SingleThread Restaurant, Healdsburg, CA, 12/5/18

building
building

SingleThread Farm, Restaurant and Inn opened in December 2016 and is a large corner building in Healdsburg, an hour and a half drive from San Francisco.  Upstairs they have some elegant rooms to stay in and downstairs they have a large kitchen and several dining areas.  There is a roof top terrance for some courses but it was not in use the night we were there.  The building is quite modern, with soft lighting  and music, set with large bare wood tables, a wood ceiling, gold wood tiles on some walls, some faux fire places, a bouquet of flowers and herbs from their garden on top of your napkin and lots of bench seating filled with extra cushions for back support.  They only seat about 52 people but some early diners’ tables were turned.  The reservation system is a pre-pay one with no refunds but you can try and re-sell tickets if you can’t use them.  Service was wonderful with most every person who approached our table addressing us by name.  Pacing is at a good rate and portion controls allows you to easily get through the surprise tasting (pairings are available) but will not leave you hungry.  At the end of the meal they do present you with a copy of the menu. Continue reading

Healdsburg SHED, Healdsburg, 12/5/18

building
building

The SHED was a large place that opened in 2013.  It sold cooking/kitchen supplies, take out food, produce, and had a dining area.  Unfortunately the owners, Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel announced that it would shut its doors Dec. 31, 2018.  They intend to still have an online presence where you can buy things but no more dining opportunities or brick and mortar facitilties, according to several articles I read.  I have no other information about what did happen but decided to share the meal just in case they reopen or you find these folks developing another concept.  The seating area was divided by a service bar and the small space behind the bar had a wall of windows to some patio seating.  On the other side of the bar there were stools and some tables, but they had a lot more shoppers looking over their space.  We were there for lunch and so there was plenty of light due to the windows as well as the general bright lighting a store will tend to have.  There was some background music and the walls around us had shelves containing books, items and lots of jars of vegetables.  The small marble tables were set fairly close and mostly were suitable for 2 people.  The wine list was limited and did include carafes of wine.   Continue reading

Acquerello, San Francisco, 3/10/18

exterior
exterior in daylight

Acquerello is a two star Michelin restaurant in a medium sized room that was an old church.  The high ceiling is lined with beams etched in gold and the walls have no windows just modern art. Lighting is subdued with spots for each table.  Floor length tablecloths and lots of flowers add to the elegant ambiance that still requires men to wear jackets.   Attention to detail is obvious immediately when the hostess offers you a black napkin instead of having a white one on dark slacks.  It opened in 1989 and the same co-owners are still running the place, Suzette Greshen is the chef and Giancarlo Paterlini is the front end manager.  Service is exemplary and pacing is spot on.  They offer two tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu.  Wine pairings are available.  A good mix of people filled the room with a number of special occasions being celebrated. We chose the seasonal Tasting Menu and ordered our own wines.   Continue reading

Super Duper Burgers, San Francisco, 3/10/18

exterior
exterior

Super Duper Burgers is owned by the same company that owns The Bird but this spot is way better.  It is also an approach-the-counter-and-order place but the crowd here included more variation in age groups.  There was also more seating and a better beverage selection.  Here iced tea is served in glasses not cans.  You get a buzzer to let you know when your order is ready to pick up instead of having to hear the person yell your number.  The menu includes ice cream drinks and cones as well as salads, chicken and some breakfast options if you don’t want a burger.  Most importantly, though, the burger is delicious.  Drippy, cheesy and full of beef flavor on a nice fresh, soft bun, the burger is a superior version of a standard.  The fries are crisp and taste of potato.  I would visit here again. Continue reading

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