Because chances are wherever they hail from, they do not have a restaurant in their vicinity that serves modern Moroccan cuisine. At least not anything as elevated and imaginative yet still stirringly soulful as this.
So, when I recently gathered to catch up with family in San Francisco last weekend and discovered they had never eaten here, I knew it was high-time they were introduced to Chef-Owner Mourad Lahlou’s singular cooking.
We perused the menu, ordered, and paid our tab — but had no idea that Lahlou would end up sending out nearly three-fourths of the menu to our table on the house. To say that we each needed a wheelbarrow to cart us out afterward would be putting it mildly. It proved a feast in every sense and for every sense.
It seems that just about everyone has wound themselves into a tight tizzy over spiral croissants.
Ever since the original “Supreme” was launched in New York City at Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery, the lines have grown legendary for the tightly coiled laminated pastries that have a hidden filling and a fanciful drizzle of glaze on top.
So, it’s no surprise that when Campbell’s Marvel Cake started turning out a similar version called the “Spiral Croissant,” it started drawing fans near and wide, with queues the norm.
I’m happy to report, though, when I took a chance last Tuesday and showed up five minutes before the bakery opened at 10 a.m., there was no line at all. Hallelujah!
Admittedly, when it comes to whisky, I am a total light-weight. It’s not that I don’t enjoy its smooth smoky, vanilla and caramel richness. It’s just that I fear keeling over after two sips.
That’s why I was glad to get introduced to Nokori Japanese Whisky Bar in the Tetra Hotel in Sunnyvale. It’s designed not only for true connoisseurs who like to sip premium and potent whisky neat, but for more wimpy imbibers like myself who can kick back instead with a lightened-up, tall whisky highball instead.
Last week, I was invited in as a guest of both Nokori and its adjacent restaurant Adrestia. Both are housed inside the upscale Tetra Hotel, which is actually right across from the AC Hotel Sunnyvale Moffet Park, which has a bar that conversely specializes in gin. Both are Marriott properties.
Since it’s located near several Google buildings and Lockheed Martin, don’t be surprised to see plenty of tech types with laptops and suitcases biding their time in the lobby, bar or restaurant until they depart for the airport.
The book is by Josh Ku and Trigg Brown, co-founders of the wildly popular Win Son and Win Son Bakery, both in Brooklyn, with an assist from noted Brooklyn food writer Cathy Erway who’s the author of “The Food of Taiwan” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).
Brown, who had cooked at New York City’s Craft and Upland had a Taiwanese American mentor, Pei Jen Chang early in his career. He teamed with best friend Josh Ku, a former property and construction manager whose parents grew up in southern Taiwan, to open the restaurant. It is named for the sweater manufacturing company, Winsome, which Ku’s grandfather started in Taiwan. Its name roughly translates from Chinese to “success and abundance of profit.”
It proved prophetic given the throngs now flocking nonstop to both Win Son and Win Son Bakery.
When it comes to upscale modern Indian cuisine, Chef Sri Gopinathan and business partner, restaurateur Ayesha Thapar, seem to have the magic touch.
Their first restaurant, Ettan in downtown Palo Alto, opened just before the pandemic hit. It not only managed to survive that turmoil but come out of it flourishing.
In February, the duo debuted Copra, just blocks from Japantown in San Francisco. Taking its name from the word for the dried flesh of a coconut, Copra showcases Southern Indian coastal cuisine, the type that Gopinathan, who held two Michelin stars at San Francisco’s Campton Place Restaurant, grew up eating. You’ll find surprising dishes here such as octopus and bone marrow that you’d be hard pressed to see on any other Indian menu around (well, except at sister restaurant Ettan, that is, where octopus does appear).
If my visit last week is any indication, Copra is hitting it out of the park. The restaurant was jamming and jammed — and this was on a Wednesday night.
Expect it to be even more so now that the Michelin Guide California just announced this week that Copra is one of 19 new establishments that will be in the 2023 guide to be released later this year.
Like Ettan, Copra is a looker. Whereas Ettan drips with chandeliers and vivid marine blue tones, Copra is done up with earth tones, enough plants (artificial) to resemble a greenhouse, and more macrame than you’ve probably ever seen in one place at one time.