I wanted to finish my San Francisco round up, but I’m in Detroit for the week and I don’t have the Gary Danko menu and I want to properly describe a raspberry dessert I had. For the time being, I’ll post some entries I’ve written but have been saving for a rainy day (actually, I have 46 restaurants that I have yet to post about…I am seriously behind!). Anyway, based on a MetroDad recommendation, Chris and I headed to Upstairs at Bouley for a light brunch. We wanted a soft shell crab sandwich from the bakery (below the Upstairs at Bouley restaurant) but we also wanted to try their burgers (from Upstairs at Bouley) but they wouldn’t let us bring a soft shell crab sandwich upstairs (and who would want a burger to go?) Initially, the waiter said we couldn’t bring up food from the bakery (restaurant rules or something), but it was late and he eventually gave in (and let us bring the sandwich upstairs). The soft shell crab sandwich:
The soft shell crab sandwich is lightly fried and placed inside a baguette with lettuce and avocado slices. Chris and I had a couple bites and couldn’t really taste the crab; the soft shell crab wasn’t seasoned enough to have enough flavor come through the sandwich. We weren’t very impressed (and it was $12 so it wasn’t a cheap sandwich!).
Luckily, we ordered a burger (so we could try a little bit of everything). The burger is a huge chunk of meat placed on a large English muffin with cheese, tomatoes, Boston lettuce, and tomatoes:
The burger was incredibly juicy – there wasn’t a lot of bun, just meat and veggies (perfect for an Atkin’s dieter!); the burger was seasoned well (although Chris thought it was a tad on the salty side), and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Upstairs at Bouley’s burger is definitely on my top 5 list of best burgers in the city.
The restaurant is very small and the kitchen is near the entrance:
You can see the chef putting everything together (the broiler for the burgers is on the left). There’s also a sushi bar for dinner:
For brunch, they have a lot of the pastries from the market (they looked delicious but we were stuffed from the burger and the soft shell crab sandwich). Downstairs at the market, we walked past lots of bread and pastries:
And tons of cakes and macaroons:
Overall, our burger was spectacular. The atmosphere at Upstairs at Bouley is really relaxing and on a nice warm day, they open the windows so there’s a nice breeze coming in during lunch.
After visiting so many wineries, eating at Ad Hoc and The French Laundry, Chris and I needed to get our burger fix. What better place than Taylor’s Refresher:
There are three locations – one in San Francisco (in the Ferry Building), one in St. Helena (pictured above), and one in Napa (at the Oxbow Public Market). Initially, I was going to visit in Taylor’s Refresher in San Francisco, but I decided to wait until Chris was with me so we could enjoy the burgers together. I was more than excited to try their food, especially since everyone that sent me recommendations said that Taylor’s was a place that I should definitely check out (thanks guys!).
The Taylor’s Refresher in St. Helena is the original and definitely family oriented (there are picnic tables and grass in the back where families hang out and picnic). We ordered our burgers at the walk-up window:
After we ordered, Chris and I headed to the backyard area that looked like it was straight from a 1950′s magazine:
A lot of families with younger children were enjoying the pleasant weather and lawn area (in fact, some kids were running around like they were raised by wolves). We didn’t have to wait long before our food was ready (everything is prepared once you order it so it doesn’t sit around and get soggy):
I decided to go with Taylor’s cheeseburger:
The cheeseburger is topped with sliced American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a secret sauce (which was kind of similar to In-N-Out’s sauce). It was absolutely AMAZING! All of their meat is antibiotic and hormone free and tastes incredibly fresh.
Chris ordered the Wisconsin sourdough burger:
The burger was topped with grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayo and BBQ sauce. Chris and I liked the burger, but neither of us liked the sourdough bread (the burger to bun ratio was skewed).
We also ordered French fries:
Very similar to Goodburger’s French fries (or McDonald’s).
Lastly, we ordered a strawberry shake:
This was the most AMAZING strawberry shake I’ve EVER had. It was reallllllly creamy, tasted like it had fresh strawberries blended in, and was the perfect consistency so you could drink it with a straw OR scoop it up with a spoon. We were impressed! (A similarly tasty strawberry shake can be found at Goodburger in Manhattan!).
I absolutely LOVED Taylor’s and can definitely see myself going back with my family (so my kids can run around and throw footballs at people’s heads).
I was going to post a review about Taylor’s Refresher and finish up my San Francisco trip, but you’ll have to wait a couple more days because I promised my friend Sara that I would post my review on Del Frisco’s (actually, I told her it would be up a week ago but I have been having extreme problems with my laptop’s wireless!). A couple weeks ago, Sara’s brother, Scott, and his friend, Justin, came to New York to visit Sara and to hang out in the city. David, Sara, Justin, Scott, and another friend Russell went to Rosa Mexicano after work for drinks (even though their food is disgusting, their margaritas are okay). I met up with them for a drink after work and after a couple rounds of margaritas on an empty stomach, everyone decided they wanted to eat something. Justin wanted to go to Del Frisco’s, so we all headed uptown for steaks and more drinks.
