Category Archives: Restaurants

Michelin-Acclaimed Vancouver Eats, Part II: Pidgin

The incredible foie gras rice bowl at Pidgin.
The incredible foie gras rice bowl at Pidgin.

Vancouver, CANADA — Should I admit that I ended up booking a reservation at Pidgin solely because of one dish that I spotted on the menu?

That dish is pictured above in all its majesty: foie gras rice bowl with unagi glaze.

And I’m here to report that it was epic.

You see, my husband and I, unfortunately live in a state in the United States that has for years has banned restaurants from serving and selling foie gras. So, when we were planning a trip to the Great White North, the first thing my husband uttered was “I’m eating some foie gras!” And did he ever. Not just here, but at our hotel restaurant, the Alouette Bistro, where he chowed down on a bountiful burger with a small lobe of seared fatty duck liver on the side.

The bar at Pidgin.
The bar at Pidgin.
Michelin fun.
Michelin fun.

Foie gras is not the only thing to celebrate about Pidgin, which, after all, is Michelin Guide-recommended.

There’s so much more to relish at Chef Wesley Young’s restaurant, where the food is bold and at times irreverent.

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Michelin-Acclaimed Vancouver Eats, Part I: Published on Main

Fragrant, Thai-style squid at Published on Main.
Fragrant, Thai-style squid at Published on Main.

Vancouver, CANADA — The Michelin Guide is a newcomer to this city, having debuted its first dining guide only in 2022. Among the first eight restaurants to garner a Michelin star for the first time in is Published on Main, which has continued to maintain that achievement.

Serving elegant, contemporary Canadian cuisine with global influences and an emphasis on sustainability, it was opened in December 2019 by Executive Chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandon, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany and spent a summer working at restaurant Noma in Copenhagen.

It’s located in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood that’s plenty pleasant, indeed, with an abundance of parks, gastropubs, bakeries, and restaurants.

The restaurant, done up in white, gray, and black, sports bar-height chairs throughout the dining room that are quite comfortable, too, with built-in bars to rest your feet.

The real Michelin star plaque hangs on a different wall, but this whimsical one can be found on a shelf above the bar.
The real Michelin star plaque hangs on a different wall, but this whimsical one can be found on a shelf above the bar.
The dining room.
The dining room.

Choose either a tasting menu or a la carte dishes that are easily shareable. The latter is what my husband and I chose. With a favorable exchange rate, we ate like kings, too (and queens).

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Dining at the New Sushi Roku

A5 Japanese Wagyu on a hot stone comes sizzling to your table at Sushi Roku.
A5 Japanese Wagyu on a hot stone comes sizzling to your table at Sushi Roku.

Sushi Roku, the contemporary upscale sushi restaurant that’s been a sensation in Southern California since its founding in 1997, finally opened its first Northern California outpost late last month in Palo Alto’s Stanford Shopping Center.

Not far from California Pizza Kitchen on the Sand Hill Road side of the mall, the new restaurant comes complete with a nicely appointed outdoor dining patio. Sushi Roku is part of the Innovative Dining Group, which now boasts five different restaurant concepts in 13 locales.

By all indications, even in a well-heeled city such as Palo Alto, which has no shortage of premium sushi places including Nobu downtown, Peninsula patrons are eager to get in the door.

Two weeks ago, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant even before its official grand opening, people were walking up to the host stand, clamoring to snag a seat at the sushi bar, despite it being full and the wait lengthy.

Outdoor seating at Sushi Roku at the Stanford Shopping Center.
Outdoor seating at Sushi Roku at the Stanford Shopping Center.
The sushi bar.
The sushi bar.

Despite the name, Sushi Roku offers up a whole lot more than just sushi, too. And everything is easily shareable.

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A Visit to the New Fitoor in Santana Row

The signature appetizer sampler, "Chaats of India,'' at Fitoor.
The signature appetizer sampler, “Chaats of India,” at Fitoor.

You’d be hard pressed to recognize the space at San Jose’s Santana Row that formerly held Amber India. Gone is the once dramatic celestial ceiling complete with shooting stars, which was cutting edge back in the early aughts. In its place is Fitoor, with modern luxuriousness and an elegant clubby vibe, an archetype perhaps more in keeping with this sleeker day and age.

Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Anu and Vikram Bhambri have completely revamped the space down to the studs, creating three distinct dining areas, a rear dining room done up in shades of emerald, a middle dining room gilded in gold accents, and a front lounge with floor-to-ceiling accordion glass windows that can be completely tucked away to make it open-air.

It’s been a busy year already for this enterprising ouple, who also opened the Mediterranean Alora on Pier 3 in San Francisco just two months prior. It joins their other restaurants, Rooh in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and Pippal in Emeryville. And more may be in the works.

The bar/lounge area.
The bar/lounge area.
The glam green dining room.
The glam green dining room.

Fitoor is Hindi for “passion,” and weekends exemplify that with added high energy, courtesy of a live DJ plus fire dancers. On weeknights, such as when I was invited in recently as a guest of the restaurant, the atmosphere is more subdued, with plenty of tables filled with tech types gathering after work.

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Dining At Redwood City’s New Swank Hurrica

Whole-roasted dorade at the new Hurrica that's large enough for at least three to share.
Whole-roasted dorade at the new Hurrica that’s large enough for at least three to share.

A new restaurant has put down anchor at Redwood City’s Westpoint Harbor Marina — and done so with a big splash.

Hurrica is the newest restaurant by MeeSun Boice and Chef Parke Ulrich, co-founders of Treasure Island’s Mersea restaurant. Ulrich is also the executive chef-partner at Waterbar and Epic Steakhouse, both in San Francisco.

Admittedly, I’d never even been to this side of Redwood City until I joined friends a few weeks ago to dine at this new venture that opened in January. Finding the entrance can be a little confusing, as we witnessed a few people trying to enter through side patio doors. After parking, walk around to the back of the building that faces the marina with boats moored in the harbor. Look for the glass doors with the seahorse handles to find the front entrance.

The entrance to the restaurant is waterside.
The entrance to the restaurant is waterside.
The bar.
The bar.

The restaurant is named for the Hurrica V, a 100-year-old yacht that was famously featured in the flick, “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

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