Category Archives: Food

There’s No Substitution.

While many appetizing descriptors come to mind, suffice to say this incredible mound of meat is worth every dollar, no matter how many more dollars it seems to command these days. There’s no substitution for steak tartare at the Polo Lounge. A true indulgence it continues to be!


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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in And That's My Opinion, Food, Restaurants


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The Dish That Never Fails


What the Musso & Frank Grill has done for almost 100 years, it continues to do flawlessly.  There’s just no going wrong here with liver and onions!  This impeccable dish never fails; it’s a delicious classic well worth the trip on any given day,

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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in And That's My Opinion, Food, Restaurants


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Between Excellent & Outstanding…

Opt for the descending cable car ride, or choose the many terraced steps through lush foliage. Either way, you’ll soon have arrived more than halfway down a pristinely landscaped waterfront embankment to the front door of a truly unique and captivating establishment. While architecture dazzles and decor delights– both outside and in– where you end up sitting makes all the difference, not between good and bad, but rather excellent and outstanding.


The seating decision, while a challenging one, likely came well before your arrival. After all, do you have dining reservations, might you be looking for a lighter bite, or are you simply en route to a refreshing oak-cask Negroni at the bar? In any event, all of these scenarios are welcome here at this impressive spot of social history, the one-and-only watering hole of its kind.

The tuna poke appetizer is surprisingly generous; the unfortunate fried chicken sandwich can be forgotten, and may you not be misled by the “ahi melt”– not the rare steak I anticipated, but rather just a fancier name for… you guessed it.  All this and much more is merely in the bar, on the Rock Room menu.  The main show gets underway in the dining room, with seating options spread out over three descending levels no less. (Remember: you entered mid-embankment; the water is still a ways down.) Here now to razzle-dazzle your palate comes the impeccable blackened lamb, taking the gold medal on the dinner menu, if I may say so. Alongside it comes such close competitors as “seafood campanelle”, osso bucco and the typically fail-proof prime rib, among all else– and believe me, there’s plenty “else.”


After the last bite and sip– be it lighter bar fare or no-holds-barred dining– your satisfaction has no excuse for being any less complete than mine, unless of course you insisted on that one tired chicken sandwich.  No matter what you eat and drink here, your ingestion is just half of the total experience, maybe two-thirds with the lamb, while the remainder comes in the unsurpassed architecture, layout and decor with which you’re surrounded.  Altogether, this is the standout establishment to patronize whenever you pass through Capitola, California. This is where ‘excellent’ is trumped only by ‘outstanding’. This is Shadowbrook.


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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Drink, Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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To a T.

Considering the more-than-generous portions at less-than-outrageous prices, with soup and salad courses included, alongside classicly well-poured libations, altogether it might just be the best deal in town.  After almost 60 years, this special dining spot clearly has it all down to a T.

Tee-Off Santa Barbara

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in And That's My Opinion, Drink, Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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“Seared” Into Memory…

There’s always a first time, and in this case it’s bacon and ahi tuna in the same bite.  These two distinct yet divergent ingredients lay the foundation for the single most delicious sandwich I’ve eaten in recent memory, if not ever!  Such a successful contrast of flavors really is like no other.

The Best.

The menu wording reads quite simply:  “Seared rare ahi tuna with avocado, grilled pineapple, bacon, red onion, island slaw and greens with wasabi aioli on toasted sourdough.”  What arrives before you:  Absolute bliss. The ahi tuna club at Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach wastes no time in proving itself a unique and delightful experience on the palate.  Then with the addition of a blackberry mai-tai, the deal’s done.  This meal “seared” itself into my discerning culinary memory.

Needless to say, a repeat sitting can’t come too soon.  May your own “taste” meet mine.



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A Bite & Sip of Old-School Santa Barbara

In good company...

You’re in good company here.

Richly flavorful as expected, and while not the single greatest version I’ve ever eaten, indeed a winning incorporation of bacon– chopped into small pieces and mixed evenly among the other main ingredients:  So went my most recent liver-and-onions dinner, this time in Santa Barbara.  It’s a weekly special at this location, served hot though not-quite-hot-enough to counter a rapid drop in temperature, at least in this instance.  As such I polished off my generous plate in a good clip, against the cooling clock that is.  (The arguable and subtle infraction was not enough to send it back.)

