Nomica (San Francisco, CA)

Nomica
2223 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Dining date: 12/24/16

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Nomica is a modern Japanese izakaya offering contemporary takes on Japanese drinking food. The menu has some intriguing menu items like gyoza-stuffed fried chicken wings, sous vide chicken karaage, and whole chicken baked in brioche. The restaurant was opened by the team behind Sushi Ran, a restaurant that has been serving Japanese cuisine in the Bay Area for over 30 years.

While the restaurant just opened in August, reviews have been mostly positive. My family and I came here for a Christmas Eve dinner.

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Shibumi (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Shibumi
815 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 12/21/16

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I first dined at Shibumi in July very soon after the restaurant opened. The meal was very good, although the restaurant was still finding its stride. The restaurant has garnered some considerable praise since then. LA Times critic Jonathan Gold named it the second best restaurant in the city in October. Besha Rodell of the LA Weekly gave it 4 stars. The restaurant has been particularly popular in recent months given the praise, but I was able to snag a table over the holidays. I returned in to see how the food has evolved now that it’s been open for six months.

This was my first time sitting at the bar, providing an upfront view of the action. I definitely recommend requesting seats up here – it’s less intimate, but its a much more immersive dining experience.

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In Situ (San Francisco, CA)

In Situ
SFMoMA
151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/17/16

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In Situ was probably my most anticipated restaurant opening in San Francisco this past year. It’s both a unique and copycat concept – the restaurant exists to duplicate dishes from notable restaurants around the world, as closely as possible. It’s kind of like a rotating museum exhibit of restaurant dishes, fittingly housed in the SF Museum of Modern Art.

The “chef” here is Cory Lee, ex-chef de cuisine of The French Laundry and chef/owner of Benu and Monsieur Benjamin. He has as strong a pedigree as anyone to be able to duplicate this diverse cuisine here.

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Christmas 2016

Dining date: 12/25/16

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2016 flew by so quickly, as did another holiday season centered around a Christmas feast. Not unlike past years, this Christmas was a tale of two meals – one celebrated on each side of the family. Lunch is a large buffet-style potluck affair, hosted by my aunt and uncle (who prepare most of the food). My grandmother handles most of dinner preparation, which is a bit more meat-centric.

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Cotogna (San Francisco, CA) [2]

Cotogna
490 Pacific St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Dining date: 12/17/16

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I’ve been to Cotogna quite a few times now, the more casual sibling to Michelin three-star restaurant Quince. The restaurant was selected again to introduce some friends to chef Michael Tusk’s Italian cooking. We ordered a variety of things throughout the menu to share – an appetizer, a pizza, two pastas and one large format course.

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Trestle (San Francisco, CA)

Trestle
531 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Dining date: 11/23/16

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Trestle is the second restaurant from the Stones Throw team. It opened in Jackson Square in last year, serving a rotating prix fixe menu at an extremely reasonable $35. That price tag buys you three courses with the option to have a pasta course for just $10 more. It’s really a deal for San Francisco standards. Furthermore, the pastas came with an optional white truffle supplement for $20. Our party of four ordered two extras (a pasta and a risotto) with white truffles on each.

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