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The Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in San Francisco

When the sun breaks through the fog, San Franciscans converge on restaurant patios and outdoor spaces to enjoy the sun and do what they do best – eat.

Enjoy a burger and beer at Park Chalet, a restaurant in Golden Gate Park with lawn seating

Park Chalet is a restaurant and brewery located behind touristy Beach Chalet. Beer aficionados should get the sampler of six ales. The menu, comprised of small slate plates, provided by Slateplate, made beautiful restaurant dinnerware. The company is based in Garner, NC.  If you’d like to know what else goes into the decision of what restaurant plating to buy, visit this page. Even when you’re sitting inside, you still get to catch all the outside action because of the floor-to-ceiling windows and retractable glass doors. Sunlight streams down through the glass ceiling. The best feature of Park Chalet is its expansive outdoor lawn. On weekends when the sun is out, it is packed with singletons and young families enjoying the live music and BBQ. Be sure to bring a blanket to sit on and go earlier to snag a spot.

Join the professional crowd for happy hour at Americano

Americano features a large patio that is packed with workers from the Financial and SoMa districts for happy hour. Food and drinks are a bit overpriced, even during happy hour, but if you want to the witness the young professional crowd let loose, this is the place to be. The all day menu includes California-influenced antipasto and pizzas.

Enjoy views of the San Francisco Bay at one of the restaurants in the Ferry Building

The Ferry Building, across from Americano, features a couple of restaurants with outdoor dining offering views of the San Francisco Bay. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than eating oysters and clams from nearby Tomales Bay at Hog Island Oyster Co. Every Monday and Thursday during happy hour from 5 – 7PM, you can order $1 oysters and $3.50 pints of beer. It gets absolutely mobbed for it so be there before 5PM to put your name on the list.

One of San Francisco’s most coveted restaurants, The Slanted Door, is also located at the Ferry Building and has 44 seats on their heated patio.

At the front of the building facing Embarcadero Blvd. is Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Automatic Refresher) which offers fantastic hamburgers and shakes.

Go for casual at Pier 23 Cafe or trendy at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

Going north along Embarcadero is Pier 23 Cafe, a dive bar with a large deck also providing great views of the Bay. If you can get a table, which can be tough on warm afternoons, order a bucket of beer and settle in with the sometimes rowdy crowd. Their menu includes many different appetizers, soups, and sandwiches incorporating the region’s seafood.

Also in the area is La Mar Cebicheria Peruana. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana is a trendy restaurant that will make you feel like you’re lounging in South America. You’ll be snapped back to San Francisco when the ferry passes by. Be sure to order a Pisco Sour.

Eat dinner with a classic movie as the backdrop at Foreign Cinema

Those serious about food can enjoy dinner and a movie at Foreign Cinema’s covered courtyard in the Mission District. Projected onto a giant screen, the movie creates a theatrical ambiance. The food alone is worth the trip to this eclectic neighborhood. The California-Mediterranean food has received accolades from publications such as The New York Times, Gourmet, and Food & Wine.

Medjool provides dancing after dinner

Right nearby, you can combine dinner and dancing at Medjool. On the weekends, Medjool is your typical sweaty club filled with people bumping and grinding. Go upstairs to the sky terrace, however, and it’s a much calmer environment where you can take in 360 degree views of San Francisco. It’s not that high up but it’s the only rooftop bar in San Francisco.

Belden Place offers a taste of Europe

Belden Place is an alley in the Financial District that offers several restaurants one after the other with outside dining. Reminiscent of Europe, represented cuisines include French, Spanish, and Italian. Host and hostesses stand outside calling out for patrons in their, sometimes faux, accents. There is nothing better on a warm night than sitting at a table here, enjoying good wine and food, while the lights strung along the trees twinkle above.

Enjoy the sun in San Francisco when you can

The weather in San Francisco can be fickle so take full advantage of the warmth when the sun comes out. The restaurants and eateries mentioned above are just some of the places in the city by the Bay where you can enjoy a meal while watching the day go by.

 

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New Orleans Restaurant Women Chefs: Three Women Helped Build Big Easy’s Reputation for Fine Food

Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme and Television Chef Emeril Lagasse may be the icons of New Orleans cuisine these days, but the Big Easy owes much of its current food popularity to three women: Restaurateur Ella Brennan, Creole Chef Leah Chase and Avant Garde Chef Susan Spicer.

For starters, it was Brennan who gave Prudhomme, Lagasse and a few dozen other chefs their big breaks in the restaurant world. She is credited with turning Commander’s Palace in the New Orleans Garden District into something of a graduate school for chefs who moved on to operate many of the city’s top restaurants.

