Market

Tuna
Fried chicken
Potato soup
Exterior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

Charming service and ambiance are the highlights of this space right in the center of St. Helena. The brunch menu also offers lunch dishes such as fried chicken, and smaller plates such as tuna two ways. Both were good. But the highlights were the two soups, on creamay and one a curry broth base, both of which were superb.

The other highlight was the basket of complimentary muffins. These alone make it worth visiting at brunch!

Market
1347 Main St
Saint Helena, CA
94574
(707) 963-3799
https://www.yelp.com/biz/market-saint-helena-3

Goose & Gander

Downstairs bar
Orange tart
Fish and chips
Interior
Interior
Cheesesteak
Exterior

***** (5 stars)

This charming restaurant is located on a side street of St. Helena’s Main Street. The delightful space upstairs offers high beamed ceilings and an open kitchen, plus lots of duck hunting memorabilia. Downstairs is an atmospheric bar that also has table seating. And there is also lovely outdoor dining.

The menu offers elevated comfort food such as fish and chips, or cheesesteak sandwiches, both of which were good. The orange tart with kumquat marmalade was excellent.

The wine list is very extensive, with plenty of selections from around the world and a nice assortment of half bottles.

Service was very attentive and welcoming.

Goose & Gander
1245 Spring St
Saint Helena, CA
94574
(707) 967-8779
https://www.yelp.com/biz/goose-and-gander-saint-helena-2

The Restaurant At Meadowood

Interior
Foyer

**** (4 stars)

It’s a bit difficult to rate a restaurant based upon a special meal, and we dined on the final night of The Restaurant’s Twelve Days of Christmas 2019 event. On the other hand, the final night is when The Restaurant’s own chef, Christopher Kostow, is in charge, so one assumes the food is representative of the normal quality.

Unfortunately, that seemed to be all over the map. There were indeed some of the stunning courses you’d expect from a three-star Michelin, such as the trout roe, the oxheart carrot, and the sunchoke trifle. But there were also some notable misses, including the unappealing quail, tough pork collar, and many others.

The service made up for a lot of that. It included the kind of synchronized moves that Michelin raters seem to fawn over, but also was very gracious and welcoming, and apologetic for the long wait for our table (no doubt the result of it being the third seating of a completely new menu).

The setting is also sublime: a not-overdone graceful simplicity, and a remarkably good illusion of snowflakes falling outside, to complement the festive mood.

What to make of it? Hard to say without a repeat visit, but at $1000 for two (with wine) I’m not in a hurry to do so.

The Restaurant At Meadowood
900 Meadowood Ln
St. Helena, CA
94574
(707) 967-1205
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-restaurant-at-meadowood-st-helena

Acacia House by Chris Cosentino

Exterior
Brunch salmon
Brunch chilaquiles
Interior

**** (4 stars)

Nice modern space inside a venerable old house. Friendly and accommodating staff. We went for Saturday brunch. The smoked salmon was served with all the possible accompaniments, including a nice dill cream cheese. Chilaquiles were also very good. The highlight was the best margarita I’ve ever had, served chilled, with a salty foam.

Acacia House by Chris Cosentino
1915 Main St
Saint Helena, CA
94574
(707) 963-9004
https://www.yelp.com/biz/acacia-house-by-chris-cosentino-saint-helena

El Jardin Restaurant & Catering

Carnitas torta with salad
Appetizer combo
Exterior
Bar
Interior

***** (5 stars)

Really good family Mexican restaurant in a shopping center. The service is terrific and the food is good. The lunch carnitas torta was huge and came with a delicious salad option rather than rice and beans or fries. Great blue cheese dressing. The appetizer sampler is also a nice variety. Very reasonable.

El Jardin Restaurant & Catering
1119 S Main St
Manteca, CA
95337
(209) 825-8552
https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-jardin-restaurant-and-catering-manteca

Quail and Crane

Sashimi omakase
Interior

***** (5 stars)

Located in the Grand Hyatt at SFO, Quail and Crane is a dramatic two story space that offers a nice selection of sushi and Asian inspired hot dishes.

The sushi quality was excellent. We also tried the mussels, a generous serving in a lemon grass broth, accompanied by grilled sour dough.

Service was friendly, and pricing was reasonable given the upscale location. There’s a great view of the International terminal gates and taxi way across the street.

Quail and Crane
55 S McDonnell Rd
San Francisco, CA
94128
(650) 452-1234
https://www.yelp.com/biz/quail-and-crane-san-francisco

American Social

Exterior
Bar
Interior

*** (3 stars)

This is a nice remodel of the Bar Louie space, and it’s sure more popular! The vibe is excellent, and the servers are really good. Food is just okay, and at tourist area prices.

We went for brunch, but the menu had many non-breakfast items, which was nice. The Nashville hot chicken was good, with a nice crispy crust (that could have been spicier). It was served as sliders on biscuits, but couldn’t possibly have been eaten that way.

Buffalo chicken wings were large, but otherwise not noteworthy.

The Crispy Potatoes in sourcream onion dip were a disaster, with many ladlefuls too much of the white glop burying the otherwise nicely roasted potatoes.

There’s an extensive cocktail list, and some interesting beers on tap, too.

American Social
7335 W Sand Lake RdSte 101
Orlando, FL
32819
(407) 454-9992
https://www.yelp.com/biz/american-social-orlando

Ford’s Garage- Orlando

Exterior
Pickles
Interior

**** (4 stars)

This nicely themed restaurant is near the Lake Buena Vista outlet stores. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu emphasizes burgers, with some other sports bar type food.

I tried the house specialty burger, and it was excellent. The included potato wedges are just okay, so I upgraded to onion rings. The rings were better, but not as good as the fried pickle appetizer, which is battered rather than breaded.

There’s a nice selection of beers including a lot of dark beers, which are my favorites.

Ford’s Garage- Orlando
8201 Vineland AveSte 1801
Orlando, FL
32821
(407) 602-3673
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fords-garage-orlando-orlando

KFC

A photo at KFC

* (1 stars)

KFC food is tasty and usually good for a solid three stars, as it was here. But this place wins the award for most inefficient KFC in the world. The staff were sleep walking, and obviously would rather have been anywhere else.

Here’s how they set the record:

People in line: 10
Minutes to order: 30
Minutes to fill order: 30

Someone contact Guinness!

KFC
Mile Marker 184Fort Drum Service Plaza
Okeechobee, FL
34972
(863) 216-5743
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kfc-okeechobee-2