Meanwhile, service proved consistent and attentive, once the transition from bland bartendress to talkative table server was complete.  The history is on the wall– literally– and with so many decades of photos and other classic decor to take in, an entire afternoon of “indulgence” seems perfectly reasonable. The copious cocktails runneth over, as well they should– and in this delightfully old-school, red-boothed establishment always do.  And when the time finally comes, the robust coffee will have prepared you for your exit quite comfortably, as of course it did for yours truly, dessert notwithstanding.

Despite minor forgivable hiccups during a crowded dinner hour, my first visit can be considered a success.  I’m confident my imminent second trip to Harry’s Plaza Cafe will be even better.  Join me anytime for a bite and sip, assuming you can locate this discreetly situated local hideaway.

At Harry's...

As you take a seat and get started…


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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in And That's My Opinion, Drink, Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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One Sure Palate Pleaser. Or Two.

IMG_6819Call it a classic dish that never gets old, in an old establishment that’s never been more classic.  At least this is how I think of it.  And by virtue of the fact my favorite mouth-watering culinary creation– custom prepared tableside of course– famously stands the test of time on an ever-changing menu, my selection has been made well before I’ve arrived and sat down.

A raw hamburger patty this is not, yet raw it is.  Ordinary it’s never been, nor boring it ever will be.  In this case there are no others, as my longstanding indulgence shall remain so.  The next time you’re near The Beverly Hills Hotel while feeling the distinct onset of carnivorous adventure– or even if you’re cities away and need to schedule a special trip as I did– drop into the Polo Lounge for the steak tartare.  One sure palate pleaser it is, ready to satisfy any discerning red meat-based taste buds.

It’s even better, I shall go so far to say, than Paradise Cove’s scrumptious seafood burger, a uniquely robust compilation of surprisingly flavorful sea meat in the form of a soft, perfectly cooked patty.  But this is another story altogether; apples and oranges if you will, though easily another sure palate pleaser of superior standing. Altogether, yet again from one part of town to another, our food bases remain well covered!  You might get right on over to Malibu for a more casual early dinner after that tartare lunch has settled!


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Fine Dining: Savor It All for Yourself

Large cooked scallops tend to cool quickly.  Mindful of this culinary reality, you won’t want to devour such a decadent creation right away; rather, the robust combination of flavors and textures deserves to be steadily enjoyed throughout its inevitable temperature descent.  As creamed spinach, butter croutons and “citrus foam” team up with succulent sea meat on a spacious plate, in the company of thick crispy blocks of bacon, subtle oven-dried tomatoes and delightful dabs of salmon caviar, how could you possibly go wrong?

Maravilla's "Scallop BLT"

I myself am about to go wrong if I say more, because the reciting of these stunningly compatible ingredients seems to be compromising my writing concentration, leaving me yearning for another go at this exceptional entree.  As such I shan’t go on but to recommend your own selection of this curiously named “Scallop BLT” upon your visit.  The title proves deceiving, as what arrives before you is anything but a sandwich!

Maravilla's House Cured Salmon

First you need a starter course, of course.  Dare I suggest the above presentation of house-cured salmon adorned with olives, hearts of palm, breaded goat cheese and sea urchin vinaigrette– creatively unveiled on a “slab” fit for any fashionable kitchen– or is this just too much for you to contemplate from such a distance?  Skip to dessert shall I, to the lavender creme brulee, fireside even?  You’ll certainly want to top it off with some of the strongest and most satisfying coffee I’ve tasted in recent memory.

A Fireside Creme Brûlée

Anyone who says fine dining is dead has not experienced Maravilla at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.  To dine here is to experience an evening of sincere yet simple elegance.  The retelling of my pre-Christmas dinner reaches no quick end, as my numerous positive impressions abound– from selection, to service, to overall atmosphere, not to mention the welcoming bar to start off!  Altogether, Maravilla leaves me with a glow on my face, a growl in my stomach and a tighter button on my pants.  But why take my word for it?  Savor it all for yourself.

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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in And That's My Opinion, Food, Restaurants, Reviews, Travel


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Not My Last…

When heading far enough north on I-55 out of New Orleans, you’ll inevitably encounter one historical– and perhaps more importantly, tasty– site that’s a must-stop.  I speak of course of Middendorf’s, home of not just what’s been called “possibly the best fried fish in the world,” but also of what yours truly calls unique, delicious and downright worth the experience– the famous turtle soup!  While this month marked my first visit to the spirited yet understated establishment, along with my first taste of such a well-known delicacy, at least now I can say it’s definitely not my last, of either.  I have a feeling you’ll be saying the same.