Del Frisco’s (actually called Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House) is located in midtown west, right outside of Rockefeller center. When I worked across the street from Del Frisco’s, I used to always see lots of men in suits walk in for lunch/drinks after work. Since I’ve never been to Del Frisco’s, I was excited to try it (Chris and I haven’t been to a lot of steakhouses in New York because steak can be so HEAVY, especially when the weather is warmer!). We had a large group and decided to order a bunch of appetizers and share everything. I got to Del Frisco’s a little late and didn’t have a chance to take pictures of everything (I had to drop off my computer at home and met up with everyone a little late). I did get a chance to take a picture of the massive onion rings:
Their onion rings are lightly battered and were perfectly seasoned – we all enjoyed them (especially me since I was so hungry after drinking so many margaritas on an empty stomach!). Sara and David also liked the gigantic onion rings:
We also ordered shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, and some other various appetizers. The onion rings were the only appetizer I really enjoyed, but the tuna tartare was better than other tartare’s I’ve had.
For our entrees, we all ordered something different and decided to share. We had so many different cuts of meat on the table and we were able to all sample a little of each person’s dish. Jamie, Sara’s roommate, ordered the lobster tail:
Where do they find lobsters that large?! There was enough lobster meat for everyone to have a bite AND for Jamie to enjoy the rest. The lobster also came with lots of butter and was really tender (and not overcooked).
I ordered the rack of lamb medium rare (excuse my picture…for some reason I tried to not use flash and fix the picture at home, but the picture didn’t turn out so well):
The lamb was the best thing on our table; lots of meat and little fat, very tender, and incredibly tasty. When all of our food arrived, the waiters all told us that the plates were REALLY hot (so don’t touch). When waiters tell me something like that, I never believe them and touch the plate anyway. The plates are usually warm (I mean, if a waiter can carry it from the kitchen to our table without a towel/glove, how is it that hot, right? I touched the Del Frisco’s plate to move it away from me, but it was so hot that it seriously BURNED me! I was actually so shocked that I dropped my fork into my lap and stained the dress I was wearing! So, as a warning, don’t touch the plates at Del Frisco’s if they tell you not to!
My brother ordered the filet:
Del Frisco’s doesn’t do much with presentation, but it didn’t matter because the filet was so incredibly juicy and rare. There was a nice crust on the outside and everyone enjoyed it (but not as much as they liked my lamb!).
Everyone had a great time and it was great hanging out with David’s friends:
Let’s take a break from California updates and go back to New York life for a minute. The other day, I had the pleasure of meeting Jacques Torres, also known as “Mr. Chocolate”:
I am a huge fan of Jacques Torres’ chocolates and Chris surprised me with some a while back:
When Jacques Torres had a show on the food network, I would sit in front of the television every Saturday and drool over his creations. I remember him recreating a champagne bottle, the Eiffel tower, and some other incredibly intricate pieces of edible art. It was a pleasure meeting him and he is so incredibly friendly!
I’ll be back next week with my review of Taylor’s Refresher and Gary Danko!
After our French Laundry lunch, Chris and I walked around a bunch of wineries. The first stop was Darioush, based off a recommendation a guy gave us when we were having brunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery a while back. He kept emphasizing how great the winery was…when we got there, we thought the place looked a little….over the top:
The winery opened in 1997 and focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay and Viognier:
The winery reminded me of a building the belonged in Las Vegas, and guess who we ran into…the Texas couples that walked out on The French Laundry! We took some pictures on the grassy lawn and by the grapes:
The next winery we visited, Clos du Val, was opened in 1972:
Their tastings were really popular:
We weren’t really in the mood for drinking, so we walked off all the food we just consumed, took some pictures around the estate, and headed to our next winery.
V. Suttui was being decorated for a wedding when we got there and was pretty packed (not only with people from the wedding). It’s one of the more popular wineries because they offer really cheap tasting ($5 for 6 wines or something like that):
They also have an outdoor picnic area (you’re supposed to buy food from the marketplace, but I’m guessing people bring in whatever they want since it’s outdoors). The marketplace sells various cheeses, dips, and sandwiches that pair well with the wine they sell:
I actually bought a wine from V. Sattui the last time I was in Napa. We liked the Rieslings the most (I brought one home last year but didn’t want to bother with it this year).
After our V. Sattui tasting, we drove to another winery, Alpha Omega. The winery was still under construction, but was open an hour past the other wineries in the area so we went in:
We were wined out, but had a great time walking through all of the tasting rooms. After all of the wineries, we headed to Taylor’s Refresher for an awesome dinner – a post will be up later this week!