Friday, April 23, 2010

Right now at Ghirardelli Square

Ghiradelli Square

Well this is up to the minute writing, I took this photo just a minute ago with my cell camera. Did you know that Ghirardelli Square has public WiFi throughout? And that there is a sign behind me announcing that Gary Danko is opening "An American Brasserie" here soon?

I am musing as I wait for my former host sister, Mika and her family to join me here. I dropped them off on Leavenworth, just below the famous crooked hill which they wanted to walk UP (oh my) and take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, join me here at Ghirardelli to see how chocolate is made (10 year old Shohei will love this), then on to City View for some dim sum. Later we're meeting up with friends at Marin's Wipeout Bar and Grill, voted 2nd best restaurant for kids in Marin. What do you like to do with guests that have children?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Persian cuke salad and Salad of Pear, Plum and Geek Yogurt

My Dad is such a good sport. He'll let me get away with anything for breakfast, as long as it is accompanied by a slice of hot buttered toast. That's what defines breakfast for him. I learned the "anything goes" for breakfast in Japan, and since my host sister Mika, husband Satoshi and quickly growing son, Shohei are arriving from Hokkaido tomorrow, I thought I'd best get my Japanese breakfast skills up to snuff.

So we had a very crisp and cool Persian cucumber salad (dressed with E.V.O.O., rice vinegar and a sprinkle of red Hawaiian salt), and Pears and Plums dressed in Greek strained yogurt, freshly squeezed Myer lemon juice, some raw agave nectar and a garnish of a Capay Farms organic strawberry. My father's requisite sourdough wheat toast is not pictured.

I've been thinking about my now dual roles in writing Anna's Cool Finds, and now for the Marin IJ, Bread and Butter on Wednesdays. I thought I'd try this - since Bread and Butter is primarily about food news in Marin, I'll concentrate my writing about openings, closings and such in Bread and Butter, and provide a link here each week so if you are interested, you can check out those happenings. There is a lot going on in Marin! At Anna's Cool Finds I will continue posting the photos and descriptions of meanderings through the restaurants of Marin and sometimes beyond, and personal notes. We'll see how it goes.

Bread and Butter
April 21, 2010 (I got the scoop on Pandoro!)
April 14, 2010 (The first)

You are always welcome to post comments on the various restaurants reviewed at Anna's Cool Finds. If you know of some hot news about opening, closings and what our chefs are up to, you are welcome to email me at annahaight AT gmail DOT com. (Or if you just want to drop me a personal note). Twitterings are at annahaight.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

High standards still prevail

Sushi 69

I dropped in after a long absence at Sushi 69 in San Anselmo. Hiro (Hiroyuki Makino), the Executive Chef and owner was smiling behind the sushi bar as always. He informed me that the other long time Chef at Sushi 69, Takeshi, is returning to Japan today, his last day behind the sushi bar being last Thursday, so I just missed him. And miss him I will. Takeshi, like Hiro, has a fine hand at slicing up the sushi so that it melts on your tongue and he sometimes made little variations that he thought would suit my taste.

Tuna Lily

I ordered one old favorite straight away, the Tuna Lily. The combination of the crisp shrimp chip shell filled with soft pieces of tuna mixed with onions and caviar and a tart sauce just dances on your palate in a pleasing way.

Takeshi Roll

In honor of Takeshi, I ordered the Takeshi roll which I had not tried before. A wonderful pairing of tastes, expertly executed by Hiro, included tempura shrimp, spicy scallops and cool, crisp cucumber on the inside, topped with maguro tuna and slices of shiso leaf on the outside. This is worthy of a repeat in the future.

Tamago Nigiri

I finished with another favorite, tamago nigiri, noticing that Hiro's fine sense of style has been refined since my last visit to include a decorative brand on the ends of the egg. It is served on a fresh leaf on the granite counter in front of you (if at the sushi bar). Sitting at the counter, watching the careful preparation and plating of food I noticed the care and attention that Hiro puts into the beautiful food that comes to his customers has been maintained at the high standard that he has kept from the beginning .

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: February 26, 2010

Previously reviewed:

February 7, 2008
January 18, 2007

Find address/phone number/directions on Anna's Map.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's cooking now

photo credit: iStockphoto

I have tremendously enjoyed blogging about the delicious meals and variety of dining venues available in Marin County. Writing this blog brings a little joy and passion into my day as I sit, contemplate and write, not to mention when I'm out on the town dining. Who would know that this sharing of joy would lead me to writing a new column for our local Marin Independent Journal? Yes, the debut of "Bread and butter" is today!

I'm continuing Anna's Cool Finds with its emphasis on describing the experience of dining at local restaurants in snapshot fashion. One of the things that excites me about "Bread and butter" is that I will have a great excuse to answer those questions that I have had in my mind as I have meandered through various local restaurants. I'll be finding out about the chefs making the food, and the people making the restaurants happen. And I will have my ear to the ground for events and other interesting food news in Marin. So the experience will broaden and deepen my relationship with all things food in Marin. I hope you will enjoy both of these expressions of my love of the food, land and people of Marin. And if you have any Marin food news tips, please let me know at

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Maria Maria closes

maria maria closes

Oh well... and Maria Maria was right in my Mill Valley back yard. It happened rather abruptly and the scan I made of internet sources did not have any reasons why.

I'm still working away on my crashed computer.. have to save as much as possible (slow work) and wipe it clean :-(.