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Monday, October 29, 2012

Naha - Chicago

A new entry onto the Chicago scene, Naha welcomes you to a modern contemporary space, with an airy open space environment, low lit earth tone decor and vivid print and sketches to enhance the experience.

The menu consists of a Mediterranean influenced American contemporary cuisine,.

Take for instance, the burrata, an Italian cows milk mozzarella served with prosciutto, bulb onions and medjool dates:

A mushroom gnocchi, rich buttery sauce, garnished with Parmesan flakes:

The arctic char from Iceland was a rather interesting dish. Served with white asparagus and brown mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes, simmered in a celery broth was very similar to a mild Scottish salmon:

The white habit with white bean and leek was fabulously prepared, with olive oil and lemon zest:

The dessert menu had a whimsical play: autumns dialogue for example represented a play on the flavors of fall, the financiers gold bar was a rich layered flavored cake and nutella panini was a bite sized chocolate sandwich..

Naha has a young vibe and innovative culinary blend of flavors. Sophisticated comfort food in a friendly spirit.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Girl and the Goat- Chicago

Where no calorie goes undeserved, Chicago's home to some of the most fantastic and creative chefs to enter the gastronomic space. On a recent visit, had the opportunity to try The Girl and the Goat, a family farm rustic eating space, with dark wood interiors, loud and boisterous environment and a queue to get a table for several months.

But with determination, we arrived at a chef's table, a high stooled area facing the kitchen directly. Veiwing the kitchen's creations, having conversations regarding the ingredients and presentations of the  chef and drooling over every new plate that came out and asking.."what's that" and can we get one!

The food is tasty, let me rephrase, rich with no holding back on the salt or butter. So for the health conscience in mind, this is a day you will want to skip on the diet. Pork belly, ribs and glazes that will have you at the gym the next day, here are a couple of the dishes tasted.

At the front viewing table, interesting concoctions were being created.. grilled broccoli topped with charred rice crispies, pork belly basted in a berry and cilantro sauce and a roasted pigs face with cilantro and sunny side eggs for the adventurous!

The sauteed green beans, cooked in a fish sauce with cashews:

The garlic roasted cauliflower with pickled onions and red pepper flakes:

the grilled pork ribs, with a tomatillo slaw and vinaigrette scallions with flavorful fava beans:
the octopus empanada, fabulous combination of flavors and textures. Grilled octopus, wrapped into a light breaded empanada topped with a tomato ragu and feta cheese.. an interesting intersection of cultures in every bite!

Grilled baby octopus salad with fava beans, radishes and a pistachio lemon vinaigrette... delicious
The spicy shishito peppers, a pan fried, sesame oiled pepper topped with parmesan and miso...

For dessert, a quatro leches blueberry streusel, crumbly, light and packed with flavorful antioxidants:

The Girl and the Goat offered a selection of tasty, calorie packed dishes in a rustic dark lit fun environment.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gabardine -Point Loma

A new Searsucker family restaurant has opened up in Point Loma. Gabardine, a vibrant entry with pinstriped orange and white awnings, chalked figurines of synchronized swimmers on the wall and a menu full of seafood and Portuguese style stews.

Marinaded olives, stewed in a tomato and sausage flavored sauce...

Spicy scallop ceviche, whole scallops, diced peppers and robust tomato:
Large mussels bakes in a garlic, white wine and leek filled sauce. Hints of salchica, grilled bread and zesty grilled lemon... fabulous

Cozido a portuguesa, a rich stew with potatoes, sausage, garlic and seasonal vegetables.. served with grilled bread for dipping!

roasted white seabass, with crispy screen, accents of baby tomatoes and greens:

A seafood filled portugese stew.. large shrimps, potatoes and kale:

For dessert, chocolate mousse with olive oil gelato and toffee crumble

the almond pie special of the house, light and zesty, crumbled crusts with strawberries to cleanse the palette
With many options to sample and a seafood focus, Gabardine is a off to a good start. Busy and loud, don't expect a quite dinner conversation as its one of new hotspots in town!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Zuni Cafe- SF

Zuni cafe, a jewel of a restaurant on Market street, sits positioned on a corner wedge with tall atrium filling glass, brick and plenty of foodies. With a beautiful long bar facing Market street, a casual drink can be filled with the occasional people watching as their heads pop in and out of the bottle displayed on the glass shelves.

Zuni is known for a variety of things, from the famous balsamic bloody mary's with diced onions, to the fabulous oyster selection, to wood fired pizzas and the one and only Zuni chicken... a dish that cannot be pre-ordered while waiting or over the phone. It must be ordered at time of sitting and takes a whole 45minutes to cook. The wait is appreciates when you bite into the succulent roasted chicken with olive oil and herbed bread filling and mixed greens with a light tangy vinegar coating....

Miyagi and Kumamoto oysters are always in season:

a light champagne mignonette...fabulous

shoestring fries are also a must, with a spicy dijon, pair well a balsamic bloody
a king mesculun salad with sliced rabbit, endive and fennel, asparagus and poached egg...delicious

wood fired pizza with carmelized onions,mushrooms and truffle oil...

The piece de resistance, is the chicken for two... roasted chicken that's been brined for 24hrs, served with a warm Tuscan style bread salad... fabulicious!
Zuni's is a great spot for delicious farm to table goodness...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Poesia -SF

A new welcomed addition to the heart of Castro in SF, Poesia brings with it all the charm and taste of freshly prepared Italian food. Warm interior, tucked on the second floor, the highly coveted dining spot gets quite busy.

