Ad Hoc – Yountville

Ad Hoc Exterior

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

As I will never get into the famed French Laundry, I went for second best and dined at one of Thomas Keller’s other Yountville restaurants, Ad Hoc. This restaurant serves down home cookin’ family style and on a prix fixe menu. The restaurant is famous for its buttermilk fried chicken, which unfortunately, is only served on every other Monday. Good luck trying to get a res on fried chicken day because it’s always booked up! I came to Ad Hoc on a Monday evening thinking it was a fried chicken day, but was fooled when I realized they were serving BBQ. However, it did not disappoint!

The meal started with “The French Laundry Garden Celery Salad.” The tender greens were gently picked from French Laundry’s garden. The mixed greens were lightly tossed with walnuts, sweet apples, shaved celery and a very light creamy dressing. The salad sounds simple, but I could taste the care and thoughtfulness put into the dish.

Ad Hoc Celery Salad

Between a party of 4, we shared 1 order of fried calamari. Oh my gosh. This was hands-down the best calamari I’ve ever had. Lightly battered, perfectly tender. The spiced aioli was the perfect compliment to the crispy goodness.

Ad Hoc Calamari

The main course was the Santa Maria Style BBQ platter. We each got a half-rack of smoked pork spareribs and several slices of the Snake River Farm wagyu beef tri-tip. Let’s talk about the ribs first. These babies were smoked for thirty. six. hours. Unbelievably tender and smokey. The sauce they topped it with had the perfect combination of tangy and spicy. The wagyu beef also was to die for. If you’re not familiar with wagyu, this kind of beef is America’s equivalent to kobe beef. In my picture, you can see the beautiful marbling which made this succulent tri-tip so tender and juicy. To give visitors the courtesy of serving veggies so that you don’t feel completely guilty for what we’ve eaten, Ad Hoc served a savoy cabbage, broccolini and Yacon root slaw.

Ad Hoc BBQ Plate

The platter came with buttermilk biscuits with burnt ends gravy. That means the burnt ends from the BBQed meats were cooked into a creamy gravy and poured on top of fluffy biscuits. Oh my it was good.

Ad Hoc Buttermilk Biscuits

The pre-dessert dish was a platter of plumped prunes, a few slices of Central Coast Creamery’s Seascape and palladin toast. The cow and goat milk cheese was sharp, creamy and smooth – almost like a soft white cheddar. The combination of the sweet prunes and the buttery toast was like an explosion of flavors. Everything paired perfectly.

Ad Hoc Prune Jam Bread

It’s restaurants like these where I despise the custom of eating dessert last. I was way too full to eat the banana cupcakes, so I took only a tiny bite. Light in banana flavor, these cupcakes were topped with a rum buttercream and filled with a salted caramel center. So sinfully good. The frosting tasted like pure butter.

Ad Hoc Banana Cupcakes

For the blogs sake, here’s the inside of the cupcake.

Ad Hoc Banana Cupcake Inside

The only reason why I’m giving this 4 stars is because of the service from the hostess. I feel she intentionally put our party in the “Asian corner” of the restaurant, meaning us and 3 other Asian parties sat at the back of the restaurant. I quickly forgot once the food came. I can’t wait to come back here to try the fried chicken. It’s totally worth the 1.5 hour drive after work.

Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St

Yountville, CA 94599

To give visitors the courtesy of serving veggies so that you don’t feel completely guilty for what we’ve eaten, Ad Hoc served a savoy cabbage, broccolini and Yacon root slaw.

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Front Porch – San Francisco

Front Porch Fried ChickenFront Porch
65a 29th St
(between Tiffany Ave & San Jose Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

Thanks to my mom, my dad was this close to cooking a prime rib for his own Father’s Day dinner. My bro and I couldn’t have that so we made reservations at Front Porch for some fried chicken and bread pudding. I’ve never even heard of Front Porch until my sister-in-law suggested we go there, but let me say this… I’ve never been more full at a meal out than I have here at Front Porch.

