The Worst Crayfish Melt in History

There is a town in California located in the Delta region between San Francisco and Sacramento that used to be famous for its crayfish, or as some call them, crawdads, crawfish, or even mudbugs.

Recently we took a trip to this town to visit its most well-known restaurant for crayfish. This establishment served crayfish in buckets with beer and other accoutrements. But upon arriving, we found it closed and deserted, with the atmosphere of a ghost town permeating the entire street. The only thing missing was tumbleweeds.

Having made this trek, we decided to search out any establishment nearby that might have the legendary crayfish. We fortunately found one, and ventured inside. The hostess was friendly, and the ambience, although not fancy or trendy, was clean and comfortable. The menu promised a crayfish melt. That is what we ordered, with great anticipation.

What arrived was beyond expectations. It was beyond words. What lie between the slices was the color and texture of crispy hash browns. There was little indication it was what some call a delicacy. It was lifeless. It was utterly devoid of any appeal. The crayfish on the sandwich was basically mush, topped with a slice of greasy cheese. The bread was toasted, and there was no condiment of any sort. It was in sum, a horror story.

When we asked where the crayfish came from locally, we were told they were from China. Considering this town was known for its local crayfish, importing them from China was like going to Napa Valley and only ordering wine from Antarctica.

When we took our first bites, the flavor of soggy cardboard was overwhelming. After a few more experimental chews, the entire venture was abandoned. This was in fact, the absolute worst sandwich we have had in years. It was also probably the worst crayfish melt in history.

Fortunately for those involved in this heinous use of shellfish, our goal is not to embarrass the restaurant. It is just to share with you how utterly horrible a Chef can make comfort food taste.

If you wander into a small California town and see crayfish melt on the menu, and the crayfish is not locally sourced, we can only suggest that you avoid it.

Avoid it.

Costero California Bar + Bistro satisfies in Los Angeles

Costero is a very pleasant surprise. Formally known as the uber-Italian restaurant “Paparazzi” in the Sheraton Gateway hotel, it is a new home for California style cuisine with a coastal influence.

PROGRESS Restaurant Popup comes to the Midwest in Springfield, Missouri


Progress popup launches in Springfield, and brings a new way of dining — and a new way of creating meals as a chef — to a Midwest region that is looking for new experiences

The team is composed of Daniel Ernce, Michael Schmitz and Cassidy Rollins.

What is Progress? This is what they say: “We are a popup restaurant. That means we don’t play by anyone’s rules but our own and we never make the same thing twice. We could be French fine dining one night, and be serving curry in takeaway boxes the next. We focus on highlighting local products, spaces, and talents, while bringing you delicious food and unique experiences.”

Video Source: Springfield News-Leader (Springfield, Missouri)

Cocktail Recipe: The Judgette at Gaspar

TASTEABLE: CALIFORNIA gets a Cocktail Recipe for the Judgette at Gaspar Brasserie in San Francisco.

Three Tiny Restaurants for Large Flavor in the Big Apple

New York is a big city. A very, very big city. But that doesn’t mean you have to go to a very large place to get great flavors and a fantastic dining experience.

Tiny restaurants in New York City are ideal for intimate meals and low-key conversations over drinks. Says one lover of the spaces, “These are the pint-sized culinary heroes that keep the New York dining scene feeling fresh, creative and delightfully unpredictable.”

Here are three examples of what you can find when you look for them:

Tiny Restaurants in the Big Apple2


Dining at dinnertable feels as intimate and comfortable as sharing a meal at your best friend’s home. With an open kitchen as tiny as a postage stamp (and lacking gas!), husband-and-wife chef duo Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito manage to produce some of the most impressive, buzzy and adventurous food in the city. The speakeasy-style restaurant is nestled behind East Village hotspot The Garret East and serves just 19 people at a time. The menu is sophisticated yet unpretentious, allowing diners to savor funky Italian dishes that pair optimally with the venue’s spot-on drink menu filled with updated classic cocktails and exceptional Italian wines (heavy on natural and biodynamic options) from small producers.

