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Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)
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July 25-31, 2006
It’s a fair bet that any restaurant in a modern, luxury hotel will have air conditioning. Usually, this is the furthest consideration when selecting a lunch spot, but when it’s on the warm side, it becomes the tipping point in the decision making process.
I had no rezzie, but was seated without a wait in Ame’s wood accented dining room where I ordered the black cod ($25.00):
... It was sake marinated and served on triangular shrimp dumplings in a broth colorfully strewn with shiso, carrots and shitakes.
The fish was moist, delicate and cooked to a perfect level of doneness. The shrimp filling in the dumpling was densely packed with a uniform, fine grind. If they were lighter or had more textural interest with larger bits of bottom feeders mixed in, it would have been even better. The broth had a clean and multidimensional taste. I was happy with my lunch except for the wine pairing.
I inquired about the compatibility of a white Burgundy with the cod, but the server said that the Rex Hill Pinot Noir would be preferable due to the mushroom component in the dish. I went with the recco and found the tannis drowned out the delicate flavors of the broth and erased the sweetness of the cod. I stopped drinking it and had the water instead.
He might like the combo, but it’s not my thing.
My warm stone fruit tarte tatin ($9.50):
... wasn’t the flipped over, upside down, caramelized stand in for an apple dessert that I held in my mind. It was a yellow peach tart with an almond paste filling. The crisp pastry and warm fruit was peachy. Muscat ice cream was smooth and rich with a nice balance of flavor. I just wish that the scoop was missing the few stray ice bits (they must have fallen off the cover as it was being plated) but it didn’t have nasty ice spicules throughout.
I had a nicely made Graffeo coffee espresso before hitting the road.
Ame is a good place staffed by friendly and considerate people. I
like the unstuffiness of this beautifully decorated, hotel restaurant.
The Beard Papa mascot:
... looks more like he should be fronting for frozen fish sticks than Japanese cream puffs, but I guess he knows what he’s doing since there are lines out the door when people dash out for a lunch time or after work pastry.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the ones that I sampled in New York, so I didn’t hurry to queue up at Yerba Buena Gardens right when they opened. But I was in the nabe and thought it was time for another puff.
After the initial frenzy of the new San Francisco branch opening, there are finally off hours of the day with no wait.
I like the way they fill the pastry to order so a crisp shell is standard issue. You can feel your arteries clogging as you take your first bite of the chocolate cream puff ($1.95):
The caramel and vanilla varieties ($1.95 and $1.75 respectively):
... don’t make me think of a flavored pastry cream. Instead, they remind me of Jello pudding.
If they made a smaller, golf ball sized version of these I wouldn’t have a feeling of jumping off a pate a choux cliff and sinking into an ocean of custard.
As far as the calorie to dollar
this is probably the most economical form of energy you can buy.
Who needs that middle part of the food pyramid anyway? Even so, they
aren’t the kind of pastries
I personally crave.
“Cotto” means “cooked”, so I’ll bet
you can put together what “salami cotto” means.
This big hunk ($8.00):
... was between a half and three quarters of a pound and is to be kept refrigerated between snacks. This type of chub is a softer variety than the dried versions and is melt in your mouth good.
I also picked up the required fegatelli plus some petit sec which are little herbed slim jims that were the result of a wealth of herbs (an over herbundance) at FC. They made these little meat snacks and got their fans hooked, so they are on their product rotation.
And speaking of fegatelli and petit sec, they are one of the fabulous prizes on Sam’s blog today. She is doing a 24 hour blog benefiting Food Runners who help to make us a better community by limiting the waste of our local food resources. Check out Sam’s gorgeous photos of her radish crostini and make a pledge to support a good cause.
From today’s bunrab email, Mick writes:
Couple of things... I stopped at Marin Sun Farms storefront in Pt. Reyes Station last weekend and their kitchen wasn't yet operating. They said they've been having trouble getting a chef but should get it up and running soon. But I don't now what soon really means. I read your pleased, if not glowing, description of the shawerma at the Falafel Hut in San Rafael. I had one of those soon after the place opened and was way underwhelmed. The cook put a lot of effort into constructing it, chopping and slicing, but I found it small for $6.95, the meat chopped very small or ground, with a one-note-taste sauce, nothing at all like Aram's (in Petaluma) larger version with much larger pieces of meat and a more complex sauce (plus their red pepper sauce on the side). Have you tried the one at Aram's, alas available only Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the last time i was there.
The first time I went to the Falafel Hut things took a lot longer,
but they seem to be a little quicker now.
Thanks for the tip,
Today was the first time I had ever dined and dashed. Well, maybe
it was more like dashing and dining. I placed a to go order and when
the lady handed me my bag of food I left without paying. The owner
found me outside munching on my food and gently reminded me to pay.
I was so embarrassed.
The spiced beef and
lamb were nicely seasoned and the crunch from the cucumbers and onions
against the tahini sauce, tomatoes and chopped curly parsley made for
a tasty lunch.
From today’s Bunrab email, Elle write:
That's too bad about 3 Degrees in Tiburon-I have not tried them yet-sounds a little off-I hope they can get it together-did they not use rice oil in their deep fryer for the fries-oh the horror!!!
