One of my favorite dining picks..over at Rustic!!

Did you know….

The town of Geyserville retains the ambiance of a bygone era. Located in the beautiful Alexander Valley, the town owes its name and beginnings to the discovery of geothermal springs in the Mayacamas Mountains just east of town.

The area became a tourist attraction, with the town providing lodgings and provisions for the tourists. Cattle, grain, pears, and prunes thrived in the lush valley and the area’s rich, gravelly soil proved an ideal location for wine grapes. The wine boom of the 1970s led to vineyards replacing the fruit orchards, and today the valley is a verdant sea of vines.

Main Street Geyserville still holds the charm of 100 years ago in its historic buildings. From wooden boardwalks to Wild West storefronts, Geyserville charms its visitors with world-renowned wines, contemporary restaurants, quaint bed and breakfast inns, boutiques and vintage chic mercantiles. (sonomacounty.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Rustic within Francis Ford Coppola Winery – Geyserville, Ca

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes:

Lamb, Steak, Wine of course!

Wine country is a great place to visit,when you want to see exquisite gardens of vines, while sipping on the finest wines.

About an hour from the Bay Area, you can make your trip to Napa or Sonoma county and begin your decadent experience to a land of beauty and relaxation.

Not only can you find magnificent wine to taste, but also breathtaking meals to pair with it.

While visiting the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, I found a hidden gem, where I officially dined on the best lamb I have ever had!!

Let’s talk Rustic

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The Destination for Romance..Over at Sundance!

Did you know….

Our modern steakhouse has two direct ancestors, the beefsteak banquet and the chophouse. Both arose, interestingly enough, in mid-19th century New York City, a town that got the best beef cuts the country had to offer because only there did diners have enough money to pay for them. Beefsteak banquets were primarily men-only political affairs, held as candidate fundraisers or to celebrate a recent victory. They got their name from what was served: sliced beef tenderloin, each piece placed upon a slice of white bread like an open faced sandwich. The bread slices, however, were rarely eaten and were mainly stacked besides each plate as an informal scorekeeping system for how much beef was consumed by the participants. No self-respecting gourmand wanted to fill up on bread when there was so much beef and beer available!

Chophouses were only slightly more civilized. They appeared in New York City in the mid-1800s to cater to merchants and clerks in need of a hot meal. By all accounts, chophouses were dark and dusty affairs: one of the more celebrated houses was named “Cobweb Hall,” after the décor. These restaurants served a more diverse menu than the beefsteaks. Mutton chops, lamb kidneys and sizzling strips of bacon were all served, alongside mealy baked potatoes and the ever-present tankards of British ale. As one reporter put it, “Those who don’t care for steaks can have chops, those who don’t care for chops can have steaks.” Dessert was apple pie, mince pie or a wedge of Stilton cheese.(history.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Sundance Steakhouse – Palo Alto

Average Cost

$31-$60

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes:

Rib-eye steak, Calamari, Jumbo Shrimp, Clam Chowder

Birthday celebrations always make my day.

Watching someone’s face glow while they anxiously open their gifts…

Or simply seeing the gratefulness of having a companion there with them to cling glasses of luscious red wine together.

Tonight we celebrate my wife’s birthday over steak and wine within an extravagant setting and memorable cuisine!

Let’s talk Sundance!!

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Oh my Word..I’m eating at Rutherford!

Did you know….

The roots of Rutherford—the historic grape growing center of the Napa Valley—actually stretch south of its central location in Napa Valley to Yountville, where George Yount settled in1838. Yount, an explorer and pioneer, was granted 11,814 acres by Mexican General Mariano G. Vallejo as repayment for a variety of services.

This land was called “Caymus Rancho,” and extended north from the western foothills of Mt. St. John to what is now the intersection of Zinfandel Lane and Silverado Trail.

Yount had three granddaughters. Elizabeth married young Thomas Rutherford in 1864. As a wedding present, the newlyweds received 1,040 acres at the northern end of Yount’s land grant.

While Yount is considered to be the first to plant wine grapes in Napa Valley, it was Thomas Rutherford who made a serious investment in grape production and winemaking. From 1850 to 1880, Rutherford established himself as a grower and producer of high-quality wines.(rutherforddust.org)

Today’s Restaurant

Rutherford Grill – Rutherford, Ca

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Iron Skillet Cornbread, Prime Rib, Burger, Trip-tip & Enchilada

Napa Valley.. Home of the grapes!!

Not just the world’s fantasy villa of grapes, but home to some of the finest dining around to pair up with those exquisite wines.

