Chez Panisse, Berkeley

A culinary landmark.

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I went upstairs for the more casual cafe.20140809ChezPanisse0220140809ChezPanisse0320140809ChezPanisse0420140809ChezPanisse0520140809ChezPanisse06

 

Though known for focusing on quality ingredients, I thought the bread was rather standard.20140809ChezPanisse07

 

I think this might have been my favorite part of the meal!  Local halibut tartare with cucumbers, radishes, green coriander and ginger.20140809ChezPanisse08

 

I eventually tried to recreate a dish similar to this.  Baked andante dairy goat cheese with garden lettuces.20140809ChezPanisse09

 

 

The pasta was al dente!  Rigatoni with wild mushroom ragu.20140809ChezPanisse10

 

 

From this dish I realized I don’t particularly like nettles.  Grilled James Ranch lamb rack, leg, and loin with summer vegetable tian, nettles, amaranth, and tapenade.20140809ChezPanisse11

 

I had higher expectations for the panna cotta, but in the end it was fairly standard.  Buttermilk panna cotta with Lucero Farm strawberries and raspberries.20140809ChezPanisse12

 

This was better than expected.  August fire nectarine galette with lemon verbena ice cream.20140809ChezPanisse13

 

Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
http://www.chezpanisse.com/

Central Kitchen, San Francisco

Went here for a birthday dinner date. (=

Lovely on the outside!
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Lovely on the inside!
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But the seats were uncomfortable as if they don’t want you to stay and enjoy your meal.
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The ginger beer was awesome, makes me want to find and buy some!
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Got the “Let The Kitchen Decide” and was stuffed! Everything the kitchen decided on was good.
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The pickled vegetables were refreshing and made a good palate cleanser; wish there was another cleanser or two within the meal; perhaps next time I’ll pace myself on that dish!
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I ended up not caring for the liver mousse. The gf liked it though!
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The bread-upon-request was ok. The bread was good, but nothing special considering that this is SF. I suppose it’s pretty to get your butter on a piece of wood.
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The raw halibut came with avocado, rhubarb & lovage. Was tasty but not particularly memorable, aside from its aesthetic.
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The seaweed pasta chitarra had mussels, sea urchin, bottarga, and bread crumb. I thought it tasted like ocean in a good way, but the gf didn’t like this one so much. Otherwise nice al dente pasta, with a smooth, creamy sauce.
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One of the truly inspiring dishes was the asparagus!

The asparagus dish set the bar for me on the potential of asparagus; it was grilled, buttery (bone marrow vinaigrette), savory (egg yolk), and the crunchy bits (fried meat?) + lemon zest really worked well. I wish I could make this! I would come back just for this.
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Actually, I came because of the duck, which was included in the meal. I really enjoyed it, as it was served two ways and everything on the plate (e.g., fingerling potatoes, cherries) paired well with it. I would come back just for this too.
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The second inspiring dish was the chocolate dessert!

The chocolate dessert was a mix of opposites in texture, temperature, and taste. Soft and crunchy (chocolate pudding, candied almonds), cold and hot (coffee ice cream & chocolate biscotti), sweet and savory (all aforementioned). Though those don’t sound exotic, the combination told me that someone knew exactly what was going on. I couldn’t have done it better myself! I will be back for this (unless it isn’t offered on the menu)!
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And the bathroom was clean!

Central Kitchen, 3000 20th St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Anchor & Hope, San Francisco

 

 

 

Allagash ‘Curieux’ Barrel Aged Tripel (6oz), Portland, Maine 11%

 

 

 

Ommegang ‘Abbey Ale’, Belgian Style Dubbel, Cooperstown, NY 12oz 8.2%

 

 

 

 

Raw Oysters from Miyagi, CA, Kusshi, BC, and Blue Point, NY

 

 

 

California halibut, preserved lemon nage, asparagus, hon shimeji mushrooms, kohlrabi, pea tendrils.

 

The Ommegang and raw oysters were surprisingly good.  The Allagash was surprisingly strong.

Anchor & Hope, 83 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94105