Click for more photos.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Food, History, Restaurants, Travel


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When in Ojai…

Jimmy's Pub


Be it a bulging bleu cheese burger cooked deliciously rare, a copious crab roll crying out for a bit more flavor, an ample Absolut Peppar martini or simply a ready round of the gloriously garlic potato chips, choices abound.  The friendly service, peaceful atmosphere and comfortable accommodations come standard– whatever your selection might be.  

Jimmy’s Pub always awaits, stylishly yet quietly tucked away at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in And That's My Opinion, Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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Deliciously Covered

Along the many paths between San Francisco and Los Angeles come stops, the best of which involve food of course. From the signature calf’s liver at Westlake’s Grill on the Alley, to Monterey’s fine presentation of jumbo sea scallops at Passionfish, let’s just say the routes are deliciously covered. Luckily for my waistline, my birthday week comes but once a year. Where– and what– will you be eating during yours?

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Food, Restaurants, Travel


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Doing It Right.

The portions are large and the temperature hot!  While unfortunately this cannot always be said for many popular dining establishments, thankfully one of my San Francisco favorites knows what’s important.  My previous glowing review stands, even if liver is no longer a daily option.  From the rich and hearty beef bourguignonne to one sizable and flavorful marsala pork chop, my menu exploration will most certainly continue.  I highly recommend your own visit the next time you find yourself on the Marina-Presidio border.  It’s refreshingly clear that now after 40 years of practice, Liverpool Lil’s leads the way in doing it right.

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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Food, Restaurants, Reviews, San Francisco


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Avec Chevre…

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Daily Activities, Food, Travel, Videos


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One Delicious Deal

All You Can Eat!It doesn’t get better than this.  Well actually it does, if you go for the big meaty frog legs in the extensive hot section.  Either way, how can you possibly beat plate, after plate, after plate of all-you-can-eat sashimi, among all else no less, at Hokkaido Seafood Buffet in San Mateo?  Go ahead and try, but anywhere else you’ll surely spend far more than the going dinner rate of $20!  That’s right.  Stuff yourself silly with succulent raw fish, for less than the cost of gas to get there.  One delicious deal it is, hands down!  Good thing I don’t live next door.

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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Daily Activities, Food, Restaurants, San Francisco


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Always A Winner

For attentive, efficient and confident service, along with delightfully tasteful live music, an elegantly stunning bar display, and one of the most scrumptious filet mignons in town, Mastro’s Steakhouse is always a winner.  Ambiance, tone and overall presentation remained unmatched in my book, not to mention the large martini shaker remains on the table for your own copious second pour!   While I’ve yet to be hit with a less-than-thoroughly satisfying experience at Mastro’s, it’s a safe bet to say I never will, thankfully enough.

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in And That's My Opinion, Drink, Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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This Delicious Day in History

March 28:

37 – Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate.

845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.

1738 – English parliament declares war on Spain (War of Jenkin’s Ear)

1774 – Britain passes Coercive Act against Massachusetts

1776 – Juan Bautista de Anza finds the site for the Presidio of San Francisco

1794 – Louvre opens to the public

1799 – NY State abolished slavery

1845 – Mexico drops diplomatic relations with US

1866 – First ambulance goes into service

1881 – Greatest Show On Earth was formed by PT Barnum & James A Bailey

1885 – US Salvation Army officially organized

1910 – First seaplane, takes off from water at Martinques France (Henri Fabre)

1920 – Actor Douglas Fairbanks marries actress Mary Pickford

1933 – German Reichstag confers dictatorial powers on Hitler

1939 – Spanish Civil War ends, Madrid falls to Francisco Franco

1944 – Astrid Lindgren sprains ankle & begins writing Pippi Longstocking

1945 – Last German V-2 (buzz bomb) attack on London

1959 – China dissolves Tibet’s government

1960 – Pope John raises the first Japanese, first African & first Filipino cardinal

1974 – Ryan R. Sanderson is born

2012- A delicious and delightful lunch is enjoyed at the newly remodeled Hotel Bel Air, featuring steak tartar and sashimi salad, to celebrate Ryan’s 38th birthday.  Ryan rests very satisfied with the occasion and recommends the dining destination to all.