Last time I was out in Napa enjoying the view of a grape vineyard, while sipping on some aged Pinot Noir; we stopped in Rutherford,Ca and found the golden goose of restaurants.

Food so tasty it will make your head spin!

Let’s talk about it…

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Wagyu Beef that will Melt in your Mouth at Alexander’s Steakhouse!

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Did you know….

Modern Wagyu cattle are the result of crossing of the native cattle in Japan with imported breeds.  Crossing began in 1868 after the Meiji restoration in that year.  The government wanted to introduce Western food habits and culture. Brown Swiss, Devon, Shorthorn, Simmental, Ayrshire, and Korean cattle were imported during this period. The infusions of these British, European and Asian breeds were closed to outside genetic infusions in 1910.

The variation of conformation within the Wagyu breed is greater than the variation across British and European breeds. The three major black strains – Tajiri or Tajima, Fujiyoshi (Shimane) and Kedaka  (Tottori) evolved due to regional geographic isolation in Japan. These breeding differences have produced a Japanese national herd that comprises 90% black cattle with the remainder being of the red strains Kochi and Kumamoto.

In Japan there are four breeds that are considered Wagyu and those are the Japanese Black (the predominant Wagyu exported to the U.S), Japanese Brown (In the U.S. referred to as Red Wagyu), Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn.  There are no Japanese Polled or Shorthorns being bred outside Japan. Wagyu strains were isolated according to prefecture (state) and breeds imported for crossing were not the same in each prefecture.

The production of Wagyu beef in Japan is highly regulated and progeny testing is mandatory. Only the very best proven genetics are kept for breeding. Realizing the value of their unique product, the Japanese Government banned the export of Wagyu and declared them a national living treasure. Zenwa is the Gov’t held entity in Japan that oversees the WAGYU registry for Japanese Black, Brown, Polled and Shorthorn.(wagyu.org)

Today’s Restaurant

Alexander’s Steak House – Cupertino, Ca

Average Cost

Above $61 unless you go for lunch

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Wagyu Burger, Steak Frites

What a wonderful day for steak!!

Steak is wonderful on a sunny day..

Steak is wonderful on a rainy day..

Heck, I’ll eat steak if aliens invaded the planet for my last meal and testament!

When you are looking for mouth watering beef within an elegant setting, I know the spot!

Let’s talk about it!!

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Definitely getting my fill..at Princess Cruises’ Crown Grill!

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Did you know….

Princess Cruises began in 1965, when founder Stanley McDonald chartered Canadian Pacific Limited‘s Alaska cruise ship Princess Patricia for Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles during a time when she would have usually been laid up for the winter.[3] However, Princess Pat, as she was fondly called, had never been designed for tropical cruising, lacking air-conditioning, and Princess ended her charter in favor of a more purpose-built cruise ship Italia.

Princess, who marketed the ship as Princess Italia, but never officially renamed her, used the ship to inaugurate their Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles and did not receive the Princess logo on her funnel until 1967.[3]

In 1969, the Princess Italia was used on Alaskan cruises from San Francisco, but by 1973, the charter was canceled, and the Italia returned to Europe on charter to Costa Cruise Line.[3]

Princess’s third charter ship was none other than Costa’s Carla C. Originally, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique‘s SS Flandre, the ship had been purchased by Costa in the late 1960s and given a major rebuilding. Almost immediately after completion, the ship was chartered to Princess, and it was on board the ship, which was marketed as, but again not officially renamed, Princess Carla, that Jeraldine Saunders wrote the first chapters of her nonfiction book The Love Boats.(en.wikipedia.org)

Today’s Restaurant

Princess Cruise – Crown Grill

Average Cost

$29.99

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Lobster Tail, Tiger Prawns, Rib Eye..Whatever your heart desires!!

Being on the beautiful seas of the Pacific while listening to awesome musical artists and adventurous movies on a huge screen outside in the moonlight on top of a huge Princess Cruise ship is a delightful experience in itself.

Unlimited all you can eat pizza, burgers and fries totally can make your day.

Let me tell you what can make your week while aboard Princess, and that is all you can eat fine dining at the Crown Grill

Let’s talk about it..

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate before it’s Gone..Today I kicked it off at Le Papillon!

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Did you know….

