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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Roy's--"Aloha Spirit" Alive And Well in San Francisco

Recently Linda and Mike L. McColgan's culinary journey to eat at all 3000 San Fancisco restaurants (500 plus and counting) took then to experience great food and the "Aloha Spirit" at Roys's Hawaiian Fusion at 575 Mission Street.

Founder Roy Yamaguchi opened his first Roy's in Hawaii in 1988. Today there are 6 in Hawaii, 23 in the US and one in Japan and one in Guam. His expansive dining room decor, soft lighting and open kitchen immediately relaxes you when you enter his restaurants.

At his San Francisco location, Managing partner Keith Spragg, Chef Partner Nate Payo and Sous chef Josh Grimes created a special luncheon experience for us. Our server Will Thamsara was also very helpful and exhibited the warm "Aloha Service" that separates Roy's from the rest.

For openers, Josh prepared Ahi Poke.  The Poke was the best we had ever eaten.
 It consisted of cubed ahi yellowfin tuna sashimi marinated with a pinch of Hawaiian red sea salt, soy sauce, hot sesame oil, ogo seaweed, and chopped chili pepper and avocados, topped with a sour cream and tobiko caviar.
Along with the Poke, Josh brought us the Chili and Scallion Crisped Calamari that was tasty and seasoned perfectly. He also prepared the Big Island Ebi Roll Shrimp Tempura, topped with baked salmon, and tombiko caviar with dipping sauces of sweet basil chili sauce and Sriracha aioli sauce that was a work of art.

Seared scallops and butternut squash soup with Vadouvan curry, pumpkin seeds and cilantro was a great way to complete this lavish lunch.

The Grand Finale was Roy's famous Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé that is flourless Chocolate Cake with a Molten Hot Center, served with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream that requires additional preparation time but well worth the wait. There are also a variety of dessert wines and after drinks as well as coffee and tea.

From 4-30 to 6:30 Sunday thru Friday Roy's is a great place to "hang loose" and enjoy their $6.00 dollar Aloha Happy Hour. Featuring Roy's Hawaiian Martini as well as hand selected wines, Kona "Fire Rock" Pale Ale and featured appetizers such as Wagyu Beef Sliders, Short Rib Tacos and Crunchy Golden Lobster Pot stickers to name a few. Private dining is also available for special occasions.

 In conclusion, the "Aloha Spirit" is alive and well at Roy's in San Francisco. As we always ask ourselves about these various places, would you return? Absolutely, we will be back for "Aloha Happy Hour" next week.

For more information and to make reservations go to:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St. Vincent "Rocks" in San Francisco

Linda and Mike L. Mc Colgan's culinary journey to visit all 3000 San Francisco restaurants (500 plus and counting) recently took them to St. Vincent at 1270 Valencia Street in the Mission District.

This new foodie delight is the brainchild of David Lynch author and former wine director of San Francisco's Michelin-starred Quince. He is also contributing editor of Bon Appetite and his successful book Vino Italiano remains the bible for Italian wine enthusiasts. Before coming to California in 2009, he was wine director and General Manager of New York's famed Babbo Ristorante the flagship restaurant of Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich's B and B Hospitality group.

Asked how he came up with the name St. Vincent, David said, "Besides sounding cool, St Vincent is known as the patron Saint of wine." Reservations are recommended as the word spreads fast to the San Francisco foodie community about exciting new places.

The hours are 5:30 until 10:00 Monday thru Thursday and to 11 on Friday and Saturday.  As expected there is a wide variety of interesting wines and beer to select or if you bring your own vino, there is a $25.00 corking fee. They also have expanded the hours and now open for their special $12.00 “one pot" lunch from 12-3 Tuesday thru Friday.

David's passion for excellence is quite evident as he checks people in and carefully inspects each dish as it is served from the open kitchen.

We tried several of the interesting appetizers and they were all unique, tasty and presented with love and attention to detail.

Pickled eggs with beet and horseradish or curry, hand- rolled soft pretzel with mustard and butter, bone marrow with spring onion and smoked chilies and our favorite She-Crab, sea urchin, Carolina gold rice and Dungeness crab-chowder.

For the entree, we ordered the Dry-Aged Sirloin with Wisconsin cheddar gratin and pot roasted carrots. It was lean moist, seasoned perfectly and designed to be split for two people.  For dessert, David recommended the Coconut Tangerine Cake, cara cara sherbert and grapefruit ambrosia that was over the top.

This put us in a great mood for the Grand Opening of San Francisco's premier night club the RRazz Room.  They recently located to 1000 Van Ness from the Hotel Niko. Jefferson Starship played and took us down memory lane to some classic music of the wild 60's and 70's

For more information on St. Vincent and to make reservations go to:
Click here: St Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant - Restaurant - San Francisco - Home

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

L'Olivier-Passionate Parisian Perfection in the City By the Bay

Linda and Mike L. Mc Colgan's culinary journey recently took them to the heart of the San Francisco's financial district.  With a goal to go to all 3000 San Francisco restaurants and having been to 500 plus,  L'Olivier has been serving French food to the foodies of the Bay area since 1978. It is a charming place that has a joyful feeling the minute you enter the front door.

Price fixed meals are offered for lunch that present great value and a taste of many of their delicate and delicious foods. For  lunch and $21.95 per person,  you can get a choice of appetizer main course and desert. Dinner includes 3 courses including desert for $33.50 per person.  An extensive wine list is offered and nice choice of wines by the glass. There is also a private dining room that is perfect for business dinners and  intimate parties.

Our server Francisco and General Manger Claudia Bacauanu were very helpful and started us off with a sample of their very popular appetizers. Salmon tartar, Kobe beef tartar, salad langaise(duck confit and smoked duck breast), roasted red pepper soup, mussels with white wine, shallots parsley and cream, escargots in a shell with garlic sauce and warm brie in phyllo dough.  "OOH La La!"  What a way to start a lunch. Everything was prepared to perfection and presented in elegant French fashion. The escargot was the best I have ever tasted.

For the entree I ordered the chicken picatta with mashed potatoes that was lightly breaded and very tasty and tender. Linda had the scallop risotto in lobster sauce that was a very impressive presentation and more importantly heavenly to enjoy.  Again another "OOH La! La!."

Desserts are also a specialty and Francisco recommended the Tartin Tatin and Strawberry Soup with Brandy and Lemon Sorbet that was a grand finally to an over the top foodie experience. They also offer soufflés, desert of the day and coffee, tea and espresso.

Our extensive restaurant experience has taught us to ask each other the magical question, "would you return?" The answer to this is a double "Qui, Qui."

Yes, we plan on returning soon and highly recommend that you also try this long time foodie establishment that excels with "Passionate Parisian Perfection" in the "Great City By The Bay."

For more information and to make reservations go to:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Incontro Ristorante - Danville

Linda and Mike L. Mc Colgan's culinary journey recently took them to their home town of Danville and Incontro Ristorante. With a goal to hit all 3000 San Francisco restaurants and having been to 500 plus, Incontro is like eating in an upscale San Francisco restaurant without having to Bart or drive there. 

Like the North Star "InContro Ristorante" shines brightly on the main street of downtown Danville.  The warm ambience is immediately felt as you walk by the outdoor fireplace and patio tables of the professional lit building that sparkles brightly.

An elegant bar serves happy hour prices from 4:30 to 6:00 Monday thru Friday. It has a friendly feeling and puts you in the mood for a cocktail or 2 to start your dinner. There are also private dining rooms for your special occasion or you can rent the whole restaurant for groups of 150 or more. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Sundays families with children under 12 eat free.

From the web site "Incontro /inˈkon-tro/ n meeting, encounter; a fine dining experience in the East Bay. Incontro Ristorante, the inspiration for the name came from our desire to create a central meeting place for the diverse cuisines from all the regions of Italy and our passion to introduce these foods from the old country to our new home here in the East Bay."

Outgoing General Manager Jenny makes everyone feel at home and welcomes each guest with a friendly smile of appreciation.  There is an extensive and reasonably priced Italian wine selection or if you bring your own a corkage fee of 20 dollars.  We started off our meal with 2 of the patron favorites.
Arancini alla Siciliana Deep Fried Breaded Arborio Rice Balls stuffed with Thyme, Parsley, and Smoked Mozzarella
served with Marinara Sauce and Basil Pesto
Prosciutto e Mozzarella Imported Parma Prosciutto & Buffalo Mozzarella
served with Marinated Roasted Peppers & Arugula Salad

Both were very good. My favorite was the Rice balls while Linda enjoyed the Prosciutto.

For the entree Linda ordered the spinach salad with grilled shrimp that was presented like a picture from a foodie magazine and tasted even better than it looked.

I ordered the pre-fixe dinner menu with a percentage of the proceeds going to benefit the food bank of Contra Costa and Solano counties. For $25.00 you had a choice of soup or salad, 3 different entrees and desserts. I had the lentil soup that was very soothing on a cool Danville evening and Spaghetti con Salsiccia e Rapini (spaghetti pasta with calabrese sausage, broccoli rabe and mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce) that was very light and tasty. For desert, I chose the chocolate gelato that was just as good as we recently had on a trip to Italy.

In our extensive restaurant experience, the bottom line that we ask each other is "would you go back again?"  This is a place that we will return.

For more information and to make reservations go to:

The Stinking Rose

Linda and Mike L. Mc Colgan's culinary journey continues at the Stinking Rose in San Francisco.
Located in the famous foodie North Beach area of San Francisco, The Stinking Rose is a "must do" experience where their motto is "we season our garlic with food."

For openers, one of their Dracula Martini's is a good choice to start your dining experience. The story goes that garlic fends off vampires and the $9.95 martinis are very unique and generous size. Some of the choices are Neck Bite, Lucifer’s Sour Apple and Bloody Chili Mary.

To open your meal, the Bagna Calda, garlic soaking in a hot tub, is a house favorite.  Oven roasted garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil and butter with a hint of anchovy served with house made foccacia bread in an iron skillet is savory and almost a meal in itself.

If still hungry you can order a variety of garlic dishes from fish to steak that are prepared perfectly. We shared some of the house made neon ravioli filled with potato cheese garlic basil and Alfredo sauce that was very good. If you have room for desert after the Bagna Calda, bread and entrees, you can finish your meal with garlic ice cream or tiramisu that is fantastic.

This restaurant is an entertaining experience that you will not forget. I highly recommend trying it out.

For more information and to make reservations go to:

Lake Tahoe

Danville residents, Linda and Mike McColgan's journey to eat all of San Francisco's 3000 restaurants continues with a stop at beautiful Lake Tahoe. Each year we go to Lake Tahoe to play in the American Century Golf tournament. 80 celebrities from various sports and television shows play a 3 day tournament at pristine Edgewood Country Club.

This year was the 23rd year and Michael Jordan, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Charles Barkley lead the field of celebrity golfers. We played with former San Francisco Giant Kenny Lofton in the pro-am.

One of our favorite restaurants is the feature on our "Tuesday Lunch With Linda" program.

Friday's Station Steak and Seafood Grill is on the top floor of Harrah's hotel in South Lake Tahoe. It is a vibrant place with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and a 1000 bottle wine cellar.

Reservations are required and sunset is a popular time with the stunning views of the sun going down over beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The restaurant is also the place to rub shoulders with many of the stars playing in the tournament.  Most of them stay at Harrah’s and love the fine dining touches of this great eatery.

 It is only open for dinner and serves perfectly grilled steaks and a variety of seafood. I had the Filet Mignon and Linda had the pistachio crusted tuna entry. Both were fantastic. I also had a side order of mushrooms that were heavenly. We bring our own wine and the corking fee is $15.00.

For more information and to make a reservation check out this link.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"54th Annual Golf Writers Dinner"

The stars will be out at the 54th Annual Golf Writers Dinner to be held February 5 at Spanish Bay Inn during the 2013 ATT Pebble Beach Pro-AM.

I have been taking my son MJ, 3 time National Special Olympics Golf Champion, Halloffamer and co-author of 5 successful golf books with me since he was 10 years old. MJ always receives kudos at the dinner for his many accomplishments on and off the golf course. Last year we got to sit with the Solheim family who were honored at the dinner. John Solheim awarded MJ the coveted Ping Gold Putter Award in 2009 for winning his National Championships.

The packed ball room of famous golfers and writers always begins with the Piper playing on the ocean at Sunset and then leading everyone into the sit down dinner for a night of golfing ecstasy. Having done both, "The piper playing on the ocean at a Pebble Beach sunset is better than attending Mass at the Vatican."

Some of the people that we have sat with in the past include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson,  Clint Eastwood, John Solheim and Ken Venturi to name a few.

This year some of the honorees include Steve Desimone, National Champion Cal Golf coach and Pat Hurst, multiple LPGA winner. Johnny Miller, Kay Cockerill and Roger Maltbie will also be inducted into the recently formed Northern California Hall Of Fame.

Last year was the first year for the Hall Of Fame and 4 "Giant" contributors in the game of golf were inducted in the first NCGA Hall Of Fame class. Besides winning many golf tournaments and being former USGA Presidents and true lovers of the game, the happiness flowed from each of these great men's lips as they talked about golf and their contributions to this great game. Their humble acceptance and appreciation of these awards were felt by everyone in the room. Honorees were Jack Bariteau, C. Grant Spaeth, Frank "Sandy" Tatum, and Ken Venturi.

This year's induction promises to be full of lots of interesting stories with Kay, Johnny and especially Roger withdrawing many stories from their rich golf memory banks.

Let's hope warm and sunny weather for the entire week will make for an extra special golf tournament.  It is always a treat to watch your favorite golfers and celebrity's in sports, music, movies and life playing at Pebble Beach, "God's Home Of Golf."

MJ and I are already looking forward to attending number 55.