Castle Terrace — Edinburgh (7/2014)


Once I planned to go to Edinburgh, I searched for any modernist-type restaurant.  Castle Terrace came up as a candidate.  The website made it look promising, but it was hard to tell from the sample menu.  I just knew the focus was on using fresh local ingredients.  Reservations were made directly through the website.  However, I never received a promised email confirmation.  And when I wrote the restaurant directly for a confirmation, I still didn’t; receive a response.  So, when I arrived, I went to the restaurant the day before to check on the reservation, and they did have my reservation on file.

The atmosphere was subdued, with no view of the kitchen.

They offer a tasting menu, although they don’t tell you what the items will be, just the number of courses.  You can also order a la carte.

 I chose the tasting menu, along with a glass of the dry Riesling to start off.  I also just went with tap water, which I found to be very good in Edinburgh.

For the full write-up, click here.


Juniper & Ivy — San Diego (6/2014)


Chef Richard Blaise is a Top Chef winner and Top Chef Masters winner (on the Bravo Network).  On a recent trip to San Diego, some friends and I decided to try out his 5-month old restaurant called Juniper & Ivy, so called because it is located between those streets).  I already had plans to dine there on a visit the following month, but the opportunity came to try it out on a Friday night while I was on a trip in June to San Diego.  The cuisine focuses on fresh ingredients, and the preparation tended to use modernist techniques (some molecular elements) to highlight the seasonal bounty.

The setting looks like a converted warehouse or factory.  We were given a small table near the bar with an excellent view of the cold station prep areas.

The one-page menu showcased several snacks and small plates and a few larger dishes.  There is no tasting menu at the moment, but it may be an option soon.  We decided to order some snacks and small plates, picking out pretty much everything that appealed to us.  I picked out some dishes that my friends wouldn’t choose on their own just to try and sample as much as possible.

To view the full write-up, click here.

Dabbous 2nd Visit — London (6/2014)


A couple of years ago, I had dined at Dabbous.  I only managed to get in at lunch as a last-minute walk-in.  While it was good, I had only been able to dine from a fixed tasting menu.  So I wanted to come back at some point for dinner and experience some of the dishes it had been featuring since its opening.  I finally managed to get a dinner reservation.  However, I did not realize that they had done away with the a la carte menu, leaving only a tasting menu or variations from that.  I was told that about a year prior, they did away with the a la carte menu as very few people were asking for it, thereby wasting prep time and food resources.

Even though it was not the menu I was expecting, I still found several items interesting.  And I certainly wasn’t going to give up the opportunity for a meal there, given that it was still a tough seat to get.

For the full write-up, click here.