The healthy, relatively light and very well-presented sashimi salad is a must!

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Food, History


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Prosperity, Wealth & Good Luck

What better way to kick off the new year than by eating?!

According to Southern tradition, so I’m told, the first big meal of the year carries quite a bit of meaning.  As such, in my home tonight, thanks to the well-planned preparations of two Southern gentlemen, the lineup consists of pork for prosperity, cabbage for wealth, and black-eyed peas for good luck.

The meanings were explained to me and seem to make decent sense.  See for yourself if you can figure them out.  Suffice to say, my first dinner of 2012 has been beyond satisfying.  I hope and rather doubt, however, that such copious consumption will be a nightly trend this year.  Happy New Year!

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Daily Activities, Food


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Oh, Those Dollar Tuesdays

“Is it always this crowded?,” I asked the hostess.  “Usually not,” she replied, “but it’s Tuesday.”

It didn’t take long for me to agree with this collection of hungry patrons that an excellent deal was at hand.  At the same time, I asked myself how I could have walked past this spot so many times and not stopped in before now.  Better late than never though, as I’m now fully acquainted with the tasty treasure trove on the southwest corner of 14th and Market, otherwise known as Woodhouse Fish Company.

Fresh, flaky and substantial are my words for the fish n’ chips, a selection that immediately proves itself not only far superior to the equivalent in any nearby pub, but also more reasonably priced.  The salmon filet special in pesto with Brussels sprouts stands as nothing less than delicious, generous and satisfying.  Generally speaking, we’re talking pleasing portions for attractive prices, a conclusion backed up by my cross-table spotting of the crabcakes, the calamari and the shrimp pasta.  My yet-to-be-experienced ahi tuna burger is driving my hasty return, a meal for which I already have hopefully not-too-high expectations of true lusciousness.

Small tables are intimately positioned into a limited and somewhat awkward space.  The wine glasses seem far too small, quickly elevating beer as the better deal.  Still, as wiggle room and libation are secondary to the terrific food, these elements actually seem forgivable.

Even with a full house, service remains prompt, friendly and mostly attentive, despite a couple minor forgotten requests such as water and an extra plate.  Again, in this case a few details might just as well be overlooked, especially considering the speedy arrival of a third plate of the “Tuesday special.”

Oh yes, it’s Tuesday, dollar Tuesday to be exact.  One dozen large oysters on an ice-packed plate for $12 is a fabulous deal I have yet to see matched, at least in this neighborhood.

One-dollar oysters!  I’ll be back, as obviously will many others.


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Epic It Is.

An "Epic" sip and nibble.

My next out-of-town visitor could be in for a treat, of sorts.  The $5 “Sommeliers’ Selection” proves refreshingly drinkable, and while the delicious crab cake– or crab nugget as it could more appropriately be called– is a mere morsel, for only $3 who’s complaining?  Order another one!  For quantity over quality if you must, the bowl of potato curls and skins– while setting you back another $3– looks like the way to go.  This is Happy Hour after all, so indulge in some affordable doses of happiness while taking in a stunning Bay Bridge view that any tourist is sure to appreciate as much as I did.

4:30 seems like the ideal time to hit it, as seating should still be plentiful.  After 5:00, as the hungry and thirsty crowds pour in– combined with a somewhat awkward seating configuration– your body-parking choices and wiggle room will inevitably diminish.  Either way, that Happy Hour bar menu remains in full swing until 6:30.  And if you’re staying for a full dinner, well– that’s another blog post altogether!  Impressed I certainly was, as my impending guests likely will be.  Social, savory, scenic, and in more than name alone, it’s Epic.

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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“Not Bad”

Have you ever seen or tasted a fried chicken cake?  Actually it’s called a “chicken-n-waffles” cake to be exact, and for me this was indeed a first.  Different, rich and “not bad” are my words to sum it up.  If your taste buds are so inclined, you may wish to sample such creative baking for yourself — chicken cake and more — at Monet’s Cakes on 2nd Street and Mission in Downtown San Francisco.  I think I’m hearing something about chocolate and bacon as well.

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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Food


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A Refreshing Pair

The signature fried chicken, which is always on the menu, features California poussin with a perfectly salty, crispy buttermilk batter. Another must-try is the macaroni and cheese, which comes topped with a huge stack of onion rings… (Lily Ko,

A surprisingly refreshing partnership

These sound delicious, and I’ll gladly give them a try on my next visit.  On my first encounter this past weekend, however, I opted for the light, refreshing and healthy watermelon/tomato salad.  While no doubt this pairing is well-known in the culinary world, it’s not one I’ve contemplated before now.  Impressive and satisfying as my selection was, I just might have to creatively combine these two ingredients at home.

In the meantime, give the watermelon salad a whirl for yourself, as an appropriate palette-starter to that fried chicken.  Oh, and where?  The NE corner of 8th and Folsom, at Citizen’s Band.

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Food, Restaurants


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At 65…

Thinking of former President Bill Clinton on his 65th birthday today, I would have imagined he’d enjoy one of those chicken fried steak dinners I discussed earlier this week, if not a nice big filet or rib eye.  But no!  Nothing of the sort is in store for the now-health-conscious former burger lover on this occasion, or any occasion for that matter.  Bill has apparently, to my and perhaps your surprise, gone vegan!

I certainly recognize the need to adjust and monitor one’s diet in the wake of clogged arteries and bypass surgery.  At the same time, I must wonder if doing so really requires foregoing all items derived from animals.  Is this not taking healthy eating to the unnecessary and unenjoyable extreme?  There’s plenty of “good” meat in a healthy diet, no?  Even though he’s in far better health today than a decade ago,  Bill is now looking TOO thin, and dare I say older than his age.  At 65, he appears he could use a little…er… meat, on his bones.

But that’s just my carnivorous opinion.  Happy Birthday Mr. President, cigar or no cigar!


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Strike Out Ahead?

“The cuts of steak used for chicken fried steak are usually the less expensive, less desirable ones, such as chuck, round steak, and occasionally flank steak. The method is also sometimes used for chopped, ground, or especially cube steak.  Chicken fried steak is usually served for lunch or dinner topped with cream gravy, and with mashed potatoes and vegetables, and biscuits served on the side.”  (Wikipedia)

This one actually looks good!

I’m not sure exactly how they’re doing it here in San Francisco, and perhaps I don’t want to know.  Suffice to say, two recent chicken fried steak meals at two different neighborhood establishments have yielded two strikes.  Less-desirable meat indeed it was, so overcooked and gravy-soaked so as to satisfactorily disguise the possible dog or cat I was actually consuming.

This is par for the course, of course.  Expectations for any such preparation should understandably remain low.  After all, chicken fried steak is one of those typically greasy, calorie-ridden, artery-clogging forms of “comfort food” meant to be enjoyed as an occasional indulgence– one you know is bad for you but you’re going to treat yourself nonetheless.

So comes my point.  My two recent attempts at “comfort food indulgence” were not all that comfortable.  At the somewhat trendy Blue, the chicken fried steak was rather soggy, detached and bland.  Strike One.  At greasy spoon Orphan Andy’s, what emerged as a chewy, dried-out hockey puck fortunately did not leave any lasting effects.  Strike Two.

I know there has to be a decent “CFS” here in the City; it simply remains to be discovered.  Will the third time be a charm or a strike out?

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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Food, Restaurants


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The Winning Tangerine

If you’ve ever wondered what lamb lollipops and pea mash have in common, here’s your answer:

They both appear on the same menu of one very inviting and satisfying San Francisco dining establishment.  After numerous occasions of walking past the Castro-adjacent corner of 16th and Sanchez, examining the window-posted menu, and telling myself I need to give this place a go, last night it finally happened.  Excellent company in tow for an early (17:30) sitdown, Tangerine deliciously delighted our evening.

As you’ve certainly heard me say before, I always love a restaurant that instantly earns a return visit.  Unfortunately this is all too often not the case.  As such, after a couple rather forgettable meals in the same neighborhood over the past week alone, last night’s last-minute selection proved all the more refreshing.

Lamb lollipops, intriguing by name alone, come through as a creatively substantial though thankfully not-too-filling starter.  Butternut squash soup, rich in both flavor and portion, in itself might satiate a light consumer.  Tangerine’s fried calamari is nothing unusual, rather bland in fact, while their standard yet still-zesty whole romaine caesar salad lacks whole anchovies.  Both have their places on the table nonetheless.  My spicy seafood gumbo emerged a clear winner, striking a pleasing balance of salmon, shrimp, calamari and diced vegetables.  The most visually stimulating presentation of our meal was the large salmon fillet, nestled into a bed of richly seasoned pea mash that looks just like, well, pea green mashed potatoes!  So full were the three of us, that we regretfully passed on the coconut sorbet, this time.

