French Laundry +/- Meadowood
I'm in a slight dilemma...
TFL called today to inform me that they did indeed have a cancellation and would be able to seat myself and my girlfriend at 5:30 on Monday. Of course I said yes, and so we're going! I'm extremely excited I don't know what to do with myself.
We have reservations for the tasting menu @ Meadowood on Tuesday.
In addition, we are visiting Redd's on Wednesday, and Gary Danko on Friday.
Is that overkill? We're huge foodies, we've never been to Napa/San Francisco. I'm a wine director at a restaurant so our vineyard visits are comped. I try not to think about the cost but of course I can't help it.
So my real question is this.
Ame Bar and Bourbon & branch (San Fran)
Gary Danko (San Fran)
Should we cut one out and replace it with something else? For lunch we were thinking about picnics & quick eats as to not waste time. During the day's well be doing vineyard visits and roaming SF.
I'd go for it but I'd cut Danko and replace it with Coi or Azizza...which are upgrades in my view. I'd just eat real simple during the day.
If you have the time and can make the drive, I'd hit Manresa in Los Gatos too (1.25 hours away from SF). I think any one into food would be jealous of that trip.
The cocktails at the Bourbon and Branch were quite good, but I would skip the hassle of the reservation/password requirements and hit up the Alembic. The hostess at B & B gave us some attitude and the Friday night we were there, it was filled with youngish patrons who were very loud the entire evening. I don't know about you but I don't feel like hearing bartenders and other patrons sh-shing each other all night like 6 year old children. If you are bold enough to post "House Rules" on your website then you should have enough balls to kick people out who don't "obey" them. A little too precious for my liking.
We had absolutely wonderful service at Gary Danko, but sadly, the food did not measure up. Overall unexciting, and the pancetta wrapped frog legs I ordered were horribly overcooked-unacceptable for that caliber of fine dining.
after much debate and thinking about it more and more I had to cancel Meadowood. As much as I wanted to go, I really wanted to try Ubuntu and didn't want to worry about the $$ because I know at TFL i'll be paying a hefty penny to fully enjoy the experience.
Unbuntu has gotten me very excited - my girlfriends a former vegetarian and i'm a huge meat eater. I don't know why i'm so excited about this place but I really feel like i'll be missing out on the experience if I skip it.
As far as Gary Danko goes, I don't want to skip - i've heard some good things and a few bad things (a lot about the frog legs actually..i'll remember not to order it) but the good things i've heard are enough to make me feel excited about it. It's a place i've always wanted to visit. If I have time for Alembic i'll visit it too but after just opening a new bar where myself and the chef have created some innovative cocktails, Bourbon & Branch is somewhere i'll love. We thought about Coi but decided we wanted to take it easy before our final blowout at Gary Danko.
We are going to do the following...i'd love input!!
The French Laundry
Ame Bar & Fifth Floor Lounge
Bourbon & Branch
Bouchon Bakery (we're whores for macaroons...)
Oakville Grocery for picnic goods
Mustard's Grill (if we have time)
Ferry Building (Saturday Farmer's market....oysters & charcuterie waahooo!!)
Dim Sum (location tbd)
any other food stops? We're not going to sighsee we're going to eat!!
TFL - good decision
Ubuntu - if you must, but don't go with high expectations after TFL
Redd - Ugh do something different: Meadowood or Cyrus
Ame & Fifth Floor - Ame perhaps, certainly not Fifth Floor with it's current state of unrest. Coi, instead. You'll be happier.
Gary Danko - Nope. La Folie, or Coi instead.
Sounds like a good decision. I've done both TFL and Meadowood but don't think I have it in me to do both on consecutive nights, due to sheer consumption. Meadowood is stellar with a very thoughtful wine pairing, and I'd go with it over Redd, but that's easy for me to say due to $$. You'll be very happy with Ubuntu and it's so different from anything else on your list. I'd throw in a great Bay Area pizza joint like Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur or Pizzaiolo in Oakland or Pizzeria Delfina in the City.
re: Dan Wodarcyk
Agree about Ubuntu-I learned so much about food after eating there. Pizzeria Delfina was great too. And you will have great fun at the Ferry building! I also wholeheartedly agree with Paul H about Danko-nothing we had was that great (with that huge mis-step with the frog legs-pull them off the menu NOW!). In fact, most of the dishes we had seemed like just a re-hash of the same ingredients. It was really boring-and I, like you, was really excited to visit such a SF institution.
La Folie, on the other hand, was amazing. And the value for money incredible.
re. creative and innovative cocktails - you might want to try Rickhouse, Bourbon and Branch's new venture. I like it much better than B&B though it's quite popular right now...you'll probably want to try it off peak hours. Other places you should definitely try for cocktails (SF is going through a fantastic cocktail period right now) include 15 Romolo and Heaven's Dog.
I think we'll skip Fifth Floor and stay at Ame later. I've heard nothing but great things about their bar. We were only planning on nibbling on some things and going a few different places that night and taking it easy. Not only do we get to see a few different places but we save a little money and experience a little more.
I'd love Cyrus but its too far away and too $$ - I can't be having $500 meals every night (well I sure wish I could..)
Is Redd really not worth it? It looks delicious and i've read great things. Any suggestions for something else in Yountville that evening?
The Appetizers at Ame are quite good the mains much less so. I've been trying to go to La Folie but haven't been able to get the timing to work (something always comes up) and I've heard great things about it. La Folie is probably the restaurant I want to hit most in the city that I haven't already been to. As for your restaurant choices:
TFL - Good choice but don't go in with super high expectations, just see what happens. Not every course will rock your world but at least some will. With so many courses it is next to impossible to be amazing every time.
Redd - I liked Redd for lunch but have not been for dinner. If I had a choice between Redd and Meadowood I'd pick Meadowood.
I'd probably skip Gary Danko myself and hit Coi or La Folie for a nice dinner in SF. I've been to Coi and it is quite nice. Very little meat on the menu most seafood and veggies
Manressa is also quite nice but a ways from San Francisco so if you do go you would probably want to stay in Los Gatos for the evening or hire a car.