Tuesday, April 22, 2014

London, England - Fino

Last Friday, when the sun finally came out after work, I headed to Fitzrovia with a friend for some outdoor drinks at the Charlotte Street Hotel. As the sun disappeared into the evening sky we slipped into Fino (sister restaurant to Barrafina and Quo Vadisfor some authentic Spanish tapas.

The head chef, Nieves Barragán Mohacho, a female who hails from the Basque country, uses only the freshest ingredients, so the menu is always changing and evolving depending on what is in season.

We sat at the bar and peeped through, behind a pork leg, to all of the action in the kitchen. The staff are all Spanish imports, which adds to the authenticity of the place, and the feeling that you might well be in the Basque region itself.

The food was deliciously flavorful and each individual dish arrived as it was prepared.

Ham croquetas:

Piquillo pepper croquetas:

Potato and chorizo chips:

Classic tortilla with caramelized onions and soft liquid center, cooked to perfection:

Battered pollock with a saffron garlic allioli:

Arroz negro: black rice with octopus infused with garlic:

Donuts and vanilla ice cream:

For classic tapas, and those with a twist, the purity of the ingredients and the care with which they are presented at Fino makes it a spot on the London dining scene not to be missed.

Pin It

Saturday, April 12, 2014

San Francisco, CA - Slanted Door

Slanted Door is Charles Phan’s nationally-acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant that anchors the north-east corner of the historic Ferry Building Marketplace, home to San Francisco's largest Farmer's Market. This upscale Vietnamese Restaurant originally started in the Mission District and became such a local hit that it had to move downtown. Floor to ceiling windows give way to breathtaking views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island from most tables.

The 175-seat restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, has a full bar with signature cocktails, and offers outdoor seating. The menu ranges from Vietnamese street food to complex meat and seafood entrees.

Here's a look at what we devoured:

Barbecued willis ranch pork spareribs, scallion, cilantro, honey-hoisin sauce:

Cellophane noodles, green onion, dungeness crab, sesame:

Crispy branzino, tamarind, ginger, crispy leek, thai basil:

Grass-fed estancia shaking beef, cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onion, lime sauce:

Organic chicken claypot, caramel sauce, thai chili, fresh ginger:

Cotton candy:

Valrhona chocolate & peanut butter cream pie with peanut crumble:

Take time to enjoy the view on your way out!

Pin It

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sausalito, California - The Trident

On a recent visit to San Francisco my friends and I decided to get in the car and take a little road trip to neighboring Tiburon and Sausalito. We pulled over first at this promontory point along the road to take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge (above).

Our first stop was Tiburon, which reaches out into the San Francisco Bay. We had a walk along the water and visited some of the boutiques in town.

After all of that walking around we had worked up an appetite, so we got in the car and drove to Sausalito for lunch. We landed at The Trident restaurant, which is located smack on the water in a building that was originally built in 1898 to house the San Francisco Yacht Club.

 You really can't beat the location and the extensive menu covers all tastes.

Mahi fish tacos:

Classic fish and chips:

If you find yourself in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend a drive out of the city to visit these two picturesque towns.

Pin It

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Giulia

I've been keeping this a secret for awhile, basically because its impossible to get a reservation, and quite frankly, I get angry when anything (like other people) comes between me and my food! Giulia has now become a "must-dine" every time I go home to Boston. Considering my family lives in the North End, the holy land of Italian restaurants in Boston, it is saying a lot that instead of walking out our back door we get in the car and drive all the way to Cambridge for our pasta fix.

Giulia is named after the historic street in Rome, Via Giulia, and the kitchen is helmed by Michael Pagliarini, who used to be the head chef at Boston's Via Matta.

A special thank you to my former Italian professor at Boston University, Barbara Lloyd, for introducing me to this neighborhood gem.

I order the same thing every time I go: the homemade papardelle pasta with wild boar and trumpet mushrooms ...

... with some Cannonau from Sella & Mosca:

... followed by the pistachio gelato with marinated cherries and pizzelle:

**If you can't manage to get a reservation, you can always skip lunch and head to Giulia right when it opens at 5:30pm as the 15 or so seats at the bar are first come first served. I've also noticed that the turnover time for these seats seems to be around 7pm, so give that a shot.

Pin It