The Toque from San Francisco 1
This is our first toque for Food and Beverage and we are pleased to bring to you interesting news about restaurants, events and chefs in San Francisco and beyond. We have written restaurant reviews for 2 years www.finediningdetectives.com and will bring our special perspective to the column.
Two new restaurants with well-schooled veteran chefs:
Napa is the new home of Pairs Restaurant
Chef/Owners and brothers Craig and Keith Schauffel bring a wealth of experience and a professional flair to their new California-Asian Style Restaurant. The Décor, which is Feng Shui inspired is stunning yet peaceful and includes a Koi pond, Japanese Maples, Bamboo trees and a Brazilian Wood Bar with a Chinese River Rock base.
Craig and Keith are well traveled through the Far East and were trained at The CIA. Their love of food and wine is apparent in their new venture. Previously Craig cooked for Seppi Renggli at the Four Seasons in New York, reopened The 21 Club with Alain Saillhac and Anne Rosensweig , learned Pairing at Cain Cellars and catered for the Napa Valley Winery community from Pairs Parkside Café in St. Helena. Keith attended the CIA as well as pastry chef school in Lucerne, Switzerland and Cordes, France and worked at The Plaza Hotel, La Brasserie and Rene Pujol in New York before joining his brother in St. Helena and now at Pairs in Napa. He also teaches at The CIA. Weve had the pleasure to have dinner at Pairs and were impressed with the total dining experience.
Half Moon Bay is the new home of The Ritz Carltons Navio Restaurant, which features Coastal Cuisine and Seafood. Executive Chef Bruno Lopez, a French Native, also brings a wealth of experience to this new jewel on the California Coast. He was trained at the Paris Culinary School and The Ritz Hotel in Paris and is a member of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Club Culinaire and Les Toques Blanches International. Chef Lopez has been with Ritz Carlton since 1991 where he began as Sous Chef at Ritz- S.F. He spent 4 years at The Ritz- Marina del Rey and then 2 years as Executive Chef at The Ritz in Dubai. Previously he gained invaluable experience at Les Trois Marches in Versailles and the Pierre Restaurant in the Hotel Meridian- S.F. The expectations are high and having only had lunch one Saturday afternoon we believe Lopez can live up to and exceed. We look forward to having dinner soon in this beautiful setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
On the Newspaper front, The new San Francisco Examiner has named Patricia Unterman Food Editor. She has great credentials and is well liked having at one time owned a restaurant and understands the ins and outs. As ever Michael Bauer of the S.F. Chronicle continues to lash out at mediocrity and high prices. There may finally be some chinks in his armor as some letters to the editor of the Chron. were actually printed lashing back at Bauer for his reviews of Roys S.F. and Glow S.F. David Bennett, who has published more than 250 Restaurant Reviews over 14 years in his Wine Country monthly, the Petaluma Post will be selling his paper and moving to Hawaii, perhaps to start The Kona Post?
Here today, gone tomorrow. Recent closings of restaurants include the demise of P.J. Mulherns
We really loved the cuisine and atmosphere including the quirky art and comfy leather booths ... Surely both Bob Mulhern and executive chef Robert Price
.. will rise again. The cuisine was great but the location proved problematic. Restaurant Qi, George Q. Chens mercurial stint at the new S.F.O International terminal never had a chance, huge expenses and low traffic, as well as high prices doomed it from the get. Chens Dragonfly in The Village at Corte Madera also closed for remodeling Dont count him out as he has a knack for rising to the occasion and smelling like a rose. Neighborhood restaurants like Savanna Grill, in Corte Madera, which closed, and Sophies in Oakland, which is about to, are having a tough time. We havent heard much about Roys since its opening this spring but it is full every time we go by and no one seams to mind the hefty lunch and dinner prices.
The Black and White Ball was a huge success even though we missed it. The movers and shakers were all dressed to the nines but the buzz was about the same dress on a number of the local shakers. Better look elsewhere next time, girls! Chefs dont have that problem. We did enjoy a night at the art deco Lake Merrit Hotel in Oakland where Mr. Ricks Martini Club held there semi-Annual dinner, great price fix 3 course meal and a great swing band
check out www.MartiniMusic.com for future events.
A recent trip to San Antonio allowed us to see what Texas had to offer. Boudros, a Texas Bistro on The River Walk has a French Chef Alec Burlitini who pleased us with a fantastic Filet Mignon. We also dined at Biga On The Banks a creation of Owner/Chef Bruce Auden and one of Texas top restaurants. Our favorite was Dessert; a Sticky Toffee Pudding with English Custard created by Katherine Tuason.
New finds around The Bay
Great upscale Mexican Restaurant
Telegraph Ave, Oakland
Tom Schnetz and Dona Savitsky owners.
Until we eat again
Joe and Carol Davis