1) Cafe Esin
2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd. Suite 140
San Ramon, California 94583Do not wrinkle your face at the combination of grilled salmon and goat cheese. Not when the salmon was fresh and grilled to a medium well, just to my liking. Really, that was one hell of a salad, perhaps the best I ever had. The bitter greens were tossed with the lightest of dressing and sprinkled with toasted and crunchy pinenuts; segments of sweet navel oranges rounded off the palate. Wonderful.
Having said that, the cafe is actually well known for its desserts. I did not taste any but all who did seeked forgiveness for their sins.
2000 Hyde @ Union, San Francisco CA
My randomly-picked restaurant of choice for the last dinner in USA - tapas. I wanted to de-flower myself from tapas experience. Little did I know we would have to wait in a dungent-like corridor for about 20 minutes because the little quaint restaurant was packed. While walking into the waiting area, I noticed sangria flowing freely from every table and little plates of delicious food. Asparagus spears stood out like a diamond in the sky across the dining room and not to my surprise, it was rattled off as one of tonight's specials.
We had to order that of course, together with mixed funghi sauteed in olive oil, fried potato with tomato sauce, mussels with a saffron sauce and shrimp with garlic oil. For the two of us, it was just about enough food. We ate them with thick slices of toasted French baguette. The sauces were slightly salty and pungent with garlic, perfect with the bland white bread and good enough to deter my efforts at stopping at one slice. Instead, I wanted to mop up all the sauce but luckily I still had a bit of self-control and stopped at two.
It was a wonderful meal and not as horrendous as I had imagined having a one-to-one dinner with my boss to be. I felt even better when she treated me.