The Bird, San Francisco, 3/10/18

logo
logo

The Bird is a large place that specializes in a spicy fried chicken sandwich. It has a cute fox with a sandwich in it’s mouth as the logo.  It is a small menu that also includes fries and egg biscuit (though I saw no one with this option).  It is busy but the line moves quickly and seats turnover rapidly.  It was mostly filled with young people but it was a friendly crowd with no one staying long.  Beverages included a large selection of beers, which they give you a ‘cozy’ to hold it in, and other bottled/canned drinks.  It was like a fast food place where you go to the counter to order and get a number they call when your food is ready.   They also serve apple fritters which are usually just available in the morning but they still had some when we arrived for an early lunch.   Continue reading

Commis, Oakland, 3/9/18

entrance
entrance

Commis is  a 2 star Michelin restaurant that is located a short BART ride from San Francisco.  It is a long rectangle of a place that is mirrored on the other side by a bar (CDP) that offers some snacks and can serve as a waiting area for your restaurant table.  When you enter the restaurant the first thing you see is the open kitchen and the bar seats surrounding it, which are available for reservation.  Two small tables are across from the bar and the rest are toward the back. It is a small place made more spacious by the open slit in the wall between the bar and the restaurant.  They serve only an 8 course tasting menu, with a few extras thrown in and offer wine pairings.  We enjoyed the company of friends the evening we were there and they generously provided the wines we drank.  You get a copy of the evening’s menu when you finish the meal.  The noise level is good, even with music in the background, and service was attentive and efficient.   Continue reading

Californios, San Francisco, 3/8/18

building
building

Californios is a small place that has been around just 3 years but already has 2 Michelin stars.  They serve only a surprise tasting menu of around 16 courses, and they will give you a list of what you had at the end.  Portion control is outstanding – there’s enough to taste but no one course fills you up so you don’t want the others and you are satiated at the end of the meal.  There are a few seats at the bar and a number of small tables.  We were lucky to get some counter seats where you get to watch the cooking and have a chance to interact with the chefs, but it’s best to ask for these seats when you make your reservation if you want them.  It is a lively, fun vibe with all the staff being really friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Spruce, San Francisco, 3/8/18

building
building

Spruce is a large place and a one star Michelin restaurant.  There is a long bar with lots of seats as well as a good sized dining room with lots of interesting art and mirrors.  They also have a large party room in front and a substantial wine cellar.  Nice white clothes cover the tables that are set with matching napkins.  Some music is in the background and the lighting is lowered with the vibe being subdued and elegant.  At lunch they have an a la carte menu but also a pretty good deal in a fixed price Harvest Menu which is a three course menu for just $38 and wine pairings are available for $15, which include a small glass of quality wine with each course.  We chose for this options.   Continue reading

Purepecha Room in the Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas, 3/7/18

building
building

The Purepecha Room is a small room for about 14 in the back of Revolver Taco Lounge.  Opened in April 2017 it is run by Chef Regino Rojas who was a 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalist.  It is meant to resemble his mother’s kitchen and recipes he ate growing up.  Indeed, his mother, Juanita Rojas, is in the kitchen still helping as is his aunt and I understand his father was helping inside the kitchen.  This is a family operation and it feels like that as you sit in the cozy room with dishes that feel like your grandmothers and the chef cooking close enough you really feel like you’re in his dining room.  A totally different ambiance than in the noisy, casual front Taco Lounge.  They offer a tasting menu only and there is no printed menu, however you can let them know about allergies.  Service is efficient, friendly and paced on the quicker end of  the continuum.   Continue reading

The Mitchell, Dallas, 3/3/18

exterior
exterior

The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas.  It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse.  I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here.  Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu.  Not sure these were good changes.  The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar.  They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for.  Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette.  There are also a number of seats at the bar.  Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables.   Continue reading

Al Covo (update), Venice, 2/24/18

interior showing a bit of their new tables
interior showing a bit of their new tables

It hasn’t been long since Frankie’s last visit to Al Covo but she always enjoys the food and hospitality there.  Thought we’d include a few pictures of what we had that evening but warn you that we ordered primarily from the specials that evening so it may not be available when you go.  However it’s fun to watch the food evolve as does the physical facility.  This time they’d put in new seating and tables.  Always moving and that may be why it is one of the best places in Venice.   Continue reading