L2O awarded 3 Michelin stars, while Chef Laurent Gras may leave L2O

Resident Foodies say: We have good news and bad news. First, the good new–no, great news–is that our favorite Chicago restaurant, L2O (short for H2O + Laurent Gras), was awarded today the highest distinction in the restaurant industry: 3 Michelin stars. (Only Alinea matched that feat in Chicago.)

The bad news–and really bad news–is that Executive Chef Laurent Gras took a leave of absence a couple weeks ago and left town. It’s not clear if Gras is displeased with the restaurant management or has some non-work related issue. But the owner of L2O, Rich Melman, thinks that Gras may have left for good, despite Melman’s efforts to keep him. We hope not!

To celebrate the Michelin honor, we are rerunning our 2009 review of the restaurant:

Full version

Short still version

Written review to follow!







Ming Tsai loses Next Iron Chef; Marc Forgione + Marco Canora make finale

Resident Foodies say: Wow, Ming Tsai eliminated from Next Iron Chef! What a shocker double elimination round of Next Iron Chef.

Chef Ming Tsai, a favorite of many, got eliminated right before the finale. Marc Forgione and Marco Canora will go head-to-head next week in the finale. Ming Tsai was probably the most famous contestant chef on the show and the favorite, or “the one to beat.” Moderator Alton Brown summed it up for Chef Tsai: “You were simply outcooked–and not by much. But by enough, and I’m sorry, but you won’t be the next Iron Chef.” Wow, talk about adding salt to the wound!

Below is a video recap of Ming Tsai’s elimination:

YouTube version, iPhone compatible:

Click here for more from LA Times

Click here for Ming Tsai’s recipes

Gary Danko: Sweet Corn Soup with Dungeness Crab, Red Pepper, Crème Fraîche and Chive Biscuit

Resident Foodies say: This is one of the best appetizers you will ever taste. Gary Danko’s sweet corn soup is an exquisite creation, with such a distinctive taste that you probably will remember for the rest of your life. Every ingredient — from the dungeness crab to the chive biscuit — is so wonderful to partake. The soup is seasonal (when corn is available), so, if you see it on the menu at Gary Danko’s, you should definitely order it!

La Vie Restaurant: best Vietnamese + dungeness crab in San Francisco?

Dungeness crab–one of the best dishes in San Francisco

Garlic noodles for dungeness crab

Spring rolls

Resident Foodies say: One of our perennial favorites in San Francisco is La Vie Vietnamese Restaurant on Geary (between 22nd and 23rd) in the Richmond. The small Vietnamese restaurant would be classified as a true “hole in the wall,” but the food is really fantastic and authentic. We are not surprised the Bay Area voted La Vie as the Best Vietnamese restaurant in all of the Bay Area for 2010. It is that good.

The signature dish at La Vie is the dungeness crab, pictured above, called the La Vie roast crab served with garlic noodles. This is one of the best dishes you will find in all of San Francisco. The dish is to die for. One of the best parts is mixing the crab meat stuffing (a dark mixture) with the garlic noodles. It’s a taste that is hard to describe–other than to say it’s heavenly!

Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall looks scare you off. This Vietnamese restaurant is a true gem in San Francisco!

Best grilled cheese in San Fran?: The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

Resident Foodies says: Who has the best grilled cheese sandwich in San Francisco? It might be The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen on 1 South Park Ave. (cross 2nd St.). We tried out the all cheese Mousetrap, which consists of Tillamook sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, monterey jack, on artisan sourdough, for $ 6.00. See above for a photo (we split it 6 ways–it doesn’t normally come like that). Many of the other sandwiches on the menu are a bit more exotic, but we wanted ours more basic–you know, the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The Mousetrap was, indeed, a warm, comforting sandwich, but we are still undecided whether this is really the best grilled cheese in town. One thing is: we would like to try this on different breads. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen uses artisan sourdough bread on the Mousetrap. We wonder if a different kind of bread would produce more of a classic grill flavor and texture. The sourdough gives it a SF feel, but it may not be the best bread for grilled cheese.