Monday, April 30, 2012

California Foie Gras? Vote With Your Feet -- Whether they are Webbed or Not

Chefs at the restaurants listed below have put themselves on record as wanting to overturn the California ban on foie gras.  If you care about this issue, you can point your webbed feet or your Manolo Blahniks toward or away from these establishments. It's your call.

City Restaurant Chef
Berkeley Meritage at the Claremont Josh Thomsen
Beverly Hills Bouchon Rory Herrman
Corona Del Mar Five Crowns and Side Door Ryan O’Melveney Wilson
Granite Bay Hawks Restaurant Molly Hawks
Half Moon Bay The Ritz-Carlton Otto Sanchez
Healdsburg Cyrus Doug Keane
Healdsburg Dry Creek Kitchen Dustin Valette
Hermosa Beach Hot’s Kitchen Sean Chaney
Hollywood Animal Vinny Dotolo
La Jolla Ariccia Italian Market Robert Pascucci
Long Beach Michael on Naples David Coleman
Los Angeles Eva Restaurant Mark Gold
Los Angeles Father’s Office Sang Yoon
Los Angeles LudoBites Ludo Lefebvre
Los Angeles Mezze Restaurant Micha Wexler
Los Angeles Patina Joachim Splichal
Los Angeles Providence Michael Cimarusti
Los Angeles Republique Restaurant Walter Manzke
Los Angeles Son of a Gun Jon Shook
Los Angeles W Los Angeles Dakota Weiss
Los Angeles West Matthew Woolf
Los Gatos Manresa David Kinch
Monterey Bistro Moulin Didier Dutertre
Mountain View Chez TJ Joey Elentrio
Napa Angele Restaurant Scott Ekstrom
Napa La Toque Ken Frank
Napa La Toque Matthew Mullowney
Napa Mustards Cindy Pawlcyn
Napa Redd’s Restaurant Richard Reddington
Napa Terra Hiro Sone
Napa The French Laundry Thomas Keller
Newport Beach Brasserie Pascal Pascal Olhats
Orange Haven Gastropub Greg Daniels
Pacific Palisades Maison Giraud Alain Giraud
Pasadena The Royce David Feau
Pasadena The Valley Hunt Club Michael Beck
Plymouth Taste Mark Berkner
Redwood City Martins West Michael Dotson
Rohnert Park Hana Japanese Ken Tominaga
Sacramento Ella Dining Room and Bar Michael Thiemann
Sacramento Lounge ON20 Pajo Bruich
Sacramento Mulvaney’s BandL Patrick Mulvaney
Sacramento Selland Family Restaurants Randall Selland
Sacramento The Kitchen Noah Zonca
Saint Helena The Restaurant at Meadowood Christopher Kostow
San Diego Bertrand at Mister A’s Stephane Voitzwinkler
San Diego Evolve Cuisine Daniel Barron
San Diego The Cowboy Star Victor Jimenez
San Diego The French Gourmet Michel Malecot
San Diego Urban Solace Matthew Gordon
San Francisco Alexander’s Marc Zimmerman
San Francisco Ame Restaurant Lissa Doumani
San Francisco Atelier Crenn Dominique Crenn
San Francisco Aziza Mourad Lahlou
San Francisco Baker and Banks Jeff Banker
San Francisco Benu Cory Lee
San Francisco Bon Appetit Management Co. Robbie Lewis
San Francisco Boulevard Nancy Oakes
San Francisco Boulevard Tim Quaintance
San Francisco CHAYA Brasserie Yuko Kaji
San Francisco Citizen Cake Elizabeth Falkner
San Francisco Claudine Ileah Paolinelli
San Francisco Epic Roasthouse Jan Birmbaum
San Francisco Foreign Cinema John Clark
San Francisco Gary Danko Gary Danko
San Francisco Incanto Chris Cosentino
San Francisco Jardiniere Traci Des Jardins
San Francisco La Folie Roland Passot
San Francisco Michael Mina Restaurant Group Michael Mina
San Francisco Nopa Laurence Jossel
San Francisco One Market Mark Dommen
San Francisco Palio D’Asti Daniel Scherotter
San Francisco Perbacco Staffan Terje
San Francisco Picco Bruce Hill
San Francisco Quince Restaurant Michael Tusk
San Francisco RN74 Jason Berthold
San Francisco SPQR Matthew Accarrino
San Francisco Taste Chris Borges
San Francisco The Absinthe Group Adam Keough
San Francisco The Ritz-Carlton Xavier Salomon
San Francisco The Slanted Door Charles Phan
San Francisco Txoko Ian Begg
San Francisco Waterbar Emily Luchetti
San Francisco Wayfare Tavern Tyler Florence
San Francisco Zare Fly Trap Hoss Zare
Santa Clara Yan Can Asian Bistro Cory Chen
Santa Monica JiRaffe Rafael Lunetta
Santa Monica Melisse Josiah Citrin
Santa Rosa John Ash and Co. Restaurant John Ash
Santa Rosa Petite Syrah Josh Silvers
Saratoga Plumed Horse Peter Armellino
Sausalito Maestra de Cocina Joanne Weir
Sonoma Carneros Bistro Andrew Wilson
Sonoma Hot Box Grill Norman Owens
Sonoma La Sallette Manuel Azevedo
Sonoma Ramekins Doug MacFarland
Venice Beach Joe’s Restaurant Joey Miller
Yountville Ad Hoc Dave Cruz
Yountville Bistro Jeanty Philippe Jeanty
Yountville Bottega Michael Chiarello
Yountville Bouchon Michael Sandoval
Yountville Lucy at Bardessono Victor Scargle
Yountville The French Laundry Timothy Hollingsworth

