“You’re late!” were the first words growled at us by the manager at Tamarine. We were only about 15-20 minutes late and my friend apologized profusely explaining that they’d been moving all day and lost track of time. We even called saying we were running a bit late. Now mind you our reservation was at 5:45 pm on a Sunday afternoon, not 8pm Friday evening. That’s about the time I’d start thinking about an aperitif but dinner at 5:45pm is more of a Pink Flamingo Retirement Home early bird special. I looked around. It was Sunday evening in the booming metropolis of downtown Palo Alto and this restaurant was about a quarter full. Hmmmm…. This certainly doesn’t warrant that attitude.

“Well we can seat you but you’ll have to leave by 7:30pm.” Gee Toto, I guess we’re not in Paris anymore! The above experience is unheard of in France, if for no other reason that most restaurants don’t open before 8pm. Secondly, and more important, is that you are never rushed out, often having to request the bill a few time, and a long, leisurely 3-hour dinner is nothing short of a God-given right along with freedom of speech and the right to vote. “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” indeed and to this I add “Manger” (mon-zhay – to eat)!

As the clock ticked toward 7:30pm, we asked our waitress for the check and she graciously offered to move us to another table so we wouldn’t have to rush out. We gratefully took her up on her offer and waited for her to let us know when she needed us to move. Minutes later, the manager swooped in on her broom and cackled that she needed the table and she needed it now! The reservation for our table had arrived and we promised to leave at 7:30pm…. so we left.

The food was good, not great but good, and what could have been a great dinner was bookended by a cranky manager with an attitude. The best part of the meal was the wine, a 1991 Oreno from Tuscany, and the company.

Voila le menu…

Moon Crepes – Turmeric & rice flower crepe served with shrimp, ground pork, jicama, and bean sprouts (These were delicious – our favorite dish – and we were so hungry, we attacked these before I could snap a pic.)

Tamarine Prawns – Jumbo Prawns in signature Tamarine sauce

Clay Pod Cod – Canadian Black Cod caramelized in garlic, fish sauce, & black pepper (I loved this dish, really great caramelized flavors)

Shaking Beef – Cubed filet mignon seared with garlic and onions, served w/ watercress salad

Chili Lime Aubergine – grilled aubergine w/ onion oil, scallions finished in a fish & chili-lime sauce (this was good but tasted like it was steamed, a bit soggy, not roasted, and i love the roasted, caramelized flavor of eggplant.)

Empress Rice – rice, garlic, leeks, ginger and an egg (this was delicious!)

Chocolate Fondant & Chocolate Mousse (average desserts, certainly no crescendo to the evening)

546 University Avenue (between Webster and Cowper)
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tel: 650.325.8500

Tardy at Tamarine 2 March,2007Cucina Testa Rossa


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor