to buy oysters, but you can make a fantastic day of it if you bring up the right stuff. Mainly several bottles of champagne and white wine (we brought 5 and ended up taking a trip to get a few more), tons of picnic food, and good company.

Bring shucking tools if you have them (gloves and knife), though they will sell them to you for $15.

The oysters come by dozen in different sizes. To be honest, the "large" oysters were a bit too much. We settled on the medium size ones, and then the special which was these "doubles", two of them stuck together. I think like $10-$15 per dozen, great deal.

I love raw oysters (bring cocktail sauce, highly recommend lots of horseradish and lemon), but they do have little grills that you can use, if you bring your own charcoal and brickettes. Some other tables were kind enough to let us use theirs and the grilled oysters are pretty phenomenal.

They don't take reservations, so go early, particularly on nice weekend days in the summer. Closes at 5pm, and they will kick you out, so make sure someone can drive home by then.

http://www.tomalesbayoysters.com/

15479 Highway 1, Marshall, CA 94940
(415) 663-1242

Tortilla Heights

Dinner
July 2008

Just like Tortilla Flats in NYC, good Mexican, pitchers of margaritas and generally a good time.

www.tortillaheights.com

1750 Divisadero Street (between Bush St & Sutter St), San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-4531

The Melting Pot

Dinner
July 2008

Interesting fondue place in downtown San Jose. They have varying levels of gluttony from single entree to four courses for two. We got the plain deep fry in olive oil with one entree of Cajun meats and shrimp and one of filet medallions. Comes with veggies too. Not so cheap.

http://www.meltingpot.com/

72 S First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 293-6020

Los Cubanos Restaurant

Dinner
February 2008

Yummy family owned Cuban place. Not particularly cheap, but home style hearty food.

www.loscubanosrestaurant.com

22 N Almaden Ave, San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 279-0134

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mango Caribbean

Dinner
June 2008

www.mangocaribbean.com

435 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA
94301 (650) 324-9443

New Krung Thai

Work dinners
April 2008

Not to be confused with Original Krung Thai down the street, New Krung Thai has amazing and authentic Thai cuisine (according to a co worker who lived in Thailand for three years). Everything is awesome, and spicy, and definitely save room for the sweet sticky rice with mango.

www.newkrungthai.com

580 N Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 248-3435

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hot Pot City

Lunch wtih Becky
June 2008

So we came across Hot Pot City as we walked around the Asian fast food mall (otherwise known as Ranch 99 shopping center). Looked a little bit dark and not so many people, but intrigued and we went in.

We asked for a table and they asked us - spicy or normal soup? We were a little confused. So the way this place works is each table has a grill with a hot pot that you can fill with all normal, all spicy, or half and half soup. Around the pot is a flat surface that you can cook meat on (like Korean BBQ). And best part? Buffet. Sweet.

I was SO excited for this place, and totally psyched that it turns out Becky is a huge foodie too :) We went to the buffet bar - I loaded up a plate with marinated chicken, pork and beef spare ribs, and Becky got stuff for the soup - thin sliced beef, lamb, some veggies, noodles, dumplings, and two squids. Yup whole squid. Awesome. And we went back for more.

We later discovered they also have kimchi (alot of heat) and shaved ice for dessert.

And all for $9.99 per person.

*I am also a huge fan of their $3 charge for wasting food. All buffets should do that. As my water polo coach used to say, "get what you eat, eat what you get"

*Friendly waitress kindly told us that they are open from 11am til like 1am or something like that, and they have late night specials

http://www.hotpotcitymilpitas.com/

500 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA 95035
(409) 428-0988

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ubuntu

Dinner with eight people
June 2008

Despite the NYT food critic rave, I was a bit skeptical about a vegetarian restaurant/yoga studio. I mean really. But Yell is my best friend and she is both (veg and yoga-y) so I thought it would make her happy to go. We had a group of 8, and they require family style tasting menu for $50 for groups 8+ so we reserved their big table for a post-Napa wine tour dinner.

OMG. Phenomenal. I can't even describe to you how great the meal was. We started with marcona almonds with lavander sugar and sea salt, and carrot top pesto covered olives. Tostones with fennel. Roasted peach salad with burratta (officially my new favorite cheese, a super creamy, tender mozzarella) and homemade croutons. Strawberry margharita thin crust pizza with a strawberry puree that was reduced for hours, super subtle. Creamed cauliflower and couscous in iron skillet with crispy bread. Morels and this lentil-like grain with roasted garlic sauce. The desserts, OMG. Blueberry cheesecake in a jar. Play on breakfast with cereals and ice cream with coconut milk. And not to mention the almond milk shake.

I actually highly recommend taking a large group since alot of the experience was getting to taste to many different dishes, certainly not feasible for a smaller party. And how reasonable is $50 to be stuffed at a really nice restaurant. Love it.

New York Times Review - phenomenal, you should really read this
http://www.ubuntunapa.com/

1140 Main Street, Napa, CA
(707) 251-5656


Cafe Bastille

Dinner
June 2008

We discovered Belden Lane because it was a block from our hotel and we were famished. Alley is stuffed with tourists at evening time, though I think Plouf and B44 are supposed to be good. Cafe Bastille was the first place that could take a group of five, and we sat downstairs. Not going to lie, we were hungry and cranky, but the service was very slow, food mediocre, and atmosphere downstairs not great. I liked their occassional live music and might be fun (though tight) outdoors.

22 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 986-5673

Peju

June 2008

I like Peju because it feels like one of the really nice wineries without the pretentious servers and ridiculously expensive bottles. There are fountains and pools amid nice manicured lawn, and the back tasting room has a gorgeous stained glass wall. Always really fun servers.

I think tasting fees are $10 for 4 glasses (chard, provence, merlot, cab), which they waive if you buy. Or if you are like my nice friend, she charmed her way into their reserve collection for about 8 glasses. Their Provence is always a nice rose that I get for summer drinking. We also got the Cab Franc to have with grilled steak the next night, yummy.

www.peju.com

8466 Saint Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558
(707) 963-3600

V Sattui


June 2008

Great winery to stop with a group for lunch. Big lawns and picnic tables if you can snag one, and they typically have a BBQ going (lunch $8-14 or so I think, ranging from mozzarella sandwich, tri tip hero, and salmon burger). Also a gourmet deli inside for huge selection of cheese and other goodies.

And of course the wine. Tastings are $8 or $15 per glass (they let you share which is nice, though they dont waive the fee even if you buy bottles). I like their off-dry Reisling, fan of their Gamay Rouge in the summer, and love the Madeira, a lovely port, which I get every time I can stop by here.

http://www.vsattui.com/

1111 White Lane, Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-7774

The Big Four Restaurant

"Big Game Week" dinner with Carolyn
May 2008

Amazing concept. Once a year, the Big Four Restaurant does a "Big Game Week", meaning a week of dinner specials including the finest buffalo, elk, yak, and any other wild large animal that they could put on a plate.

There is a special tasting appetizer course, with four choices I think. Included a wild boar tacos, venison medallons. For main, Carolyn went for buffalo, I went for the yak. Both were pretty much amazing and we were quite content.

Also, we really liked that the chef would periodically come out and sit down for a chat. She's been doing this for a number of years and she was super friendly, stopping at many of the tables. Interesting place, it is SUPER old -- not just decor, I think Carolyn and I brought down the average age by a good few decades

Between the bottle of wine, two courses, and I think dessert, certainly paid in triple digits, but man was it worth it. Going back next year if there are any takers.

The Huntington Hotel, 1075 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108415) 771-1140

Red Lantern

Dinner with Jon and Tris
May 2008

Right next to the Redwood City train station, this super trendy looking Asian restaurant was surprisingly speedy and reasonably priced ($15 per person, stuffed, without alcohol).

www.redlanternrwc.com

808 Winslow Street, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 369-5483

Lahaina Grill

Dinner with mom and Jen
June 2008

I had a lovely dinner at the Lahaina Grill in downtown Lahaina (cute little main street with galleries and little shops) in Maui. My mom and I went all out and had the sumptuous tasting menu - the cake walk, a combo of lobster, shrimp and seared ahi cake; I had the meat, mom the seafood sampler. Duck confit was a little disappointing but the rack of lamb and steak were good. Nice place, though I can't describe the decor well -- old 'inn' meets seaside shack.

www.lahainagrill.com

127 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 667-5117

ABC Seafood Restaurant

Lunch
June 2008

Good dim sum place next to the Asian fast food mall by Ranch 99 (in the two story plaza next to it). Absolutely no atmosphere since they were doing construction on the entranceway, but typical yummy dim sum, with carts of goodness and pushy servers. It was mass chaos at peak lunch time but I have seen it more subdued later afternoon. $36 for two for lunch.

www.abcseafood.net

768 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 435-8888

Thursday, May 8, 2008

La Morenita

Dinner

Little Mexican place across from Whole Foods. It was ok, pretty authentic but I didn't think it was spetacular. Pretty low key and inexpensive.