Source: Eater San Francisco

Monday, April 9, 2012

Xiao Long Bao, OW! Shanghai Dumpling King's Quality Has Gone South, Literally.

Shanghai Dumpling King's xiao long bao in better days

[Note: If you are one of those unfortunates not familiar with xiao long bao, refer to Olivia Wu's evocative description in the piece she wrote for the Asian Art Museum's Shanghai exhibit blog.]

Last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of my xiao long bao epiphany, which occurred on April 7, 1992 at the very temple of xiao long bao, Nanxiang Xiaolong Mantou Dian, in Shanghai. To mark this anniversary I dragged my wife, stepdaughter and mother-in-law to the place I had long counted on for the best xiao long bao on this side of the Pacific, Shanghai Dumpling King in the foggy reaches of the Outer Richmond. We ordered two longs (steamers) of the precious baozi, as well as an order of sheng jian bao (xiao long bao's rough-edged cousin), some traditional Shanghainese appetizers, and an order of Lion's Head meatballs.

We were sorely disappointed. The xiao long bao had a mealy ground pork filling, insipid “soup” and wrappers that broke upon simply being looked at. To add insult to injury, the steamers were lined with parchment whereas they formerly would have rested on a traditional lettuce lining. SDK's xiao long bao, which I've been in the habit of recommending to others, had become as inept as they once were superior. The sheng jian bao were ever worse representatives of their species. As for the other dishes, my wife could have (and has) executed them better, as she didn't fail to point out to me.

What on earth had happened? I related my disappointment to my main Chinese restaurant gossip source (I'll call her Deep Teacup) who knows the Outer Richmond turf well.

“They've changed owners, you know,” said Deep Teacup.

I had to admit I didn't know. “The old owner moved to Millbrae,” she said.

“To be with his wife,” I said. “You got it,” said Deep Teacup smugly.

I knew that several years ago the wife of the owner of Shanghai Dumpling King (which was then known as Shanghai Dumpling Shop) had opened a spinoff with the same name in Millbrae. I had taken the train there to check it out, such was my love for xiao long bao, and found them not of the quality of her husband's (he personally made the XLB at the San Francisco location). I have no idea if there was a rivalry between the two shops, but when the San Francisco shop was subsequently renamed Shanghai Dumpling KING, I imagined it was to rub it in. In any event , whatever distance there had been between the two dumpling shops has vanished. The real Shanghai Dumpling King (or Queen, or both) now has a 650 area code.

I see another train trip in the works.