Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

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!




Terra & Terra Bar, Ame Restaurant – Napa, San Francisco

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The exterior of Terra, located in the “Wine Country” in Napa Valley

1345 Railroad Ave.
St. Helena, California 94574
Tel. (707) 963-8931
Hours of operation: Wednesday through Monday, Dinner only,
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM weekdays; 6:00PM to 9:30PM weekends.
Reservations: Call (707) 963-8931 or reserve online
Owners: Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani
Founded: 1988

Terra has been around since the eighties and I fondly remember dining there just after its opening and found the cooking to be splendid and the decor and design very pleasant and comfortable. In more recent times it has won Michelin honors for the years:  2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011; San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Restaurants, 2011.

Hiro Sone along with his wife and co-owner Lissa Doumani, who is the daughter of Carl Doumani, owner of Stags’ Leap Winery and a one-time restaurateur, opened Terra in St Helena in 1988. In 1982 she had talked her way into a pastry apprenticeship at Wolfgang Puck’s renowned restaurant Spago Hollywood, in spite of the fact that she had little formal training. Under the tutelage of famed chef and baker Nancy Silverton, she came into her own and secured a position as pastry chef. It was here that she met her future husband and business partner Japanese chef Hiro Sone, who was training to open Spago Tokyo.

After a two-month stay in Tokyo and a rekindling of her romance with Hiro she and the Japanese chef returned to Los Angeles to start a life together. Hiro oversaw the kitchen at Spago Hollywood, while Lissa took a position as pastry chef at Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurant 385 North, and received rave reviews.

In 1988 she and Hiro opened Terra in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, which became a nationally acclaimed restaurant. Since that time she has greeted guests, overseen the accounting, orchestrated the décor and staff, and impressed guests nightly with delicious and refined desserts.

In November 2005, the couple opened Ame in San Francisco where they continue to delight guests with the signature taste of their wine country restaurant. Today her precision management and attention to detail is a primary reason that after 15 years in business Terra is still one of the most cherished dining experiences in Napa Valley, and why Ame in San Francisco is sure to follow.

Laura Chenel Founder of Laura Chenel’s Chèvre – Sonoma, California

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
image credit: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

I met Laura Chenel at a food exposition in Texas, where we both were in a booth displaying our products from California in the early 1980’s, when I was President of Cruvinet.  She is the founder of Laura Chenel’s Chèvre in Sonoma, California who established goat cheese in America. I was familiar with her cheese and found it on par or better than many French equivalents.

In 2006, she sold her business to a family-owned French firm, The Rians Group that makes AOC name-controlled (appellation d’origine controlee), French cheeses. They sent two young French women to Sonoma to run the company: Marie Lesoudier as general manager and Isabelle Dion as cheesemaker.

The completion of an all-new and larger creamery has given the Sonoma facility maturing rooms that will allow cheesemaker, Dion to produce more aged goat cheeses, a category of cheese that has not been made in quantity at Laura Chenel until now.

Alhough Laura Chenel sold her goat cheese company, she is keeping the 500 goats at her farm and is selling the milk to her former company.

Letting go physically and psychologically of a company you have owned and founded is never easy, but this sale seems to be a perfect match as both seller and buyer vow not to change the cheese. Outwardly, it seems everything is intact six years on, if the quality of the cheese is any gauge.

Fancy Food Show, Jan 15-17, 2012, Moscone Center – San Francisco

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Nan Korean Restaurant – San Francisco

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

By Carole Chung

Nan Korean Restaurant

560 Fillmore Street at Geary
San Francisco, CA 94115-3516
Tel.(415) 441-9294
Opening Hours: 5pm-midnight Mon-Wed; Thurs – Sun 5pm-2am
Credit Cards: Yes


A type of Korean Beer Hall where plates of steaming, spicy Korean home-style food is served with icy beer to what appears to be mostly a crowd of twenty-something Koreans. The music is Korean Pop and played quite loud, which became annoying. Their signature dish Bulgogi Pa-Jeon $12.95, a pancake with slices of sweet marinated beef and whole scallions,  is very good.

$100 Burger from Umami, Foie Gras and Truffles

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Umami Foie Gras & Truffle Burger

A thick slice of foie gras and a quarter inch of truffles! $100

Minimum 25 persons at the restaurant and minimum of 50 persons for delivery at home and they will throw in the French fries! You have to call a manager at your location of choice and set up a private party in advance.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras President: “California Ban Ridiculous”

Monday, October 31st, 2011

How Can You Enforce It? . . .   Matter Of Time Before Repeal . . . Backing By Animal Activists With Millions

There has been so much talk, both pro and con, going on about the upcoming (July 2012) foie gras ban in California.  Farm Sanctuary (basically a well funded Animal Rights lobby) was the instigator of the Chicago ban on foie gras (later repealed) and is also behind the California ban signed into law by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was instrumental in the Wolfgang Puck (Spago) ban on foie gras a few years ago and the veggie burger addition to Burger King’s offerings among others.

California Chefs Consider Foie Gras Ban Challange  Article

Michelin restaurant takes foie gras off menu after vandalism attack  Article

Fighting for Foie Gras at Animal


California Foie Gras Ban July 2012 – California

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

In July of 2012, California will ban the sale and production of foie gras. The selling of the velvety delicacy after July 2012 could result in a $1,000 fine. California should think twice before implementing this law. Remember how Chicago lifted the two-year ban on foie gras which, Mayor Richard Daly had said was the “silliest ordinance” the city council had ever passed and made Chicago “the laughingstock of the nation”.

Where will this stop? Restaurant owners worry that lobster, veal, and even eggs might not be too far behind on the “to be banned” list.


Fighting for Foie Gras at Animal

California Foie Gras Ban

Chez Panisse’s Fortieth Anniversary – (Berkeley) San Francisco

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

chez-panisse40 Years of Chez Panisse, available now at booksellers

The Grand Opening ceremonies took place earlier where Governor Jerry Brown said a few words, on August 26th 2011, at the Berkeley Art Museum, and a dinner party was given afterwards for a small group of friends at Chez Panisse. Amazingly,  Jeremiah Tower was one of the guests at the table, which means they must have put past quarrels, about who was responsible for creating California Cuisine aside.

The San Francisco Chronicle has run a protracted article about 40 years of Chez Panisse, offering lots of information here.

Christmas Eve at A16 Restaurant – San Francisco

Saturday, November 27th, 2010


Feast of Seven Fishes at A16 for Christmas Eve, Friday December 24th 2010

Please join us this Christmas Eve when we will be celebrating the Southern Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes. We have extended our hours on Christmas Eve, serving food and wine continuously from noon until 9pm. We are currently accepting reservations for our four course tasting menu begining at 4PM.  A celebratory a la carte menu may be enjoyed at our bar and by those preferring not to make a reservation, throughout the day. Begining at 4pm, our reservations will be participating in the four course Feast of Seven Fishes tasting menu. Our heartfelt good tidings for a wonderful holiday season, we hope you can join us!

Happy Holidays from all of us at A16!!