Saison - San Francisco, CA

Dinner - Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saison's new digs are quite a sight to behold. The space is lush and inviting, with dark wood tables spaced generously like at an old tippling room. Polished copper pans and walls of stainless steel are juxtaposed against furs and stacked cords of wood - at once refined and rustic.

This was our first visit to Saison in over a year, and also our first time at the new location (we had planned a visit in February 2013, but teething problems closed the restaurant at the last moment - we went to Coi instead). The complimentary pours of Krug remain, as does the two-tier tasting menu - tonight, we opted for the lengthier "Discovery" menu.

Aubergine - Carmel, CA

Dinner - Thursday, February 27, 2014

Four meals in 13 months - that's saying something. And the crew at Aubergine keeps picking up awards - indeed, during our most recent visit in November, Justin Cogley was in Germany receiving a Grand Chef award from Relais & Châteaux. I also said at that time that I did not foresee a return in the first half of 2014 - I'm very glad I was wrong.