Archive for March, 2012

Cyrus Restaurant – Healdsburg, California

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

By Sandy Driscoll

The Bar at Cyrus

Cyrus Restaurant
29 North Street
Healdsburg, CA  95448
Phone:  707.433.3311
Hours:    Thursday thru Monday, 5:30-9:30 pm

As one of only a few restaurants in the USA which has been given two Michelin stars, Cyrus is the quintessential
special occasion restaurant destination in the beautiful California Sonoma wine country.

With too many accolades to list here, Cyrus offers a choice of a five or eight course tasting menu.  Although one
can order a la carte in the bar area, the tasting menu is the way to go for a splendid dining experience.  Formal and
beautifully orchestrated service and food come together to make for a memorable evening.

Our party of four was celebrating a birthday, and the chef and servers produced three lovely surprise and unique
birthday desserts with a flair that had all of us smiling.  Scattered among our eight courses were several little
‘gifts’ and amuses…….delicious tastes that appeared just at the right time.   This is a dining experience that takes
an entire evening, is fun, beautiful and memorable.   Each of us was also given a printed menu….. a memento of
all the courses we had, 18 in all!

A tour of the kitchen at the end of the evening gave us a behind-the-scenes view that made the evening complete.

Lobsters in the prep kitchen (a separate building) All images copyright 2012 by Sandy Driscoll & Restaurant Dining
The very busy well organized kitchen

In the kitchen with Chef Douglas Keane

Pelo Del Perro Cocktail – Charbay Blood Orange Vodka, Chinaco Blanco Tequila, Agave Nectar,Grapefruit  Foam, Sea Salt,
Grapefruit & Lime Juices, Vitamin B 12

Chestnut and Sherry Soup with Chestnut Confit, Fennel Cream

Kampachi Sashimi with Ice Plant, Kumquats and Sweetbreads, Matcha Vinaigrette

Roasted Lobster with Cauliflower Cream, Uni Emulsion

Carrots, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage with Pumpernickel and Horseradish

Foie Gras Torchon with Blood Orange and Pistachio

John Dory with Braised Romaine, Yuzu Kosho Butter

“Nakamura Miso” Glazed Tofu with Parsnips and Pickled Goji Berries

42 Hour Short Rib with Potato, Mustard Greens and Crimini, Sauce Bordelaise

Crispy Chicken Thigh with Truffled Risotto and Celery, Parmesan Froth with Shaved Black Truffles

Hot Farina Fritters

BIrthday guest Rod watches as the waiter prepares a very special dessert!

Yuzu Cremeux, Bergamot Meringue and Cream Cheese Ice Cream  (One of the most memorable tastes I’ve ever had!)

Dinner guests Karen and Rod with their Cyrus gift bags containing Mignardises
for the following day!




Will Cork Wine Stoppers Be a Thing of the Past?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A corked wine smells disagreeable and musty

In the 1950s several US and Australian wineries started implementing screw caps on inexpensive wines for economic reasons. These days wine spoilage in bottles with cork stoppers has been found to be due to tainting of corks by a chemical compound called trichloroanisole (TCA). Presently, 10% of cork stoppers are suspected of being infected with TCA, and in a recent tasting by Wine Spectator in Napa they found 7% of the wines tasted were “corked”. This is a threat that might signal the end of cork wine bottle stoppers.  There have been accusations from the cork producers that bottles with synthetic closures may be prone to another aroma taint: sulphidisation, which arises from the reduced oxygen supply which concentrates sulphurous smells arising from universal preservatives but this has not been entirely proven. The image of opening a bottle of fine wine sealed by a screw cap closure in a top restaurant is an unpleasant thought, at least in my mind. However, it is certainly nothing new, as in many fine restaurants in Switzerland (Swiss wines are mainly sealed by screw cap closures) they have been doing exactly that for many years now, and everyone has accepted it as standard practice.

Amarone Wine Dinner, Beccofino Restaurant, Saturday 31 Mar. 2012 – Bangkok

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Hana Yakitori – Bangkok

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The “smoking section”


2/10 Sukhumvit Rd. Soi 41,
Klonton Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok 10110
Tel/Fax: 02 662 4632

This small twin-floored restaurant has a yakitori counter on the lower level and table seating upstairs; the room sends out the right message—warm, comfortable and strikes a good balance between lively and peaceful. The cooking is all right too, however where I have a bone to pick is about the pours of Sake or Shochu, which by any standards are unreasonably puny and left me wanting to ask, “If we like this taste, will you serve us a real drink?” That quibble aside—and by the way, is also easily fixable by management if they wish to do so—everything went smoothly.


Le Jardin, A Garden Bistro – Bangkok

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Le Jardin

138/1 Thonglor Soi 11 Sukhumvit Soi 55
Bangkok 10110
Tel. 02 381 2882

After a few mistrials over a couple of years I was beginning to think it would never happen, and then, voila, thanks to the newly installed Belgian chef, this small garden bistro has evolved into a more than adequate bistro. The cooking, if not brilliant is at least consistently and eminently edible, and this is a very welcome surprise after such a long, long wait.

Spa Athénée, Hôtel Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel – Bangkok

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Bar Su: Yering Station, Victoria, Wine Tasting, 22 Mar 2012, Thursday,19:30-22:00 hrs. – Bangkok

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Los Angeles Times Has Dropped Its Star Rating System – Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


Culinary Tidbits . . . As of this week The Los Angeles Times will no longer use the star rating system when critiquing restaurants. Due to the wide differences between various venues today; from Food Trucks to Fine Dining. It is no longer possible to use a stars rating system to assess such a vast array of different dining styles, they stated. I think it was the right decision!

Barbican, Meet at the Barbican for Earth, Wind & Fire Concert – Bangkok

Friday, March 9th, 2012

A Taste of France, Le Meridien/Plaza Athenee, 8 Mar 2012 – Bangkok

Thursday, March 8th, 2012