Juniper & Ivy
2228 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Dining date: 1/1/16
I’ve been following Richard Blais since seeing him on the fourth season of Top Chef. Given he was based in Atlanta, I figured I wasn’t going to be able to try his food anytime soon. Lo and behold, he moved to San Diego and opened this restaurant in 2014 – Juniper & Ivy. The restaurant’s been highly acclaimed since opening and has been atop my list of restaurants to try in SD. I was finally able to try the restaurant during a quick weekend trip on the first of the year.
I lucked out and got seats at the kitchen counter. Seated right in front of the dessert station and cold appetizers, I had a front row view of the action.
665 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/27/15
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.
55 Cyril Magnin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Dining date: 12/23/15
Kin Khao is blogger Pim Techamuanvivit’s first restaurant, opened in early 2014. Here, Techamuanvivit shares the flavors of her Thai homeland with a slightly modernized take. The restaurant has received generally positive reviews including a Michelin star in the 2015 guide.
Kin Khao is certainly a bit ‘expensive’ for Thai cuisine, but I stopped in for a spontaneous weekday lunch to try a few items. The pricing is slightly more approachable at lunch, however the menu offers significantly less options.
8 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/24/15
Oro opened in September, the second restaurant from chef Jason Fox of the Michelin-starred restaurant Commonwealth. I’ve had some great meals at Commonwealth over the years, so I was very interested in trying this spot. The restaurant was one of the few that could welcome a party of 8 on Christmas Eve, so it was an opportune chance to try the restaurant with some extended family.
A la carte is available at the restaurant, as well as a blind tasting menu served family style for $75pp. To make things easier with such a large party, we opted for the tasting format. It turned out to be a ton of food.
1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/19/15
Broken Spanish opened in June replacing Rivera in the South Park neighborhood of downtown LA. While Rivera had a notable chef (John Rivera Sedlar), notable partner (Bill Chait) and notable mixologist (Julian Cox), the restaurant never seemed to catch on. Chait partnered up this time with Ray Garcia (Fig) to open Broken Spanish, a modern Mexican restaurant.
Broken Spanish’s menu is very shareable, composed of a selection of snacks, tamales, tortillas, starters, and main plates. Between a party of two, we ordered one item from each section of the menu.
Dining date: 12/25/15
This year’s Christmas was just like years past, filled with tons of food and surrounded by family. In keeping with tradition, lunch is a buffet at my aunt and uncle’s on my mom’s side, while dinner is hosted by my grandmother (dad’s side). The following is the lineup of foods we had.