Samples from their current menu include:

MONTAUK PEARL OYSTER, vermouth mignonette
MARINATED OLIVES, pimenton & celery
GARLIC PRETZEL, house made cheese
SICILIAN RED SHRIMP, fresh tomato, buttermilk
SMOKED SHORTRIB TARTARE, horseradish, marble rye
CHRYSANTHEMUM SALAD, garlic, parmesan, sesame
ARTICHOKE FALAFEL, spiced yogurt, tahina
BAKED MUSSELS, pepperoni rice
THE DUMPLINGS, potato, pecorino, poppyseed
BODEGA CLAM PASTA, handmade orecchiette, beer, mexican hot sauc
BLACK SEA BASS, tomatillo puttanesca
THE SIXTH GUY’S BURGER, capocollo, stracchino, deli peppers

Tiny Restaurants in the Big Apple1

The Eddy

Nestled between sleepy storefronts on quaint East 6th Street, The Eddy features an 11-seat bar area and 32-seat dining room. Owner and executive chef Brendan McHale rotates his a la carte and five-course tasting menus almost daily, updating classic American dishes with unpredictable preparations and exclusively seasonal, local ingredients. McHale’s menu is perfectly complemented by co-owner and wine director Jason Soloway’s sophisticated wine list and the balanced, seasonal cocktails of head bartender Luis Hernandez.

Samples from their A La Carte dinner menu (they also have a Tasting Menu) include:

Raw Summer Vegetables, Smoked Goat Cheese Puree
Chicken Liver Pate, Rhubarb Confit
Pickled Mussels, Herbs, Toasted Miche
Crispy Smoked Pig Trotter, Ricotta, Plum, Anise Hyssop
Fluke, Jugo Verde, Pickled Chili, Pumpernickel
Peach, Watercress Puree, Kunik, Sunflower Frico
Big Eye Tuna, Tempura Pole Bean, Bonito Aioli, Thai Basil
Cod, Fried Polenta, Morels, Peas, Tarragon
Grass Fed Strip Steak, Potato, Arugula Pesto, Charred Alliums
Roasted Duck, Heirloom Beans, Charred Lemon, Nettles
Asparagus, Lovage Butter, Walnut
Charred Carrots, Bonito, Tzatziki
Bing Cherry Ice Cream, Americano Soda, Chocolate Cookie
Buttermilk Semifreddo, Olive Oil Cake, Strawberry, Chamomile, Basil
Cardamom Panna Cotta, Rhubarb Ice, Mint, Sea Salt

Tiny Restaurants in the Big Apple3


Inspired by French-country cuisine, Wallflower in the West Village truly proves the old adage, ‘‘good things come in small packages’. With just 30 seats, the low-key boîte is known for a truly superlative cocktail list (crafted by Xavier Herit, a veteran of Daniel and the Experimental Cocktail Club) as well as adventurous seasonal tasting and a la carte menus. Executive chef Derrick Paez (another Daniel alum) modernizes French classics on his dinner and brunch menus – showstoppers include Caramelized Bread Pudding, Shrimp & Grits and Jerk Spiced Quail.

Big places to eat? Forgetabout it! Three small spaces for big flavor in the Big Apple.

The Soiled Dove – Popup Supper Club Caberet

Vau de Vire Society presents their Circus Infused Dinner Theater, “The Soiled Dove”, Under the Tortona Big Top in Point Alameda. The popup event is a circus-infused dinner theatre set in a reincarnation of Barbary Coast’s red light district.

From the co-creators of the world renowned Edwardian Ball, Phantasm Halloween, Lagunitas Beer Circus, New Bohemia NYE and a decade of San Francisco’s most creatively outrageous nightlife events, comes an immersive, circus-infused, dinner-theater experience that will titillate your every sense. After the first and second runs of sold out shows in 2014 and 2015, The Soiled Dove returns to a new location on the shore of the bay at The Point a massive 12,000 sq. ft circus tent recently acquired from the countryside of Tortona, Italy.

Set amidst a thematic backdrop inspired by San Francisco’s notorious Barbary Coast era, guests can expect an engaging evening filled with danger, decadence, amazing culinary creations and world-renowned performances. Live musical accompaniment and arrangements will be provided by the famed Jazz Mafia / Realistic Orchestra with surprise musical-guest cameos each evening.

Director/producer of The Soiled Dove, Mike Gaines says, “we’ll have over 40 performers and musicians collaborating to help transport guests back to the heart of San Francisco circa 1890. This will be the inaugural reveal of our grand circus tent built on the waters’ edge at The Point Alameda. This new 50 ft tall, 125’ ft. round monster of a tent allows us to fit an entire township within it’s walls, complete with a gaming midway, lounge, 2 bars and a variety of craft vending from local artisans”

Gaines explains how he and wife Shannon (vdv choreographer) found the Tortona Big Top, “After literally scouring the world high and low for exactly the right fit, serendipity led us to the Italian countryside where we discovered the beautiful and magical Tortona – a 12,000 square foot circus tent with ultimate charm and pizazz. Inside we are creating an intimate and exciting depiction of a happening saloon set back in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast era tricked out with multiple stages, a tall ceiling for aerial acts, balconies for the dancers, sitting areas and a bar perfectly designed for illicit escapades and debauchery.”

