Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Napa Valley: Lovely Lunch at Redd

My college roommate and fellow foodie Emily suggested going to Napa Valley for lunch on Friday while I was in SF and so kindly took the day off work to play with me. She suggested Redd and I was so pleased with our meal.

The restaurant has a simple but interesting decor. I especially liked the look of wood on the floors and ceilings.

Caramelized Diver Scallops with Cauliflower Puree, Almonds, Balsamic Reduction, appetizer portion: $14. Such a stunning dish. The scallops were perfectly cooked and had just the right texture to them. The cauliflower puree and balsamic reduction were also done very well and wonderful complements to the scallops.

Glazed Pork Belly with apple puree, burdock, soy caramel, $13. There were such great reviews of this on Yelp, but we were both disappointed by it. It tasted a bit too salty to me, and it didn't stand out against the other pork belly dishes served at standard Chinese restaurants.

Crisp Duck Confit with lentils, foie gras meatballs, crispy spaetzle, $24. The texture of the duck was definitely comparable to carnitas; so amazingly tender and flavorful. I also liked how the meat was served without the bone. It made the dish very easy to split and eat. I couldn't really taste the foie gras in the meatballs, but I was so pleased with the duck that it didn't matter too much.

6480 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

San Francisco: Smitten Ice Cream

I was in San Francisco this past weekend for my cousin's wedding, and I managed to squeeze in lots and lots of great food in Napa Valley, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale! One of my cousins brought us to Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley, which everyone must try.

We visited Smitten Ice Cream following a great brunch at Zazie. I was quite full from pancakes, but the sound of made-to-order ice cream was really appealing. The ice cream is made of fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and was truly the smoothest ice cream I've ever had.

The flavors change seasonally. When we were there, the choices were tcho chocolate, vanilla, earl grey with milk chocolate chips, and olive oil with lavender shortbread.

The ice cream maker known as Kelvin. The founder developed Kelvin, and it only takes 60 seconds to make the ice cream from scratch. The maker runs on liquid nitrogen.

Earl Grey with chocolate chips, kiddie size, $3. Such a strong earl grey flavor, and really the most amazing smooth texture. The chocolate chips were very thin and crunchy.

There were a few food trucks next door to Smitten serving pizza and steak. On the other side of the ice cream shop is a beer garden. A great place to spend a sunny Saturday.

432 Octavia Street, Ste 1A (between Fell St & Linden St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone number: (415)863-1518


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Monday, March 5, 2012

Contorno's Restaurant Opening

It was a week and a half ago that my sister and I attended the opening of Contorno's Restaurant, and I am still thinking about how great the food was. Contorno's Restaurant is a rustic Italian restaurant located near Herald Square. The event was done very well, with such a smooth flow of passed hors d'oeuvres, that we were rarely left waiting for the next dish.

My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed every single thing we tasted. I'll share the dishes we particularly loved...

Crostini: Gorgonzola & Fresh Honey Comb on Toasted Raisin Walnut Ciabatta. A terrific appetizer of sweet & savory on the freshest lightly toasted ciabatta.

Old Fashioned Chicken Veal Meatballs served over a chick pea puree, finished with a veal reduction. So deliciously tender and juicy. Most definitely comparable to the meatballs I adore at Beauty & Essex.

Home made Spaghetti with GrandMa Buico Tomato Sauce. Home made spaghetti is such a lovely comfort food. The al dente texture was so perfect. My sister was addicted to this dish.

Milk Chocolate & Pistachio Tart. I couldn't really taste the pistachio in this, but the milk chocolate was delightful, and the tart tasted home made. It crumbled exactly how fresh tarts should, and even though my sister and I agreed to split this, I probably finished off two thirds of it.

New York Cheesecake. And yet another outstanding dessert. I'm not even such a fan of cheesecake, but this really knocked my socks off.

The restaurant is located in the new boutique Holiday Inn--
30 West 31st Street (between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10001
Phone number: (212)760-0301


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