San Francisco – Quince

K and I decided earlier this year to head to SF to visit friends and eat, too bad most of our friends went out of town for the long weekend. On the upside when my parents heard they invited themselves along as it’s their 45th wedding anniversary and would be paying for a fancy meal. I wasn’t going to complain.

The meal lasted over three hours and we could barely move once it was over. I somehow had room to eat most of their mignardises. Everything was exceptionally good although I felt the halibut wasn’t anything special by itself and one had to get lot of sauce for it to taste great. My favorites were the asparagus, especially when dipping the mozzarella filled bread in the excess sauce, and the garganelli.


Canape: gougere, onion rings, pea pillow, parmesan marshmallow and two things I don’t remember anymore


Trumpet mushroom, salt cod fritter


Tsar Nicoulai Caviar: brioche, kohlrabi, smoked sturgeon


Dungeness Crab: asparagus, green almond, green strawberry


Springtime in Bolinas



White Asparagus: morel, vin jaune



Garganelli: maine lobster, english pea, scallion


Halibut: fiddlehead fern, wild ramp, chanterelle mushroom


Foie Gras


Agnolottini: squab, fava bean




Milk Fed Lamb: potato, nepitella, black garlic


Grilled lamb


Verjus: rose geranium, lemongrass


Strawberry: smoked coffee caramel, meringue


Gift for their anniversary


Mignardises: lemon bar, shortbread cookie, canele, ginger truffle, financier


Seattle – Altura

My parents were in town for some good food and wine touring. I had been talking up Altura since K and I went almost a year ago and I’d say it lived up to their expectations. My dad said he liked it better than EMP although when pressed why, his answer flabbergasted my mom and me. The menu was familiar but different enough to not feel like a repeat. My dad and I got the additional pasta carbonara with truffles shaved on top which was very good but not my favorite dish of the night, the scallop and risotto were.


King Salmon – beet and horseradish, golden trout roe, dill pollen


Sea Urchin – parsley root canoli, spruce tips


Steelhead Roe – fennel panna cotta, smoked with madrona


Asparagus Variations – osetra caviar


Foie Gras – Sicilian pistachio, whipped campari


Pink Baked Scallop – meyer lemon, wild onion


Beef Crudo – marrow roasted beets, pickled ramps, parmesan


Carnaroli Risotto – fennel sausage, peas, castelmagno


Darrell’s Bread – salumi, favetta


Farro Tagliatelle – duck egg, pecorino, perigord black truffle


Wood Sorrel Sorbetto – prosecco granita, rhubarb tapioca


New York Strip – foraged mushrooms, wild greens


Halibut Roasted in Wild Onion Ashes – radish


Duck Brodo – infused with charred radicchio and pine


Buratta – crispy nettles, ramp leaves


Mascarpone Cheesecake – meyer lemon, sour plum, woodruff


Affogato – mascarpone gelato, cannoli, grappa soaked cherry



Seattle – Food Truck Tacos

Two days, two different food truck festivals to vie for the best taco. Most of the trucks don’t normally offer them to it’s fun to see what they can come up with, my favorite on each day was the same truck Nosh which normally does fish & chips. Fish tacos not too far out there and I think they should have it on menu all the time since just need to have tortillas and slaw to put on top, nothing too crazy. Chopstix’s spicy pork belly bun was also very good but we had a debate on if it could count as a taco since it wasn’t in a tortilla. I argued it could since the bun could be thought of as a thick tortilla of sorts but then by that logic a hot dog bun could be too, so where is the taco line drawn? Just for good measure had a Hainan chicken rice too since it’s so good for something so simple yet hard to perfect.


Nosh – fish taco


Chopstix – spicy pork belly (L) and peking duck


Bomba Fusion – beef bulgogi


Han’s Chicken Rice – popcorn chicken


Buddha Brothers – spicy pork (L) and Kalua pork carnitas


Han’s Chicken Rice – Hainan chicken rice

Seattle – Eden Hill

After a short trip to Woodinville to do some wine tasting, we headed over to Eden Hill. With four of us we ordered all but one savory dish and since I’m a semi-regular chef Max sent out a few freebies so we ended up with 10 courses, didn’t take a picture of the salad dish.
My parents both like the cauliflower the best while I’m torn between the pate and octopus. K liked the quail the most and we all thought the oysters fell a bit flat. If everything on plate eaten in one bite it was interesting but the oyster itself had too much breading and not, if any, enough seasoning.


