Hanabi lives in a magical land of apps. The apps allow Hanabi to do absolutely nothing for himself anymore. I’m being a bit cynical, but it’s true that the San Francisco Bay Area is a hotbed for new apps that tend to be available here long before they reach the rest of the country. For example, New Orleans just recently got Uber. One of the food related apps that I’ve recently used is No Wait. No Wait allows you to put your name on the restaurants waiting list without having to be there in person. That’s usually a no-go over the phone. But, the time I used it, it worked. It’s sort of bridge between a waiting list and an actual reservation. Score one for technology. Another app I frequent is Instacart which is available in several cities throughout the country. Much like the now defunct WebVan from 2000, Instacart will go shopping for you at local markets and deliver your groceries to you. It’s fast and ultra convenient. There are several apps for food delivery now as well, including deliveries from restaurants not typically known for to-go orders. It seems logical that a restaurant wouldn’t want to turn down that additional revenue stream. Hanabi also got down with some Sichuan cuisine at the appropriately named Sichuanese Restaurant. Classic! He also guzzled some Diamond Knot IPA with a very Cathulu looking label.
Hanabi is soon to be making his travels to the ancient homelands of Europe, specifically, Paris, London and Rome. The big three I guess you might say. I’ve been to Paris and London several times, and I never get tired of those cities. How could you? I’m looking forward to Rome, as I’ve never been. Needless to say, many adventures await. In this episode Hanabi lays out the plans for the restaurants he wants to try, and after he returns we’ll contrast and compare. In Paris, among several spots it’s all about L’Avant Comptoir. It’s modern Paris at its best, from what we hear. In London, it’s all about a full-English breakfast for Hanabi. Apparently there’s no better place than Breakfast Club right now. We’ll see how it stacks up to The Wolseley. Rome is a wide open book right now.. There’s just so many places to go, but Bonci Pizzarium is the siren call for Hanabi and it must be done. Have you ever wanted to eat a Dork Burger or Dog Sticks Me too. Check out Hanbi’s adventure to the LunchBox Laboratory in Seattle!
Sometimes Hanabi leaves the confines of the city for Southern climes. Don’t be shocked, outside the city there exists some of the finest restaurants in the country. One of those gems is in Los Gatos, an affluent hamlet in the South Bay home to Manresa which just earned its third Michelin star. I had one of the most memorable meals at Manresa and chef David Kinch did not disappoint. Two years ago Manresa had a kitchen fire that shut it down for about 6 months. But, it’s firing away on all cylinders. While I’m in the South Bay, Palo Alto to be specific, and because I spent all my money at Manresa I need a place that is delicious but not going to break the bank. That’s where Oren’s Hummus comes in. Fresh Israeli hummus and house made pita? Yes please!
Hanabi’s parents are shoving off to Prague and Budapest in a few months to keep the image of the American tourist alive. So, with a father-son dinner meet up on the schedule, we figured we’d get them ready for that Eastern European cuisine by visiting Cafe Europa in the Richmond district.
Hanabi finally scored a reservation to The Progress! The Progress is the sister restaurant to the much ballyhooed, and totally exceeds all such ballyhoo, State Bird Provisions. They are in fact neighboring restaurants. While State Bird serves their playful dishes dim sum style, The Progress’ menu changes daily and goes for a family style approach. It’s such a creative way to serve such creative food. For $58 a person, you get four different starters and you can choose four different larger items. It’s about as simple as it gets, but it’s also an exciting change from the standard service of individual plating for a tasting menu. Some of the hits of the evening would have to be the grilled octopus. Octopus is basically my favorite seafood. If it’s on the menu, I’m getting it! We also got down with some spot on mackerel crudo which was a perfect start to the meal. Since it can’t always be meat all the time, we opted for a celery root ravioli which came with a nice little apple puree. Delicious! We also have to brief you on a restaurant called The Lost Pelican. Where we has things like fried green tomatoes and a muffaletta. To finish it all up we riff on an article about pre-cut food. Work on those knife skills people!
I never intended to speak of the Super Bowl, postSuper Bowl, but I couldn’t help it considering where I spent my Super Bowl Sunday. Hanabi and some pals went to HiTops a gay sports bar located in the Castro district. Talk about a well run sports bar, this place was on its Agame. They were packed, but neat, clean and efficient. The food was nextlevel pub grub. The killer nachos stole the show! Pork chops too boring for you lately? I say dress them up with Hanabi’s weekday porchetta hack. Hanabi also went to Mexico for a weekender. How about a little fried opah sandwich from some of the most beautiful waters you’ll ever see?