Monday, September 5, 2011

Zagat and Me ザガットと私

Zagat Survey is like a bible for the gourmet eaters and restaurant lovers. I've been a long-time-reader, and it's always in my bag. (Well, nowadays it's also on my iphone bookmark.) Tim Zagat, the founder of Zagat survey is a friend of mine, and we both went to the same school, Riverdale Country School in New York. (Funny, the signature maroon color of the book is our high school color, too!)

Back in 2000 Tim hired me to be the main consultant editor for his first Zagat Tokyo. "I need your help, will you do it?," Tim, a tall and big man with a dynamic character asked me, not knowing much about Japan at that time. "Sure, Tim, but I am expensive," I joked. He laughed hard liking my joke. Then, I worked intensely to edit the first Zagat Tokyo for about one month.

Last year when I was about to move to San Diego from NYC I asked Tim about the San Diego restaurant scene. Since good food is my passion I was terrified to miss all the good New York food. "Don't worry, Rima. There are plenty good restaurants in San Diego. You will be surprised, " he said. To make me feel even better he gave me a free online Zagat Survey membership so that I could check out the San Diego restaurants. I must say that the restaurant scene is not as glamorous as NYC or LA, but I've found some really good places to eat. For my birthday my husband took me to the Zagat #1 rated restaurant, Market Restaurant & Bar in Del Mar.




I was so excited to be there. I got all dressed up, but when we arrived there it reminded me how casual people are in California...or at least in San Diego, even in a number one scene restaurant. People were in shirts and sandals. Oh, well. However, I was so excited about the menu. My husband and I were just talking about Chino Farm (a famous Japanese organic farm which I will write about very soon) that all the famous chefs in California buy the fresh produce from... when our waitress told us all their fresh veggies and fruits had come from Chino Farm.


This lovely dish of grapes and sorbet was offered on the house before our appetizers. It was so refreshing!


I ordered a beets & goat cheese salad, and my husband an artichoke salad. They were unbelievably fresh, and tasted like real vegetables! For the main course my husband enjoyed the beautiful vegetarian plate, and I was so impressed by how they had prepared my black cod dish. It was so tasty, and it was amazing. Unfortunately I don't have any good photos of those entrees because they looked awful with a flash. So you can just imagine how beautiful they looked :)


We were so full that we could not finish the whole dishes. However, just because it was my birthday, and I was being greedy I ordered a pannacotta. Before my dessert was served this beautiful chocolate cake with banana ice cream was brought to our table. It was a sweet gesture by the restaurant. So, just to let you know, I ate the whole cake, and then ate the entire pannacotta. I was so full that I could not even talk in the car going home... What a wonderful experience that was. I will certainly call Tim Zagat soon to let him know about this Market Restaurant. However, I am sure that he already knows about it... ;p


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