Tadich Grill - San Francisco, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

​Believed to be the third oldest restaurant in America, there's a reason that Tadich Grill has withstood the test of time. The best seafood in San Francisco, outstanding old-world service, and a vibrant historic dining atmosphere.  I believe I had my first meal at Tadich nearly 40 years ago.  And, while I moved away from San Francisco 5 years ago, I still make sure I visit every time I'm in the Bay Area.  The staff is fantastic and somehow always manages to remember me!  The menu is extensive and I have my favorites.  Best clam chowder anywhere.  Fresh shucked oysters are always terrific as are the Pacific Oysters Rockefeller.  Sand Dabs are sumptuous and, when on the menu, the Chilean Sea Bass is incredible.  Prices are amazing too.  They could charge much more.  I tell everyone that Tadich Grill is a must experience restaurant when visiting San Francisco.  It's great to see that it continues to draw crowds!

California Market at Pacific's Edge - Carmel, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

​Located in the newly renovated Hyatt Carmel Highlands, California Market at Pacific’s Edge boasts astounding views and a fantastic menu.  However, the star of this restaurant may just be the staff and service!  Our visit began at the bar where we were greeted by bartender, Reynaldo.  He poured us a couple of fantastic Tito’s Vodka Martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives.  Perfection.  Reynaldo was quick to tell us about the history of the restaurant and bar and to detail the upgrades with the new décor.  He, like many others we met on the property, has been working at the hotel for years.  You can tell he really enjoys his job and interacting with his customers.  He introduced us to the restaurant’s hostess, Diana, who was vibrant, warm, and engaging.  What a fantastic way to begin our dining experience!  She escorted us to a corner window table with a stunning view of the Big Sur coast.  Wow.  She pointed out her favorites on the menu and introduced us to our server, David who was quick to take our drink order and answer any questions.  The menu was extensive, offering a wide range of dishes with locally procured seafood and produce.  For starters, we chose the Ceviche and Octopus.  The ceviche was made with black tiger shrimp, avocado, cilantro oil, and an Ecuadorian sauce.  It was a large portion accompanied by taro and beet chips (the menu said organic tortilla chips which would have been better).  It was fresh, bright, and absolutely delicious.  A perfect complement to the Octopus appetizer which was accompanied by local heirloom baby potatoes and Kalamata olive aioli.  This dish was outstanding. Full of flavor and the consistency of foie gras!  Buttery and perfectly seasoned.  David told us the secret was a four-hour poach in olive oil before being charred on the grill.  You could tell a lot of work went into this dish. For our mains, we opted for the Scallops and the Chilean Sea Bass.  The scallops were perfectly seared and accompanied by heirloom cauliflower in a light romesco sauce.  The surprise was in the pickled mustard seed relish topping the scallops.  Something we’ve not seen before that really made the dish memorable!  The sea bass was also fantastic.  A generous filet with a roasted corn relish in a coconut cream sauce with micro tomatoes.  Wonderful.  Overall a beautiful evening with exceptional food and service.  Even the gentlemen busing our table, Daisuke, was warm and attentive.  Thanks to all.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands - Carmel, CA - 5 Stars

We've been to the Hyatt Carmel Highlands before, so we expected the fantastic views and nice accommodations, but this was our first visit since the remodel and change of ownership.  Wow.  Our experience began as we pulled up to the valet, where attendant Bryan was quick to greet us with a smile and point us in the direction of the lobby.  Warm first impression.  Next, up to the lobby.  The recent upgrades were really beautiful.  The Hotel still has the historic charm and character of a property built in 1916, but everything was fresh and new.  At the front desk, Christine was quick to welcome us and check us in.  She told us about the property renovations and offered any kind of assistance we needed during our stay.  She was so friendly, helpful, and genuine.  Brilliant customer service.  Back down to the valet, Bryan had placed our luggage into a golf cart and was quick to drive us to our room.  The grounds were gorgeous.  Spectacular vistas and beautiful gardens.  Upon entering our suite, we discovered we had been upgraded from an ocean front room to a townhouse.  Quite a treat.  The entry floor had a kitchen, living room, full bath, wood-burning fireplace and deck with a stunning view of the coast.  Everything was clearly newly remodeled.  All of the character you would expect but with a modern twist and amenities.  Stone floors, wood accents and earth tone décor.  Down to the lower floor, the master also had ocean views but was highlighted by an in-room spa-tub separated from the main space by a sliding shoji screen wall.  Great touch.  We were impressed.  Again, beautifully appointed and a fantastic comfy bed with high-quality linens.  We tend to be hotel snobs, but these accommodations had everything.  In fact, we called the front desk to see if we could extend our stay for a second night and we’re lucky enough to be able to do so!!!  During our stay, we also visited the bar, lounge, and restaurant.  Again, beautiful, sweeping views of the Big Sur coast, and staff that greeted you with a smile at every turn!  What a wonderful visit to the Carmel Highlands!  We’ll be back soon.  And, I hope you’ll ready my review of their restaurant, California Market at Pacific’s Edge. The same level of excellence!

Taste on Ellis - San Francisco, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

What a fantastic addition to San Francisco’s food scene. Located in the newly renovated Hotel Fusion, you enter Taste on Ellis via a dramatic staircase in the hotel lobby that takes you up to the second floor where you’ll find an intimate dining room with a contemporary décor with hints of Asian flair. The hostess was charming and we were immediately greeted by several servers. The menu was extensive with a Hawaiian Hispanic influence offered up in small and large plates at reasonable prices. Honestly, I wanted to try every dish as the descriptions were exotic and inspiring so we decided to taste a few. To start, we chose the Beet and Portagee Sausage Salad. Gold and red beets on top of a frisee with goat cheese fritters and deconstructed sausage. The mix of flavors and textures was unique and flavorful. A balsamic reduction added just the right amount of tartness to the dish. Next, the Hot Stone Wagyu. What a dramatic presentation. A generous portion of uncooked Wagyu beef, cut into delicate strips next to a steaming hot river stone surrounded by shishito peppers with a miso vinaigrette on the side. Tiny tongs were provided to sear your own beef on the stone. I tried it with and without the sauce, cooked and uncooked. Each preparation was absolutely delicious. On to the Musubi Roll. I hadn’t actually heard of this before but I understand it’s trending! It’s sort of a delicate burrito with a layer of nori filled with seasoned rice, Spam, and wasabi tobiko. It’s fried and cut into wedges topped with a siracha aioli. What a surprise. Something to experience! We were already getting full but we asked our server if there was anything else we “must” try. The house Wagyu burger was suggested. I didn’t see it on the menu, but I understand you can ask for it. Seemed like an odd suggestion, but boy was it absolutely amazing. A simple plating with just the burger and traditional fries, but the juiciness of the burger and the perfection of the fries made this a memorable dish. To finish the dinner, we just had to have a little something sweet. The sous-chef took the lead on this one and prepared a nice sampler for us. Malasadas, a guava tres leches, house made peanut-butter chocolate fudge, bread pudding, and more. We were spoiled.  An overall spectacular taste of Taste. Superb service. Unique dishes. Completely new flavor profiles. Taste on Ellis certainly deserves 5 Golden Spoons!  

Pom at Fantasy Springs - Indio, CA - 4 Golden Spoons 

​Consistently good food.  A surprise for a cafe in a casino!!  Great choices on the menu from fried chicken to a wide array of salads.  The chicken enchiladas can't be beat and the portobello mushroom tower with chicken and grilled vegetables is sensational. So are the fish tacos!  Service is warm, friendly, and efficient too.  Give it a try!

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 jim@foodtodish.com
888-942-4274 ext. 701

Palm Springs, California

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