The French Laundry on Yelp: A Zero Star Review

1/8/13   Okay, people, listen up. I went to the French Laundry, and obviously I’m the most qualified person to offer this review, even though there are fifty one-star reviews already on the site, because this is going to be the first person to give a ZERO star review! FIRST ONE HERE! Also, I actually went to the restaurant, so that puts me a leg up on more than half of those silly one-star people. I thought this place, was, like, super exclusive, or something? I was extremely angry that I got the exact day and time I wanted for my reservation (by following the instructions on … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 2: High-end Restaurants

Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. Alinea. Yeah. I went there. We ate at Alinea. It was an experience. It’s ranked the 7th best restaurant in the world (a ranking which, having been to others that are … [Read more...]

Little Nibbles: What to do with your (hungry) self?

A beautiful red strawberry in my garden is my first sign of summer's probable arrival (it's Seattle, we're never sure). So, here's a quick round up of all things delicious, in my kitchen, in my city and around the world…           Date night for food lovers This dinner-as-theater parody of people who treat every dinner as theater hits a little close to home at times. In Cabinet of Curiosities, Chef Nordo's latest production, they simultaneously skewer both those who worry too much about where their food came from (guilty!) and those who don't quite … [Read more...]

Altura Takes Itself Just Seriously Enough

It was a coincidence that Altura received a semi-finalist nomination for a James Beard Foundation award the day we had reservations. It made it all the more surprising that tables around us sat empty for hours as we ate, despite my needing to book two weeks out to get a reasonable time slot. After the level of service and cuisine we witnessed, I can't help but wonder (hope!) if it was purposeful--to relax the kitchen and the waitstaff workload--so that the diner's experience is impeccable. If not, perhaps we were just fortunate that nobody read the nominations and tried to jump on the … [Read more...]

Aura at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler

Whistler is like a second home for me, I grew up flying down its slopes and was raised on the what little great food was available there in 1989. Not to sound too much like an old-timer, but when people ask me for a restaurant recommendation in Whistler, both the places I suggest have been open since the mid-80s, Sushi Village and the Rimrock. Now I have a third suggestion. Though I've been there a tiny fraction (okay, the once) of the times I've been to the others, I'm inspired and hopeful about the ambitious, innovative and yet totally fitting menu that Aura, at the new and already under new … [Read more...]

10 Reasons I loved the Molly Dooker Wine Dinner

With a background in marketing and a love for great wine, I have but one take away from the Molly Dooker wine dinner I went to at the Tulalip Casino. They are sooooo cool. Yup, that's my technical term for it. The guys from Molly Dooker wine have branding, selling, marketing and wine-making completely nailed down and I was lucky enough to witness it in person. But even with that one take away, I'm going to break down for you just why they're so cool. I was invited to the dinner as a guest of Tulalip's public relations firm, so I went in a little apprehensive. I expected the hard sell and to … [Read more...]

A Free Dinner at the Herbfarm

How do you get all this free stuff? I'm always asked, and for once I had an answer that didn't exclude the general public. I answered a Twitter Tweet. Yup, a tweet out in the public domain, nothing having anything to do with me being a blogger. Simply it had to do with me being the first one to call in and say "hey, I'd love the free dinner that you just offered on Twitter!" You might say it would be hard to consider a free dinner in a review, but since my only dinner at another restaurant of this caliber in Seattle (Rovers) was also free, I feel prepared to make the comparison. And this? It … [Read more...]

Four Courses of Foie Gras

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to dating a food blogger. Waiting while your meal gets cold for the ten thousandth picture to be taken can't be fun, nor is listening while your dining companion dissects every little minutiae of an otherwise perfectly fine meal. On the other hand, if you happen to have a 30th birthday while dating a food blogger and you, maybe, say happen to think foie gras is better than manna from heaven, well, guys, that is when it pays to date a food blogger. My gift to B was an entire lobe of foie gras. Argue if you will, but I'll stop you with two things: … [Read more...]

A Hard Day for a Food Blogger

I checked out Frank's Oyster Bar and Champagne Parlor the other day. It had opened to raves a few weeks prior and I was excited--I had enjoyed to food and wine at their previous restaurant, Pair, and oysters and champagne are two of my favorite things. But now, a few days later I'm having trouble mustering up the energy to tell you about the food. It's a hard day for a food blogger when they are too sick for food. Not just too sick to eat, but too sick to think about food. That's where I am today. I've tried all the usual cures to try to ramp up that hunger--A little bit of soup, some … [Read more...]

Barrio: Great Minds DO Think Alike

I was getting ready to write up this summary of my dinner at Barrio, when this flashed up in my reader. Seriously, this basically outlines my major feeling on the restaurant. Exactly. I suppose that it just means they are very consistent, but now I feel lame posting such a similar report. But ahh, well, I will anyways. Barrio fills a void that exists in the Seattle restaurant scene. I think what they are doing is unique. A high-endish, Latin inspired menu sets it apart from the myriad of Tapas places that serve the currently trendy Spanish version of small plates. These lean more towards … [Read more...]