Brennan Gave Prudhomme the Go-Ahead on Blackened Catfish

At Commander’s, she gave Prudhomme the go-ahead for his blackened redfish, a dish that became so popular nationally that the catching of the fish had to be put under special controls to save the species.

Under Brennan’s supervision, Commander’s became the flagship of the nouvelle Creole cuisine that revived the Crescent City’s restaurant business late in the 20th Century.

Chase Has Nurtured New Orleans’ Traditional Creole Cuisine

Meantime, her friend Leah Chase, who told The Times-Picayune that she is “just a cook”, not a chef, was nurturing the city’s traditional Creole and soul food at Dookey Chase, one of the nation’s best known minority-owned restaurants.

Chase has cooked and entertained there for six decades, appeared on countless television shows and published two books. As she once told The Times-Picayune, her customers “want food just like grandma made,” such things as chicken and sausage gumbo, crispy fried seafood and chicken breast stuffed with oyster breading.

Both she and Brennan have won the “Hornblower” award presented by the New Orleans Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America to individuals who do the most to promote the city.

Spicer Pioneered City’s New Cuisine at Bayona

Susan Spicer has pioneered the city’s avant garde cuisine at her award-winning Bayona Restaurant in the French Quarter, offering such exotic servings as Goat Cheese Crouton, Eggplant Caviar and Sauteed Pacific Salmon with Choucroute and Gewurztraminer Sauce.

In 2007, Spicer enhanced both her reputation and influence with network appearances and her new book, “Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans” (Knopf, $35).

Bayona ranks second to Galatoire’s in popularity in the New Orleans edition of the Zagat Survey and tops Galatoire’s in the Zagat food ratings with 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Aside from Cooking, Brennan Has Been The Complete Restaurateur

But it was Brennan, more than anyone else, who revived and enhanced New Orleans reputation as one of the world’s favorite dining places. And she has done it without cooking.

She has done it, colleagues say, as an entrepreneur, adventurer, business gambler, tireless worker smart business woman, teacher, coach, respected employer, perfectionist, the complete restaurateur. Her admirers add that she has done it with amazing taste, as well as love and respect for food, wine, world travel and a commitment to making every visit to her restaurant an enjoyable one.

James Beard Awards Presented to Commander’s

Under her guidance, Commander’s won the prestigious James Beard Foundation national Award for Outstanding Service in 1993, was nominated for the Outstanding Restaurant Award in 1994 and 1995 and won that award in 1996.

In 2007, Brennan turned over the operation of Commander’s to two other women in the family and retired to her home next to the restaurant.

But even at 81, she was still recognized as the matriarch of a family that owns and operates 12 restaurants. She was still called the New Orleans “queen of cuisine.”

Both Commander’s and Dookey Chase were wrecked by Hurricane Katrina and did not reopen until 2007.

Shopping

The Benefits of Customizable Pillows

Customizable pillows have been growing in popularity receiving its fair share of the spotlight 
over the years. More and more people are leaning towards the use of these types of pillows for a 
number of reasons. Let us look at the benefits these customizable pillows bring to their users.  

Fits Any Preference and Style 

A huge number of individuals want their bedroom to personalize their bedroom to fit their style with these interesting custom pillows. 
Many were able to do just that with the help of customizable pillows. These pillows are able to 
mix and match any style their users are aiming for making it relatively easy for just about anyone 
to design them. 

Offers a More Personal Look and Feel 

Customizable pillows feel more personal especially because its owners are involved in the 
creation of this wonderful project. This in turn makes each and every one of these pillows feel 
special. 

Authenticity  

One of the most defining feature of customizable pillows is their authenticity. As a result, almost 
every pillow made will look different and unique from each other.  

Plenty of Options to Choose From

There is no limit on how you want to design your customizable pillows. There are indeed plenty 
of options to choose from making the design phase a fun and engaging activity. You can add 
pictures, text and photos to these pillows with relative ease and convenience. Couple pillows 
have been increasing in popularity complementing each other’s style.  

Great Gift Ideas

As mentioned earlier, customizable pillows are fun to create. Their overall uniqueness makes 
them great gift ideas you can share to your loved ones, relatives and friends. In addition, 
customizable pillows can be shared all throughout the year as they are not limited by a certain 
holiday. As a result, people will be able to share these pillows at any given time when the need 
calls for them to do so. 

