To say it’s been a busy 2016 so far would be an understatement. With dinner dates, coming down from holiday travel, and my birthday week last week, I haven’t had a moment to breathe.
Every year for my birthday my dad flies out to celebrate. It’s one of our traditions and I love having him in San Francisco. Now that he’s been here every birthday for six years, we don’t have to do the “touristy stuff” anymore and he just kind of melds into real life. We go to work, we cook dinner, we just chill. It’s nice.
This year, I wanted to do something extra special for my birthday dinner. I’d heard about Lazy Bear from a few friends and colleagues who just raved about it. It started as a “dinner party” hosted at chef David Barzelay’s home (see the anagram?) and is now more like an event than a dinner out. Fun fact: Barzelay was a lawyer before becoming a chef.
You purchase tickets about a month in advance and there isn’t much warning before the tickets go on sale. I essentially got an email at 9am letting me know tickets for January were going on sale at noon. There are two seatings a night and I chose the 6pm seating.
The first 40 minutes or so were spent upstairs in a living room-style mezzanine where we were served a few snacks.
- Lazy Bear Punch
- Whipped Scrambled Eggs with bacon, maple and hot sauce.
- Shigoku Oyster with kiwi and chickweed.
- Caviar and sourdough (tasted just like a bagel with lox!).
- Beef tartare on a brown rice cracker with foie gras (my favorite snack!).
- Tete de moine with celery root, Asian pear and pine (cheese course which wasn’t my favorite).
The lighting upstairs wasn’t fantastic so my photos didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. After snacks upstairs, we were escorted to our seat at the communal table. They did have assigned seating, but they did a great job of ushering everyone to their designated seat.
One of my favorite aspects of Lazy Bear is the open kitchen. Barzelay introduced himself and welcomed us to the evening and encouraged us to walk up to the kitchen at any time throughout the night to ask the chefs questions and watch them cook and plate. I, of course, took full advantage of that and went up to talk to the chefs multiple times throughout the night.
As each course was served, a chef would stand in front of the tables and explain, in detail, where the food came from, all of the individual ingredients, and how they worked together to build the flavors in each dish.
And now for the food, in the order in which it was served…
Caviar with sourdough. Tasted just like lox and bagel.
Spelt & rye dinner roll with cultured butter. I love it when butter is so rich it tastes almost like cheese. And the bread was so perfectly salty.
Scallop with geoduck, dill, buttermilk and yuzu. This was absurdly fresh. See those leafy greens? Those are succulents. So. Good.
Steelhead trout with stinging nettle, hedgehog mushrooms and smoked roe. Loved the puree, the trout was cooked perfectly and the mushrooms added a wonderful earthy flavor. Also, those potatoes? Incredible.
Sunchoke with egg yolk fudge, sweetbreads and sunflower. I have a confession: I love sweetbreads. And this confit egg yolk was absolutely ridiculous. Definitely one of the richest dishes of the night.
Rice grits with black trumpet mushrooms and Perigord truffle. Holy. Truffle. This was incredibly creamy and decadent. I didn’t want this dish to end. Ever.
Squab with blood orange, black olive and endive. This dish was extra special because it was seared, then sous vide then seared again. I got a sous vide for Hannukah this year and I have been talking about it non-stop. Was awesome this dish was prepared using my new tool! Also, it was just plain delicious.
Lamb loin with salsify, apple and cress. Yum. The most gamey of the meat dishes, but still incredible.
And then it was time for dessert. The dessert courses absolutely blew me away. Here’s why:
Coconut with citrus and bay. This chewy cake was deliciously sweet. The marmalade added a layer of sweet citrus and the granita on top added even more tartness. The coconut merengue was incredible.
Chocolate with lapsang souchong and armagnac. Honestly, I have no idea what the extra ingredients were, but it was a pretty delicious and decadent. Strong, bold and rich.
From left to right: S’Mores Macaron with toasted marshmallow, graham and chocolate; Religieuse (peanut butter and jelly); and Semifreddo, Vietnamese coffee. The Semifreddo was my favorite – rich and creamy.
Cold brew coffee with brown sugar whipped cream.
And then we were stuffed.
By far and away, this was one of the most incredible dining experiences I’ve ever had. Huge thanks to my papa for making it possible! It was most definitely a night to remember. Highly recommend following them on Twitter to snag a ticket.