Archives for posts with tag: restaurant

Phillip Basone Eats Out

A few weeks ago some boys started asking me if I knew who the hot new chef was in town from New York City. I put down my nail polish and made a few calls to investigate who this guy was. Phillip Basone is originally from Connecticut, his culinary career got on track when he went through the doors of Barbuto, a Greenwich Village restaurant owned by Jonathan Waxman – one of the pioneers of California Cuisine. When I lived in NYC during the late 80’s – it was Waxman’s restaurant Jams on East 79th that I dreamt of cooking at – but fate had me head in a different direction and I ended up under the aprons of some very hot French chefs. I know what tough work it is in a kitchen, especially when you are as talented as Phillip.

I recently stopped by  Waxman’s in Ghirardelli Square where Phillip is spending most of his time while in San Francisco to introduce myself and have dinner. It’s all true – he is even more handsome in person then the boys say and welcomed me with the warmest hug and smile. Dinner was fabulous and the kitchen executed Waxman’s signature dishes to perfection – especially the JW Chicken & Potatoes! I don’t know how much longer Phillip will be in town, so get your butt down there to get a glimpse of him in his chef whites and eat soon. I’m not promising any hugs though.


Phillip answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?
I hate to admit it but I just love Oreos dipped in peanut butter…..

What restaurant would you call your home?
Barbuto! It is where I started my career at 18 and have been working for Jonathan Waxman on and off for the last 6 years.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
I am a extremely picky eater so for strangest I don’t even know where to begin. As far as most inspiring I would honestly have to say this one meal a friend of my father prepared for me. It was pernil, which is so simple yet so delicious. It really set me on this path of incorporating more Latin flavors into my food and relishing in the simplistic beauty of some cuisines.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?
Chicken fingers with french fries and a bacon, egg & cheese. Extra ranch please!

IMG_4234Jackson getting a good sniff of Phillip at Waxman’s.



Roasted Frog Hollow Peaches, Rosemary Biscuit & Creme Anglaise at Waxman’s

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself a dozen times what’s the best way to make friends with a hot-tattooed ginger guy. Well, I can only tell you how to do it from experience. First, help them get an apartment in San Francisco when they decide to leave The Big Apple – then invite them over to your place for a Naked Cocktail Party. That’s just what I did after Dan Fettig reached out to me on Facebook looking for housing. He has over 24K followers on Instagram and by the looks of the pics on his profile you would think he was born wearing only a jockstrap and a pair of heels. I recently got him tuxedoed up when I  invited him out on a fancy date.  We did some shopping together with Jackson at Sui Generis Consignment – let’s just say I carried my ‘Sugar Mama’ purse. He cleaned up real nice, was the perfect date and won me over with his smile and giggle –  both which could break your heart – so be warned gays.

Dan answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

Pie with rocky road ice cream – DUH!!!

What restaurant would you call home?

There was this place in Chelsea that was my go-to, no matter how terrible the dates were the food was always amazing – Pepe Giallo on 10th Avenue.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

Eating shark was definitely a different one.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

Oreo O’s – DUH!!!

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?

This is gonna sound gross – but I usually have pickles and drink the juice! It’s good to get that sodium back and I’m usually alone – so the smell isn’t an issue.



Tuxedo shopping with Dan and Jackson.


Dan and I at Powerblouse at Powerhouse. Image by Shot In The City

I am also guilty of these drought changing habits in my kitchen at home. My window plants are thriving because of the left over water I cook with.

Click the image to read the full-story at The New York Times.

The chef Melissa Perello douses an olive tree with used cooking water outside Octavia, her new restaurant in San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

The chef Melissa Perello douses an olive tree with used cooking water outside Octavia, her new restaurant in San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

While I was recently staying in Brooklyn I got the chance to eat at this super cute low profile new restaurant called Lulu & Po in Fort Greene. The names Lulu & Po come from the chef and owner Matthew Hamilton’s daughter and wife. It’s a small – maybe 30 seat spot that feels like the coziest family / neighborhood restaurant.

The menu is made up of mostly small plates. But not in that annoying teenie-tiny way. They are thoughtfully put together and with the big current trend of focusing on seasonal vegetables and using meat as a side dish. Stating that – what really coxed me in was the call of Bone Marrow Tacos – two big bones served with corn tortillas, cilantro, pickled onions, capers and parsley which brightened the dish up nicely. My marrow craving was truly satisfied.

Bone Marrow Tacos

My dinner guest and Brooklyn host Kristofer has recently turned vegetarian – I don’t know if it was because of the three 22 pound turkeys I cooked in his apartment last Thanksgiving or the side of pork I roasted in the dead of winter last year or not. But he is a great eater and wasn’t shy about tasting a piece of the succulent pork belly I ordered after the tacos.

The vegetable dishes were outstanding and we kept adding more of those delicious little plates to our table. Standouts included the Sweet Corn Succotash, the grilled pizza dough with house made ricotta and the summer squash with brown butter and almonds.

Summer Squash with Brown Butter and Almonds

As we were wrapping up dinner I noticed the table next to us had order the Beef Burger – it was starting to haunt me. I asked our server if the kitchen would make me one to-go. She said they didn’t serve to-go food but would ask. The kitchen looked over at me and I told them I wasn’t getting off work until 5AM that next morning and would desperately need that burger. It arrived wrapped in foil. And, I ate the entire thing after DJing at Vandam all night. It  would have been amazing hot – but at 5AM it was just perfect cold.

Beef Burger

I can’t wait to go back there in the winter.

