Wagyu – A cure for the flu? (Dinner at Hiroshi, Los Altos)

After having pneumonia in 2011, I don’t get sick too often. So imagine my surprise when I got a tingle in my throat earlier in the week, which escalated to a fever the next night (during a coding exam no less – which I aced!), and then full blown coughs, 102°F fever, and aches the next day.  Hi Flu, it’s been a while.

Luckily, flus for me tend to go hard for a day or two and fizzle out. This one was no different – I currently have major congestion and occasional coughs left. I’ll take that over aches, fatigue, chills, and fever any day. Hopefully I’ll be back to 100% by my wedding this weekend!

During the worst of it, I had dinner plans at a new restaurant, Hiroshi in Los Altos. This wasn’t just any dinner, this was a semi-secret wagyu dinner with a private dining room concept – one seating a day, for a party of eight. There was minimal information about the restaurant online, and I only heard about it from a chef friend of Mr. A’s. The thought of missing this dinner was beyond tragic, so I eeked out the small amount of energy I had and stuck to plan. Whether I was being responsible to my fellow non-sick diners is another matter…

When I entered the dining room, I knew I made the right choice. From the stunning dining table made from an 800-year-old Japanese keyaki tree to the hand cut crystal collection, it was clear that this would be a fine dining experience. Chef Hiroshi Kimura came from Kobe, Japan, home to the finest kobe strain of wagyu.

The place setting. Notice the 800-year-old wood table.
The place setting. Notice the 800-year-old wood table.

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Surprise Birthday Trip – Dinner at Alinea 2.0 and Drinks at The Aviary

I had a grand total of one birthday party as a kid and it was a joint celebration months ahead of my actual birthday. I’m also not one to expect extravagant gestures. Having said that, it does feel nice to be spoiled once in a while. My birthday this year was all that and more, thanks to my amazing partner!

I was whisked away to Chicago, and the itinerary was a complete surprise. Once in Chicago, I guessed that one of the meals would be Grace, 42 Grams, or the legendary Alinea. Well lucky me, it was Alinea!

Alinea recently transformed their dining experience with a new menu and interior decor. I wasn’t able to visit pre-renovation, so I can’t compare, but the new “2.0” menu was ridiculously delightful. They excel at incorporating all senses, and the performance aspect was far above my other 3-Michelin star experiences. The food itself was also very good and in my top three.

We had the upstairs Salon menu, which was the shortest of the menu options. With 11 complex courses, I left thoroughly satisfied. I can only imagine what the Gallery or Kitchen Table menus must be like. A future trip for sure!

Menu given at start of meal – intentionally vague

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Providence LA – At the Chef’s Table

Last month, I visited LA for a weekend (mega) food tour. I believe that was the most volume of food I’ve ever eaten in a 48 hour period. It was certainly a bit painful but worth it. All six meals I ate were memorable, but the Chef’s table dinner at Providence was of another caliber. Through the elevated ingredients, technique, and service, Chef Michael Cimarusti and team delivered a harmonious seafood fine dining experience.

Providence’s private Chef’s table is one of best setups I’ve seen. You are in an enclosed room, facing a glass wall that gives you a full view of the kitchen. It’s a cool bubble to dine in, though you can’t interact with the kitchen staff.

View from the Chef's table private dining room
View from the Chef’s table private dining room

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Mosu – New Contemporary Kaiseki in SF

I can’t believe it’s April! March was a blur of travel – Orange County, snowboarding in Tahoe, and then LA last weekend. One of the highlights for me was closer to home though: Mosu, a new kaiseki-style restaurant in San Francisco. Mosu chef owner Sung Anh’s resume includes The French Laundry, Benu, and Urasawa.

We visited during their second week and while they were still figuring out the timing, the impressive menu and vision made one thing clear: it won’t be long before Mosu stands among SF fine dining royalty.

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