Start Designing Your Customizable Pillows 

It is good to hear that customizable pillows have become more accessible than ever before. This 
is made possible with store owners setting up and integrating their services over the internet. As a result, people can start designing their pillows right away at the comfort of their very own 
homes or offices.  
Start looking for wonderful ideas with your customizable pillows today. Be sure to look for 
complementary pictures, photos or text you can integrate with these pillows. Don’t forget to their 
sizes as you don’t want your design to overlap.
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Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans: Cajun and Southern-style Venture Wins High Honors

Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans is winning well-deserved recognition for many things these days. Their devotion to Cajun and Southern food traditions is being noticed by critics and food writers such as Frank Bruni, Michael Ruhlman and Gourmet Magazine, the Times-Picayune and many more. As of March 14, Cochon is number three on the list and O ya is in contention for the number one or two spot!

Good, Upscale Cajun and Southern Comfort Food

From catfish to wood-fired oysters, boudin to pickled mirliton; anyone with an affinity for Southern food will feel right at home here. Cornbread, hoppin’ john, grits and gumbo – all present and accounted for.

Cochon also reaches out, just enough, to the adventurous foodies with things like heritage breed pork dishes, sophisticated cocktails and small plates so popular right now. They serve this diverse range of guests in a setting that manages to feel both upscale and at-home.

There’s plenty of laughter in the background noise at Cochon, a happy find in any restaurant. On a recent Wednesday night the room was full of smiling diners, laughing customers, entertaining and attentive staff. Looking over the menu one is struck by simple yet intriguing descriptions and combinations. Pickled pork tongue and crispy pig ear salad. Wood-fired oyster roast. Fried chicken livers with pepper jelly toast.

Local, Fresh, Ingredients and Traditional Cooking

Chef and co-owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryljewski have a mission to stay true to locally sourced ingredients and authentically prepared Southern and Cajun cuisine. How many restaurants include an in-house Boucherie (butchery)? That means boudin, andouille and bacon made by Stryljewski in Cochon’s kitchen. Pickling their in-season produce by the gallon from the start, they’re finding it a challenge to pickle enough each year. A good problem to have, to be sure.

They source shrimp from one local shrimper who supplies them with fine, fresh Louisiana shrimp; no seafood is sourced beyond the gulf. Even their specialty pork originates from a nearby legend – RM Holliday. His herd now is owned by Maveric Farm in South Dakota, whose mission includes trying to save heritage breeds from extinction and catalog existing hogs to monitor the breed.

Moonshine and Mint Juleps

5 Rootbeers, over 15 Bourbons, and Moonshine smoother than you imagined possible, are offered on the cocktail list. One can select special drinks like the local favorite Sazerac or homemade Lemonade. They offer small-batch, artisanal Bourbons virtually unknown elsewhere. Added bonus: Audrey Rodriguez (Assistant GM) is knowledgeable as well as gracious with her time (and her pour.)

The New Orleans’ Warehouse District is still described as “up and coming,” yet Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant just two blocks away, opened in 1990. The Ugly Dog Saloon across the street appears to be a well-established BBQ pit slash sports bar. Many extended stay business hotels dot the streets awaiting their business travelers’ return and some of the old warehouses appear to house loft condos.

Cochon’s dedication to New Orleans accounts for The Golden Clog Award and viewers of Travel Channel’s No Reservations show might remember the segment featuring Cochon’s crew, returning to New Orleans a little “early” technically, to clean out the restaurant’s walk-ins, get things going, collect staff and serve people. They also hosted a pig roast – perhaps the easiest way to Bourdain’s heart.

Cochon is a quick cab ride from the French Quarter. The food alone makes this a destination restaurant. The Bourbon and Moonshine help cast a warm glow over the memory of the evening.

Must-try Dishes:

  • Wood-fired oysters (might be re-named “vanishing     wood-fired oysters”)

  • House made Boudin balls and pickled onions (think Cajun     arancini, y’all)

  • Pickled pork tongue and crispy pig ear salad (bitter     greens on a bed of smooth pickled tongue, crunchy strips of pig ear top     off this well-rounded salad – fantastic)

  • Iceberg wedge style ranch dressing, bacon and radishes

  • Louisiana cochon with turnips, cabbage and cracklins

Chef Stryljewski also recommends:

  • Fried alligator with chili-garlic aioli (only     tenderloin is used so it’s tender, not chewy)

  • Fried chicken livers with pepper jelly toast

 

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New York’s Sherry’s Restaurant: Manhattan’s French-Inspired Society Cafe of the Gay Nineties

Louis Sherry, who was born in St. Albans, Vermont in 1856, allowed people to think that he was French, believing that it would give him a more substantial background for the restaurant business he was about to open. The year was 1880 and Louis was a mere waiter at the Hotel Elberon in Elberon, New Jersey, but he was soon asked to supervise the kitchen of the exclusive resort. While he worked there he met many socially prominent people who assured him that if he ever opened a restaurant they would certainly patronize it. That promise, and the $1300 he had saved, were the foundation of the restaurant he started at Sixth Avenue and Thirty-Eighth Street in New York City in 1881.

