Here were the positive highlights of my recent trip to California with my husband. We started in LA/OC and worked our way up to SF.
Ad Hoc in Napa
This was the best meal of the entire trip and a real bargain at only $49 pp. Knowledgeable, efficient service and the paired wines matched well with the menu:
1st course – Indian summer melon salad - tuscan cantaloupe, red watermelon, Korean melon, garden frisee, armenian cucucmbers, d’avignon radishes and nicoise olives
2nd course –Missouri-Style BBQ – smoked beef brisket, spiced pork ribs, burnt ends with Carolina gold rice, tfl garden rainbow chard and house made pickles. Also included house made (they butchered the pig) andouille sausage which was the best part of the entire meal
3rd course – Westfield Farm’s Hubbardston Blue – spice pecans, early girl tomato marmalade, paladin soliders
4th course – Chocolate Cupcakes – peanut butter mousse, meringue frosting. Better than many cupcake only bakeries which have sprung up in recent years. .
Ko Ba Woo in Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Midweek lunch with Korean and non-Korean friends and we ordered the 3 “house special” dishes: bossam (pork belly), haemul pajeon (Korean seafood pancake) and kim chi jigae. Portions were generous so first impression was we ordered too much, however everything was delicious, esp the bossam which was cooked perfectly, that we demolished the entire table – nothing was left. General agreement that this was the best Korean meal everyone had had in a long time with the only minor cmplaint that the pan-chan (side dishes) pales in comparison to the entrees.
Yank Sing in San Francisco
I’m a big fan of dim sum and keep a mental league table of the top 5. Yank Sing just grabbed the number one spot. Arrived weekday at 11:30am to a mostly empty restaurant but by 12:15pm, the place was packed with a queue out the door and I could see why. Yank Sing offers classic dim sum done extremely well plus innovative dim sum which incorporates seasonal flavours. While I was there, they were incorporating pumpkin into some of the dishes – including a steamed dumpling version which was very nicely done. Prices are higher than the average Chinese dim sum restaurant but well worth it.
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen in Napa
Located in a gourmet food market, Pica Pica delivers very tasty South American food. I had the pernil (pulled pork) cachapas while my husband ate the pabellon (steak) arepas and we both had chupe and drinks. The food was extremely tasty and it only felt like fast food because of their speedy service and low prices - lunch bill for 2 was around $20.