Friday, June 10, 2005

Quick Bites

photograph picture of the San Diego Skyline including the Ball Park

photograph picture of Chive logo in San Diego photograph picture of Tartine logo in San Diego photograph picture of Rice logo in San Diego

photograph picture of Soleil@K logo in San Diego photograph picture of Cafe Bassam logo in San Diego photograph picture of Cafe 222 logo in San Diego

If only I had time to write about everywhere I eat in full detail. But sometimes I don't have time, or don't want to make notes. Here are a few recent Bay Area eating summarys. The results of a few special occasions we have been having Chez Becks & Posh.

Bix & Helmand Down Town/North Beach, San Francisco
When my ex-roomate visited from her new home in LA for the weekend recently
she asked me to help organize a Saturday night out for a crowd of a
dozen or so friends. We started with a drink at fancy supperclub Bix between
North Beach and The Financial District. You might need to take out a
second mortgage to buy a drink here, but you will find yourself in
beautiful surrounds. We arrived at around 8pm when there was still plenty
enough room to bagsie a decent spot at the bar. If you don't like that
chi-chi kind of place, you should still nip in there for a few seconds
one day, if only to admire the beautiful art, especially the picture of
the ballerina and the clown stealing an illicet looking kiss.
Casual dinner for that many people certainly requires something cheaper
than Bix. We made our way a couple of blocks up the hill to Broadway and
Helmand, the Afghan restaurant, where we had a reservation for 9.15pm.
The meal was great. We asked them to to bring us a selection of
appetizers which they duly did. The food just seemed to keep on coming.
Check out anything pumpkin. When it comes to entrees, my favourite is the plate of moist and meaty, delicious lamb chops. Between us we had half a dozen or so bottles of wine and the bill still only came to $32 per person including a tip. Bargain. Almost cheaper then a round of drinks at Bix. After dinner we went to our secret 'best-spot-in-the-city' for an impromptu karaoke session at 50cents a song. My friends told me that absolutely no way am I allowed to blog about this place. One day I will disobey them, but until then I'll have to keep you guessing, sorry.
Helmand is

Oola SoMa, San Francisco
Fred and I revisited Oola to celebrate the two year anniversary of the day we met. We could have used the date as an excuse to splash out and go to one of those fancy schmancy places I am always long to try like Manresa or the Fifth Floor or Michael Minna. But when we discussed it, we realised we both just wanted to go somewhere we would feel comfortable and know we would have fun. We booked Oola on Opentable where we added a request in the comments section for the most romantic table . Oola did us proud by providing us with a private balcony booth, complete with curtains so we could hide away from the other diners. As for the food - briefly - a lobster wanton dish was very disappointing. Foie gras was charmingly shaped like a fig and then dipped in a thin layer of jelly which made it look even more like the fruit it was immitating. Quirky and fun, this rendition of the pate tasted pretty good too. The waiter told us that the best foie gras is to be had at the newly opened Monte Cristo, so we'll have to try that out some time. The Ribs, my perennial favourite, were just as sweet and sticky as ever with the meat falling right off the bone. Fred was not so enchanted with his burger this time around, but the three cheese course, with imaginitive accompaniments made up for the lack of temptation on the dessert menu. Overall we had fun, but admit that the food can be hit or miss in this stylish, modern, SoMa hotspot.
Oola is
Read my previous review here

Aziza Outer Richmond San Francisco
My birthday would have been another excuse to splash out. Fleur de Lys was crying my name. But after only a couple of seconds consideration I realised that all of my good friends are far more important to me than a formal, expensive meal. I decided I would rather hang out with them somewhere, so I chose Aziza which I had been reading very good things about, especially the pastry chef. There we were 11 of us so we were required to take a prix fixe. Three courses of savoury yumminess. Memorable items included western grasslands kefta skewers, a selection of spreads, especially a walnut one not listed on their menu, with grilled flat breads. Hit of the evening was chicken! Yes, it's true. I rarely eat chicken. But their Basteeya, a baked phyllo pie with a filling of saffron braised chicken & spiced almonds, draped in powder sugar & cinnamon was superb. Light crispy pastry, moist filling. Yum.
More fowl - the grilled hoffman ranch thyme chicken brochettes were amazing. I have never eaten chicken so juicy, well textured and perfectly cooked. One of the main reasons I chose Aziza was because I had heard so much about their pastry chef. Trouble was, we were too full for dessert = no cake on my birthday. This means, of course, I am going to have to go back soon to try the sweet section of the menu. I just have to try a Bowl of Bliss. Thanks to all of my friends for the wonderful evening.
Aziza was a

The Flat Iron Grill San Rafael
Poor Vinny, for his birthday the weekend before mine, we took him to lunch at The Flat Iron, a saloon-style Sports Bar in San Rafael. It was pretty bad. We forgive the poor waitress, it appeared to be her first day, but the bar tender could have helped her out instead of leaving all his customers in the lurch for so long. The best-sounding thing on the lengthy menu - the Aidells Dog was not available. The burgers - they boast about using Harris beef - were downright bad. Sorry Vinny - next time we'll take you somewhere nicer, promise!
The Flat Iron was a

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Quick Bites


  • At 10/6/05 08:40, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i will wait w/bated breath your comments on san diego as i live in our less than culinaria city...

  • At 10/6/05 10:30, Anonymous haddock said…

    Bix is always a favorite. I am a big time sucker for those 1940's swanky type places like Bix or the Cypress Club. Whenever I went to Cypress Club I always felt like I was in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

    We've only been to Helmand once. The price of not living in the city is we often only get to place once since there are so many others we'd like to try. However, our experience there was excellent.

    Now Aziza. I don't know about their new pastry chef but their old one....

  • At 10/6/05 13:59, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Sam, the Flatiron's chef -- at least the couple of times I was there several months ago -- really knows how to cook. I'm so disappointed you had a crummy meal. I've had great chili (ultra meaty) and super fries (you'd call them chips). He (she?) seems to be a devoted dessert chef, though I don't have a sweet tooth. In fact, I came away feeling that if the chef there didn't have to cook for a sports bar, we'd be seeing major creations. Oh well, things change.


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