Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dining in San Francisco

I just got back from San Francisco last night. My little 3 day vacation was a nice break, I spent most of it stuffing my face full of good food.

Arrived in San Francisco on Sunday. Met up with Cam for lunch at Cheesecake Factory and then headed up to Sonoma Valley for a scenic drive. Cam rented a BMW 325i zipcar and we had an adventure trying to figure out how the car worked. We went for a wine tasting at Kunde Estate. The vineyard was beautiful! It was a massive estate of well-manicured vines sprawling across hills. There were also some interesting caves on the estate, but we didn't get a chance to. They also had a patio with a small lake with some decorative fountains. It was amazing!
After that, we headed over to St Helena in the Napa Valley and went to Tra Vigne by Cam's suggestion. Their pizza was excellent. The Arctic Char I ordered was damn excellent. I actually think it was salmon since it was pinkish. It was so soft it practically melted off my fork.

Went for lunch on monday at Scala's Bistro. Their lunch menu includes their staple "Earth and Turf" appetizer which is one of their popular dishes with a delish calamari. The Salsiccia pizza and Lamb Risotto we got weren't as stellar as usual. This trip to Scala's was a letdown.
Mmm dinner however, on the other side of town, also by Cam's suggestion, we dined at Foreign Cinema. The food was absolutely exquisite. I think this was my most favorite dining experience for the whole trip. The restaurant is a very expressionistic display of art and architecture. The dining area was split into 3 wings. The first is a standard indoor area with beautiful walls lined with classic paintings and a relaxed atmosphere. The second is an open air patio surrounded by concrete buildings giving it an artsy-urbanesque motif. Lastly, the third wing, which I didn't really get a chance to see, is an art hall with modernist paintings. The name of the restaurant stems from the fact that the hallway of the entrance leads up to the restaurant as if it is like a movie theatre; they also have a foreign film which they play(The English Patient, for that night) during the evening on one of the walls in the open dining area.
The oysters were a little on the small side, but sumptuous. We ordered a combination of Buckley Bay, Kumamoto, and Malpeque. We also tried the Steamed Mussels with Thai coconut curry sauce. The green curry sauce was very refreshing, I'm used to eating curry that's either creamy so that it's flavorful, or it's too watery and bland. The curry they served though, was a very light and mostly watery mixture, but gave enough flavor to give it a distinct kick without being creamy. It tasted great with the bread too.
I obviously had to go with the Hawaiian Tuna. I give their Seared Ahi a 9.5 rating. The sauce didn't have enough kick and wasn't at all flavorful. The slices of tuna also had just a bit too much seared. However, the slices were big enough so that the very soft Ahi could still be enjoyed with the its tender flaky texture.
Damn... the dessert! Lavender creme brulee is just a classic. The "Chocolate pot de crème with crinkle cookies" was chocolate diabetes in a cup, and boy was it MMM MMMMMMM good. I forgot what kind of crumble pie Cam got, some type of berry.... boysenberry? was just right. A little bitter, mixed with the vanilla ice cream and the crumble of the pie, is out of this world.
10/10 for Foreign Cinema. DAAAAAYMNNN!

I'm falling asleep here, I'm not done yet and i'll add on later.

We went for lunch on the following day at the food court in Westfield San Francisco down on Market St. The choices were excellent. It had a good variety of different cuisines, but also the quality was above average. This is a more upscale, higher-end food court with good food. The steakhouse, Buckhorn Grill, gives out free samples and if I hadn't already ordered my BBQ Ribs from Asqew Grill, I probably would have gotten their Tritip Sirloin.
The food isn't all that's high quality, the rest of the mall is pretty upscale with a Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and other smaller name brand boutiques.
OH YES! They have Beard Papa too! Best cream puffs anywhere!

No comments: