Friday, January 4, 2013

The Left Bank - never again.

I had the opportunity to go out with one of my mom's groups to the Left Bank at Santana Row for dinner. I was excited to try The Left Bank as I have heard a lot of good things about it. So, several days before I emailed their web site to find out what sort of gluten free offerings they had (if any). I received a prompt reply from someone from their corporate office who then forwarded my request to the executive chef at the Santana Row location. I was very impressed with the prompt follow up and then soon received a reply from the chef saying there were many things he could prepare gluten free.

So happily I braved Santana Row one rainy evening the week before Christmas - I somehow won the parking battle after only 20 minutes. One mom spent over an hour circling around. At any rate, when I arrived I let my server know I had emailed with the chef earlier in the week and that the chef had told me there was a lot I could order. So the server went off to find out. When he returned he basically said the only things he could recommend that would be safe for me that night were one of the salads or the roasted chicken entree. Meanwhile the rest of the table is enjoying fresh bread and appetizers although the server was kind enough to bring me a plate of vegetable sticks.

I ended up ordering the roast chicken (which was billed as coming with pomme frittes but when my meal arrived with the pomme frites on the side my server said they were fried in shared oil so they were not safe but he had brought them for my table guests to share). I thought that was nice of him, and appreciated being told they were not safe, but it was quite disappointing. I would have at least ordered some other sort of starch like a plain baked potato. Then when the dessert menus came out he told me the only dessert that was safe was the sorbet - not even the creme brule or chocolate mousse was OK. So I left the restaruant close to 3 hours later starving as all I had eaten was some vegetable sticks, roasted chicken (w/ no gravy since it was not safe) and spinach (so glad I ordered that side!).

Maybe I should have escalated and asked the chef to come out. I don't know. It was a busy holiday night, I was hungry and tired, and he had told me there was food to eat. I guess I kept thinking as each course went by I'd get to eat something of substance in the next course.

I will not be back.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

More Pizza

Just a quick note that I've juggled around the pizza rankings and we have a new #1 -

They also use the Venice Bakery crust which  you can order in a small, medium or large crust.  Small and medium use the seasoned crust (our preference) but we ordered large since we wanted to see if they could pull it off - when we tried the large crust at Pizza Party it was a bit soggy for our taste. But Palo Alto Pizza totally pulled it off. Decent amount of sauce (although next time we may ask for a little more), good cheese mix (maybe a bit too much, but still very tasty) and it was cooked to perfection - very crisp crust. We will definitely be back! You can get coupons on their web site too. We saved $3 on a large - when one has to eat gluten free, we'll take any savings we can get.

Speaking of Venice Bakery, I decided to take advantage of a sale they had last month on their crusts at their online store - I purchased a 6 pack of the size medium seasoned crusts and when paired with our pizza stone heated to 500 degrees F (then I turn the oven down to 425), it is just as good as going out. I'm still not 100% pleased with my pizza sauce recipe but I'm almost there. I took it from Chef Johnny's Chicago Stuffed pizza video on youtube. I think if I puree the crushed tomatoes just a tad with an immersion mixer I may be there.

We also tried Mission Pizza in Fremont a few months ago which was also quite good albeit a bit greasy. They too use the Venice crust. If it wasn't so far away that would be a regular place for us as well. Their sauce was exceptional -we tried the standard pizza sauce as well as the tomato garlic one - the garlic one was tasty but a bit too much for us. Next time we'll definitely stick to the regular red sauce.