Cauliflower “chilaquiles” – serrano and lovage hot sauce, red cabbage curtido, lime crema, manchego


Quileute salmon mi cuit – kumquat, red sorrel, calamansi, spiced vanilla vinaigrette, roasted new potatoes


Chicken liver pate – sauternes pickled foie gras, northwest syrup, toasted coffee rye, walnut


Salmon mousse – radish, bread


Kumamoto oysters


Crispy pighead “candybar” – prosecco, d’anjou pear, fermented black bean, merlot pickled red cabbage, serrano


Fried pacific oysters – sweet and sour apple, black garlic mayonnaise, wobble cart spinach, apple, almond


Spanish octopus – dark chocolate and plum mole coloradito, sunchoke, ancho, seaweed tepanade


Pan roasted quail – charred asparagus, black morel, tomato preserve, poultry glace, soft egg, agour

Portland – Beast

I had been wanting to try Beast for a while since I knew it would be a great meal, but it turned out to exceed our expectations. The pasta course was by far our favorite, the pasta texture was almost perfect (I thought a bit more al dente would have been better) and the pork ragu was sublime even if there wasn’t much of it. Seating at the restaurant is two large tables and we were across from a lovely couple from Hawaii who like us loves to travel to eat. They were even coming back on Sunday for Beast’s famous brunch. Our second favorite course was the asparagus and cheese, K isn’t a huge fan of burrta but loved it so much insisted I make this dish at home.


Bay shrimp amuse


Verjus cured halibut crudo – smoked olive oil aioli, gem lettuce & cherry belle radish, bottarga


Spinach garganelli – milk braised pork ragu, collard rapini, mustard blossoms, parmesan


American wagyu hanger steak – butter poached new potatoes, roasted viridian farms calcots, pickled maitakes, sherry demi glace


Salad of grilled and raw shaved asparagus – burrata, shasta gold mandarins, min, pine nut-brown butter vinaigrette


Machego media curado – marinated fennel, wild miner’s lettuce, quince paste, espelette baguette cruton


Rhubarb-jasmine profiterole – jasmine ice cream & rhubarb sorbet, roasted rhubarb, matcha pistachios, poppy seed meringues


Foie gras bon bon

Whidbey Island – Willowood Farm Benefit Dinner

On the evening of March 6th, 2017, a devastating fire destroyed the historic Smith Barn, along with the livelihood of the Smith Family and Willowood Farm. While I knew nothing about the farm, I knew many of the restaurants they supply and this was very sad news to hear. Many of her chefs quickly began talking to each other and Willowood’s owner to see what they could do. This was one of the first benefit dinners and I made the trek to Whidbey Island for the first time to show my support. The evening lasted over four hours but felt faster with all the great conversation to be had. Each chef gave a brief talk about their connection to Willowood and one consistent theme is how the farm connects so many disparate people into a family.


Radish and black cod roulade – horseradish chantilly


Head cheese – sauce gribiche, green onion


Parsnip & celery root shooter – urfa chili, fennel oil


Prosciutto – ricotta, basil pesto, pickled sweet peppers, miners lettuce, rye crisp


Grilled octopus – chermoula, oil cured olives, belgian endive, cilantro


Brown butter parsnips – parmesan, salumi culatello


Grilled rabbit – creamy young leeks, rhubarb, chanterelle, thyme


Clams – creole rice, maple brined pork belly, salsify, green onion, radish


Buckwheat polenta dumpling – wild mushrooms, pork bolognese, onions


Raspberry blueberry cheesecake pops, lemon zeppole, vanilla cremeux citrus vanilla compote


Seattle – Staple & Fancy Renzell Dinner

Renzell is a new app trying to provide data driven ratings from its user base that I’ve been contributing to since I found out about it late last year. Unlike Yelp they aim to have a more objective rating system that provides valuable data back to the restaurants. They have events in their cities where members can redeem their points for events and this was the first one in Seattle.

Dinner was basically the same as their standard tasting menu which at $55/person is one of the best deals in town. Had a bunch of appetizers, a few pastas, one main and a dessert. Was a fun evening talking to other members who are passionate about food and debating which restaurants need to be added to Renzell’s list in the next update.