The scene:

The restaurant/bar is uber hipster. It may say “not good for children” on its Yelp page, but we found it to be fine for the kids. Given, you sit right next to a bar, but the restaurant is so noisy, it doesn’t matter if the children cause a fuss.

I imagined the service to be a bit snooty like Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, another hipster joint in Bernal Heights. But, our waitress was very friendly! She recommended her favorite dishes and even joked around with my little niece and nephew.

The food:

We completely over-ordered, but that’s okay! Leftovers! Not only because you can eat it again, but also because you get to take home cute little take-out boxes ranging from a movie theater popcorn container or a Chinese take-out box.

Biscuits for Boobies – Had to order these because of the name. Hehe. These buttermilk biscuits were dense and fluffy, and the best part is… all profits go to the fight against breast cancer. I’d suggest not to go overboard with these because each customer gets a free basket of cornbread.

Grilled Cajun Corn – This was soooo good. The juicy corn is grilled with Cajun butter and seasonings in the husk for that smoky flavor.

Fried Chicken – It’s been proven… fried chicken at Front Porch passes the day-after test. The meat is incredibly juicy, the liquid just pours out of the chicken with each bite. As far as seasonings, it tasted like all it had was a sprinkle of salt. The waitress informed us that the chicken is supposed to be pure and plain. And, if we wanted a kick, douse one of their hot sauces over the chicken. The bucket of fried chicken is also tossed with popcorn. I’m not sure if it has a purpose, but it’s fun to snack on in between pieces.

Shrimp and Grits – I had been craving this a whole week before we decided on going to Front Porch. That’s how excited I was to order this. You’ll find shrimp and grits on the appetizer menu, but you can order a full plate version for $18. I was a little underwhelmed by the taste though. It was way too salty for my liking. I excused my complaint, though, because proceeds from that dish went to The Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund.

Mashed Potatoes and Collard Greens – The mashed potatoes were thick and creamy. I’ve never been a real fan of collard greens before because of the tough, leathery texture, but these were so tender.

Desserts – Our eyes were way too big for our stomachs. We had 4 deserts between 6 adults. I believe the serving size for each dessert is 4.

Bread Pudding – By far, the best bread pudding I’ve ever had. They use a meaty brioche soaked in chocolate sauce and topped with a caramel praline ice cream.

Key Lime Pie – Again, another good one. Some key lime pies are light on the filling, but not this one! It had a perfect blend of sweetness and tartness. It was also topped with a meringue rather than a whipped topping. Yum!

Cherry Pie – This is actually a whole mini pie, and my bro ate the whole thing. It was another play on the sweet and tart. Can’t go wrong with that.

Beignets – Best for last. These fluffy, chewy beignets were topped with a chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. It was just like eating warm Nudder Butter (chocolate/peanut butter/powdered sugar Chex mix). The only thing missing from these beignets was the peanut butter.

I’m definitely coming back to get the fried chicken and the beignets. Or maybe the bread pudding? Or the key lime pie? Ah, I can’t decide!!

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The Super Bowl Order, Part 1 (Fried Chicken)

So, the Conference Championship games are over, and we can all rest easy for these next two weeks until the Super Bowl.  We’re going to just wait until we see Manning and the Colts take on Brees and the Saints in Miami.  But, wait!  Just because the 49ers (or the Raiders) will not be participating, doesn’t mean we’re not going to have our own Super Bowl Parties.  That’s where we come along.  Face it, not all of us have the time to fry a bunch of chicken, make our own 7-layer dips, and grill some burgers.  Over the next two weeks, we’ll list out a few restaurants to order some good eats for your Super Bowl party.

Let’s start with some Chicken Wings!  We decided to steer away from the normal Chain Fried Chicken and give you some options for something different.

