Category Archives: Food

Getting Real about dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc


Saturday night, after one crushed pearl facial and an epic shower consisting of 15+ high-powered jets coming at you from every direction, lemongrass oil and ginger body scrub, the well primped ladies of GRR arrived for their 8:30pm dinner reservation.  Basically imagine the scene from Sex and the City of the girls walking in sync down a busy New York street in 4 inch Manolos.  Except we were in Yountville, CA which totals all of 3 blocks and the shoes were JCrew.

Ad Hoc refers to “impromptu” or “spur of the moment”, in restaurant terms that means whatever the chef feels like cooking.  The menu will always allude to family style cuisine vs. the high-end french food served up at French Laundry down the street.  The menu changes every night offering 4 pre-fixed courses for $49 + $39 if you choose to have wine paired with each course, which we did not.  The very attentive waitstaff wear black bowling shirts and chuck taylors, except for a one particularly elegant man, Nick, who appears very confident in pastels and checks up on your table after each course.


First Course:  citrus salad with grapefruit and blood orange, fennel ribbons and candied hazelnuts
Consensus – refreshing and light, Ramya was not in love with the fennel, everyone was in love with the candied hazelnuts.

Supplemental Course for an extra $14:  If Thomas Keller offers you a supplemental course you say “yes please” no questions asked.  Stuffed shrimp peppers with squid. We opted for one supplemental course split four ways.  Have you ever tried to split squid four ways?  Yeah I don’t recommend it.

Entree Course:  roasted lamb with swiss chard, some crazy good breadcrumbs, some other crazy good cream sauce. Served with a side of mashed sweet potatoes with a heap of butter melting into the bowl.
Consensus – perfectly cooked, loved that it was served in an all-clad stainless steel pan.  The sweet potatoes gave me a warm fuzzy feeling like the first time I saw Jacob racing through a foggy national forest in cutoff jorts.  Similar to a dream I had last night.

Cheese Course:  pantaleo that was aged ten years and was delicious – the accompanying chutney was enjoyed by all, while the celery was a miss for a few of the ladies at the table.

Dessert Course: warm apple pie tartlets with caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – tasted like the Fourth of July with Katy Perry singing “Firework”.  Our humble and gracious host Nick paired our final course with a wonderful dessert wine – complimentary after we bonded over such topics as Michelangelo’s David and the birthday song at Applebee’s.

Favorite moments Katie: Nick exchanged my copy of Ad Hoc at Home with one kept in the kitchen signed by Thomas Keller!  The book was signed by our waitstaff and the book’s illustrator who designed the restaurant’s pig icon.  That alone was worth the high $$$$

Favorite moments Flora: Nick’s periwinkle (lavender – depending on the lighting) sweater, the music which ranged from Stevie Wonder to Katy Perry to Simon & Garfunkel, the amount of times I was thanked for coming in oh and those mashed sweet potatoes…maybe I licked the serving spoon ok? And I’d do it again.

Favorite moments Ramya: When Katie told our waiter Dan that while she was an amateur chef, she was at the “advanced” level of amateur…to which he responded with something like, “Oh, I’m not very advanced but I do make a delicious bouillabaisse…the trick is extracting all of the scallop love.” And he was talking about fish extract, not hearts and sonnets.

Favorite moments Marisha: Obviously my favorite part of the evening was the meat. I didn’t think I was a lamb person but leave it to Tommy (i.e. Thomas Keller) to prove me wrong. Words can not describe how perfectly it was cooked and how happy it made my stomach. Second favorite? Being told I have “amazing lips” by Nick the GM.

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Getting Real about Mr. Bill

You should know that 2011 will be the year I critique the SF Michelin guide 2011.

Interested in finding the most authentic Thai food in the Bay Area I decided Khan Toke Thai House was a good place to start.

