Tag Archives: travel

Dining Tapas Style at Lot 7

The Englishman and I were recently in San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma to tour some potential wedding venues and visit our favorite friends who live in the city.  On our first night there, we ventured down to the Mission District to dine at Lot 7.

Lot 7 is a seafood restaurant that specializes in small plates and a menu that seems to be pretty seasonal.  Since our group of 4 was game to try a bunch of different things, we decided to order a few dishes and share amongst the table while enjoying a delicious bottle of Chenin Blanc (I wish I could remember the name).

No meal is complete without some french fries, so we started with a dish of those.  They were good, crispy and nicely salted.  Of course, these don’t hold a candle to the truffle Parmesan fries that I had at El Dorado Kitchen the following day, but they were still nice.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 6.23.41 PMNext up was the Yellowtail Carpaccio, which was thinly sliced yellowtail served with radish and cucumber.  The fish was light and you could taste the freshness in each bite.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 7.06.36 PMAfter the yellowtail, we dug in to a couple of salads, the first being a Smoked Trout Salad.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 7.07.15 PMI was a bit skeptical of the smoked trout (I generally don’t like smoked fish), but this salad was incredibly flavorful and delicious!  It came with potatoes and a fig vinaigrette, and I found myself going back for seconds and thirds of the salad.

The other salad we dined on was a Goat Cheese and Beet Salad which was topped with a delicious fruit vinaigrette.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 7.04.36 PMUnfortunately this salad also came with walnuts (which was not on the menu), and since I am allergic, I could only really eat a bit of the goat cheese and beets and had to avoid the rest.

Last but not least was the Beer Battered Fish n’ Chips which came with beer battered cod and of course more french fries.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 7.03.33 PM

I really liked the batter that the cod was fried in, and the Englishman (who has high fish n’ chip standards) also enjoyed the dish.

We were seriously considering dessert, but the waitress told us there was only 1 dessert left which didn’t sound too tempting so we decided to pass.

Overall, I really enjoyed Lot 7.  The service was a tad on the slow side and I was disappointed that they ran out of menu items before the evening was over, but the food was solid and the restaurant had a nice vibe to it.  I don’t know if I would come back since there are so many other places I want to try in the city, but if you are a local, it’s a good place to have in your rotation.

On a completely unrelated note, if you ever make it up to Sonoma (downtown Sonoma specifically), be sure to visit El Dorado Kitchen and have some of their truffle Parmesan fries. Life changing, I tell you.


Food for Thought: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations is currently one of my favorite shows (which means it’s a permanent staple on my DVR), so it was no surprise that when I found out he was doing a speaking engagement in LA, I jumped on the chance to get tickets to the event.

Anthony Bourdain picture via TravelChannel.com

Having read Bourdain’s books Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw, as well as watching him on No Reservations and Top Chef, I felt like I had a pretty clear idea of what he was going to be like in person.  If you don’t have a sense of humor or tolerance for f-bombs here and there Bourdain is not your guy.  I however, find the guy hilarious.

During his talk Bourdain touched upon many topics such as the mysterious disappearance of Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network and instead featuring chefs such as Paula Deen (aka the butter queen) and Rachael Ray (3o minute meals that you COULD make, but never will).  He also called out the high and low points of Top Chef.  High point – the chefs are crazy talented and the show is legit; low point – the extreme overuse of product placement in one single episode.  But what stood out to me most was when he started talking about his experiences filming No Reservations.

Let’s be honest, Bourdain is a pretty lucky guy.  He goes from working 15+ hour days in a kitchen to writing a best seller to his own tv show where he gets to travel the world and basically do whatever he wants.  And he’s quite humble about it too.  He knows that he has a gig that everyone dreams about (well at least me anyway).  But as much drinking/swearing/food indulgences there are on any episode, he also takes a look into the respective locations culture.

One of the things Bourdain emphasized is that when you travel, immerse yourself in your surroundings.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Embrace another culture even if it means trying a mystery meat dish or maybe staying in a hotel with less than stellar plumbing.  So many of us are used to our creature comforts of home that when we do travel we expect it all to be the same, and if it isn’t the same we go seeking the familiar (Exhibit A: Starbucks).  In every episode I’ve seen of No Reservations, Bourdain NEVER eats at his hotel, and will only dine at a hole in the wall type place recommended by locals.  Many times you can find him sitting at a dinner table surrounded by a family and their friends, and enjoying an authentic, home cooked meal.  If that isn’t immersing yourself in a country’s culture, then nothing is.

By the end of the evening I was ready to hop on a plane to an exotic locale and enjoy the sights, sounds, and the food.  But since I can’t hop on a plane right this second, why not take advantage of my own surroundings?  Maybe I can’t travel to Greece in the next month, but I can try an authentic Greek restaurant.  Or if I have a hankering for Pad Thai I can make my own since Thailand isn’t in the cards anytime soon.  It’s time to embrace what my own city has to offer, even if it isn’t as exciting as many of the places seen on No Reservations.

Thanks Anthony Bourdain for a delightful evening.  And I promise that the next time I travel abroad I will not wear a fanny pack, visit all the tourist traps or go to a Starbucks.  You have my word.