Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants

Full story: San Francisco Chronicle

Last year, chef Daniel Patterson unleashed a coast-to-coast controversy when he wrote in a national publication that the Bay Area's insistence on fresh, seasonal cooking was suffocating creativity in restaurant ...
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1 - 8 of 8 Comments Last updated Jul 18, 2006
Ridge

San Francisco, CA

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#1
Apr 2, 2006
 
Imagine that cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients like people did for centuries prior to refrigeration and canning would stifle your creativity. Artists everywhere open up a can!

You can get any kind of food you want here but if you want the best anywhere in the world you eat what is fresh and in season. I think this guy is what you call a culinary spin doctor whining because others go to more trouble to be the best and he can't keep up.
aiki_mcr

San Francisco, CA

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#2
Apr 4, 2006
 
I don't know. I think you can get to dogmatic even about this.

Part of the whole "fresh ingredients" attitude started because people had become lazy and never bothered. But sometimes extensive preperation - including canning - can be a Good Thing with food.

It's not so much, in my mind, that insisting on fresh seasonal stuff is bad as it is not recognizing that sometimes freezing or canning food can actually make it more suitable. A great example would be the dish a friend of mine made years ago. She tried both fresh and frozen spinach. Heck, she even tried different sorts of frozen spinach. The frozen spinach - and a particular brand - actually yielded better results than fresh or other brands. Sorry, no, I don't remember the brands. I was a happy consumer of the dish whenever she would consent to make it for us.

That being said, the most important aspects of creativity are thinking and experimentation. Not every expirement works. Moreover, sometimes an unreasonable limitation in the "rules" can create a climate for creativity that would not have otherwise existed.
Ridge

San Francisco, CA

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#3
Apr 4, 2006
 
Not to mention the healthiest.
aiki_mcr

San Francisco, CA

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#4
Apr 4, 2006
 
Ridge wrote:
Not to mention the healthiest.
Don't take this the wrong way, but...

...HUH?!?!?!

The comment comes without context and so is opaque.
Ridge

San Francisco, CA

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#5
Apr 4, 2006
 
I did not take it the wrong way at all, I had forgotten to add one of the important dimensions of this cuisine and so I thought I would add it since part of the experience is how you feel after you eat and the idea that food is not only for pleasure.

I enjoy several preserved foods such as chutneys, dried spices, pickled vegetables etc. Frozen coldwater fish such as Halibut is often better and tastes fresher than "fresh" fish that is not really really fresh. My comments above (1st post) were based on the fact that one of the largest food revolutions in decades happened in the Bay Area and improved food throughout America and has contributed to the resurgence and popularity of slow food movements worldwide although many of those movements are people rediscovering their roots the customer base needed to support the concept should be partially credited to Chez Panisse and other food pioneers in the Bay Area.
Ridge

San Francisco, CA

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#6
Apr 4, 2006
 
The creativity due to the cultural diversity in the Bay Area and other international cities worldwide combined with the fresh food concept is incredibly creative, rules? we don't need no stinkin rules!. In the Bay Area I think the best example is the Fusion of Asian and California Cuisine. My only problem is with the size of the portions ;D.
aiki_mcr

Modesto, CA

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#7
Apr 4, 2006
 
Okay, so have you tried _Aqui's_ in Willow Glen?

Their concept:

Take Mexican/Hispanic influenced ideas, but this isn't mexican food and doesn't pretend to be. So you get experimental ideas like thai chicken burritos (surprisingly good) and some less memorable ideas that didn't last on the menu.

Basically, the chef comes up with an idea, tries it out and keeps it if people like it. Not all of his ideas have been great, or even good, but some of them have been just short of sublime.

The vegetarian tamale kicks butt.
Another Two Cents

Mountain View, CA

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#8
Jul 18, 2006
 
In some ways, insisting on fresh, seasonal ingredients requires more creativity because your menu is constantly changing, and you can't rely on the same dishes month after month.

True: Chez Panisse has a different -- less experimental -- style of cuisine than Alinea in Chicago or WD-50 in New York. But chefs in the Bay Area, including Patterson himself, are constantly experimenting with new ingredients, techniques, and flavor pairings.

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