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Bay City Bar & Grill
747 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA 94107-1903
Phone: (415) 495-4002

Melinda and I went here for one of our bi-weekly dinners.

We both had the fixed price menu, which is a real deal. For $17.95 you get: Melon and Prociutio, Salad with Vinaigrette or Manhattan Clam Chowder, a main course of Clams and Shrimp in a Creamy Parmesan sauce with noodles or Scaloppini with spinach in a red sauce or (didn't pay much attention cause I don't like fish) fish or steak with a red wine sauce, and a desert of Crème Brulee or Chocolate Mousse.

The melon was light and refreshing and complemented the Prociutio slices. We both had the Salad with Vinaigrette, which used spring lettuce. The vinaigrette was fairly light. I had the clams and shrimp. It was rich and creamy without
being too heavy. The Parmesan served as just a touch of sharpness which contrasted nicely with the cream dressing. 

Melinda had the Scaloppini which was rich, flavorful, and tender. For desert I had the Crème Brulee and Melinda had
the Chocolate Mousse. Our deserts were mini and cute and just the right amuse bouche (amuse the mouth) for the end of an excellent meal. My Crème Brulee was delightfully crispy and caramel creamy. Melinda's Chocolate Mousse came in the
shape of a mouse with chocolate shaving ears. It was fairly light and creamy.

The servers were both attentive and friendly.

The dining area is small and has a dark wood beamed charm. There is a full bar at the other end of the restaurant and the place is obviously hopping after a game at 3-Com park.

Il Fornaio

1265 Battery St
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 986-0100

On Valentine's Day, Crystal and I, having no guys to take us out, decided to treat ourselves to a fine meal. We dressed up in fancy suits in our Catwoman and Harley personas (which is kind of hard to tell just by looking at us since it means that our suits followed the color scheme of our characters - Crystal's was a light creamy brown with some leopard print accessories and mine was black and red). Anyway, Crystal suggested Il Fornaio from previous experience and I heartily commend her choice. This cozy Italian restaurant had atmosphere, fine wine, excellent food, and prompt service. We sat on the patio surrounded by a pretty plaza, potted plants, and a fountain. With the heat lamps on, we were toasty warm on a cold night and shed our jackets for dining.

We started off with some amazing bread, baked at the adjoining bakery, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. We chose an Italian wine - Verdicchi dei Castelli di Jesi, Villa Beatrice, 1999 - which was a crisp, dry white with a floral bouquet, clean finish, and hints of citrus (orange peel) and green apple that warmed in your mouth with each swallow. We mixed and matched plates from the regular menu and the special regional menu which changes each week and focuses on the cuisine from a specific region of Italy. 

Crystal had a green salad with crab meat, a vinaigrette dressing, and lemon - light and fresh tasting. I had a warm spinach salad with bacon, tomato, onions, mushrooms, an unidentified but yummy cheese, and warm vinaigrette dressing. For the main course, Crystal had venison ravioli in a tomato sauce with artichoke hearts and mushrooms. I had lobster ravioli in a lobster cream sauce with shrimp and a touch of lemon. Dessert was also amazing. Crystal had a chocolate mouse with raspberry sauce (very chocolaty but not too rich). I had a pumpkin Creme Brulee with burnt sugar crust, cinnamon, and lemon peel which was sinfully rich and delicious.

Our waiter faithfully filled our wine glasses whenever they got low and nicely timed the arrival of each course. The total bill came to just under $100 including wine and tip. I'd highly recommend this restaurant for a special night out.

Ginger Island

1820 4th Street
Berkeley, CA
Phone: (510) 644-0444

I love Ginger Island. They have tasty food and a nice, open, clean atmosphere. Also the 4th street area has been wonderfully revitalized and there are plenty of shops for the casual and kitchy browse.

Anyway, Karen, Alex, and I went to Ginger Island for dinner, before Gaskell's. Well, actually Alex took us out to dinner since we let him sleep on our couch. I'm not sure it was a fair exchange. Dinner was incredible and it is just a couch. But, whatever.

Karen had duck and both Alex and I had the lamb shank with spinach, rosemary potatoes and gorgonzola cheese. (Both plates roughly $18.)

The lamb was so tender, I practically didn't need a steak knife. The meat was rich and flavorful without being gamy. The flavor of the gorgonzola cheese was a tangy complement to the smoky savor of the meat.

Karen's duck was also delicious and tasted like it had been soaked in honey. Sweet, but not cloying.

Both Karen and I had a glass of the House Cabernet, which was smooth and round in the mouth with just a hint of black cherry.

Karen and I shared a Crème Brulee. It was as smooth and creamy as a crème should be.

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