The Soiled Dove VIP guests are treated like royalty by the most enticing courtesans on the Barbary Coast while delighting the pallets with an innovative culinary 4-course dinner by San Francisco based Work of Art.

The Soiled Dove promises an evening of world-renowned performance accompanied by a live Orchestra of epic delights. You will indulge in a world of decadence perfectly suited for those in search of an adventurous escapade into San Francisco’s scandalous history. Guests are encouraged to submerge themselves in the revelry by putting a little (or a lot) of effort into their attire…styles that cover Victorian, Edwardian, 49er, Harlots, Crimps or one’s most stylish period couture.

Filmmaker, radio host, comedian Jamie DeWolf reflects on experience at The Soiled Dove, “This has to be one of the best events I’ve seen all year, stunning, sexy, scandalous, rowdy and randy, everyone was losing their damn minds at the utter awesome of this show. I want to move into this world and never leave again. The Vau de Vire Society have absolutely out done themselves, what an epic, immersive experience.”

This summer’s run of The Soiled Dove will be located at The Point, a new mixed-use development in Alameda, CA. With breathtaking views of San Francisco and Alameda’s waterfront the location alone is sure to delight. Alameda Point Partners is excited to welcome The Soiled Dove as a continuation of Phase Zero, a series of early activation programs designed to entice new audiences to the area in advance of the project opening.

About Work of Art: San Francisco-based green catering company Work of Art will shape an integrated, experiential culinary event. Joining visionary forces with Vau de Vire society, WoA will create an immersive adventure that encourages guests to participate in the 4-course dinner-theatre performance from the Barbary Coast era. The Soiled Dove VIP guests will experience the chaos of the times with creative delectable dishes festively presented by charismatic food hawkers. Vegetarian options are available upon request.

About Jazz Mafia / Realistic Orchestra: Providing the musical accompaniment for the ensemble pieces throughout the night are Bay Area veterans Jazz Mafia, made up of members from Realistic Orchestra and The Shotgun Wedding Quintet. Led by musical director Adam Theis, dance/musical liaison Shaina Evoniuk, and lyricist Dublin, Jazz Mafia provides the musical means for audiences to travel back in time to when the streets of San Francisco were covered in dirt, mud and sometimes, a bit of blood.

About the Presenter: Founded in 1997 by husband and wife team Shannon and Mike Gaines, the San Francisco-based entertainment company Vau de Vire Society has been titillating crowds around the world with its unique brand of interactive and thematic art, dance and circus events. This avant-cabaret community consists of classically-trained dancers, some of the nation’s most acclaimed acrobats, aerial artists, sideshow acts, fire-performers, thespians and beautiful circus freaks. The group has been cross-pollinating genres by collaborating with an eclectic variety of world-renowned musicians and DJs in the creation of original stage shows. Notable recent collaborators include The Edwardian Ball (SF & LA) Cirque du Soleil (Corteo), San Francisco Symphony, Bassnectar, The Dresden Dolls, Calvin Harris and The Madd Vibe Orchestra…with live support performances for James Brown, Primus, 50 Cent, Wyclef Jean, Velvet Revolver, The Cure and many other highly respected international artists. In addition to producing the annual SF/LA Edwardian Ball since 2005 and SF’s premier NYE event New Bohemia NYE, Vau de Vire is most widely recognized for their numerous music and arts festival commissions, having curated live-music stages and multi-day variety entertainment amidst their custom built environments. Past and ongoing festivals include: Symbiosis Gathering, Outside Lands Festival, Bumbershoot Festival, Download Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Exprescion on Alcatraz, Burning Man and Super Village at Super Bowl XLV.

What: Vau de Vire Presents The Soiled Dove

Tagline: An immersive, circus-infused culinary extravaganza set in San Francisco’s notorious Barbary Coast red light district.

Where: Tortuna Big Top on The Taxiway at Point Alameda, 2153 Ferry Point, Alameda, CA 94501

Tickets: $45 GA to $120 VIP (includes 4-course dinner) – Ages 21+

Important Links:

The Soiled Dove –

Vau de Vire Society:

VdV Facebook: