Cochon (New Orleans, LA)

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Dining date: 6/11/15

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Cochon was one of the most oft-mentioned restaurants when I fielded New Orleans restaurant recommendations. Both locals and visitors alike have taken a liking to chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski’s ode to the pig. True to the restaurant’s name the menu is pork-heavy, but plenty of other proteins like the region’s local seafood make it on to the menu as well. Almost everything is crafted in-house here, particularly the cured pork products.

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Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, LA)

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
Dining date: 6/11/15

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Commander’s Palace might be the most famous restaurant in New Orleans. It’s been a fine dining staple in the the city’s Garden District since the late 1800’s. It’s helped launch the careers of some of the city’s most notable chefs including Paul Prudhomme (executive chef from 1975-82) and Emeril Lagasse (executive chef 1983-1990). It’s still very much current with chef Tory McPhail at the helm, who has continued to garner accolades including being awarded the James Beard Best Chef South in 2013.

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While navigating a crowded dining itinerary, we chose Commander’s Palace for lunch. The restaurant offers some very approachable ways to lunch here including prix fixe menus of two-courses (up to $24) and three-courses (up to $35). A la carte is also available with main courses in the low-$20s. We ordered 1 three-course menu and 1 two-course.

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Redd Wood (Yountville, CA)

Redd Wood
6755 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599
Dining date: 5/24/15

redd wood

Yountville might as well be called Kellerville from a food perspective since Thomas Keller’s restaurants here clearly dominate the national headlines (and for good reason). However, Yountville is home to many other recognized chefs and restaurants including this one.

Redd Wood opened in 2012, the second restaurant by chef Richard Reddington. Reddington consistently garnered Michelin stars for upscale sister restaurant Redd down the street, but this more approachable Italian spot has been just as popular if not moreso.

Redd Wood was the choice for a lunch in between morning and afternoon wine tastings in Napa Valley. We ordered a few items across the menu for a sampling – some salumi, one appetizer, one pizza and one pasta.

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Addendum (Yountville, CA)

Addendum
6476 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599
Dining date: 5/25/15

addendum

Addendum opened in 2011 behind Ad Hoc serving picnic favorites on Thursdays through Saturdays for lunch (Spring/Summer only). It’s easily the most approachable way to try some of Thomas Keller’s food in Yountville since it doesn’t require making a reservation and is very family-friendly. Food is ordered from a little shack in the back and eaten throughout picnic benches or even on the lush grassy areas.

Ad Hoc’s most famous dish has to be its herb-brined fried chicken served every other Monday night. But here at Addendum, the chicken is always on the lunch menu (along with BBQ pork ribs or pulled pork and a couple of rotating side dishes).

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I’ve had the fried chicken at Ad Hoc before (and again at Bouchon Beverly Hills, even cooking it once at home), but it’s been a while since I’ve had it. Following our dinner at The French Laundry, we came here for a quick meal before leaving town. We picked up a bucket of fried chicken and an order of pork ribs to eat on the picnic tables. It was a beautiful day to be outside with a bucket of fried chicken.

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The French Laundry (Yountville, CA) [2]

The French Laundry
6640 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599
Dining date: 5/24/15

EXTERIOR

I’ve been lucky enough to visit The French Laundry a handful of times. It’s always a memorable experience with delicious food, precise execution, and warm service. This most recent visit was thanks to a reservation I was able to obtain when the restaurant’s reservation books opened up following their closure since the holidays. The kitchen has been completely torn down in preparation to build a much larger state-of-the-art version; it’s currently replaced with four temporary shipping container kitchens (they’re much, much nicer than it seems).

A visit to The French Laundry isn’t complete without a stroll through the gardens across the street.

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The famous blue door.

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Oyster Bar (Las Vegas, NV)

Oyster Bar
Palace Station Hotel & Casino
2411 W Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Dining date: 5/7/15

oyster bar

The Oyster Bar at Palace Station is slightly off the beaten path, albeit a fairly well-known spot for great seafood off-strip. It’s open 24 hours a day, frequently with a long line that stretches through the slot machines.

There’s plenty of fresh seafood simply prepared (raw oysters and clams, crab and shrimp cocktail) as well as in a gumbo, pan-roast, chowder, jambalaya, bouillabaisse, etouffée, or pastas. All the food is cooked to order in steam kettles in front of diners.

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This was my second trip to the restaurant and first for my parents.

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