Brunch @ Atchafalaya (Uptown, New Orleans, LA)

Just taking a quick break from my SF restaurant reviews for my NOLA readers! More San Francisco/Napa Valley restaurants coming: The French Laundry, San Tung, and more…

Back in NOLA…

Years ago, I ate dinner at Atchafalaya and I loved it. I remember an Atchafalaya Pasta that I don’t see on the dinner menu anymore, but since then, there may have revamped the menu. Considering how much I loved it then, I found myself craving brunch and found my way back…

There was about a 25-30 minute wait, but while you wait, grab a Bloody Mary at the bar. You can personalize your own drink at the Bloody Mary station. From what I here, it’s supposed to be the best in the city, but personally, I’m not a Bloody Mary fan. I’m more of a mimosa kinda girl!

 

IMG_5471e

 

IMG_5482e

Mimosa. I’m more of a mimosa kind of girl!

 

IMG_5484e

Soup Du Jour. Crab meat soup.

 

IMG_5491e

Eggs Atchafalaya. Poached eggs. Fried green tomatoes. Jumbo lump crab. Hollandaise. Brunch potatoes.

 

 

IMG_5497e

Boudin cakes.

 

IMG_5493e

Cochon du L’eggs. Sunny-side up eggs. Pulled Pork. Cornbread pudding. Creole coleslaw. Blackberry cane syrup.

 

The crabmeat soup was so homey and light, and I loved it!  It was a great starter for brunch. The Eggs Atchafalaya was refreshing and elegant yet had some good ol’ Southern fried tomatoes for a touch of hominess. If I see crabmeat, I usually order it because you can never have too much! Finally, we had the Cochon du L’eggs, which is as delicious as it looks. Moist, savory pulled pork and eggs. Yes, please!

It’s been years since I’ve been back to Atchafalaya and I’m so glad I went back for brunch. I’m excited to come back for dinner again and hopefully it will be very soon…

spoonspoonspoonspoon

Rating: 4/5 spoons

 

Atchafalaya on Urbanspoon

Ad Hoc (Napa County, Yountville, CA)

While in San Francisco, we decided to drive to Napa and of course, the main goal was to eat at la creme de la creme! Among them is Ad Hoc, a Thomas Keller establishment. Thomas Keller is a world-renowned chef with 3 Michelin Stars for The French Laundry (review coming soon). Now, The French Laundry requires a reservation at least two months in advance for a 9-course tasting menu and we were able to get a reservation! More about that later…

As for Ad Hoc, imagine Thomas Keller’s refined palate but family-style. It’s great for a casual dinner and reservations can be made a couple days in advance or even on the day depending on how many people are in your party. We had a group of 4 and easily booked a reservation 1 day in advance.

The menu that day did not sound as exciting at first glance, but what came out far surpassed what you could imagine being on that plate…

 

IMAG1518e

Bread and Butter. 

 

 

IMAG1520e

Roasted Beet Salad. Mizuna. Tatsoi. Crispy TFL sunchokes. K&J orchards satsumas. Winter Radishes. Sesame Dressing.

Every element of this dish was well-thought out and very reminiscent of the beet Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Palm from The French Laundry, but more wholesome and hearty. The beets were sweet and perfectly roasted.

 

IMAG1522e

(+) Crispy Pork Belly & Clams. Red Miso. Ginger.

Unlike TFL, there’s a prix fixe menu, but with add ons. At TFL you have the choice to substitute for an upgraded menu item at a significant cost. “No substitutions here! We only do add-ons at Ad Hoc!”, said our waiter. There were definitely asian tones to this menu and it was executed so perfectly. The pork belly was perfectly crisped on the outside and the miso sauce was so well-refined that it even had some exquisite French influences, hence the clams. The Meyer lemon zests added a sweet, lemony citrus burst of flavor that really can only be understood if you’ve had Meyer lemons.

We actually ordered two of these…it was that good…

 

IMG_6658e

Kung Pao Chicken. Charred Cabbage. Minuet Onions. Blistered Broccolini. Scallion rice. Pickled TFL peppers.

We hear Kung Pao Chicken all too often from small and even commercial Chinese restaurants. This was not your ordinary Kung Pao Chicken. Imagine a rotisserie chicken roasted to perfection to the point where white meat become dark meat. It was the juiciest and more flavorful rotisserie chicken I have ever eaten. I had no idea chicken could reach this point of perfection. As for the Scallion rice, I couldn’t have enough. It was savory and meshed so well with the Kung Pao Chicken. Perfection.

 

IMG_6663e

Vella Cheese Company’s Mezzo Secco. “Looney Bin” Crackers. Marshall’s Farm Honey.

Wow.Who’s genius mind said that I will choose this particular honey to go with this specific cheese and place it on this cracker and it will make the perfect bite? I really want to order some Marshall’s Farm Honey. I’ve never had a more rich and flavorful honey.

 

IMG_6669e

Apple Cake. Walnut Caramel.

Now, down to the final dish. Apple Cake. Sounds so plain, but how does this little slice of cake pack so much flavor? The outside crisp was perfect. It ranks probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. It had the perfect amount of toastiness and sweetness and was smoothed out with the creamy, rich whipped cream. Our friends felt it could use some ice cream, but I felt the whipped cream balanced it out quite nicely.

