restaurants of influence

“A couple of days after… at a sleek hotel in St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, I had a fish soup– soupe de poissons de roche, rouille et croûtons dorés, to be exact– that was so good I was almost able to forget how much it cost.” — Calvin Trillin

Not all wonderful food has to be expensive. In the spirit of Calvin Trillin, I consider myself an eater first and foremost. I have been influenced as a cook by high and low food alike. But when you do go out for those really fancy meals, sometimes the ultimate compliment can be to believe it’s worth every penny.

Restaurants and Reviews on places of great influence on me:
Their roasted vegetables and pizzas are inspiring. Check out my version of their “uova” pizza. Their buddino was featured in Bon Appetit.
Mark Vetri is a pasta genius. The goat cheese and beet “plin” inspired the beet gnocchi I make.
So many of their sandwiches inspire regular feats of everyday lunch greatness. And they do it all for under $10.
The recipe I posted for warm shrimp salad is based on many many trips to Parc for Sunday brunch.
Arguably my favorite Philly restaurant. A small but perfect menu reflecting the seasons. Understated elegance and byob. It doesn’t really get any better. But they didn’t sound proof when they did their renovations. Ugh.
All of their food inspires me to great things.

New York:
Pushing the boundaries on what ought to be served for breakfast. Their pasta carbonara is amazing.
Sushi Yasuda
Life altering sushi experience.
Best Ramen.

San Francisco Bay Area:
Applewood Pizza
The best crust I’ve ever had, in an unusual style. With roasted red peppers, portabellas and goat cheese. Yum.
Bi-Rite Creamery and Bi-Rite Market
Inspired salads as well as a very early version of salted caramel ice cream.
The French Laundry
See history.
The House
Amazing CA Asian fusion. So good.
Their lemon tart with a rose petal is aspirational.

Crazy awesome cocktails.
Davis Street Fish Market
Where I began learning about the holy trinity and cajun cooking. I shucked my first oyster there.

The Moveable Feast:
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant
My first waitressing job. Definitely learned a lot about hospitality and quality in large volumes.
Bachelor Farmer
Bar Zeruko
Of all the meals we ate all over Spain, this reasonably priced tinto bar was most memorable. The show stopping ingredients and playful presentations made the creativity and quality only part of the perfection.
I had the privilege of dining at Canlis for a very special wedding reception. That night I had a parsnip soup paired with a sancerre that was to die for. They generously shared their parsnip soup recipe, imparting not only one of my favorite recipes, but also that even the most talented and creative chefs can embrace generosity and teaching through recipe sharing.
Elizabeth on 37th
The half moon clams with country ham, truffle oil, and corn bread madeleines shan’t be forgotten. I’d travel to Savannah in a heartbeat for another chance to dine here. And the wine list…
Mas Tacos Por Favor in Nashville, TN


restaurants of influence — 2 Comments

    • Yes! I have a special place in my heart for dining with best friends at The Girl and the Fig. My sister gave me their cookbook for Christmas and I went there with my college girlfriends last spring for a wonderful meal. Another more upscale choice is La Salette. It’s Portuguese and a very unique and special place. For something more casual, but excellent, I really like Maya. It’s amazing Mexican food centered on local vegetables. It’s a great place to drink margaritas, catch up and tell stories.

      If you mean Sonoma County, then I’d head to Healdsburg. It’s such a cute town and I love going out there. I especially recommend Barn Diva, because of its special cocktails and amazing outdoor space. Finally, I love Willi’s Seafood. A restaurant without a website and a phenomenal raw bar? Enough said.

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