short rib at mourad
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Mourad (San Francisco, CA)

Mourad opened at the beginning of 2015, Mourad Lahlou’s follow up to Michelin-starred Aziza. Like Aziza, Mourad has also garnered a Michelin star for its Moroccan cuisine albeit in much more glamorous digs. The SoMa location features a large, open dining room and very high celings – it’s a beautiful space.

The impetus for this dinner was my grandmother’s birthday. An eight course tasting menu is available ($155) but we went the a la carte route for our party of six. Ordering a la carte allowed us to order a couple of the large format family-style plates that the restaurant has become known for.

Truffled langoustine ravioli in a foie gras sauce with simmered green cabbage
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Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) [2]

I’ve been to Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas a number of times over the years, but my last visit was all the way back in 2011. I was in Los Vegas for the weekend thanks to a spontaneous trip, and was able to squeeze in a late Friday night reservation here.

The restaurant still serves an extravagant, marathon degustation tasting menu ($445, 16+ courses) but does offer more abbreviated menus with selections for each course. We went with the third of four tiers available, six courses (plus extras) priced at $198 before supplements.

beef roast

Christmas 2017

My family’s Christmas tradition of two meals, one on each side of the family, has spanned many years – I’ve lost count. This year was no different with lunch being spent on my mom’s side and dinner spent on my dad’s side. It’s certainly one of the most gluttonous days of the year for my family and I (along with Thanksgiving).

sourdough dumpling tsar nicolai caviar, seaweeds
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Lazy Bear (San Francisco, CA)

Lazy Bear is one of San Francisco’s most unique dining experiences. The restaurant began as an underground supper club in chef David Barzelay’s home; it was wildly successful and became one of the toughest seats in town. The success led to this brick-and-mortar location in 2014. Two Michelin stars later, the restaurant is still going strong.

The evening begins with cocktail hour on the second floor mezzanine. Guests are invited to mingle, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy a few small bites. After cocktail hour, dinner shifts downstairs where there are two large 40-seat communal tables. An open kitchen anchors one end of the tables, providing a close look at the food as it’s being prepared.

turkey

Thanksgiving 2017

Another Thanksgiving, another feast. Last week, my family celebrated another Thanksgiving in our tradition – two gatherings and two meals, one for each side of the family. It’s certainly a lot of food for one day of eating, but it makes for some great leftovers.

lasarte
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Lasarte (Barcelona, Spain)

Lasarte is currently the only restaurant in Barcelona to hold three Michelin stars; it was upgraded from two to three in the 2017 version of the guide. This is the second three-star restaurant for Martin Berasategui after his eponymous restaurant outside of San Sebastián. Berasategui holds 8 total Michelin stars, the most of any Spanish chef, for his takes on modern Spanish cuisine. I didn’t get a chance to try his restaurant while in San Sebastian but had an opportunity to dine here for a lunch.

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