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EventCounselor
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Dress forms waiting to get dressed up with fresh flowers #party
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Ready for arranging #party
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New restaurant in Menlo Park. Galata replaces Mataro on Santa Cruz Avenue.

http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=13223

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
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Fey - a new Chinese restaurant in Menlo Park

http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=13043

Photo Credit: Michelle Le/The Almanac.
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Parkside Grille {restaurant review}

I recently took the opportunity to celebrate a friend's birthday at the Parkside Grille in Portola Valley on a Monday night.

The food was good. We shared a baked goat cheese appetizer between the three of us, and we loved its presentation and yumminess level. The bread that they brought to the table was also very tasty. I had a spicy chile rellenos dish which was not an "authentic" presentation, but pleasant. My friends had lamb and a pasta special, and both we well-prepared. We had champagne to toast our friend, a molten chocolate cake, and the wine offerings were sufficient.

Our server was friendly enough, but didn't offer much up in the way of suggestions. They rushed their service of our table and basically pushed us right out of the restaurant when we had finished. I think we were done at 9:15 p.m. and we felt that was unfortunate. Overall I would recommend this restaurant, but if you want to linger over a meal in celebration, this might not be the right spot to choose. Maybe it would be better as a lunch destination or if you to eat on the early side and live in the neighborhood.

You can make reservations for the Parkside Grille on +OpenTable

http://www.parksidegrille.net/

Photo Credit: Photo is from the Parkside Grille's website and is the meal that our celebrant had for her meal.
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EventCounselor's Favorite Meals in 2012

I tried a ton of restaurants in 2012, but didn't end up writing about them as much as I would have liked. To jump-start the creative juices again, I have decided to put together my favorite meals of 2012.

I went to +Rosewood Hotels & Resorts's Madera Restaurant at the Rosewood Sand Hill multiple times in 2012. Every time the food was superb. The views from the dining room are simply gorgeous. You must try to time things with the sunset if at all possible. You won't be disappointed by a meal in this restaurant. Only drawback, it's pricey, but if you live on the Peninsula, it won't shock you! 

http://www.maderasandhill.com/about/chef

I went to Pampas in Palo Alto for two special occasion meals in 2012. I chose Pampas because I think the experience is really special. The meat is very delicious, and the delivery is so unique that people who haven't experienced a Brazilian steakhouse love it. Their side dish bar is yummy, so much so that I always have to remember to go slow on the sides to leave room for the star of the evening, the traveling entrees. +Danny Wang 

http://www.pampaspaloalto.com/

Another place I went repeatedly for different types of dining experiences, from drinks with friends to a group birthday dinner, was the Gravity Wine Bar in Palo Alto. The service is attentive, and the food is upscale yummy. The wine is the star of the show at this restaurant so choose this restaurant when you are dining with someone who appreciates vino.

http://www.gravitywinebar.com/

For my birthday, I chose to dine at Station 1 Restaurant in Woodside. They made everything flow beautifully, and my guests were all delighted with the special touches they offered for my birthday. The food was haute rustic, and fit perfectly with the dining room atmosphere. It was a special night, and they do those just right!

http://station1restaurant.com/

Woodside kills me because they not only have Station 1 Restaurant  but also Michelin-starred The Village Pub. I dined there on a week night with another couple, and they were absolutely packed. The food was the reason! The service is impeccable, and we were very impressed with the vegetarian options offered our vegetarian friends. Stars well deserved!

http://www.thevillagepub.net/

Two important celebratory meals were spent at Fuki Sushi in Palo Alto. The fish is scrumptious there, and the service is equally as wonderful. We had kids with us for both parties, and the restaurant was as nice as they could be to the kids and their constant requests. We stuffed ourselves to the gills!

http://fukisushi.com/

A big favoriate of mine was an impromptu pop-in at the Bistro Elan on Birch Street in Palo Alto. The meal was modern and fresh. The choices on the menu were local and prepared expertly. They had an outstanding wine list, and everything tasted amazing. They are in a very small space, so call before going - we simply lucked out that night!

http://www.bistroelan.com/Bistro_Elan/Welcome.html

My favorite find was Vino Locale on Kipling Street in Palo Alto. I met a girlfriend for a sunny lunch on their back patio. Everything on the menu was local, seasonal and fresh as could be. Lots of gluten-free options, their wine list was ridiculous, and the back patio space was EMPTY. I think I might form a monthly girls-club meetup at this place. It was so fun and top secret!

http://www.vinolocale.com/

I also enjoyed an anniversary meal at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto. I hadn't been to this restaurant in 10 years, but it was just as good as I remember it. Lasting as long as Evvia has in Palo Alto is a testament to how good their food and service still is. Bravo!

http://www.evvia.net/home/

I did want to call out some special meals that I had off of the Peninsula just in case you will be in these neck of the woods.

+Tacolicious in the MIssion in San Francisco was the location I chose as the  birthday destination for my husband's 45th. We had special tequila flights, margaritas by the pitcher in multiple flavors, and some of the most delicious Mexican food I've had in a long while! They have an gorgeous, but casual event space, and their team was so attentive to our group during the event and also in the planning stage. It is a successful three-restaurant operation, and I know why! They rock very hard!

http://tacolicioussf.com/

Mozzeria was another special dining experience in San Francisco on 16t St in the Mission. We devoured home-made burrata, wood-fired pizzas, and so much more. The owners and servers are hearing impaired so ordering was really cool and different. It was really yummy and unique. Highly recommend.

http://www.mozzeria.com/

Can't ever have a best dining experiences list and not include Cafe Ethiopia in the Mission. They have the best Ethiopian food in the Bay Area (and I have made it my personal mission to try them all!) and the couple who owns the restaurant are the nicest people EVER. Win-win-win. I always have the vegetarian sampler, the chicken and mushroom dish, and the spinach or the whole lentils. Go there as soon as possible. You'll thank me!

http://www.cafe-ethiopia.com/

That's the list of my favorite dining pleasures in 2012. What did I leave off that you love?

Photo credit: http://www.seattlemag.com/article/best-2012
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