Just back from a northern Calif trip and ate well-some places better than others.
First night at Plouf was fantastic. Casual place whose highlight is 7 varieties of mussels. We chose the versions with coconut milk and the one I think was named Poulette which was a white wine, bacon, cream sauce. Both were huge portions that we kept passing back and forth. Amazing. Outside areas with heaters too. Fantastic meal with great service. Can't wait to go back.
Cafe Claude is a French bistro. The service was off to start with, but then fine the rest of the evening. My appetizer salad had the perfect amount of dressing and was tasty. Unfortunately the green peppercorn sauce on my steak was too heavy, the dauphinois potatoes too dry. A band started around 8 that made an already loud place intolerably loud. Would give this place a pass.
Zuni Cafe was a little disappointing from a food standpoint. My pork chop was good and not overcooked, but uninspired. The clam starter was fine. I think we made a mistake by not ordering the signature roasted chicken. We had a great table facing the kitchen and I kept watching them chop up the chickens and they looked soooooo good. But the table was great, the service was very good and the wine delicious. I would go back to try the signature caesar salad and chicken next time.
Slanted Door was good but a disappointment. After making the reservations I saw the Saveur magazine had listed them as one of the 12 essential restaurants in the U.S. Where did that come from? The food was good---imperial rolls(very good), pork belly (sauce too heavy) shaken beef (sauce good, meat overcooked), scallops (delicious), bok choy (fine),
--but it was just good, not essential to my well-being. The waiter was great, steering us away from the duck, which he said was not one of their best dishes. He made a great wine recommendation, Resonance Pinot Noir, which we loved. Anyway, we went there, it was good, we wont' go back.
We hit Yank Sing for lunch on Saturday and I wish I had stayed at the farmers market to eat. The food was good, but rather than just passing by with the carts, they kept stopping, interrupting us, so many times in the first 5 minutes that it really spoiled the meal. We must have had 15 offers for food within that time period. And many of the offers were dumplings. The more interesting offerings didn't start coming out until about a half hour after we sat down, and by that time I'd had enough and was annoyed. We were polite the whole time and didn't make eye contact as they came around, but they continued to literally bombard us with offers. Some might find this great--all these food possibilities at once, but not us.