Dinner at Gary Danko

Hi everyone!  Sorry it’s been a while, you know how life gets hectic.  I’ve also been trying to install a new WordPress theme and finally get this blog looking better, however it’s not really going well, so frustrating, I was told WordPress was easy!  Anyway on to the more important things….

We’re in San Francisco right now, Paul is here working (as usual), and I’m along for a visit.  I love this city!  We’re staying at one of our favourite hotels, the W San Fran (in SoMa); they have the most comfortable beds and pillows.  I’m doing a little recon in preparation for our move here next year, we’re trying to figure out what neighbourhood we’d like to live in (in the city).

I had dinner last night at another one of our favourite spots; Gary Danko. A little known fact (about most high-end restaurants that normally take reservations months in advance) is that they do take walk-ins.  Gary Danko has a lovely bar that seats about 8 people where they serve their full menu; if you get there early enough when they open you will likely get a seat.  Last time we were in town with friends and had a reservation at Gary Danko I couldn’t go, so Paul went with our friends without me.  We had been out for brunch the morning of our reservation where I got the worst case of food poisoning from a crab benedict, so needless to say instead of going to Gary Danko that night I was back at the hotel thinking I was surely dying of Ebola.  Since Paul was busy last night he suggested I go since I missed out last time, such a good hubby!!

I started with an amuse bouche of asparagus soup followed by the lobster salad with avocado, citrus slices, shaved fennel, baby artichokes and a very light mustard tarragon dressing.  I think there was a little creme fraiche as well.  The flavours were perfectly balanced, it was delicious.  I followed that with the seared fois gras with caramelized red onion jam and sautéed apple in an orange liquor reduction, it was melt in your mouth divine!  I chose the roasted Maine lobster with potato puree, black trumpet mushrooms, edamame and tarragon for my main.  The lobster was, again, cooked perfectly, however I felt there could have been more lobster in my main, there was a small (what seemed like only a portion) of a tail and a small claw, almost the same amount there was in my salad.  As my server Dave said, you can never have too much lobster in life!  Perhaps if Dave was the chef I would have got more lobster.  I finished with the strawberry souffle with creme anglaise, strawberry puree and raspberry sorbet….need I say more?  HEAVEN.  Not very many places serve souffle because it is so delicate, but Gary Danko does it perfectly every time.  Normally my favourite is the chocolate souffle with creme anglaise and melted dark chocolate sauce; I would go just to have this sinfully delicious dessert.  I paired my meal with a half bottle of 2007 Dönnhoff, Oberhäuser Brücke, Nahe Riesling.  I kinda pulled a Paul as normally I’m giving him crap about spending too much money on wine when we go out to eat….sorry babe!

Part of the fun of dining alone sometimes is that you can meet great people!  Not only was my server Dave (who is also the bartender, since you’re sitting at the bar) a gregarious host but I chatted with the people sitting around me.  I met several  lovely ladies, Judi and Lina, who shared my love of shoes and gave me some good tips for my trip to Paris, JoAnn runs a walking tour of SF business, and a couple, Alvin and Rachel (oh, I think it’s Rachel…why am I drawing a blank), who is a wine maker.  I had some great conversations, cards were exchanged and I made some new friends!  It’s too bad Paul didn’t get a chance to chat with the wine maker.

I also learned last night that California is making fois gras illegal; as of July restaurants are no longer allowed to serve it here.  There are many inhumane fois gras producers and I am completely against most of the practices that go in to raising ducks just for fois gras, but there are some good humane farmers and restaurants that do care not only where the ducks are raised but how.  Gary Danko sources their fois gras from a local family run farm who raise the ducks free range, all natural feed, hormone and antibiotic free, no force feeding and all the rest of it, happy ducks living ducky lives!  These ducks are also not raised solely for their fois gras, the whole duck is used.  If you are killing an animal for food you might as well use the whole animal; now instead of using the whole duck farmers will have to dispose of the liver.  It’s unfortunate when a sweeping law is passed which also punishes people doing things the right way.

If you are planning a trip to San Francisco JoAnn Michael is the lady that does the walking tours, she is offering free tours to singles or couples until the end of April.  I am definitely going to ask JoAnn for a tour and get the scoop on some of the neighbourhoods we are interested in living in.

JoAnn Michael Custom Walking Tours 415-722-5339