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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

VITRINE AND BUSHI-TEI


For lunch at Vitrine in the St. Regis, I met with Michael Keenan (above left), President, and Randy Hencken (above right), Senior Director, of the Seasteading Institute.  Founded by Patri Friedman (left), who is chairman of the Board, with funding from Peter Thiel (right), former Chairman and CEO of PayPal, also on the Board, the Institute is dedicated to the creation of homesteads in the ocean, thus, seasteading.  Their focus is to partner with the private sector to develop profit centers at sea.  A driving motivation is to provide a more workable government structure for the mission plan.  Thus, some day there could well be a wide variety of governmental concepts optimally configured to the needs of that particular floating plant ship community.

They are planning for a San Francisco gathering of some sorts in late June or early July.  Details will be forthcoming.

Oh, I had a very large organic hamburger with garlic chips.  Absolutely great!

Dinner tonight with Ilene (CEO of Vantage Communications and winner of the "Women Executives in America" category of the Golden Bridge Awards a couple of months ago) and Rob (senior vice president of VC) Adler, was at bushi-tei, a Japanese-French-California fusion restaurant.  My two priorities, Coi and Benu were both closed on Sunday and Monday.  The interior design was modernistic and artistic.  The executive chef is Michael Hung, who earlier this year replaced Seiji Wakabayashi.  We were served by the owner himself, Tak Matsuba, here seen with Rob on the left and Ilene on the right.  This restaurant has been nominated for best bathroom...

... but the food was also exceptional.  Ilene and I ordered their omakase--a meal you entrust to the chef--first featuring a silken tofu mousse with purple shiso and wasabi furikake with ginger jus.  Doesn't show well, but I had their Shoga champagne (ginger plus sake plus sparkling wine).

The next course was a salad of Blue Lake beans with black sesame aoli, katuobushi and shallots.  I found this dish to be a bit too salty.  Then a delicate California sea bass with smoked potato puree and miso butter.  Excellent.
The second main course was soy braised shortribs over spinach, carrots and a sauce of foie gras.  This was okay.  But Rob's duck looked more enticing.












Ilene had a cantaloupe parfait with melon gazpacho and tomato ice, which she loved.  My dessert was a cheesecake over something that I did not find ideal.  A crispier almond something would have been preferred.

I suspect I would have more enjoyed the efforts of the previous chef, but, all in all, I liked the setting, company, service and meal.  I'll try lunch next.

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