Hog Island’s New Expansion ~

Hog Island Oyster Company…

located in the Ferry Building, has just completed a three month expansive remodel which allowed them to double the amount of seats they had before. They have completely reinvented the space while still highlighting the soul of the restaurant…the oyster bar!

The first thing you see, when walking into the new space designed by architect Cass Calder Smith is the oyster bar backlit by the San Francisco Bay.

Featured predominately on one side of the new space is a high end, contemporary cocktail bar. Scott Beattie and Michael Jack Pazdon of St Helena’s Goose & Gander are the barmen extraordinare.

Limited menu, until the grill is up and running, which features fan’s favorites…oysters, chowder, Cowgirl Creamery grilled cheese. New entrees will include crudo fish, smoked or cured fish, a new tomato based seafood stew …and yes even a steak!

Hours are 11:30 am – 9 pm. Until 10 pm on Friday and Saturdays. Weekends they open at 11 am.

www.hogislandoysters.com

Photos courtesy of Paul Dyer

 

California Road Trip!

California Gold…what do you get when you combine quintessentially creative people inspired by some of the most beautiful coastal communities in the world? A network of luxurious retreats thoughtfully designed, peppered with cuisine produced by chefs imaginatively transforming nature’s local produce and succulent meats and fresh fish into innovative plates. So with all this magnificence at our fingertips….a gastronomes road trip is in order! With a variety of culinary and hotel experiences I’ve provided recommendations from Napa to Venice.

Bardessono Resort and Spa

First stop Bardessono in Yountville, awarded one of the Top 10 Hotels in the World in 2014 also has the distinction of being one of the Greenest Luxury Hotels.  The resort features lush rooms, indulgent spa treatments and Lucy’s, a phenomenal restaurant serving innovative, garden inspired California cuisine. If you want to venture out, Thomas Kellar’s French Laundry in Yountville is celebrating their 20th year of fine cuisine. The restaurant serves the finest American cuisine with french influences, superbly presented. If it’s a sweet you are craving for breakfast, Bouchon Bakery makes the most scrumptious Brioche Doughnuts.

Wander down the coast to San Francisco’s Historic Presidio. A boutique hotel in Golden Gate National Park, the Inn at the Presidio is the elegantly renovated Pershing Hall. This Georgian Revival style building was the retreat for U. S. Army bachelor officers posted to the Presidio.  The Inn features 22 handsomely decorated rooms and suites, nestled amongst hiking and biking trails in one of our most beautiful national parks.

Inn at the Presidio Lodging

Ten minutes away, in the Old Ferry Building is the Hog Island Oyster Bar for brunch or lunch.  Exquisite oysters, shucked to perfection, perfect temperature, jewels of the sea!  Must haves: Grilled Cowgirl Creamery Three Cheese Sandwich  dunked in their freshly prepared Clam Chowder. Sheer Nirvana!

Hog Island

While in the city, food and fun are found in the colorful environment of The Cavalier Restaurant which opened it’s doors in 2013 by award winning restauranteur Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio.  Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants The Cavalier features a terrific English Pub menu. Try the Duck Scotch Eggs.

Cavalier

If it’s old school San Francisco you want then the Cioppino at Tadich’s is the place to go. My favorite is the Petrale Soul but no matter what you order they’ve been preparing this cuisine since 1849. They’ve got it down and the martini’s are terrific too!

Moving down the coast to Carmel, travel up the Carmel Valley to the Bernardus Winery and Spa or nestle down at the Mission Ranch just north of downtown Carmel. No need to travel outside of either of these venues with chefs on staff known for utilizing local seasonal produce and meats the food and wine are exquisite at either venue.

Photo Courtesy of The Mission Ranch

For quintessential elegance, style and luxury the El Encanto in the Riviera section of Santa Barbara is my go to spot.  Recently renovated, the resort has been returned to it’s splendor of the 1920’s. The icon was enhanced with the addition of an expansive outdoor swimming pool and beautiful boutique spa. Serene and private the views are spectacular, the food exquisite, no need to leave.