 

Anish must have said something funny

Overall GRR rating: 9.2

price: $76 before tip for 4 people – 2 apps – 3 entrees – 4 drinks – 1 dessert

dislike: female waitress wasn’t that interested in telling you what you were ordering, she was pretty though

likes: DECOR WAS AMAZING – best woodcuts I’ve seen since the wave woodblock at the Legion of Honor.  Also you take your shoes off at the door.  Your table is surrounded by floor cushions.  You feel like you are on a house boat.  Dishes are beautiful.  Everything and I mean everything is engraved.  They now serve brown rice.  Fried corn cakes taste like McDonald’s french fries.  Across the street from a coffee shop called “LOL”.  I could go on.

crowd: people that speak quietly and live nearby (outer Richmond)

re-visit potential:  100% guaranteed

bonus:  A male waiter brought out our dessert of fried bananas with coconut ice cream and introduced him as “Mr. Bill” with no explanation.

 

IT'S MR. BILL - He was delicious!

 

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Filed under Food, Katie

Getting Real about what I learned in college

You’ve had a bit too much to drink and there’s no place open past 4 AM in Shelbyville OR West Haverbrook. Have no fear. It’s time to prepare the ultimate plate of nachos.

What do you call cheese that's not yours?

This blogger recommends stocking your cupboards (no, people under the age of 80 do use the term cupboards) at all times with the following ingredients just in case: tortilla chips, jalapenos, Mexican blend cheese (industrial size). Salsa, sour cream and guac are nice-to-haves. Things to avoid: these rookie mistakes when assembling your midnight snack:

1. Making the perfect plate of nachos is just like getting dressed in San Francisco – it’s all about the layers. The bald chip is simply unacceptable. Nobody wants to see that shit so take great care to spread one thin layer of chips, then cheese, then chips, then cheese. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you have a towering mound

2. Another amateur mistake is skimping on the cheese. To avoid this, first put on the amount of cheese you think you need. Then double it. Let’s face it – you can never have too much cheese on the chip. And if you wanted to eat healthy, you’d be chewing arugula.

3. Spread the jalapenos excessively. If you don’t like spice, this Indian girl recommends you stop reading this blog right now. Because this blog is SPICY.

4. Take care to put any fixins’ – salsa, sour cream, guac – on the side of the plate rather than on top of the chips so as not to soggify the goods. Better yet, use ramekins because they are adorable and will remind you of eating at T.G.I. Fridays.

Happy na-chewing!

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Getting Real about scented candles

Who doesn’t love the smell of sugar cookies – apple pie – strawberry cheesecake – or cinnamon strudel?

I enjoy lighting a delicious scent when I am about to sit down and watch endless hours of Real Housewive re-runs while eating an assortment of desserts.

A gift shop just isn’t a gift shop without the selection of “Fall Harvest”, “First Snow”, “First Rain”, or “Summer Peach” candles.

Frankly, I’m not sure who is buying an abundance of scented candles or why anyone needs to give candles as gifts.

But never, and I mean NEVER have I been more intrigued to smell…let alone purchase this amazing new find…

…and don’t even begin to ask why I was on White Castle’s website.

 

GET EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT - White Castle scented candles

 

Can you pick up the onion and fake meat notes on this?

**It should also be noted that net proceeds from this $13 candle will be donated to support Autism Speaks.

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Filed under Food, internets, Katie

Getting Real about the Integrity of the Medley

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed several trends come in go in the pet peeves department. For example, I can no longer describe a cake as “moist” without sending shivers down my co-worker’s back or think a dog looks cute in a plaid jacket (or any outfit for that matter) without getting glares from my friends. As of late, I noticed a new pet peeve trend rearing its ugly head…destroying the integrity of the medley.

My friend Jamie coined this term several years back when he was annoyed with someone throwing of the proportions of some sort of mixture. Basically, anytime you have a medley or mixture with given proportions, you must maintain those proportions or you too run the risk of destroying the integrity of the medley. Last night, I was enjoying a delicious piece of prosciutto and arugula pizza at Delfina and went to grab and extra bite of meat off of the neighboring slice when Ramya screamed “don’t, you are going to ruin the integrity of the medley!” I was so shocked I released that delicious bit of meat, something I would never normally do. Then it occurred to me that my friend recently complained about an attentive waitress that was a bit too attentive with the coffee refills. “She is ruining my coffee/milk/sugar proportions every time she fills it up!”

When did this happen? When did we get so consumed with proportions that I can’t steal a few mozzarella balls from the Caprese salad without picking up one tomato in the lunch line? Have you noticed this too?

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