« The tiny seed that packs a big punch | Main | In case you were wondering what I look like... »

Monday, September 19, 2005



Wow. I don't know whether it's a curse or a blessing to be able to experience that meal vicariously through your site! Hey, maybe we can make a deal, say watermelons in exchange for Manresa doggie bags? ;) Oh, and happy anniversary!

Lisa  D. Walker

Can I please marry David Kinch? Nothing would please me more than to sip on his oh-so-delicate tomato soup and spoon soft sweet spoonfulls of crenshaw and almond into my mouth my every waking moment. Manresa is a place where "hushpuppies" make you cry and red pepper gelees silence you. Now, I know I'm being a bit dramatic but September 17th is now a magical evening set in my mind, and thankfully set here on this incredible blog, for good. Brett, thank you for your awesome attention to detail. The photos are as beautiful as the food and your writing is lovely. So, when's the next Saturday Night Fever?

fiona kennedy

Damn my husband for relocating us to Los Angeles! Brett- your desrciptive powers are as vivid as ever- maybe they should come up with a superhero with food writing powers! Oh wait, his name is Johnathan Gold. Curses!!! I am so mad/sad/frustrated that I could not join you guys at your fabulous dinner! Thank you for letting me enjoy it vicariously through your blog. Happy Happy Anniversary and keep eating!


Melissa, thank you for the anniversary wishes. Alas, there were no doggie bags (we cleaned our plates), so I suppose I'll have to fumble my way through choosing my own watermelons.

Lisa, yes, that was a magical meal! Thank you for your kind words. Where shall our next adventure be?

Fiona, I wish you could've made the trip from LA, too. I'm so glad you enjoyed the peep-hole onto our meal I've provided. Thank you also for the anniversary wishes. Who knows, maybe we'll all eventually join you in LA?


Oh, darn. I don't know how to be hungry enough for a meal like that. I almost fainted during lunch at the French Laundry, and the server suggested I take a little walk through the gardens to refresh myself.
But now I'll have to try.
(Brett: We're on our way to Bryan's in Corte Madera in a few minutes to pick up the SARDINES he special-ordered for us... )


Lucky you, cookiecrumb. Is that Bryan's owned by the same people as the wonderful Bryan's on California in SF? (if so, you're doubly lucky!) How are you planning to prepare them?


Yes, Brett, Bryan also has the SF location... but he's always in Marin, lucky us.
You can hardly possibly believe how they came out. Having dined in Spain, as you have, maybe you can, but it was really life-changing for me. We planned at first to bake them, Roman-style, with bread crumbs. But we fired up the Smokey Joe instead, with shreds of alder wood, and grilled them briefly (gutted and deboned), then smacked 'em on top of toast smooshed with roasted garlic and showered with chopped parsley.
I'll be blogging about this tomorrow, but people: It Was Religious. You wish you were kissing me now, just for the taste in my mouth. Holy.


Can't wait to read your blog tomorrow, cookiecrumb! Simply grilled sardines sound so fantastic right now.


I've been to Manresa and agre with your opinion, David Kinch is a superb chef and Manresa would be a well deserved european two stars but find it behind Ca Sento (shamely only 1 star), because of the ingredients and far away from Chez Pannise, because of the technique.

But that's my opinion.


Hi no pisto! I'm glad to see that you are still visiting my blog even though I'm no longer in Spain. That's amazing that you, too, have eaten at all three restaurants, so I value your opinion greatly.

I agree that many of the ingredients that chef Alexandre can get in Valencia are superior to what we can find in the Bay Area. When it comes to seafood, we just don't have anything that compares to the freshness and variety of the shores of Spain (percebes, cigalas, gambas...even the mussels, clams and lobster taste better there).

But, in fairness to chef Kinch, he does procure the best of what we do have. The abalone, geoduck clams, black cod and sardines are all locally caught. And I thought it was a bold move to feature our brilliant local summer fruits in several of the courses. Although I tasted lots of delicious fruits in Spain and especially Valencia, I believe the best of our local organically grown fruits and vegetables are the best in the world. Of course, I admit I'd take a great percebe any day over a great strawberry, but Kinch knows enough to highlight the best of what he has available to him.

I guess what I'm saying is that it is very difficult to compare two restaurants located in totally different parts of the world. I decided to duck the issue of which meal I thought was better (I hoped nobody would notice). So to set the record straight, I'll let you know that my meal at Ca' Sento still stands as my best meal ever. And, yes, it deserves three Michelin stars. And yes, Manresa would probably be a two-star restaurant at the moment.

Just out of curiosity, how would you rate Chez Panisse, nopisto?


There is no point to compare two different restarants placed so far away and with different ingredients and styles. Manresa features as one of my best meals so far this year and the best in the Bay area but I find Ca Sento a notch over, not because it is spanish but because they use ingredients that you can't find in any other spanish restaurants.

I shouldn't rate Chez Pannise because I had a bad meal there. it could be a bad day for both of us and rating it for just one meal wouldn't be fair.

Because of the settled menu you can't choose the dishes and noticed that following days menus were more suitable for me.

Despite some serving mistakes (like forgetting to serve one dish after half an hour waiting)I didn't enjoy the meal because I wasn't at my best after a pantagruelic lunch at Memphies minnies that left full for a couple days. So I didn't enjoy the place, just my luck because it will take me a lot of time to return to Berkeley.

The only settled-menu-restaurant (apart from El Bulli)in Spain with a Michelin star is Casa Marcelo in La Coruña an that's an exception but if I give credit to all the fuss about Chez Pannise it would be a 1 star restaurant.

And I like you're blog even if you don't write about Spain.


Nopisto, again I agree with you. I am biased because I know how good Chez Panisse can be when it is good. Too bad you caught a so-so menu. In Europe, they probably would indeed be a 1-star restaurant, because of the casual atmosphere and lack of pretense. But, really, I think that's all they aspire to be: the best damn 1-star bistro in the world.

Venkatesh Iyer

From the pictures, the dish looks very delicious.


Is this restaurant still around? I'd love to fly to the area just to go to it. I want the recipe for the Crenshaw Melon soup. I just bought a Crenshaw melon and it is wonderful, so I wonder what it would taste like with almond flavor with it.

The comments to this entry are closed.

sardines defined

  • sar·dine (n) 1. a young herring or similar small fish. 2. a metaphor for the small and often less well-known ingredients, restaurants, farmers, and artisans that San Francisco-based chef Brett Emerson writes about in this website.
My Photo

Fish Tales

Search This Site



Bay Area Shortlist What do you crave?