Sunday, 8 May 2011

With a little planning, you too can dine Ad Hoc!

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The bf and I spent the Easter holiday in San Francisco with my family.  I'll spare you the details on that (mostly because the only interesting bits involve silly string fights and yipping pitbulls), but there is one part of our vacation that I just had to share: dinner at Ad Hoc.

Whenever we go back to the Bay, the bf and I try to get a little time in the Napa valley.  My parents have a house up there (I know, sweet, right?) and we love to go up and just veg out: we swim, we read, and most of all we eat.  We have a few must-hit spots (Go Fish, Redd, Cook, and C Casa are some of the faves), but we've always wanted to try one of Thomas Keller's restaurants, especially after we had such an amazing experience at his NYC restaurant, Per Se.

The French Laundry was out.  We're way too poor for that right now, and anyway it's extremely difficult for ordinary people to get in.  Someday we'll save for a year and then find a way in, but until then our choices were Bouchon or Ad Hoc, and we decided to go with Ad Hoc.  The restaurant's style appealed to us: a different menu every day, based on seasonal availability and the whims of the chef's tastebuds, and only $52 per person!  We booked a couple weeks ahead and brought our own wine, and even though we went for the menu addition and had coffee and dessert wine at the end, it was still an extremely reasonable price.  Especially when you consider that we took half of the main home and ate it for dinner the next night!

The food was amazing: fresh, delicious, and surprising without being weird.  The service was smiley and friendly and funny, and the music was awesome.  Late 80's/early 90's.  I was singing along at the table, as was our waiter!  Never underestimate the power of great music.

So, without further ado, the menu (with pics, which got worse as the sun went down – sorry):

Little Gem Lettuces with Buttermilk Dressing, Lardons, Pickled Onions, and Corn:

Gulf King Prawns with Cheesy Grits:

Texas Style Barbeque (sous vide Wagyu Brisket and Smoked Spare Ribs) with Smashed Fingerling Potatoes, Flash-Fried Artichoke Hearts, and Pink Lady Apple Slaw:

Cowgirl Creamery's Wagon Wheel with Toasted Sourdough Bread and Red Pepper Reduction:

Cinnamon Beignets with Strawberry, Chocolate, and Coconut Dipping Sauces:

I highly recommend Ad Hoc for those of you who love good, fresh food, unusual flavor combinations, and a fun, casual atmosphere.  We had a great time, and I'm sure we'll be back again and again.

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