Fresh-to-Death at Chez Panisse Café

I can still picture that wide, California sunshine grin on my host friend’s face as he told me, “Don’t make dinner plans for Monday night.” I didn’t. As we had for many of our meals on this Bay Area trip, my Belgian travel buddy and I left restaurant selection up to him, fully confident that…

A Medley of Small Plate Treats at Mua

Mua in Oakland is too cool for school. The set up? A repurposed industrial building with an ex-warehouse-y feel, plenty of exposed brick and junkyard chic chandeliers. Upon entering, one walks through a narrow foyer, along a very long bar to the right, until arriving at the host stand flanking the dining room. The space…

Some Dungeness Crab at Sabella & La Torre

At Pier 39 in San Francisco, one can stare at sea lions for only so long. The mind starts to wander, conjuring up images of these happy, chubby creatures ferociously devouring prisoners of Alcatraz who attempt escape by swimming ashore. Or maybe that’s just me… Either way, the unapologetically touristy waterfront rubbed me the wrong way.…

A Mixed Bag at The Girl and the Fig

A sleepy Sunday morning in Sonoma County found us sipping brunch beverages at the delightful Girl and the Fig near leafy green Vallejo Home State Park. We had just visited Marin Civic Center Farmer’s Market, where I could not help gorging on the painfully fresh local produce cut up into neat little slices for sampling.…