Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cru Cafe & Wine Bar

Even though Cru was on my list as something I'd want to check out, we kind of just stumbled in on a Monday night. I was surprised how large the space is. I really like the bar area - a few TVs, large U shaped bar, chalk boards with menu items and a really nice back bar with wine and spirits galore. It certainly has the feel of a sleek wine bar that belongs in the gold coast. I have no idea if the regular seating area on the other side of the place gets full, but I think if they didn't have the separation I would just add a few tables to the bar area and call it a day. The wine list of course is large and probably impressive if I knew what I was reading. Plenty of wine by the glass and I had two of a very nice cab franc. For food we started with the fritto misto, and had the steak frites and salmon as main dishes with a side of green beans.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Primanti Brother's - Pittsburgh, PA

This will be short and sweet. Primanti Brother's - an institution in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania. I was in town for just a few days working on a campaign event and we decided immediately after our event finished we needed to celebrate with beer, shots, and some ridiculous sandwiches. And when I mean ridiculous, I mean tradition diner style, huge white bread, large grease meat topped with coleslaw and FRENCH FRIES. Yes, each sandwich is finished with fries. The place is classic and charming and goofy and a heart attack just smelling the fumes - but it's fun and unique and the food is quite good if you can avoid thinking about the health affects. The photos should do all the talking needed. At least I can check the box.

Primanti Brothers (Downtown CBD) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Savoy

I have heard many great things about The Savoy - a relatively new seafood focused absinthe bar in Wicker Park. I like the unique positioning and creative differentiation. It also fits into the neighborhood very well. As for the absinthe part? It was favorite pastime in college to see if all the rumors and myths about hallucinating were true. Obviously there are not otherwise restaurants would not be able to serve it - but it is a VERY strong spirit and can actually taste good if done right. And there's a nice little show with the water dispenser and everything. So yea, go here for some absinthe and have a good time. Oh. They have food too. Let me get to that.

We didn't really love the food program, and our service was very strange and awkward at times. There was a lot of food to try so it wasn't as if we selectively ordered poorly. And the fact that I can't even remember some of the things we ordered even after looking at my pictures says it wasn't that memorable. But I shouldn't be so critical because some items were tasty and good but my overall impression was disappointed and mediocre food.

We started with some oysters - and those were very nice - as well as the tuna tartare. I thought the tuna was ok, it had a very nice and spicy green sauce on the side that made the tuna pop and tasty but the crispy chips didn't add anything and the tuna by itself was just ok. We tried two salads - their version of tomato and burrata, and the autumn vegetable salad with roasted squash, shaved celery root and brussels sprouts, haricot verts, ricotta salata and brown butter vinaigrette. I thought the burrata salad was very good, with large tomatoes, a healthy does of pesto and fun little tomato ginger gelee. High recommended. The autumn salad had a lot of potential to me, a lot of great fall vegetables together but it just didn't come together with any meaningful flavor. Finally we had the hamachi crudo with grilled pineapple, red onion marmalade, sesame

chili oil and a pineapple-miso emulsion. It was by far the best thing we ate to start and probably all night. Little bites of hamachi wrapped around everything else with a nice sauce drizzled on top. Delicious. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Village Pub - Woodside, CA

I'm really not fulfilling my end of the bargain here on the food blogging side of life. One post in November - has to be an all time low for me. I'm going to try and do better I promise. Life gets in the way I suppose.

The Village Pub - my sister's favorite restaurant in the Bay Area (we've been there for Graduation, engagement weekend, birthday dinner, and most recently Thanksgiving catering). When I was out there in October to visit for her birthday and see my new born niece, VP was a natural choice. It's an awesome spot in the hills and seemingly in the middle of nowhere (like most great CA restaurants...) with a cozy atmosphere, long bar, fireplace and casual feel - but also a nod to sophistication and elegance. It's the California way to show up in jeans and blazer and order a burger with $100 wine. They live well. But that's exactly what we were looking for, a nice and causal but elegant and delicious meal. The service is always first rate, attentive and helpful.

We made it a simple meal with two starters, two main dishes and a surprise salad compliments of the chef. I also love how they are more than willing to split anything and everything for no hassle. We started with a lobster and cauliflower flan with sturgeon caviar, and the Monterey Bay Abalone served with a parsnip purée and frisée with a slow poached egg. Our main courses were the chestnut tagliatelle pasta with roasted porcini mushrooms and delicata squash purée, as well as the roasted chicken served with huckleberry financier, toasted hazelnuts and heirloom beets. Wonderful food all around.


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