Kristofer and I

Kristofer and I after a long night.

Robert Polacek Eats Out

Robert Polacek

My friend Roby is the Chief Creative Officer and Partner at Puccini Group. The San Francisco based design firm that specializes in creating restaurants with personality and style. You’ve probably stepped foot into one of his firms countless sophisticated, chef-tailored, noteworthy restaurants across the globe for clients such as Jumeirah, Kimpton, Fairmont and Four Seasons among others. He heads up the concept development and design side of the company. He’s promised me over a few drinks (I said a few) that I would someday be the inspiration for a boutique hotel and restaurant. Can you imagine? “I’d like to stay in Juanita’s suite and can you send up an order of  the MORE!marrow appetizer with a bottle of champagne from room service”.

Enjoying “a few drinks” in the Tenderloin.

Robert Polacek answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

Hands down – Goat Cheese Cheesecake! There is something about the fact that it has to be made fresh in order to serve it.  I love the tanginess of the goat cheese combined with the sweetness of the cheesecake. I think it is the perfect combination.

What restaurant would you call your home?

The  very establishment of a restaurant in general is my home, given I’m always on the road researching them for upcoming concepts and designs. But if I had to choose one in San Francisco, it would be Anchor Oyster Bar. Everything about it feels like home – the simplicity of the concept to the welcoming staff. I love that everything is fresh and local and there is a ‘feeling’ of genuineness that truly defines what a restaurant experience should be.

Roby and I. We are way overdue for a lunch date.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

Most inspiring and strangest was when I dedicated two full days (all in the name of research) to Singapore Street Food. Everything from pig intestine soup, to chicken feet, duck heart stew, you name it tired it. Long story short – every organ of every animal in two days! In Singapore, one of the most vital food cultures in the world, eating, or as the locals say, ‘makan’, is more than just food. It’s a national obsession, a passion, a way of life. Friends don’t greet each other with hello, instead they’ll say, “have you eaten?”. This philosophy struck me because I share that thinking and which is why my passion in life is creating the perfect stage for eating and enjoying  meals with friends and family.  That exploration in Singapore enlightened me to look further into the culture of eating for my inspiration to design.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

Growing up with divorced parents, I learned at an early age the joys of choices and never just settling for one of anything! During the week and at my mom’s I shoveled Fruity Pebbles before they got soggy and during the weekends, sans sugar and sweets, I enjoyed Honey Nut Cheerios at my dad’s house.

What is your favorite food to pig out on after the club?

Cheddar cheese, peanut butter and dill pickles. But that’s only if don’t make it to Cybelle’s pizza – I love a mushroom slice with tons of hot pepper flakes.

Roby in my apartment.

One of my favorite San Francisco restaurants is The Slanted Door. It is located at the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero. Some friends and I had dinner there last night. We ordered some of the things that have made the Slanted Door so popular – Shaking beef, grapefruit and jicama salad & the daikon rice cakes. Those things have been on the menu and continually consistent since the restaurants opening in  1995. One of the newer items on the menu is the – stir fried organic chicken with gingko nuts, raisins, walnuts and cashews. This dish stood out as one of our new favorites – and hopefully soon to be classics on their menu. The chicken was cooked perfectly – though it was the nuts that really shined here. Especially the gingko nuts which look like overgrown pine nuts but have the texture of a chestnut. Though it is said that they are poisonous if over consumed – not one of them was left on any of our plates. One of my guests pointed out that it could be the perfect vegetarian dish minus the chicken. We had a great time with the sommelier who suggested a very masculine labeled bottle of riesling for the four fruitcakes sitting in the booth. The Müller-catoir 2008, was really awesome – complimenting the wide variety of dishes we ordered. We had a great array of desserts to cap off dinner and we finished them all – but the classic creme brulee by pastry chef Chucky Dugo really stood out.

The night walk along the San Francisco Bay – could not have been better this evening. I love San Francisco.

I had lunch today at the much praised and reviewed 4 month old casual Italian restaurant Cotogna in Jackson Square, San Francisco. The place is joining the owners Lindsay and Chef Michael Tusk’s already much loved restaurant Quince.

All of the stars and esteemed praises are true – the food was really great. The menu reads very local and seasonal – my favorite. Our waiter set a plate of focaccia down to start – that could literally ruin your meal if you don’t have any bread restraints. It was deliciously salty with a bit of heat from the chili. Our Antipasti started off with Fava leaf sformato with grana padano.  A sformato is similar to souffle in style and this one was rich and delicate – with the fava flavor shining through. We moved onto our Primi course by sharing the Farm egg ravioli with brown butter (see image above). The perfectly cooked egg yolk slowly oozed out of the tender pasta and into the pool of brown butter – just divine. The Chittarini neri with squid & chili was beautiful and tasted of the sea – minus the salt. Which it needed. We shared our grilled course which was a nicely fennel-cured piece of pork loin spit roasted in their wood burning oven. It sat on top of a bed of perfect spring vegetables. Other things come out of that oven that I’d like to try someday. Here that also included pizza – which seems to be on menu’s everywhere. Including those that it shouldn’t. The dessert menu was classic Italian style with some modern twists. The ricotta and candied kumquat Bomboloni were yummy as was the traditional Affogato. Service was really off today. It wasn’t super busy so we couldn’t figure out what was going on. The hostess seemed to pay the most attention to our table. If the restaurant were closer to my neighborhood – I’d probably pop in often. But, Jackson Square and it’s potential clientele don’t pay much attention to a lady of my size.