Blind Tasting

Parking Lot For Trois Mec

Parking Lot For Trois Mec

Entrance To Trois Mec

Entrance To Trois Mec

Would you buy tickets in advance to eat at a popular restaurant without seeing the menu, or having any say in what to order, or being able to cancel your reservation? If you are a picky eater then this isn’t your thing, but if you’re the curious foodie type, you might be interested in checking out this $75 per head dining experience (not including beverages).

A lot has been written about the restaurant Trois Mec in Los Angeles and their unconventional method of selling tickets online for the privilege to eat at one of the coveted 26 seats.  The ticketing system is a great idea for the restaurant as it gives them a heads-up on the amount of covers they can expect on any given night. Knowing the head count allows the front of the house managers to staff accordingly and the chef to purchase the exact amount of product needed, helping with food costs. The non-refundable ticketing system deals directly with the costly issue of the “no show” and will weed out those customers who have a history of abusing the reservation system.

"Snacks"

“Snacks”

To be fair, Trois Mec is very transparent about what to expect when buying tickets and the customer can choose to abide by their rules or eat somewhere else. Tickets are only sold online and go on sale every other Friday at 8 am sharp for a two week block of seats.  In order to view the available dates and times you must first set-up a free account on their website. Once you find an open slot amongst the short list of available times, you will have 11 minutes to finish the transaction process.

My experience started when I planned a trip to Los Angeles for my birthday and I wanted to eat at Trois Mec.  I had set up an account in advance with the necessary information, including credit card number, so I’d be ready to buy tickets when they became available. I had a list of dates and times written down prior to going online.  I started checking the online reservations at 7:58 with no luck, then 7:59 with nothing, and then at 8:00 am on the dot the dates with available times were released.  I started checking the first choices on my list and moving very quickly, I keep on searching and searching, until I found something that was available.  The choices kept narrowing and the time was ticking as I pounding harder and faster on the keyboard, and then a time on my list became available…. 6:30 on a Wednesday night, not my top choice, but I was successful in reserving two seats.

Albacore & Tomato Dashi

Albacore & Tomato Dashi

I have my reservations about this system and I predict the novelty will wear off.  I enjoyed my meal at Trois Mec but the ticketing experience felt very restricting and lacks any benefits for the paying customer.  Here is the menu for my meal on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 at exactly 6:30 PM:

Trois Mec Menu

Trois Mec Menu

Unearthed French Laundry Menu

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I was rummaging around the attic trying to find something, and I came across the menu from one of the most memorable meals at a restaurant I’ve ever experienced.  It was a dinner I had at the French Laundry on June 9th, 1997.  Even though it was more then 16 years ago, I still have the palate memory recollection.  The 10 course prix fixe menu and the one amuse-bouche of truffle custard in an egg shell was spot on.  And look at that price, $80!

Although I know the prices have changed dramatically, I’d welcome the opportunity to experience a meal there sixteen years later and see how it compares to that meal in my memory.

Camino Review 2

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I stopped into Camino for dinner to check out the current menu. It has been almost a year since I had dinner at one of my favorite East Bay haunts and wrote a review, and it is still as good as ever. While I was studying the menu, I started with one of the house special cocktails, a Leopold’s martini with orange bitters (outstanding) and an appetizer of Fried Oysters and Torpedo Onions. For dinner I had:

-Fresh garbanzo beans, mashed beets and summer squash with pounded basil
-Grilled local squid and new potato with pounded wild nettles
-Grilled pork leg and slow pork shoulder with grits, rapini and roasted figs

Everything was great, and as you know I always love fresh garbanzo beans, and my only complaint would be that the pork leg was a little tough. I pared everything with a St. Innocent Pinot Noir “Momtazi Vineyard”, from the Willamette Valley.

Boot and Shoe Service

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This is my second visit to Boot and Shoe Service in Oakland and with both trips I was rewarded with great meals. On my latest visit I had:

Fried Georgia white shrimp with pickled beets, Calabrian peppers and aioli

Gemelli pasta with duck ragu

Margherita di bufala pizza

The food, service and atmosphere were all great and my only complaint was with the pizza that was a little soggy on top and a little too charred on the bottom. The restaurant was buzzing with people on a Tuesday night and the bar that is hidden in the rear, new since I last visited, was packed with people.

Eating Out at Corners Tavern

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I normally never try out a new restuarant on opening night, but I was in downtown Walnut Creek at the same time the new restaurant from the Rosenthal and Doug Washington team of Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope fame was debuting, so I thought I’d check out the new Corners Tavern.

The decor in the dining room seems forced and cold and is industrial- western- cow punk- chic, if that is possible, and looks like a new line of trendy furniture that might come from Restoration Hardware. The food and service I won’t critique until they’ve been open for a while.

I tried the Pork Belly, Arbol, Chilies, Pineapple, Cabbage/ Radish Salad; House Made Lamb Sausages, Soffrito, Fava Beans; Shellfish Stew, Clams, Shrimp, Tomato-Tarragon Broth. Everything we had was good and the menu played it safe and will probably cater well to the Walnut Creek crowd.

I’m rooting for this restaurant to succeed because Walnut Creek could use a good, trendy, SF equivalent spot.