 

It’s all a food lover could ever dream and hope for. Thomas Keller definitely has your mouth watering with every bite and doesn’t leave you feeling overstuffed or unsatiated. You leave well-nourished…

If your travels revolve around food, this is a destination that cannot be missed. As simple as the  menu may sound, you’re in for a surprise as each dish is brought out and then enters your mouth. Enjoy!

 

spoonspoonspoonspoonspoon

Rating: 5/5 spoons
Ad Hoc on Urbanspoon
………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Upcoming Posts:

The French Laundry

Crab House @ Pier 39

San Tung

Yank Sing (San Francisco, CA)

Yank Sing is a fine dining Chinese restaurant that serves dim sum, which an assortment of steamed dumplings and side dishes. It’s very well-known and has recognition from the James Beard Foundation: http://www.yanksing.com/about-us/reviews/james_beard_09.html

At first glance to people who are unfamiliar with dim sum, it may seem strange as a breakfast/brunch option. Don’t worry, you’ll crave it for breakfast soon enough. It’s the perfect meal to bring families and friends together. It’s shared family-style so it’s no wonder large families gather for dim sum every Sunday! The dim sum at Yank Sing can be a bit pricey, but I’d pay for the quality and freshness that they put out. They also have a superb wait staff as compared to other more homey dim sum restaurants. I have nothing against the classic, small, hole-in-the-walls, but I don’t mind the extra customer service and food quality that Yank Sing offers.

Yank Sing has two locations and during my short trip to SF, I went to both…

 

IMG_6120e

Soup Dumplings.

 

IMG_6123e

Tofu Skin. 

 

IMG_6124e

Xiu Mai.

 

IMG_6683e

Savory Taro Puff. 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6684e

Har Gow.

 

 

IMG_6686e

Cheers!

 

The two locations are: the Spear St. location and the Stevenson St.. The Spear St. location is within a business building food court and it’s very nice. The Stevenson location is smaller and not as popular so you may not see as long of a line, but there will still be a wait. Food is consistent between the two.

So were there any notable dishes? Absolutely. The Soup dumplings. I first discovered these Chinese delights in NYC’s Joe Shanghai restaurant. It’s well-known for their soup dumplings and I can still taste my first bite. Unfortunately, New Orleans has no such thing, but I’ve discovered them in major cities like Houston and more recently in San Francisco. Yank Sing has one of the best soup dumplings I have ever had. The dumpling casing is so delicate and very similar to a won-ton. It holds the perfect temperature of soup and dumpling within. Once it’s in your mouth, it just melts…Be sure to add the ginger and red vinegar. It balances the flavors so well. It can be an acquired taste so start with just a touch!

Overall, excellent food and service.

Yes, the dim sum prices are pretty steep, but it’s worth a try! Honestly, I would just go to Yank Sing for a few orders of Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) and some tea. That would be the perfect meal right about now on this Sunday morning…

Foodie Tip: Get there earlier in the day for soup dumplings. They’ll run out if you’re too late!

 

spoonspoonspoonspoonspoon point 5

Rating: 4.5/5
Yank Sing on Urbanspoon
Yank Sing on Urbanspoon

Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs (Financial District, San Francisco, CA)

After lunch at Wise Sons (click here for post), we decided to go for some sweets! Beard Papa is an international Japanese bakery known for their delicious cream puffs. As simple as they may seem, they are bursting in delicious, flavorful cream within…

 

IMG_6149e

 

 

IMG_6154e

Cookie Crunch Cream Puff with Vanilla cream.

 

IMG_6158e

 

See how the delicious cream just oozes with happiness?? On first bite, you get this cookie crunch on the outside, then the cold, sweet vanilla cream explodes in your mouth. It really is that delicious!

I really want to try the Green Tea and Honey Cream Puff, but it wasn’t available that day. Don’t worry Beard Papa. I’ll be back for those clouds of heavenliness!

 

spoonspoonspoonspoonspoon point 5

 

Rating: 4.5/5 spoons
Beard Papa on Urbanspoon

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen (Financial District, San Francisco, CA)

When “The Chef” and I decided to travel to SF, we wanted to make the most of our trip since it was only a short 3-day vacation. Our first stop was a small deli located in The Contemporary Jewish Museum. You wouldn’t think there’s a sandwich place there…

IMG_6145e

 

IMG_6143e

Pickle jars. 

 

IMG_6156e

Potato Salad. 

 

IMAG1250e

Hot Pastrami Sandwich. Rubbed with coriander and black pepper, smoked over real hickory. Swiss. Coleslaw.

 

IMG_6157e

 

The pastrami was delicious. It was moist and very well-seasoned. The added coleslaw gave it such a refreshing balance. One thing that I am so surprised at is how delicious the potato salad turned out! I’m from down South and I could’ve sworn we did it best, but this potato salad reminded me of my childhood and how my dad’s friends would always bring us potato salad, because they knew I loved it! Food is always the best when it evokes childhood memories..

The restaurant is quite small and not many seats are available. I would even recommending taking the food outdoors and eating on the steps, if the weather permits. We chose to bring our sandwiches to our next destination, Papa Beard (post coming soon), for dessert. I would love to try the Hot Corned Beef next, but we had to ration our stomach space for other restaurants this time around. I will definitely be back, and hopefully, we can explore the museum too!

 

spoonspoonspoonspoon

Rating: 4/5 spoons!
Wise Sons Jewish Deli on Urbanspoon

 

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Upcoming Posts: (some may have been posted, click for posts)

Beard Papa

Yank Sing

The French Laundry

and many more!