Of course, food is influenced by history as much as vice-versa, and the French Revolution was no exception. The birth of the Republic of France laid the foundation for the modern restaurant to flourish. According to Larousse Gastronomique, the French culinary encyclopedia, although taverns, inns and cafés had served food and drink to the public for centuries, the first restaurant as we know it was opened in around 1765 in Paris by a bouillon seller named Boulanger. At the time, clear soups such as those Boulanger sold were considered restorative; hence the term “restaurant.” However, as the encyclopedia explains, “the first Parisian restaurant worthy of the name was the one founded by Beauvilliers in 1782 in the Rue de Richelieu, called the Grande Taverne de Londres. He introduced the novelty of listing the dishes available on a menu and serving them at small individual tables during fixed hours.”

Following the revolution, the abolition of the guild system that controlled who could be a butcher, baker or cheesemaker and how they did their jobs made it easier to open restaurants. Also, since so many aristocrats fled or were executed, their former cooks and servants had to find new employment. Paris became the center of the new restaurant scene, which, to some degree, it remains today. (smithsonianmag.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Le Papillon – San Jose, Ca

Average Cost

Above $61

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Truffled Hamachi Tartare with Meyer Lemon and Pea Shoot Emulsion, Dungeness Crab Soufflé with Lemon, Saffron and Caviar, Sugar Snap Pea Soup with Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms,Salsify Soup with Duck Royale and Truffle,Pinot Noir Braised Duck Breast with Sour Cherry, Sage and Black Forbidden Rice, Grilled Loin of Lamb and Braised Shoulder with Caramelized Yogurt and Barberry Reduction

I’m not going to make this long because I want to make sure I can actually publish this during Valentine’s Day.

It’s hard being a blogger sometimes; either you enjoy the day then write about it later, or sacrifice a piece of your enjoyable day and do it right then.

For my reader friends..

I will always do the sacrifice!!

Let’s talk romantic French dining at Le Papillon..

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Fine Dining Greatness with No Remorse over at the Plumed Horse…

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Did you know….

One allure of three-star dining in the French countryside is the surprise of finding worldly offerings in a provincial environment. Similar dynamics are at play at the Plumed Horse, the famous restaurant that opened in 1952 in Saratoga, the storybook-like village tucked up against the Santa Cruz Mountains.

With white lights wrapped around the tree trunks lining the street in front of low-slung buildings, this stretch of Big Basin Way provides a dramatic contrast to the gilded, sophisticated interior of the restaurant. The entrance provides a neutral transition to the world of fine dining.

The dining room has a modern, big-city feel – perhaps not evocative of San Francisco, but certainly Dallas, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The mod fireplace that dominates one wall in the 60-seat lounge competes for attention with the three-story glass wine cellar that divides the lounge from the 80-seat dining room. Step through the cellar door and you might have a touch of vertigo because the glass floor makes you feel as if you’re walking into space. Below you are boxes of wine; above are hundreds of bottles displayed in clear racks.

Designed by Walid Mando, the dining room features an impressive barrel ceiling of shimmering Venetian plaster, overlaid with sycamore panels that arch over massive leather-framed mirrors and sapelli wood walls. The tables are beautifully set before comfortable microsuede chairs. But what really grabs attention are the three Chihuly-like chandeliers made of fiber optics that change from steely silver to vivid green, pink and aqua. This unexpected dash of glitz adds a striking contrast to the tailored room and provides diversion should conversation lag. Depending on your mood, you can see the fluted disks as electrified jellyfish or psychedelic mushrooms.(sfgate.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Plumed Horse – Saratoga, Ca

Average Cost

Above $61

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Chef’s Tasting Menu, Black Pepper & Parmesan Soufflé

So it’s my wife’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her and take her to a nice exquisite restaurant.

Somewhere fancy.Somewhere remarkable and different. Not the usual.

What better place than an elegant restaurant with a ritzy ambiance and a great menu.

I found the perfect place..

Plumed Horse in Saratoga, California.

Let’s talk about it…

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The Taste of Perfection and Romance Evermore at the Extravagant Venue of Nick’s Next Door!

Pancetta and Italian Herb Risotto Croquettes Heirloom Tomato and Fennel Compote Almond Basil Pesto, Pan Roasted Chilean Sea Bass  Sautéed Summer Squash and Linguica,  Italian Pearled Farro Sweet Summer Tomato Romesco Sauce, Roasted Bone Marrow, Pommes Frites, Pesto Roasted Cauliflower, Braised Pork Belly Red Wine Demi Glace,

Live Action Quick Tips

Did you know….

Bone marrow is a food that has been prized throughout history– from hunter-gatherer tribes to haute cuisine chefs. It’s not hard to understand why, once you’ve tasted it. It’s delicate, meaty and fatty. It’s also rich in fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins K1 and K2, although this will depend on what the animal has eaten.