San Tung or SO

Dry Fried Chicken (aka So Wings)

Fried Chicken pieces smothered in a Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce will keep your mouth watering throughout the game.  San Tung charges $9 per order which feeds roughly 2-3 people.  SO charges $6 per order which feeds 1-2 people.  I paid SO a visit today and it seems like the most orders they have done is 150 pieces, so don’t worry, it can be done.  Ask for the owner James to see if there is a special rate.

San Tung
1031 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-0828

1010 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Double Decker

Buffalo Wings

I’ve been doing a lot of research for the best Buffalo Wings in San Francisco.  According to everyone and their hot wing suckin’ daddies Double Decker has been hands down the best.  What’s great is that Double Decker’s will deliver your wings to you for free.  50 Buffalo Wings order for $30, your choice of Mild, Hot or Inferno!

Double Decker
465 Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

New Golden Daisy

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

When ordering a large order of chicken wings for a party, I usually think of ordering Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings from a Chinese restaurant.  Ask any Chinese family where the best S&P Chicken Wings are and they’ll more or less point you to this little joint in Chinatown.  How can you beat the awesome price of $3.30 per pound.

New Golden Daisy
1041 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 392-0111

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Blue Bayou – Disneyland, CA

Blue Bayou Creme BruleeRated: ♣♣♣

In Oct 2009, I was able to get into the 2nd most exclusive restaurant in Disneyland, CA (first being club 33). About a month prior to my trip to Disneyland, I called ahead to make a reservation at the Blue Bayou. It was my 3rd attempt to eat at the restaurant and I finally got in!

The scene:

The restaurant is situated within the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in New Orleans town. The dim lighting, the sound of the crickets, and the white tablecloths makes the Blue Bayou an idea restaurant for a date. I wouldn’t say so much of a family restaurant since the scene is pretty quiet. The main seating area is stationed in a patio-like area with a view of the PotC ride. I requested for a table by the water so we’d have a better view.

The food:

Maybe it’s because everyone talked the restaurant up, but I found Blue Bayou to be subpar. Each main course comes out in the $30-$40 range; a little overpriced for mediocre food. I had the Jambalaya and K got the Five-Pepper Roasted New York steak.

Gumbo – Entrees come with a choice of gumbo or salad. Get the gumbo, it was literally the best part about the meal. It’s thick and creamy and the dirty rice on top is super tasty.

Jambalaya – There were loads of chunky tomatoes and onions in the jambalaya. The onions were a little undercooked so they were still crunchy when I bit into it. I’m not a fan of either, so the dish was almost inedible for me.

5 Pepper Roasted New York Steak – K’s steak which was ordered “medium-rare,” came out medium-well. He had to saw the steak with the knife to cut bite-size pieces. The potatoes au gratin were tasty, but the steak was too tough to eat.

Crème Brulee – For dessert we had the crème brulee. Okay, I take what I said about the gumbo back. The crème brulee was the best part of the meal. It was smooth and creamy, the sugar wasn’t over burnt at all, and it was topped with shaved chocolate and fresh fruit. How can you go wrong with that?

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Piccadilly Catering – Foster City

Piccadilly Catering
1072 Shell Blvd

Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 573-0444

Rated: ♣♣♣

Hidden in a small complex around the corner from a Post Office lives a small catering company called Piccadilly Catering in Foster City.  This small catering business runs a restaurant on most days that serves Cajun Soul Food.  Pam, the executive chef, and her staff provide the most wonderful and intimate experience.  It feels like the moment you step into the restaurant you are automatically a part of their family.

The first thing on the menu I noticed was that the sandwich menu was discontinued.  This made me really sad since I had heard great things about their Hot Link Sandwich.  However, I was here for the cheap eats.  The menu has 2 piece fried chicken (wing and thigh), a side (I chose the candied yams) and corn bread for $5.   My companions also ordered the 2 piece fried chicken with jambalaya and lasagna with potato salad ($6).  They have by-far some of the best fried chicken a Peninsula kid would hope for.  Don’t trust me?  Check out these Yelp Reviews!

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