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Table of Content for dining:

More pages: December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 April 2016 December 2015 August 2015 January 2015 December 2014 August 2014 May 2014 August 2013 March 2013 December 2012 November 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 February 2011 December 2010 November 2010 June 2010 November 2009




2016/12/28 5 Course Tasting Menu at Alexandre, Bruxelles
π 2016-12-28 00:00 in Belgium, Dining
After arriving in Bruxlles, we tried to make a reervation in the nice restaurants that were open, which was hard given that it was between Xmas and New Year's. Eventually some stupid tripadvisor owned side, fork.be, told us we had a reservation at Alexandre, when in fact we had none at all, and they did not expect us at all when we showed up.
Thankfully they very nicely agreed to take us anyway, although we were limited to the 5 course tasting menu instead of the full 9-10 course one. Life can be tough that way at times :)










2016/12/25 Xmas with my Mom
π 2016-12-25 00:00 in Dining, Family
Another year, another Xmas lunch with my Mom, brother and family. Nice day as always:








2016/12/21 Multiple Dinners around Xmas with my Dad, Francs, and Hodges
π 2016-12-21 00:00 in Dining, Family
Multiple dinners over multiple days with different family and friends. Lots of food, and good times :)





















And we also got invited by my brother for yet another dinner :)




2016/12/06 Jennifer's Anniversary Dinner at Benu, San Francisco
π 2016-12-06 00:00 in Dining
For Jennifer's 42th's BD, we had a very nice dinner at Benu, the other michelin 3 star restaurant in San Francisco. It was Asian inspired cooking, a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, with quite interesting ingredients for some dishes.
While expensive, it's noticeably cheaper than its rival Saison while being just as good and offering more dishes to try without coming out totally stuffed or in a sugar comma after 3 or 4 desserts :)























2016/11/29 Live King Crab at Koi Palace with Jennifer's Parents
π 2016-11-29 00:00 in Dining
We all love king crab, so for Jennifer's parents' visit, we went to Koi Palace, and ordered a live king crab. It was big, fresh, and expensive :)
We had them cook it 3 ways, which gave some variety in what we got to try:



nice beast ;)
nice beast ;)

fried
fried

also served with vegetables
also served with vegetables

and the rest
and the rest



Yes, that was a lot of food, we had leftovers despite 4 motivated people :) but indeed the steamed crab meat was very nice, better than frozen for sure.

2016/09/09 Dinner at Madrona Manor in Healdsburg
π 2016-09-09 00:00 in Dining, Family
My dad and Patricia were visiting and since we went in the Healdsburg area for wine tasting, Jennifer got the good idea to have us all eat a Madrona Manor, there. It would typically be way out of the way for us, but since we were already there, it was a very good excuse to go try it out, and their excellent michelin rated tasting menu.

Their gardens and decors were very nice too:


















2016/08/25 Full Tasting Menu at Edulis in Torronto
π 2016-08-25 00:00 in Dining
On our first night of touring Torronto, Jennifer got us a reservation for a nice tasting menu at Edulis. It was differnt from the typical tasting menus in not being too flashy, or in a restaurant that didn't seem flashy or pretentious either, but the dishes were quite interesting:








2016/08/09 7th anniversary dinner at Saison in San Francisco
π 2016-08-09 00:00 in Dining
Jennifer found this 3 star rated michelin restaurant in San Francisco, and got us a reservation for our anniversary dinner.

We got a nice table with view on the open kitchen, which was nice:



They also had a very impressive wine list, with some wines that were over 80 years old, at prices that were related to the age :)

$14288 bottle of Château La Mission Haut Brion 1929
$14288 bottle of Château La Mission Haut Brion 1929

The tasting menu was not showy but was quite tasty:






the wild strawberries 'fraises des bois' were very good
the wild strawberries 'fraises des bois' were very good


The the food quantity was enough, but not as much as some of their competitors, the quality was very good, the only issue was the bill, which we mostly knew was going to be steeper than any restaurant we've ever eaten at around the world, but the mandated 20% tip, being no tip anymore but just an extra 20% charge on top of the bill, left a bad taste in our mouth. For comparison:

  • French Laundry: $295 (tip/service included), $325 with tax
  • Joël Robuchon full tasting menu: $320 (tax and tip included/service)
  • Saison: $398 (before tax and required 20% service not included), $517 with tax and tip/service
  • This is another way to say that Saison was 60% more expensive than 2 other excellent competitors which both had around 50% more courses in the meal.

    We got to see the bay bridge lighting on the way home:


    If you care about a longer review, here's what I posted: Sadly, I have to give this 2 stars described as "I've experienced better" when you factor in that this costs twice as much ($510 per person with tip before wines) than the nearest competition that is also extremely good .

    I'll start by saying that I've eaten in about 20 restaurants like this one around the world, including Joel Robuchon (full tasting menu), The French Laundry, and Alinea in Chicago
    Saison had very good well presented food in a casual atmosphere, but all 3 restaurants I just listed had food that was just that good, or better, and more courses. Saison was still quite good, if you have quality, you don't need quantity on top, except when the bill for the tasting menu alone is $398 per person.
    The very good wine pairing was $298 for just one person (!) and not that many dishes and pourings. The wines were well chosen and the pours were not stingy, but on top of being the most expensive tasting menu, it was also the most expensive wine pairing we've had.

    While we knew the price when we went, I think what tipped it over was:
    when we got the bill (for 2 people) a 20% tip was included on top of the entire bill (including the wine pairing), which added another $109 to the bill, just for tip. But if it's a required 20% tip, it's not a tip anymore, it should be part of the original bill, and actually some competitors already include service in the bill because it's the French way.
    So let's compare: French laundry is $270 with service included, Saison is $510 per person before wines, and don't despair, your bill has a handy line where you can add an additional tip (which I found insulting at this point).

    This is regrettable because the food was good, the service was good, but the meal was not a huge meal with so many courses you can't even count them anymore, and you turning away the dessert cart after you've already had 2 prior desserts. Charging about twice as much as the competition with a mandatory 20% tip that includes the price of alcohol just cancelled out what would otherwise have been a good experience.
    For what it's worth, we enjoyed our table that was facing the open kitchen, and again all the staff did a very good job.

    2016/07/14 2 Michelin Rated Restaurants in Tokyo: Aoyama Esaki and Narisawa
    π 2016-07-14 00:00 in Dining, Japan2016
    While in Tokyo, Jennifer looked fancy restaurants we could eat at, and she found two that our hotel was able to make a reservation atAoyama Esaki and Narisawa:

    We went to Aoyama Esaki on thursday evening for dinner. It was a simple traditional japanese food restaurant:






    The next day, for lunch, we went to Narisawa, which was a more fancy lunch with interesting presentation, and Jennifer enjoyed a great sake pairing to go along with it:






    one of the many sakes
    one of the many sakes



    Kobe beef
    Kobe beef




    very good and fancy lunch, I'm glad we went :)
    very good and fancy lunch, I'm glad we went :)

    2016/04/20 Two back to back dinners at Joël Robuchon, Singapore
    π 2016-04-20 00:00 in Dining, Singapore2016
    So it wsan't quite the plan, but I knew that Santosa Island (Singapore's Hawaii), had a Joël Robuchon. Honestly, I didn't really think we could go there due to lack of proper clothing, and no reservations.

    Turns out the day we were at Santosa, I gave them a call out of the blue, and they had room for us, so we went to l'Atelier. I naively assumed that we'd never be allowed in the real restaurant. But turns out the Atelier actually had a very good tasting menu ($200 with tax and stuff), so we took that. Honestly, it rivalled many fine restaurants we had eaten at:
















    It was an excellent dinner, we barely managed to get home from there :)
    Now, the more interesting part is that I was talking with the French staff, and they told me that the main restaurant has a pretty lax dress code: no shoes, no shirt, no service :) (this is actually because weather in Singapore is truly unbearable and after 10mn outside you'll be drenched in sweat in your clothes, even at night).

    So, we made plans to go back the next day for the restaurant and their even fancier tasting menu. It had flights of dishes that came in 3, and that was a very good idea (also sped up the service and turned a 4H+ dinner into a more manageable 2.5H one).
    The menu was not any fancy molecular gastronomy, but it was a very good list of dishes, one after another. We were quite impressed:




    so yeah, we didn't dress for the part, sorry
    so yeah, we didn't dress for the part, sorry

    fancy some bread?
    fancy some bread?

    we got some :)
    we got some :)







    this half foie gras half beef smoked was fantastic
    this half foie gras half beef smoked was fantastic

    room for cheese? :)
    room for cheese? :)

    Then came time for dessert. It was painful by then :)






    It was an excellent meal, and apparently cheaper than the Vegas location (although still a steep bill :) )


    More pages: December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 April 2016 December 2015 August 2015 January 2015 December 2014 August 2014 May 2014 August 2013 March 2013 December 2012 November 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 February 2011 December 2010 November 2010 June 2010 November 2009