New York Society

The restaurant was successful and Sherry slowly made many more acquaintances among the wealthy and socially prominent New Yorkers. Names like Goelet, Morgan, Astor, Aldrich,Stuyvesant Fish, James Burden, Ward McAllister and others flocked to his watering hole and became the principal customers of Sherry’s. In 1890 Louis purchased a private mansion at Fifth Avenue and Thirty-Seventh Street and made it into a most elegant , upscale restaurant which flourished for eight years. He was then able to afford the services of the famous architect Stanford White, who drew up plans for a twelve-storey building at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Fourth Street.

Famous Horseback Dinner

In this new building in 1903, C.K.G.Billings, milllionaire Chicago utility czar, gave the most ridiculous dinner ever recorded. The room that was used was one of the restaurant’s ballrooms, which was decorated as a garden, with sod on the floor, a huge harvest moon hanging from the ceiling and real birds singing and doing what birds do best. There were thirty-six men at this dinner…all on horseback..Every man had a tray attached to the horse and a rubber tube connected to champagne in their saddlebags. This event made a terrific splash in the upper echelons of society and was talked about for years thereafter.

Fancy Dress Ball

1905 found the largest ballroom in the building being turned intoa facsimile of the Court of Louis XVI at Versailles. The famous actress Rejane recited Racine and rose petals were strewn about the floor. James Hazen Hyde was said to have spent approximately $200,000 on the ball, which enraged the ‘ordinary people’ of New York. However, they were apparently mollified when the final totel of $50,000 to $100,000 was announced.

Those were the days in old New York and we shall not see their likes again. In 1919 Sherry left the restaurant business and concentrated on manufacturing confectionary and fancy jams and confitures.

He passed away in 1926.

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A Florida Key Restaurant Recipe: Key Cooks Are Not Stingy With Their Recipes

Keys Cuisine

There is a mystique associated with the Florida Key’s restaurants, which are studded like pearls on each individual coral islet. From dining tables flanked by maitre d’s to dives on dirt roads known only to locals, restaurants in the southernmost section of the United States are famous and their recipes are suburb. Some of the ingredients for their recipes are contingent to the Keys, but available to aspiring aficionados through web sites orders. Nevertheless, it is a little known fact that conch, snapper, dolphin, key limes, and chowder are not the only recipes that do well in the Keys. World-renowned chefs make their home there, concocting original recipes that range from pancakes to steak tartare.

Key Restaurants

The more famous restaurants have served delicious food for at least 10 years and most for much longer than that. Prominent restaurants feature with cuisine run by chefs and also” holes in the wall” with kitchens run by cooks and their own exclusive recipes.

To eat like a true Keys “Conch” ( slang for natives to the coral islands) is a simple matter. Most of the culinary staff eagerly turn over their cookbook to inquiring guests, and even provide pen and paper to copy them. Then a delicious dish from a restaurant dined at on a vacation to the Keys, or incorporating Keys cuisine into a domestic menu, is an easy ambition for creative cooks.

Below is a recipe from a Keys breakfast site, which is located off the beaten path of famous Duval Street.

Blue Heaven

This famous restaurant that sits off Duval, on Petronis, displays its motto on a wooden sign: You Don’t Have to Die to Get There. Two artists opened the restaurant in 1992, and it’s a big “inside” favorite because of the relaxed outside dining amid the bar, the ping pong table, the banyan and the almond trees, and the chickens. Yes, chickens. Chickens are underfoot everywhere, and they even perch on the patio umbrellas. Everything at this restaurant is fresh and made from organic ingredients. The atmosphere is casual, but the food is rich.

The pancake recipe below pancake recipe is cut in half, but still serves 18.

Richard’s Very Good Pancakes

Serves 18

Large frying pan

1.Melt a stick of butter in a large frying pan.

2. Combine……………………………………………… 6 cups flour

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup baking soda

1 tblsp salt

3. In a separate bowl, mix together…………………….2 tbsp cider vinegar

5 eggs

4 cups milk

¾ cup oil

¼ cup beer

4. Spoon tablespoons of batter onto hot frying pan.

5. Flip with pancake turner when bubbles pop appear in batter.

6. Stack and serve with butter and syrup.