Roasted marrow bones make a simple appetizer. Beef bones are the best because of their size. Select wide bones that are cut about three inches long. They should be from the femur or the humerus, called the “shank bones”. These are sometimes available in the frozen meats section of a grocery store, otherwise a butcher can procure them. If you have access to a farmer’s market that sells meats, vendors will typically have bones cut for you if you request it.(wholehealthsource.blogspot.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Nick’s Next Door – Los Gatos, Ca

Average Cost

$30-$60

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Rib-Eye, Sea Bass, Pancetta and Italian Herb Risotto Croquettes

So today is my birthday and my wife wanted to take me out somewhere nice so she planned a wonderful dinner at an elegant restaurant.

She wanted to surprise me with some place new and romantic so her hunt landed us at a mystical venue of heavenly flavors and flamboyant dishes at Nick’s Next Door.

Let’s talk about it…

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Aroma that will put you in a Coma over at Scoma’s!!

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Did you know….

Sausalito is like a stage where one production has followed another for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Whatever the theme or plot, Sausalito, with its characteristic flair, has provided a setting to match the action.

For between three and five millennia, the backdrop it provided for a cluster of Native American (Coastal Miwok) villages remained fairly constant. Its tranquil surface varied little over time. But with the successive arrival in Northern California of the Spanish, Mexicans, and Euro-Americans, the stage was set for dramatic change.

Are you looking for a new twist on the traditional Western? Sausalito’s story as a Mexican land grant in the early 1800s arguably equals the best Broadway musical, replete with Vaqueros, dons, extravagant fiestas, and, ultimately, the downfall of its colorful leading man. Rancho del Sausalito even had a role in the Bear Flag Rebellion of 1846.

Later with the advent of ferry service to and from San Francisco, Sausalito became the setting for a burgeoning Victorian village–a place of summer houses and hillside estates, populated by wealthy San Franciscans and members of the local British colony. A fleet of British-owned, square-rigged grain ships filled the bay below. But Sausalito, by its very nature, invited diversity. (ci.sausalito.ca.us)

Today’s Restaurant

Scoma’s of Sausalito – Sausalito,Ca 

Average Cost

$31-$60

Rating (1-10)

9

Recommended Dishes: 

Scoma’s Clam Chowder Boston (white), Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi, California Petrale Sole

If you are a frequent traveler to San Francisco then you probably have found yourself on the other side of the Golden Gate in Marin County.

It is a county of cities with great views from the Bay water surroundings, great ocean views and islands you can visit by boat.

Sausalito is one of those cities and it is not only great for the beautiful ocean views but home for many romantic restaurants and elegant cuisine.

Let’s talk about it..

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I’ll get to acting like Billy Bob Thornton for a Steak at Morton’s!

RibEye Steak

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Did you know….

While the beef cow is still alive, different parts of its body perform more work or bear more weight than other parts. All of this strain and exercise can make those areas more lean and tough. The more tender cuts of meat are located in sections of the cow that didn’t perform as much work or bear as much weight, such as the upper rib cage. This is the section of beef rib which provides such popular cuts as prime rib, standing rib roast, bone-in rib steaks and the boneless rib eye steak. When the rib section is trimmed but not separated, it is sold as a standing rib roast. If the rib section is separated into individual ribs but not deboned, it is sold as rib steak. Only when the rib bone is removed and other undesirable tail pieces are trimmed away can it be sold as a rib eye.

Because a ribeye steak contains significant ribbons of saturated fat or marbling, it become especially tender during the cooking process. The fat between the muscle tissue slowly melts into the meat, creating a very smooth and satisfying texture. This is why rib eye steaks are ideal for direct heat cooking methods such as grilling, broiling or pan frying. Slow roasting a rib eye steak would only cause the fat to render out of the meat, leaving a very tough and dry piece of beef in its wake. Most ribeye steak recipes call for at least a two step cooking process; a quick hot sear, followed by a slower direct heating method. Steakhouse cooks typically grill ribeyes on a grate over hot coals or gas burners.(wisegeek.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Morton’s Steakhouse – San Jose, Ca

Average Cost

Above $61 for full dinner menu unless you can get there for Happy Hour at bites start at $7

Rating (1-10)

8.5

Recommended Dishes: 

Ribeye, Crabcakes- ask for extra mayo

Miniature Crab Cakes Served with mustard mayonnaise sauce

So it’s Happy Hour time and I am in the mood for something elegant in flavor today and delicate to the bite.

What better place to have a couple of drinks in a ritzy setting than Morton’s Steakhouse in Downtown San Jose.

Time for some live action eating! Let’s talk about it..

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