Friday, September 30, 2011


One of the things I miss about living in San Francisco is the Little Saigon area. I was never far from a satisfying bowl of phở, a ridiculously cheap bánh mì, or some tasty spring rolls ranging from hole-in-the-wall places (Turtle Tower) to trendier upscale venues (Le Colonial). So I'm glad I discovered Élevé in Walnut Creek; I became hooked on this restaurant after working in the area. Modern, "elevated" twists on classic Vietnamese fare, with super fresh ingredients and pretty presentation.

Shrimp Spring Roll | soft rice paper, lettuce, cucumber, mint, vermicelli, peanut sauce

Càri Chicken Sandwich | curry spice rub, lemongrass, cayenne, toasted french roll

Summer Squash Vermicelli | yellow crookneck, eggplant, tomato, cashew, caramelized plum, toasted peanut

Roasted Chicken Salad | cabbage, red onion, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro

 Even good for take-out!

All the above photos were taken and edited with the Camera+ app on the iPhone. It's a great app for getting decent food photos when you've left your regular camera at home!

1677 N. Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Napa Trip Part 2: Redd

Continuing with the Napa goodness ... photos from dinner at Redd, run by chef Richard Reddington, who has credentials from Masa's, Jardiniere, and Auberge du Soleil under his belt. The boyfriend and I each got the $80 five-course tasting menu, and were delighted that the chef gave us each a different dish per course, so we basically tried 10 different dishes! 

With the fairly reasonable prices and delicious, contemporary food, this place has landed a spot on my list of fave restaurants in the Napa area!

Our wine for the night -- Jarvis 2007 Merlot

Yellowfin tuna tartare, asian pear, avocado, chili oil, fried rice crackers

 Caramelized scallop, cauliflower puree, golden raisins

Hamachi sashimi, edamame, sticky rice, lime ginger sauce

Sole and clams in frothy broth

Glazed pork belly

Roasted chicken with polenta

Hangar steak

 Duck breast, bean cassoulet, bread crumbs

 Raspberry sorbet and peach shortcake

 Chocolate beignet, caramel ice cream, caramelized banana

Complimentary fruit snacks to finish!

6480 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Napa Trip Part 1: Bistro Jeanty, Etc.

As part of my birthday / anniversary this year, the boyfriend and I headed up to Napa for a lovely day trip. We went on the tour at Jarvis Winery at my co-worker's recommendation, and it was an amazing experience! They were the first guys to place all their wine-making operations -- with the exception of growing and harvesting the grapes -- completely underground, in a 45,000 square foot mountain cave that keeps a constant temperature of 61 degrees. Not only was the tour fascinating and the cave hauntingly beautiful, but their wines were pretty damn good! I fell in love with their merlot, and I don't even remember the last time a merlot had me swooning. Such luscious fruit and great balance. 

 Photo courtesy of WongCo Food

Other wineries visited -- V. Sattui  (always a pit stop for me in the area!) and Alpha Omega Winery (first and probably last time there).

And no Napa trip would be complete without some stellar meals! We had lunch at Bistro Jeanty, a casual French bistro that does all the classics right.

Roasted Bone Marrow
 Photo courtesy of WongCo Food

My first time trying bone marrow, and now I see what all the fuss is about. If you're into super rich and savory stuff (raises hand), this is for you! Though it's probably a good idea to split a dish like this so you're not loading up on all that fat...

 French Onion Soup

One of my fave versions of this soup, coming in close behind the one at Chapeau. Bistro Jeanty's version features a broth that is less meaty, allowing more of the sweet, fragrant flavors of the onions to come through. Both are delicious, but it just depends on what you're in the mood for.

Steamed Mussels
Big, juicy bivalves in a hearty broth. Perfect. 

Coming up next -- photos from our yummy dinner at REDD! Stay tuned!

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599