The Northern California Winners of GAYOT 2013 Restaurant Issue

Radio Host Joel Riddell at the Spring Mountain Vineyard with Sophie Gayot
Radio Host Joel Riddell at the Spring Mountain Vineyard with Sophie Gayot


by Sophie Gayot


After discussing the Southern California Winners of GAYOT 2013 Restaurant Issue with chef Jamie Gwen on her radio show, I got to do the same with Joel Riddell for the northern part of the Golden State.


I was lucky to meet the energetic Riddell during the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition in Napa Valley where I was a judge. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Riddell, who is based in San Francisco, discusses his culinary, wine and travel findings on Talk 910 AM KKSF during his show Dining Around.


After we spoke about GAYOT.com and what I like to eat, Riddell got our insights on the Northern California restaurants that won a place in the GAYOT 2013 Restaurant Issue. They include restaurants from chef Thomas Keller, the recipient of the title “Best Restaurateur in the U.S.

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E&O Asian Kitchen Travels the “Spice Route”

Black pepper and caramel-braised pork belly
Black pepper and caramel-braised pork belly

by Anneli Rufus


San Francisco’s newly remodeled E&O Asian Kitchen recently offered a preview of its new Spice Route program — in which, every month until September, the high-ceilinged Union Square restaurant will add to its regular pan-Asian menu one savory dish, one sweet dish and one handcrafted cocktail based on a particular spice traditionally associated with the ancient Asian Spice Route. The special dish and drink will be available only during its designated month.


March’s spice was cinnamon; April’s is black pepper; May’s is turmeric; June’s is cardamom; July’s is ginger; August’s is star anise.

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Easter Brunch in San Francisco

Chef Dustin Valette of Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in St. Helena will be serving a special three-course Easter brunch focusing on locally sourced Sonoma County ingredients
Chef Dustin Valette of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in St. Helena will be serving a special three-course Easter brunch focusing on locally sourced Sonoma County ingredients

by Anneli Rufus


Lots of San Francisco-area restaurants are thinking outside the ham-shaped box this Easter, offering inspired original creations and ethnic specialties instead of the standard fare.


At Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, chef-owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark will offer a three-course prix-fixe Easter menu that includes warm brandade with Thai green chilies, pickled onions and organic sunflower bread; baguette French toast with cardamom-blood orange butter, bananas, poached golden fruit and brown sugar bacon; croque madame with French ham and gruyere, béchamel, egg crown and harissa potato chips; and poached eggs with duck breast.


Bocanova in Oakland will serve fanesca, an Ecuadorian soup that is traditionally eaten only during the week leading up to Easter. Made with twelve different beans and grains and milk-cooked salt cod, the richly elaborate soup will be served — as is also traditional — with fried plantains, hard-boiled eggs, onion salsa and empanadas. On Easter Sunday, Bocanova will also feature pounded mustard-marinated lamb-leg steaks a la plancha.

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day From Coast to Coast

Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

by Meryl Pearlstein


With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are lots of interesting dining and travel-related experiences that make wonderful gifts for your sweetie. Here’s a round-up from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu.


Las Vegas

How about a twist on the usual Afternoon Tea found at many upscale hotels? The Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge in Las Vegas adds a romantic touch with their Valentine Afternoon Tea. Heart-shaped, house-made gourmet chocolates finish off the sweets selection. $45 per person.


Atlanta

Sit at the bar at the St. Regis for a special Valentine’s Day “Pink of Perfection” cocktail that is available all month. It’s made with one part tequila, ½ part simple syrup, 3 dashes orange blossom water, with fresh lime juice and soda. What gives it its name? The pink rose petals that sit on top. You can increase the aphrodisiac quotient with the Oysters and Caviar Pearls special, a sensual combination of tempura oyster frites and osetra caviar sabayon created by executive chef Joseph Trevino, paired with Heidsieck Champagne.

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Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco Reopening – Travel Special

Newly renovated guest room at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
Newly renovated guest room at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco

Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco Debuts Fresh Look and Special Reopening Offer


Following an extensive refurbishment, including a new brasserie, the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco is celebrating its silver anniversary with a sumptuous “Fresh Look” package.


As part of the Mandarin Oriental’s fresh new look, each of the 158 guest rooms and suites has been completely redesigned by local interior designer Michael Booth of BAMO. The new custom-designed furnishings with hints of French Deco style help to create a memorable setting for the hotel’s special reopening offer Continue reading “Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco Reopening – Travel Special” »