Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sur la Table - San Francisco Bay Area

HongKong Lounge - San Francisco

Dinnertime is hectic at the HongKong Lounge. We arrived at 5 p.m. when the restaurant was still empty of customers but from then on, diners filled the main hall and private rooms in no time. Those who arrived after 6 p.m. had to wait till the early birds finished their meals. Why would anyone want to wait in line for dinner?  I had never heard of this place before but my niece chose this restaurant for her graduation reception. It's not in San Francisco's Chinatown but in the Outer Richmond area which may just as well have worked to the restaurant's advantage. Half of our group were vegetarians so it was a little difficult to please everyone's appetite in our party. There were four dishes I enjoyed from the lot and these were the meaty and juicy lobster tail, the bokchoy, the mu shu chicken and the white buns which were served with the Peking duck. I didn't like the prawns in hastily scrambled eggs. I found the prawns to be half cooked and I didn't like the dripping eggs.  Corkage fee is $10.00 per bottle if you decide to bring your own wine. The HongKong Lounge is at 5322 Geary Blvd, San Francisco. Finding a parking space is a challenge in this neighborhood.

Il Fornaio - Palo Alto

At Il Fornaio recently, I discovered my favorite dish on their menu, Cappellacci di Zucca, which is ravioli filled with butternut squash and walnuts with tomato sauce and brown butter, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and crispy sage (I found the sage incredibly tasty). What I did appreciate most was that I could order a primi or small portion which was three large pieces of ravioli, the perfect number for eating light in the evening. And dinner is served with generous slices of bread from the restaurant's own bakery. My friend ordered the Barilotti alle Melanzane (shown above) which is barrel shaped whole wheat pasta with eggplant in tomato sauce, fresh basil and smoked mozzarella. I must try that dish next time. It looked quite inviting. The small portions were $10.79 each. Il Fornaio is at 520 Cowper Street, off University Avenue.

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Images by Charie

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