Tangerine wins, and your dissatisfaction would come as a shock.  No doubt the pleasant staff will be seeing me again before too long.  Quite likely it will be on another Wednesday for that complementary glass of wine!

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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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Not Just Satisfied…

Spicy means spicy, and rare means rare.  Anytime these two vital culinary keywords prove themselves, I know I’ve found a dining establishment worthy of my repeat business.

The chicken curry is positively delicious, fire-breathing upon request of course, by far the best I’ve tasted in recent memory.  A half-fries-half-rice accompaniment works very well, yielding an overall portion that’s probably gargantuan for many, while nicely satisfying for yours truly.

The pepper cheese-jalapeno burger called out to me as well, or perhaps I should say it was mooing as the big rare patty arrived to the table, nestled in a soft, round sourdough bun, alongside a heaping mound of crisp mixed greens.  Having asked beforehand if the chef would walk the cow past the stove, the answer from the waitress was an immediate and emphatic “oh yes.”  I knew I was in the right place, even before discovering the weekly liver-n-onions special!

The fried calamari appetizer is standard fare, surprisingly modest in quantity.  Then again, you won’t want to fill up before your generous and carefully selected entrée.  You might join me in wishing for a garlic or chipotle aioli in place of the calamari’s basic cocktail sauce.

The fish-and-chips remain to be tried, as do the ribs, which hopefully won’t have run out next time.  If I don’t hit the right day for the liver, I’ll just have to hit the curry again, this time with shrimp.  Whatever the selection, it all gets washed down with one of many import drafts.  Be sure to have company with you, as did I, so as to sample and share more than one plate.

The large open space is instantly inviting, with plenty of bar stools and high-top tables to be had.  The numerous wall-mounted flatscreens allow you to see your sporting event from all angles, while the variety of country flags on the ceiling create a pleasant international flair.

I’m always love it when I’m not just satisfied, but thoroughly impressed, with my first visit to a neighborhood dining establishment, especially one in walking distance of my home that’s been on my list for some time.  I’ll back, sooner than later, to Martin Macks.


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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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On The Grill…

Of the several places around town that made my birthday yesterday quite memorable, my lunch spot definitely stands out.  After three months of intent, I finally dined, quite pleasingly so, at the historic Tadich Grill.

I expected to be satisfied.  My expectation was met, hands down.  The menu, while interesting in its extensive selection, was unnecessary; I knew my meal selection well in advance.  After all, Tadich’s version of my always favorite calf’s liver and onions awaited my comparison to the same dish at Little Joe’s.  Both preparations are delicious and unique unto themselves, excusing me from declaring one clearly better than the other.  Whereas Little Joe serves thinner multiple pieces in a rich sauce,  Tadich presents one very large and thick steak off the grill, adorned by a topping of rich sautéed onions.

For any and all of you liver lovers, Tadich Grill is a must.  If your palate calls for something else, your menu choices clearly abound.  My dining companion, for one, seemed to enjoy his very attractive and ample halibut steak.  A Negroni, overflowing in its old-school-sized glass, served as my chosen cocktail accompaniment, though naturally the full bar will accommodate your libation preference.

For its decades upon decades of history, Tadich reminds me very much of Hollywood’s Musso & Frank Grill.  If you know and appreciate Musso’s, you’ll certainly discover some positive words of your own on Tadich.  My next visit will come long before my next birthday, at which time I’ll expect to find even more good to share on the grill.

Tadich Grill menus are printed daily.

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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Food, Restaurants, Reviews


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Less for More?

It’s what happens when I’m away from West Hollywood for an extended period:  The Abbey remodels, expands, and changes its menu, again.

I don’t recall exactly the last time I visited the Abbey before my lunch yesterday.  Even when I still lived in L.A., my visits grew rare.  As such, it had been quite a while for me, as I arrived yesterday to multiple changes in progress.

The bathroom area expansion appears sensible and well designed.  The new VIP “peninsulas” may be the preferred place to sit, if you don’t need much table space.  I miss the island bar, though not nearly as much as I do the cozy lounging cabanas.  The latter have been replaced by large tables and bench seating, sans curtains.  It’s just not the same.