On Yelp

800 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 329-1727

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iberia

May 2008
Dinner

Delicious, authentic Spanish restaurant by the Menlo Park Caltrain station. I had been there for drinks and tapas and also for a paella cooking session (a consulting women's event), but first time for dinner. Lovely place with great ambiance. Totally feels like you are in a restaurant in Spain, and the food is fantastic. Great sangria too, not too fruity like most American. Almond gazpacho, gambas (really garlicky shrimp), a fish dish - all raciones. Then we had paella, which was perfect. They have a few "minimum two orders" rule for a few of their dishes, which is a bit annoying, so is probably better food experience with a larger group. About $50 per person

www.iberiarestaurant.com

1026 Alma St, Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 325-8981

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ozumo

April 2008
Drinks

Trendy faux-Japanese bar but with great sake list and some shochu. Great place to snack on edamame with Sapporo off tap and sake sampler. If you like sweet, go Suishin. More dry, try Otokoyama.

www.ozumo.com

161 Steuart St (between Howard St & Mission St), San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 882-1333

Mexico DF

April 2008
Dinner

Super fun and yummy (and supposedly authentic) Mexican food by Embarcadero. Fantastic guacamole and a sampler of ceviches. We let the extremely friendly and able waitress pick most of our dishes, and they were delish. Also some ridiculously strong but good shooter of tequila with something else...

http://www.mex-df.com/

Next door to Japanese/trendy bar with great sake :)

139 Steuart Street, San Francisco CA 94105
(415) 808-1048

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Blue Plate

April 2008
Dinner

Good "new american" restaurant in the Mission. I think it had a Spanish bent at some point, from all of the paintings of bulls on the wall and the chorizo throughout the menu.

The starters were great - baby beet salad, pastrami and bay scallops, duck terrine. I had a good quail dish, and the meatloaf was also great. Huge fan of the macaroni and drunken spanish goat cheese side dish

http://www.blueplatesf.com/

3218 Mission St. at Valencia San Francisco, Ca. 94110
(415) 282-6777

Manta

April 2008
Dinner with Tristen

Manta is on the Woolloomooloo wharf, good seafood with fresh local fare and great wine. Had the pleasure to try the Leeuwin Estate "Art Series" 2006 Chardonnay. Had a great frito misto with john dorry, calamari, and prawns, and a yellow-belly flounder special.

02 9332 3822

Longrain

April 2008
Dinner with Tristen and Beck

Wonderful Asian restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney. They don't take reservations so unless you get in at 6:30pm, expect to wait at least an hour at the bar. But they have incredible cocktails and you can be seated (and fed) in the waiting bar area so not a bad deal.

DELICIOUS Thai Bloody Mary, best I have ever had I think -- perfect amount of spicy and vegetable and alcohol. Yummy lychee drink also. Expensive, drinks are about $20 each, though totally worth it.

Definitely get the beetle leaf with shrimp, delicious. As are their speciality egg nets, very light and tasty. Also got a wonderful wagyu beef stir fry.

http://www.longrain.com/

85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, NSW Australia 2010
+61 2 9280 2888

Lavender Blue Cafe/Restaurant

April 2008
Brunch with Tristen and Maggie

Cute cafe that is reminiscent of a Chestnut Street diner in San Francisco. Great brunch.

165 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point NSW 2060
02 9955 7596

Lotus

April 2008
Drinks

Total "scene" with pretty intense bartenders who make incredible cocktails
www.merivale.com

22 Challis Avenue Potts Point Sydney
9326 9000

Almond Bar

April 2008
Dinner

Cute place in Sydney neighborhood called Darlinghurst. Mezes and small plates of Mediterranean/Greek cuisine.

379 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst 2010
02 9380 5318

Cafe Sydney

April 2008
Dinner with Tristen

Cafe Sydney is a lovely place in Circular Quay with a patio that overlooks both the Harbor Bridge and Opera House. Food was wonderful, as was the flight of white Australian wines. Had "bugs", which were super oversized crustaceans, and a lamb rack.

Fifth Floor, Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Sydney, Australia
9251-8683

Pho Vi Hoa

March 2008
Dinner with Jill

Great Vietnamese pho place on corner of San Antonio and El Camino. Under $10 for a yummy and filling dish, yet light enough for after a workout
www.phovihoa.com

4546 El Camino Real Suite A12 Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 947-1290

Hog Island Oyster Company

March 2008
Picnic with Eric, Sandy and Shane

Amazing place -- reserve a picnic table, bring wine and food, and shuck your own oysters! They provide grills for the oysters and smaller food items. Oysters are very reasonable, I think we had four dozen for $50.

