Tasty n Alder
580 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
Dining date: 3/11/17
Brunch is supposedly a big deal in Portland on the weekends. Meeting up with an old friend, he suggested having brunch at this place, one of the most popular spots in town. Tasty n Alder is part of John and Renee Gorham’s restaurant group that owns and operates a number of concepts in town (Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons). Even though we thought we got to the restaurant relatively early (9:30), our party of four still waited 90 minutes for a table (Heart Coffee Roasters across the street was a great place to kill some time).
The Restaurant At Meadowood
900 Meadowood Ln
St. Helena, CA 94574
Dining date: 1/14/17
I’ve been to the Restaurant at Meadowood once, seven years ago, and had a great meal. Since then, the restaurant has garned a third Michelin star (it had two at the time) and undergone a renovation, although Executive Chef Christopher Kostow is still at the helm. I’ve been wanting to return for some time and finally had a chance over the MLK Day holiday weekend.
Whereas an a la carte menu was available the last time I was here, the dining room menu is now tasting menu-only. $275 (before 20% service and tax) pays for about a dozen courses.
111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
Dining date: 1/27/17
I’ve been to Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco and Pasadena a few times and have had a few good meals here. This latest visit was prompted by DineLA restaurant week, in which the restaurant was offering six courses for $115. One of those courses, the steak course, offered an option of an 18oz dry aged New York strip or 3oz of Kagoshima wagyu. This tasting menu provided quite a bit of value (compared to regular pricing) and an opportunity to try a little bit more of the menu here.
558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dining date: 12/26/16
Each year, my cousins, brother and I take our grandmother out for a birthday meal. The timing is convenient as her birthday is around Christmas, so everyone is typically in town (except for my brother this year). Due to timing and scheduling we weren’t able to do a dinner, but were able to have a lunch the day after Christmas. Options were a bit limited for lunch on the 26th, but luckily Wayfare Tavern had room for the five of us.
Tyler Florence’s financial district restaurant has been going strong since opening in 2010. I’ve been here once, for lunch, and still remember the fried chicken and salmon I had that meal. We ordered both of those dishes again, as well as a bunch of others, for this post-Christmas lunch.
531 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Dining date: 11/23/16
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.
111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
Dining date: 8/28/16 and 9/1/16
Alexander’s Steakhouse opened in Pasadena last year, the first SoCal location for the Bay Area-based chain. It’s a highly regarded steakhouse; the original Cupertino location garnered a Michelin star for three years (2011-2013). I’ve been to the San Francisco location once to celebrate a birthday, but this would be my first two visits to the Pasadena location.
The concept is a traditional steakhouse with a lot of Japanese influences. There’s plenty of beef options, domestic and international, with a full suite of appetizers, side dishes and other steak accompaniments. Dishes like an uni tamago and udon mac and cheese really show off the Japanese flair.