Also not the same is the menu, as it’s undergone yet another reinvention.  While the BLT and burgers remain ample in portion, the famous heaping pile of nachos has been cut down in size by almost half, now with a higher price to boot.  Don’t you just love getting less for more?  Thankfully, the martinis have not been scaled back, while holding steady at a barely-palatable $12.  I recommend the cucumber.

Perhaps I’ll pay another visit in a few months when I’m back in town again, at which time all the current rear bar construction will no doubt be complete.  Then, perhaps, the Abbey will have finally grown to its limit, or not.  I have a feeling the menu will look different, if not offering less for more.

And that’s my hungry and thirsty opinion.

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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Drink, Food, Restaurants


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Better Than Cow

More Than Moo...

My bison steak dinner at Big Four this past weekend was so deliciously satisfying, that it’s still on my mind three days later.  Several bison meals have generously satisfied my demanding hunger over the years, especially in Kansas where such meat rules the land.  I must go so far as to say, however, that Big Four’s preparation is definitely the best I’ve had to date.

Dense, lean and wonderfully intense in natural flavor, bison meat far outshines the best cut of any standard cow, if I may say so.  If you’re the adventurous, discerning and hungry carnivore that I am, a bison dinner should in no way disappoint you.  Certainly have it at Big Four if you’re anywhere near San Francisco.  Then, if you’re the home-cooked type, this useful website will come in handy. 

Bon Appetit!

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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Food, Restaurants


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Have a Bite…

They might be called the ultimate comfort food, definitely unique and delicious.  “Spicy Irish Potato Bites” at The Chieftain, those I discovered and briefly mentioned here back in November, seem to satisfy the most growling palate.  Just be sure to specify “well done” so that they’re not cold in the middle, as I learned the first time around.

More than what you might imagine as a “bite,” these clever pub morsels are large, deep-fried balls of mashed potatoes, complete with jalapeno pieces baked inside to earn their “spicy” label.  Five of them for $7.95 are a great and filling deal, especially on a cold rainy day when you find yourself anywhere near San Francisco’s northwest corner of 5th and Howard.

The bites don’t fail.  What does fail is the special $4.00 Bombay martini with which you might opt to wash down your bites.  Whether bartender skill or price justification, the pour level is horrifically low.  And if you’ve ever had a drink with me, you know my sensitivity to low pours!  To avoid such potential suffering, I recommend a draft, preferably a Killkenny, as the suitable bite accompaniment.

And this is just the beginning of a complete Irish Pub menu.  The corned beef, ahi burger and fish-n-chips await sampling and review.  Considering the Chieftain celebrates its first decade anniversary next month, now you have one more reason to pay a visit and have a bite!

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Food, Restaurants


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The Culinary Jackpot

Don’t you just love it when you try out a certain restaurant for the first time, and the meal is not just good but truly epic?  Such was the case for me last night, with my virgin visit to Little Joe’s on 5th and Mission.

All too often we give a new place a go, and the experience is… meh.  So when we do actually hit the culinary jackpot, it’s definitely an occasion to be celebrated and remembered.  Little Joe’s deserves plenty of celebration, that’s for sure!

I was on a spontaneous quest for a good liver and onions, as I simply had the craving and had not yet enjoyed the dish here in San Francisco.  After asking around and doing an internet search, my dining destination was quickly set.

Little Joe’s is an Italian restaurant, and let me remind you:  The Italians know how to feed us!  The portions are more than generous, as they should be.  The perfectly cooked liver, topped with mouth-watering sautéed onions, consumed the plate.  As such, my heaping side of hot kidney bean salad sat on its own.  Along came bread as well, and with it the most divine chopped garlic spread… intensely, fantastically garlicky, let me tell you!  The Chianti washed it all down smoothly.

Best liver in town, so far!

Suffice to say, I wanted a GOOD meal, and I hit the bullseye!  Not only was it good, it was refreshingly old school, and an epic experience that made my entire night.  You simply must head on over to Little Joe’s right away, especially if you love liver!  If not, you’ll have plenty from which to choose off of the extensive and reasonably priced menu.  The space is hopping with energy, comfortably filled with lively patrons seated around a scattering of intriguing pictorial history on the walls.  My only suggestion to Little Joe’s is that they dim their bright ceiling lights a bit, as it would enhance the ambiance all the more.

Absolutely, divinely, beyond delicious.  I hit the culinary jackpot.  May my next dining discovery be this perfect!

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Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Food, Restaurants


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