Cioppino

It’s nice to go away and nice to come home — especially with a great recipe. We ate and drank our way across the East Bay last week, and finished in San Francisco at Ichi. Of all the places we went, I commend to you Gather in Berkeley and Fish in Sausalito.

Besides excellent food from exec chef Sean Baker (we had a terrine and an incredibly light brick-oven pizza), Gather has my favorite resto design: a crescent with the kitchen at the core and the bar in back. Easy for the servers, lots of room for the customers. At Fish, (exec chef Megan Smith), there is the sensible protocol Order At Counter, Take Number, Find Seat, Get Served. So easy, so efficient and well, great fish. Here’s my smoked sturgeon taco:

fish taco

Our favorite restaurant meal came at Ichi, even though Sushi Chef Timmy took the night off. Yet I’m asking you not to go to Ichi. Please. It’s already too crowded. We spent hours at a dive bar down the street drinking margaritas and waiting for a call that our table was ready. It was awful, having to drink tequila and talk to our friends.

Ichi

Ichi … See how little this place is?

Once we got into Ichi, we waved away the sushi rolls and gorged on nigiri: Tuna Tataki, Aji, Hotaru Ika, Inada, Kamasu, Katsuo, Maguro Zuke, Kona Kampachi, Shima Aji, Umi Masu, Mirugai. Then we thought we finished with unfiltered sake (do it) … but our Chef / Tour Guide Nate Keller kept ordering. An hour later, we staggered out way too full.

Great meal. And yet, some of the best eating of the week came from our BFF Heidi Cotler. It was the San Francisco treat. Not Rice-A-Roni … Cioppino.

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