San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito is equally as private and serene with a cottage feeling reminiscent of the Ranch it used to be. Featuring the Stonehouse Restuarant the chef utilizes the regional harvest in their culinary creations. For lunch or brunch you have to go to Jeannine’s. From the Salmon Eggs Benedict to the fresh assortment of Scones for Breakfast she also features a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches on fresh baked bread. My favorites, Chicken Pesto Sandwich and Quiche. Outdoor dining on Coast Village Road provides sun, people watching and terrific food!

Sand, sea and surf in Ventura features Beach House Tacos. Their best, the California Taco and a locally brewed Paradise Ale. Island Brewing Company.

The Channel Road Inn located in the sea side community of Santa Monica is one of the Four Sisters Inn Group. Blending modern luxuries and sophisticated services this boutique hotel has the traditional amenities and architecture of a B & B. Within bike riding distance to the beach and town, this lovely hotel is situated in the peaceful canyon between Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

Guestroom 5

While in Santa Monica, Pierro Selvaggio’s Valentino restaurant is a “must dine at location”. Voted one of USA Today’s Most Heavenly Restaurants we have been enjoying the welcoming ambiance and cuisine at Valentinos for over 30 years.  Pierro is the consummate host and his devotion to his craft is only surpassed by the quality and delectable cuisine he serves. You will leave this restaurant thoroughly pleased with the beauty that life and food have to offer! His passion and dedication are present in every selection.

In Venice, fashionable and fantastic, Chaya Brasserie has a lovely bar and exquisite California grill cuisine and then there is always my favorite, Chinois, Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese cuisine restaurant that has been on Main street serving the best curried oysters for over 20 years. The Salmon with Black and Gold noodles can not be duplicated, I’ve tried.  Some things are better left to the experts!

For terrific takeaway food, Gjelina in Venice for Brisket Banh Mi, Chick Pea Kale Stew and Lamb Sausage Pizza. Gjelina is on Abbot Kinney in Venice, chic, posh and artsy this area has gone through a resurgence and is oozing creativity.   Bay Cities Deli, the best Italian deli on the West side. Located on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, the best sandwiches around….our family favorite…the Godmother.

 

Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?cat=19#sthash.RxvEHXUt.dpuf
Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?cat=19#sthash.RxvEHXUt.dpuf
Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?cat=19#sthash.RxvEHXUt.dpuf

 

Summer Chocolates…Kollar style!

The summer Kollar Chocolate Club shipment is ready next week. Not too late to join the fun! Sign up and have a selection of seasonal Kollar Chocolate delivered to your door four times a year! Edible gems of exquisite design and decadence! If you have never tried these beautiful creations they are sumptuous. Not low cal but incredibly satisfying!

http://store.kollarchocolates.com/

Tavern on the Green is back!

Shuttered at the end of 2009, this quintessential New York restaurant has reemerged as the elegant establishment it was originally conceived as in 1934 by Englishman Calvert Vaux, one of the designers of Central Park. Philadelphia-based restaurateurs Jim Caiola and David Salama took over the iconic building in 2012. “We were faced with how to transform a space with the structure of a barn into a restaurant that isn’t too rustic,” says Salama, who is also an artist. “We wanted it to look like it had always been there, and we researched Gothic Revival style and consulted books on medieval style for the design of the interior paneling.”

Tavern on the Green Restaurant

Tavern on the Green’s new Bar Room.  Photo: Robin Caiol

Tavern on the Green Restaurant

The dining area and open kitchen in the Central Park Room. Photo: Robin Caiola

More popular for it’s location, the restaurant was never known for it’s fine cuisine.  Katy Sparks, new head chef, is setting her sights high to change the past reputation for lack of culinary diversification.  “Her focus will be on high-quality local and seasonal foods—a passion that stems from Sparks’s upbringing on a farm in Vermont. The menu includes such dishes as Heritage Breed pork chop with roasted rhubarb and fennel and Vermont quail with grits, homemade chorizo, and wood-roasted grapes.”

 

 

 

The Cavalier Restaurant – San Francisco

Cavalier

THE CAVALIER
Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. My favorite, Duck Scotch Eggs. Welsh Rarebit Souffle, Pork Bangers and Stout Custards share the menu with Smoked Duck Breast and Roasted Marrow Bones. Elegant, English hunting decor meets electric California—complete with one of designer Ken Fulk’s “secret” rooms. 360 Jessie St., 415-321-6000; thecavaliersf.com