2 celebrity chef sightings..both named Michael

hello all!  hope you all had a nice weekend!

I was a little premature in calling last week ‘cheap eats’ as it did not end that way 😛

A college friend was visiting from out of state, so last Thursday a group of us all got together to check out the new Exploratorium (www.exploratorium.edu) that just re-opened recently at Pier 15.  I absolutely loved this place as a child, and still did the last time I visited as an adult.  It was nice to still see some familiar exhibits such as the ‘live cow eye dissection’ (which I thought was sorta of yucky as a kid), and the ‘shadow box’ which captures an image of whatever pose you make:

shadow box

wooooo!!!

as well as some new ones:

toilet fountain

yes, that’s a working drinking fountain! would you drink out of it??

colors

pretty colors

After a bit of fun exploring the exhibits, our growling tummies went looking for food.  Coqueta (www.coquetasf.com) happened to be close by, so we stopped in.  This is Michael Chiarello’s new restaurant (owner of Bottega in Napa, Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America) and only having been open for 8 days, it was nice to be able to try it out.  Soon after we were seated at our table, what do you know, we see the chef himself.  He comes by our table to say hello.  One of my friends asks him what’s good, and he checks all of the items we should get–nice!!  an unexpected chef’s selection  🙂

michael

Michael Chirarello

The theme of the restaurant is Spanish style tapas or ‘small plates’.

asparagus

olive oil-poached Delta asparagus, topped with red sangria salsa, idiazabal cheese, and Jamon Serrano

charcuterie

Charcuterie Plate

tator tots

“Tattas” Bravas crispy potato and jamón nuggets with bravas salsa and alioli

potatoes

Canary Island ‘Wrinkly’ New Potatoes with mojos verde

padron peppers

Roasted Padron Peppers with jamón serrano and sherry vinegar

octopus

Wood-Grilled Octopus with fingerling potatoes, pimentón, and olive oil

shrimp & greens

Left: Crispy Shrimp And Chickpea Flour Pancake with saffron aioli
Right: Vineyard Greens catalan style, caper-raisin puree with raisins, pine nuts, and garlic

sunnyside egg

Sunny Side-Up Egg with shrimp, crispy potato, and chorizo dressing

duck meatballs

Grilled Duck Albóndigas meatballs with dried cherry and tempranillo

iberico ham

Pluma ibérico de bellota pork shoulder loin with honey-chili glaze

Overall, the meal was really good!  I especially liked the asparagus with the little ham bits, the duck meat balls and the Iberico Ham which were super tender, and anything ‘honey-chili’ glazed will be a hit for me!

The fingerling potatoes and the sunny side-up egg dishes were a bit overly salted..actually, really overly salted 😦  Buuutt, the other dishes were really good.  I’d go back.

pyramid

beautiful rustic decor, with a view of the Transamerica Pyramid

**********************************

Saturday night, SW and I decided to go to Michael Mina’s RN74:

RN74 is short for “Route Nationale 74,” the main highway that runs through the Burgundy wine region of France.


We ordered to start:

pate & sturgeon rillette

Left: PATE DE CAMPAGNE
WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD, CORNICHONS
Right: SMOKED STURGEON RILLETTES
CRÈME FRAÎCHE, PICKLED RED ONION, TOASTED BAGUETTE

uni&crab

uni & dungeness crab crostini

leek&garlic soup

FENNEL AND GREEN GARLIC SOUP
STEAMED MUSSELS, BABY ARTICHOKES, SAFFRON CREAM

I receive Michael Mina’s Daily cookTasteEat emails (www.cooktasteeat.com):

Our goal is simple – to get you cooking inspired food at home. From the perfect omelet to applause-worthy complete meals, our videos, recipes and chef tips have you covered.

–Michael Mina Michelin-Starred Chef and Co-Creator of Cook Taste Eat

and so, of course when I saw that they were offering:

Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 10.39.22 AM

I was excited to order it..and YUM — it was Cioppino!

While waiting for our entrees to arrive, I look over to my right and see a boy (we were seated at the first table next to the front door).  I think, hm..sort of late for a kid to be out on a Saturday night? (okay, it wasn’t that late, 10:30?), and then I look to see what who’s with, and it’s Michael Mina.  I wave hello, and he comes over and says hello!  Really nice guy…he stayed for a few minutes, while I chattered about reading the CTE emails and ordering the cioppino, and he mentioned that his son would be in this week’s CTE Video, and then he was off…time to get his son home!

Entrees:

cioppino

cookTasteEat’s Entree of the Week — Cioppino

halibut

SLOW-COOKED ALASKAN HALIBUT
SWEET PEAS, CARROTS, COCONUT-LIME BUTTER, TOASTED CASHEWS

I really enjoyed the leek and garlic soup, as I love garlic and hot soup!  Uni and Crab is always a hit for me as well.  SW really liked the smoked sturgeon rillettes.

By the time, our entrees came, I was already pretty stuffed from the apps, bread and the wine, but of what little amounts of cioppino I had–the flavors were delicious, and to me, almost had a Thai inspired flavoring.   The seafood was also cooked perfectly!

So that is my post about 2 chefs named Michael 🙂

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