I’m rooting for them to get it together, but I’m
going to give it a lot of time before I check it out again.
Elle also writes to Chubby about the burger grail:
Hey, have you reviewed M&G Burgers in Larkspur or Fairfax yet?? What is your favorite burger in Marin??
I have been to M&G for both their ordinary
cheeseburger and their gussied up Cowgirl cheese burger. Both were
okay, but not really my thing.
Three Degrees leaves me cold
It’s cooling off enough that it was a little chilly in Tiburon today.
Three Degrees Restaurant at the Lodge at Tiburon:
... has just expanded their service to include breakfast and lunch. I asked for a seat in the warmer dining room but was told that I would receive “better service if I was seated outside” because they “had just seated a large party in the dining room.” I said that it was too chilly for me outside (as I pointed to the poorly populated dining room. He urged me to follow him anyway (listening skills anyone?) and asked if I wanted an iced tea. I said that it was too cold and that I would prefer a hot tea (which warmed me up enough to be less irritated at being blown off for the more comfortable seating.) Rosa Parks would LOVE this place!
To add insult to injury, my burger took forever to arrive. It took so long that I got three unsolicited apologies for the wait. Hey, maybe that’s what those “degrees” are, the stages of apology you will get as a customer.
This cheeseburger ($13.00):
... was made with Niman meat shaped into a patty that was too wide for the bun. If they had made it thicker and matched the size to the roll, the meat to bread ratio would have been better. The house-made herb bun got juice logged on the bottom. The grilled onions were in a narrow clump along with a single slice of tomato, one of pickle, and a leaf of lettuce. More tomatoes were needed to balance out the flavors. The grilled onions were sliced too thick and dominated their portion of the sandwich. Overall, the distribution and balance of ingredients was in need of adjustment.
Although they looked fine, the fries were on the greasy side and the house-made ketchup was watery and sweet.
Their menu is aimed at tourists more than locals. Not only is it connected to a lodge, but the ferry docks are nearby and there are all those hungry shoppers there who couldn't get a waterfront seat at Guaymas.
Appetizers ($7-$13) include salads, crab cakes, spring rolls and tamales. Entrees ($12-$25) consist of sandwiches, main course salads, roasted chicken and fish.
To be fair, they just began lunch service (so kinks are a normal part of the equation) and there were some nice people working there so this visit could be a fluke. But for now, I need 3 more degrees of separation.
Three Degrees Restaurant
We started out with an order of the twice baked goat cheese soufflé ($8.00):
... which was light and tangy. Its smooth creaminess contrasted nicely with the fresh, crisp matchsticks of apple and paper thin shavings of fennel and celery in a light cider vinegar dressing.
Thin slices of roasted gold and red beets ($9.50):
... concealed a layer of blue lake beans which were scattered with crunchy, toasted hazelnuts and a slice of Bermuda triangle cheese (which quickly disappeared.) The earthy beets, pungent cheese, and crunch from the nuts were all unified with a tasty sherry vinaigrette.
We also got a side order of escarole ($3.75):
These liberally peppered leaves were darned good.
Chubby’s steak ($21.00):
... was cooked to a perfect rare (as requested.) This Niman Ranch beef was tender and flavorful alongside the crispy smoked paprika frites. Blue lake beans and summer squash were cooked to a nice crisp tender.
I got the pan roasted Alaskan Halibut ($21.50):
... which was cooked just right. Its moist and flavorful meat was capped off with a kalamata olive tapenade which added a pleasantly salty and meaty component. The fried artichokes were good, but slightly greasy over the smashed Yukon gold potatoes and tomato broth.
It’s easy to overlook Zax since it’s not on our normal migratory path, but it’s a welcoming place with nice people. In addition to the dining room, you can eat at the bar or just come in for one of their well constructed cocktails.
I walked up to the ice freezer at
Safeway and it was empty. I rolled my cart to the alternate ice case
and there were only a few stray cubes scattered about. No ice? What if
I had a kidney harvest victim in an iceless bathtub at a Motel whose
hand was gaffers-taped to a telephone with a note about my horrible deed?
And what about that kidney? It needs ice stat!
This was seriously spot hitting, but it
did occur to me that a shot of Hangar
One vodka over the top would
have been a welcome addition.
I also picked up a couple of their fabulous, buttery, chocolate chip cookies ($1.50 each):
I have tried all the CCC options on 4th Street and these are my faves.
Don’t forget to punch your ice cream card:
... (to get one on the house after you scoop out $50.00)
The General Manager of a San Diego restaurant is taking his work home
with him by keeping his eye out for internet activity about Red Pearl
Thank you very much for the wonderful review and pictures of our cuisine. We are very excited about our potential and your blog will really help get the word out. Please let me know if you are going to be in San Diego again as we hope you will come on in.
Thanks for your note. Us Bunrabs are notoriously shy (being creatures of prey) but if you ever see a couple of rabbits chowing down in your place, you can be pretty sure it’s us.
Entire contents copyright © 2006 by BunRabCo. All rights reserved.