Homemade pasta is prevalent throughout the menu. From hand rolled ravioli, stringed fettuccine or lovely orechiette, the pasta choices are sure to entice. Specialty cocktails and fresh focaccia enhance the overall experienced.

Take for example the branzino, a Mediterranean seabass pan roasted and finished in the oven with olive oil and lemon...fabulous

Ravioli al granchio, a dungeness crab stuffed ravioli with a light saffron sauce and zucchine..

oversized orechiette pasta, baked with organic cauliflower, provolone and fresh calabrese sausage...

Poesia, an Italian word for poetry serves hearty dishes, well prepared in a cozy atmosphere.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wangs - North Park

What would you do with an old JC Penny store? You turn it into a fabulous Asian inspired eating environment.. of course. Well that's just what happened at Wang's in North Park. After being opened in Palm Springs for a while, the owners decided to explore the San Diego area and launch their hallmark restaurant in North Park.

Gran a spicy cocktail and enjoy the view. With a grand entrance and space to speak of, colors of red, gold, dark wood all envelope to create a great atmosphere. Dedicated sections for the bar and dining separate the loud from the serious.

Order up a dumpling sampler.. chicken, pork vegetable and shrimp are all available..

The fire fish... a mixture of fish, garlic, black beans and spicy leeks... child, watch out.. the dish is on fire

Szechwan green beans with tofu, cooked in black bean sauce

Pacifica-Del Mar

For a fantastic Californian cuisine experience overlooking the Pacific ocean head on over to Pacifica in Del Mar. Adjacent to the ever famous L'auberge, Pacifica offers fresh fish, juicy meats and has hands down, more cost effective meals than neighbors nearby (who shall remain nameless).

The seared rare ahi tuna salad, served on top of udon noodle, carrots and pea shoots with a ginger shallot vinaigrette was amazing... fabulous portion and mouthful flavor

The barbecued sugar spiced salmon... wow, fantastic blend of spice and suite buttered onto a juicy salmon filet, served with garlic mashed potatoes and Chinese string beans...

For dessert, a chocolate semi-freddo white chocolate blend, topped with cracked toffee... phenomenal..

For a great meal and ocean views, head on over to Pacifica...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flavor - Del mar

The much anticipated latest addition to the Del Mar scene is Flavor. Taking center stage during the horse race season, decided to venture out to experience what all the rave was about. The simple yet sophisticated decor emphasizes white. Metallic and wood accents here and there, but white tables, backings and glass panorama overlook the L'auberge Del mar. On a clear sunny day, the outside patio would be ideal for a glass of wine under the sun and overlooking the ocean.

Simple but full of flavor is the name of the game here. Dishes are not overly complicated and there is a strong emphasis on seafood. Ironically, the array of salts brought out would have fared better with some rustic bread as the bread was forgettable.

For starters, the tuna crisps were sampled:

A 4inch thinly cut crisp topped with truffle oil, tuna and mixed greens. Tasty and delicious, sharing it turns it into an amuse bouche!

The tuna tacos, served with guacomole, red onions and micro cilantro were absolutely delicate-able. Perfect bite size appetizers to share:

The pear and persimmon salad of local greens came adorned with pomegranate seeds, pistachios and a lemon vinaigrette:

The big eyed tuna tataki dressed in daikon, avocado and a tomato ginger dressing :

For dessert, the panna cotta, a light and semi-custardy texture topped with strawberries and an ice cream topping:

the chocolate bar, a rich bar of chocolate served with vanilla ice cream and nutty toppings:
Flavor, with a star studded executive chef and ideal location of panoramic view of  Del Mar is setting the stage to make a splash. Just don't forget to bring the amex card as its a bit more pricey than local establishments.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Charisma -Hillcrest

A small new Italian restaurant that opened up near the ever popular Mo's bar on University avenue is Charisma. From the outside, the red interior is an attractive calling to come inside, with sidewalk opening glass doors that create an outside seating patio, the family owned restaurant prepares specialties from the southern parts of Italy, particularly with an emphasis of flavor from the Napoli region.

For a small environment, the interior has about 10-12 or so table, gets lively and cozy.

For starters, rich lentils soaked in olive oil are brought out with hot bread.

The fritto misto, a collection of tempura covered vegetables, shrimp and dates (?)...

The mussels and clam dish, baked Carlsbad mussels in a tomato broth with a piece of grilled bread..

The bruschetta, tomato, garlic and olive oil topped toasted ciabatta bread

The chicken cacciatore dish, a pasta and chicken piece layered with tomatoes cooked with onion and rosemary

the whole wheat penne, ricotta cheese, onions and garlic...

an eggplant pasta dish..  couldn't find the eggplant!

a special panna cotta... chocolate pudding consistency

a richly stuffed cannoli

Charisma offers inexpensive plates, a comfortable atmosphere and richly sauced pasta dishes. Be careful with the wine ordering, most wines are stored on top shelves that are subject to rising temperatures, discriminating palettes would not be impressed. Overall, the flavors are not overwhelmingly strong. Ideally, a student population would love this place. With one of the few restaurants in SD with adjoining outdoor patio overlooking in the street, we'll keep our paws crossed for it.