Category Archives: Major Coin

Noooooooo! How can I miss this?

Just read my Tablehopper newsletter, and saw this:

***Wednesday March 18th is the next ~THREE ON FIVE BEVERAGE BATTLE AT FIFTH FLOOR~: Vegetarian Showdown. Emily Wines will pair wines against beer selections from Craig & Beth Wathen of City Beer Store, and cocktails from celebrated mixologist Marco Dionysos of Clock Bar, with the added pairing challenge of the Gascony-inspired vegetarian menu. 7:30pm. $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Please specify “Beverage Battle” when making your reservation. 12 Fourth St. at Mission, 415-348-1555.***

Vegetarian! Alcoholic! That’s me! Just my luck, I’ll be in DC on the 18th, for one night only. So promise me, if you have the means, go. Support them so they’ll do more veggie stuff. I’m all stressed that it’ll flop because of the economy, but they’ll blame the vegetarians. Us animal-snugglers always get the stink-eye of suspicion in these matters.

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Cyrus

I cried.

That’s my two-word review. I think it just about says it all.

But being the long-winded rambler that I am, I’ll give you the full-meal deal.

Dinner at Cyrus was nothing short of transcendent. There were moments during my meal when I literally shook my head in disbelief. Where did these flavors come from? How did something so wonderful wind up on my fork? If I took smaller bites, could I make each course last just a little bit longer? It was like reading a book you wished would never end.

People, one dish included a flavor I had never tasted before. I think my partner said it best: “It’s like seeing a color you never knew existed.” At that point, the only thing I could manage to write in my little notebook was “WTF?! OMG.” I was reduced to text messaging-isms, for chrissake.

But let me back up. Continue reading

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Completely Self-Indulgent Travelogue Part I

If you’re looking for travel advice, you’re in the wrong place. Head over to see my friends Travel Betty and The Travel Coach for real, honest to goodness helpful hints. Me, I’m just going to tell you shit you already know. Like this little whoda-thunkit gem: Never, ever, ever fly Economy Class to Europe if you don’t have to.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, people. Do what you have to do, just get yourself a ticket. They have amazing sales from time to time.

Was the cabin perfect? No. (Parts were actually kind of ratty.) Was the décor exquisite? No. (Think gay bar, circa 1987.) Was the food delicious? No. (It was decent, but not memorable beyond the context.) However, and this is a big however, the experience as a whole was phenomenal. Continue reading

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A Note From the Road

Greetings from hot, muggy Minneapolis. It’s my third time traveling here for business in the past year, and every trip has involved extreme weather. Baking heat, freezing cold, or “life threatening” thunderstorms, like they had last night. Fun!

Anyhoo, if business sends you to Minneapolis—and someone else is picking up the bill—stay at the Graves 601. Their restaurant, Cosmos, isn’t half bad. And best of all, it’s vegetarian friendly. Yep, that’s right. A veg friendly restaurant, here in the hot-dish heartland. Last night I had a Celery Root Tart with Fresh Corn. Not fabulous, but not horrid, and  at least it wasn’t risotto.  I almost jumped for joy. This morning I had an Egg White Omelet with Grilled Shitakes for breakfast. No need to ask them to leave off the meat, because it didn’t even come with any. Sweet! They even offer grilled tofu as a side for your American Breakfast.

Ah, the simple pleasures of being considered. Thanks, Graves 601. I heart you.

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Manresa. Finally.

7-7-07. Lucky day for a birthday, right? Everything was going according to plan. We drove down to Monterrey to check out the otter exhibit at the aquarium. (Turns out, I am “Wild About Otters”.) Lovely. Walked along the waterfront. Fabulous. Drove to Los Gatos and checked in to our hotel. Okey dokey. Started feeling feverish, nauseous, and weak. Wait a tick…

This was the night of my big birthday dinner at Manresa! How could this be!??!? I’d called ahead and requested a vegetarian tasting menu and everything. Clearly, I was being punished for committing some unspeakable horror in a past life. Or perhaps for admitting that I still kinda like the Spice Girls and hope their tour comes to San Francisco. Could be either one.

I decided to cowboy up and head for the restaurant anyway. No burning hot fever was going to keep me away from my dinner, dammit. I figured I’d just pretend I felt okay, and see if my body would go along for the ride. And for a while, the ruse worked. Continue reading

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Chez Spencer

Seriously, dude. Don’t get me started. I’m in no mood.

Risotto. Why can’t I quit you?

We had a big client dinner last night at Chez Spencer. Which, in several respects, was quite lovely. You can’t beat a table on the patio there—it feels like you’re in your own private tent on some exotic, French-themed safari.

There were fourteen of us, total. We called several weeks in advance to make the reservations, and we let them know there’d be vegetarian guests in attendance. With a party that large, they required a set menu. So you’d think the chef would have plenty of time to think up something wonderful. And by wonderful, I mean something other than risotto.

Nah. Why bother?

So, my $65 prix fixe got me a butter lettuce salad, risotto, and a Meyer Lemon pot de crème. I have to tell you, I felt a little gypped. Though I realize my venison and steak eating friends got the better side of the bargain.

I’m not writing today to bitch about the food. The salad was quite nice—great dressing, actually. The risotto (“Truffle scented, Honjimeji mushroom with Shaved Parmesan) was tasty, and the pot de crème was decent, though nothing to write home about. In fact, I’ve heard from several people that the food at Chez Spencer is usually good, with occasional off nights. And their list of specialty cocktails is reason enough to return.

I’m just pissed at the risotto. RISOTTO. Risotto, risotto, risotto. It’s not you, Chez Spencer. It’s everyone. Yep, I’m pretty much angry at the entire culinary world for its lack of imagination. My wonderful coworker, Mike, who has heard my rice-rant many times before, saw the dish on the menu and burst out laughing.

For the love of all that’s holy, won’t someone please surprise me? I’m not a marathon runner—I can’t keep carbo-loading like this.

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Not-So-First Class on United

One of the perks of my work-a-day job is that every so often, under very  special circumstances, I get to fly First Class. Today (Sunday) is one such occasion. My very sweet and thoughtful coworker got us booked in First because we had to fly on the weekend for an 8:00 a.m. Monday morning meeting in Philly. (There are at least five things in that last sentence that I hate with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns.)

So, ever the dutiful vegetarian, I made sure to order my meal ahead of time. I mean, what a boon! You actually get fed in First Class, instead of eating out of a $5.00 cardboard snack box. Yippee-yahoo, right? NOT. I got the saddest excuse for a vegetarian meal I’ve ever been served. Some boiled cauliflower and carrots with brown rice, a mound of sliced almonds (I shit you not) and a ladle of marinara sauce on the side. WTF? I’m not a fucking rabbit! Give me some goddamned food! And don’t even get me started on the freakin’ carob-chip cookie they offered as desert. Peeps—I didn’t order cardboard. I ordered vegetarian. Mama wants the real chocolate for fuck’s sake.

Thank God for the free wine. That’s all I’ve got to say.

Airlines of the world, listen up. Vegetarian means “skip the meat,” not “skip the flavor.” Sliced, blanched almonds were never meant to be center of the plate. And carob? Well carob is just gross.

(Deep breath.) Rant over. Okay. Back to my free wine.

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