Make a reservation, they fill up at least a week in advance! Information at http://www.hogislandoysters.com/

(415) 663-9218

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Delfini

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Naoto and friends

Cute Italian place in Shibuya.

http://www.delfini.jp/

Guru-navi entry

〒150-0031 東京都渋谷区桜丘町30-15 ビバリーヒルズ101
+81 03-6415-4565

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Prolific Oven

Lunch with Marie

I had been to the bakery in Palo Alto (which has wonderful rich cakes), but the one in San Jose is a nice cafe for lunch with yummy sandwiches and soup.

3938 Rivermark Plaza, Santa Clara, CA
(408) 986-8388

Brunello

Dinner with Katy, Libby, and Sean

A cute Italian place off of Santa Cruz with great food and reasonable wine.

651-H Maloney Lane, Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 328-2778

Messob Ethiopian Restaurant

Dinner with Rosabel

Low key place in Piedmont. Had never had Ethiopian food, but loved eating with my hands and the puffy bread, and they had a great combo plate for $18 that just stuffed the two of us.

4301 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 428-1122

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Totto

Saturday, February 9, 2008
Dinner with Take and dad

Best yakitori in NYC I think. Good selection of shochu also

251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
(212) 245-4555

Oyster Bar

Saturday, February 9, 2008
Appetizers with Take and dad

Classic NY, downstairs in Grand Central station, the Oyster Bar is our family favorite for appetizers of oysters, cherry stone clams and clam chowder (and chardonney) before going out to dinner. They have great selection of oysters from around North America. Love sitting at the bar.

89 E 42nd St (downstairs in Grand Central), New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-6650

Public

Saturday, February 9, 2008
Brunch with Scott

I love Public for brunch. So yummy with awesome bloody marys.

210 Elizabeth Street (Between Spring Street and Prince Street) New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-7011

Esperante

Friday, February 8, 2008
High school friends

A fun and yummy East Village Brazilian place with great drinks and fun atmosphere

145 Ave C (@ E 9th Street) New York, NY 10009
(212) 505-6559

Cafe au Beethovenplatz

Sunday February 4, 2008
Brunch

Great restaurant in the university district. They have a Sunday brunch with live jazz/piano, was a wonderful find.

Goethestrasse 51, Munich, Germany
(089) 54 40 43 48

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Garam Masala

Friday, February 1, 2008
Lunch

We had lunch at this Indian place off of Marienplayz on our last day in Munich. SO good. We probably went overboard on the ordering, helped by one Indian colleague and another who's lived there, but delicious and filling.

Am Radlsteg 1, 80331 Munchen
(0 89) 24 24 59 07

Spatenhaus

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Cisco dinner

Nice Bavarian place with traditional food and good beer...


Residenzstrasse 12, Munich
089/2-90-70-60

Hofbrauhaus

Monday, January 28, 2008
Cisco folks


The most famous traditional Bavarian beer house in Munich


Am Platzl 9, Munich Germany

Wirtshaus in der Au

Monday, January 28, 2008
Cisco dinner


Wirtshaus in der Au has traditional Bavarian fare and beer.

Lilienstr. 5181669 München
+49-(0)89-44 81 400

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pho Queen Noodle House

Lunch

Super fast turnover, very yummy pho and other Vietnamese cuisine.

1133 Tasman Drive Sunnyvale, CA 94089
(408) 745-7753

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zibibbo

January 2007
Dinner with Lowell

Zibibbo

430 Kipling Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 328-6722

Judy's Cafe

December 2007
Brunch with GSBers

Judy's is a popular Marina brunch spot that always has lines in front of it on weekend mornings. We waited over half an hour to get a table for 7 (worked out well since most of the party was late). There is outside seating, and then two floors upstairs, but still pretty cramped. The food was good, though not phenomenal -- we were wondering what all of those long waits were for. Bechelli's two blocks down is about the same food for less wait and money I think.

2268 Chestnut Street (between Scott and Pierce), San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 922-4588

South Park Cafe

January 2008
Dinner with Lowell

South Park is a very cute few block neighborhood in the middle of SoMa between Bryant & Brannan and Second & Third Streets. The cafe is small and comfortable, and the food very reasonable and yummy. I had a baked goat cheese and frisee salad and a rack of lamb with pesto and macaroni. They have a $34 price fixe for one appetizer, one entre and one dessert.

108 South Park, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 495-7275

Junnoon

January 2008
Drinks with Pipers

Junnoon is an "eclectic modern Indian" restaurant with a great sitting/lounge area in the front, which is perfect for a pitcher of mojito before dinner.

150 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 329-9644