2.26.2020. Californios. San Francisco. California.

I finally made it to Californios last night for dinner. Now I only have one more restaurant to check out on my "must" list for the Bay Area, which I am going for my birthday next month. So be on the look out for that one. This was my first Mexican fine dining experience and I was very excited for this meal and it absolutely lived up to my expectations, which as you are all well aware, is ridiculous to begin with. I was also excited to share this meal with my friend David. It was also David's send off for his much deserved retirement and moving away from California. A high end Mexican dinner seemed fitting for his next chapter and move. I loved the progression of the flavors. Each dish had a nice balance of textures and flavors using local ingredients with traditional Mexican ingredients to showcase its heritage. The progression of the dishes were nicely done as well.

Sorry for the dark pictures as we got a more private corner, as it was about me catching up with David rather than the kitchen counter to be near the action. I hope that you will find yourself there to check it out for yourself!

3115 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Californios is dedicated to the preservation, continuation, and elevation of Mexican cuisine. We be live unfollowing tradition and building upon it.

A Chilapita, a rare, regional dish from Guerrero. A Cascadia corn masa tart filled with fresh Pacific geoduck clam from Puget Sound, with pickled kumquats and a Fresno chile espuma

Purple Peruvian masa infladita, topped with sweet Hokkaido sea urchin and filled with Chile guajillo chileatole.

Bacalao, layered with confit potato coming from Little Organic Farms, olive oil and avocado mousse, Meyer lemon and pickled Serrano.

Berkshire pork taco prepared in the style of cochinita pibil with hoja santa crema., pickled onions and apple on a magic mana tortilla.

Quesadilla made from Oaxacan masa, from Tierra Vegetables Farm in Santa Rosa, California, filled with fermented peppers, sweet corn, hen of the woods mushrooms, mozzarella cheese from Point Reyes and huitlacoche mole.

Mindful Meats short rib street taco, with mole negro, shaved truffles and fermented spring onions on our house-fermented sourdough tortilla.

Hielo. A palate cleanser of Aztec Fuji apple sorbet and finished with key lime and fresh apple.

Banana tamale with chive salsa and crème fraîche. Finished with cold smoked Californios Reserve White Sturgeon caviar.

Kusshi oyster with gooseberry juice and fermented red pepper foam.

Ceviche of Pacific blue mackerel, with kiwis from Will Brokaw and winter basil.

Aguachile of caramelized onions, fresh and charred chicories, seaweed and fermented ramps.

Cedar-smoked and grilled sea bream in pipian and oro blanco, with charred little gem hearts and green apple.

A presentation of Devil's Gulch squab, from Nicasio, California. Squab asada with a sauce made from the bones and chile morita. Smoked squab broth with lemon thyme and huckleberry. Grilled wild yellow foot mushrooms and fermented red carrots. Fermented red ember pepper and fatality salsita.

Cigarette of Kenne goat cheese from Tamales Farmstead Creamery with satsuma mandarin, kumquat and sweet alyssum flowers.

Hickory king masa tostada, grapefruit curd, fresh grapefruit, Shan Lin Xi winter sprout gelée with hoja santa, tarragon and bronzed fennel.

Cherimoya, passion fruit, avocado and chickweed.

Momento Mori, chocolatl.
Milk chocolate bon bon with Marcona almond ganache.
Dark chocolate bon bon with California yuzu citrus.
Marshall's Farm liquid honey truffle with white chocolate, bee and fennel pollen.
Apple 'Oblea' with fresh dulce de leche.
A digestivo made of fresh young ginger juice, Lustau Royal vermouth, lime and pink lady apple.

First it rained truffles on my taco, then it rained caviar on my tamales.


2.6.2020. Leonardo Drew + Wayne Thiebaud. UC Davis. Davis. California.

So funny things tend to happen when I am around, and sometimes magic happens. This was one of those days. I was invited by the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis, my alma mater, to go up for a visit and see the art department (my major) and attend a lecture by sculptor Leonardo Drew and have dinner with him and Wayne Thiebaud. Since my work load lightened up a bit, I was able to pop up for the day. Boy was I glad I was able to do this.

For those of you that did not know, I am a conceptual sculptor with an Art Studio degree from UC Davis while studying under all the greats there. That's a part of why I'm so weird. You can see some of my work here:

It was great fun to meet up with my sculpture professor Lucy Puls to get a tour of the current art studio building and to have a catch up with her. Then we headed over to the Jan and Marian Manetti Shrem Museum that got built after I graduated before the Leonardo Drew lecture there. Then we went to dinner and this is where the magic happens. I procured a pencil for Leonardo (a reference to something Wayne Thiebaud said at the lecture during the Q&A) to Dra with. Leonardo informs me that he only draws with ballpoint pens as he does not like the idea of being able to use the eraser as that feels like a cheat. Then I gave Leonardo Drew and Wayne Thiebaud my Sharpies and this is what happened.

This is the final signed piece, which is now my donation to the Shrem Museum instead of my retirement fund.

1.25.2020. Will Calhoun + Zig Zag Power Trio. Rintaro + SF Jazz. San Francisco. California.

My friend Will Calhoun (Living Colour) was in town playing with his Zig Zag Power Trio. When he called me up to see if I can grab a bite, I knew I had to take him to Rintaro. In case you have not yet noticed, having lunch at Rintaro is one of my favorites in SF, and it never disappoints. However, the highlight is always the proper catch ups. And Will and I get right into it. Nothing is sacred.

82 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

The most beautiful chirashi bowl.

Then I got to see Will play with his Zig Zag Power Trio that night at SF Jazz. I love visiting friends!

1.16.2020. Sonoratown + Park's BBQ. Los Angeles. California.

My team was excited to eat with me on this production. Clearly, I had to make a reservation at Park's BBQ for dinner on a night we did not have a long shoot day. To balance that dinner, we had some light tacos at Sonoratown since that is in DTLA. We ordered all their tacos (cooked in the mesquite wood fire with grilled green onions) and they were amazing in handmade flour tortillas.

208 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

For our dinner highlight, Park's BBQ. I made that reservation a month ago when we knew the shoot dates and my team wanted to go eat with me. So the expectations were rather high. Despite that, they now understand why I am a bit obsessed with this restaurant. It's so much more fun with a big group too! Not to mention our amazing conversations that night. Just wow.

Park's BBQ
955 S Vermont Ave G
Los Angeles, CA 90006

1.13.2020-1.18.2020. Ace Hotel Downtown LA. Los Angeles. California.

I had a big shoot right off the bat in 2020 for an entire week in LA. I ended up staying at The Ace Downtown LA since the company I am freelancing at had a rate there and 2 of the days we were in DTLA. Hilariously, I first ended up in a room next to the party room (room with a balcony) and there was an award ceremony at the theatre next door on the first night. Since I called front desk to ask if they were checking out the next day as I am there for work, the manager decided to move me to a different room as I was there the entire week and there were more events happening there that week and more parties were going too take place in the room next door. Low and behold, they upgraded me to a suite. I was feeling it and I took nightly baths. That you for your exceptional customer service Ace DTLA!

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
929 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015