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[Comments] (2) Greens vs. Chez Panisse: Sumana and I went on vacation to California last week. I didn't mention it on NYCB (or, indeed, write much at all to NYCB) because Sumana doesn't like publicly mentioning that we're away from our house. So now I have stuff to tell you about the vacation.

We ate with Rachel Chalmers at Chez Panisse. We sat right next to the open kitchen and watched people make food. The atmosphere was great and conducive to conversation. We talked about science fiction and Rachel said that I should spend my time writing space opera for her delectation, which is good work if you can get it.

We all had the vegetarian prix fixe. Sumana and Rachel shared a half-bottle of fancy wine and I had two glasses of a really good raspberry Italian soda. We started with bread and butter. Then, the menu!

Appetizer was a pair of crostini, one with tomatoes and one with some green vegetable I don't know what--possibly squash--and cheese. They both were topped with an excellent vinaigrette. The tomato crostini was better, because tomatoes are more awesome than random vegetable.

Then a garlic broth soup with a poached egg floating in it. You cut open the egg with your spoon and the yolk flooded out to be cooked by the soup.

Then the entree, which was a soufflé. It was okay but what I think the non-vegetarian option (something porkish) would have been better. What was really great were the corn, green beans, and other vegetables served around the soufflé. Also there were zucchini blossoms at the top of the soufflé, which was awesome.

Dessert was a great fig tart, and there were some tiny after-dessert cookies, also great.

Chez Panisse was quite an experience, but I was pretty disappointed in the soufflé, a nontrivial part of the meal. I don't really like souflés except for the dessert ones with chocolate in them.

The next day I went to Greens with Adam, Kim, Kris, and Erica. Sumana got sick from the plane trip so she didn't come. I, on the other hand, waited until the vacation was over to get sick from a plane trip. Cough, sneeze.

At Greens I had lemonade and zucchini griddle cakes and pasta with tomatoes and chocolate cake. The lemonade was pretty lame (I officially give up on restaurant lemonade, except for the lemonade at the cafe nearest my house). Everything else was excellent.

I've been to Greens many a time and Chez Panisse only once, but I think Greens has better food, as well as being easier to get into and a little less expensive.

I have a more general entry on this topic percolating, but I think there's a point of diminishing returns at which making restaurant food more expensive doesn't make it proportinately better. I hypothesize that this point comes when you stop getting your food from Sysco or a Sysco wannabe and start getting it from diverse local sources. Greens and Chez Panisse are both at this point.

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Comments:

Posted by rachel at Sat Aug 26 2006 11:14

sounds yummy

Posted by Susie at Mon Aug 28 2006 10:15

Eew, I had a soup with egg yolk in it in Romania and I thought it was disgusting. But it didn't cook when it squirted out.


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