poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

A Good Year


I’m making a return to food posts today. Don’t you think it’s about time? Yeah, me too. Good thing this one will be chock full of deliciousness.

At the end of September, TC and I celebrated our first anniversary. Yay us! TC suggested that we go to Esin in Danville, where he had dined twice previously and was very impressed with their food. I snarked for one second at the thought of going all the way to Danville, when there are so many great restaurants closer by in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. But then I realized I didn’t have any better ideas, so I conceded. Plus, the Yelp reviews are pretty great. So that was that, and reservations were made.

First, the menu. I was thoroughly impressed with the selection — I would’ve eaten every single item from the menu. Everything sounded delicious and fresh, and most of the items were local, seasonal, and/or organic. This then presented a dilemma: what should we order? We ended up getting 2 appetizers, a soup, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, and a half bottle of wine. Yes, we were definitely in the mood to celebrate (i.e., pig out)!

perusing the extensive wine list

We narrowed down our appetizer choices to the popcorn shrimp with garlic aioli and the flatbread with fresh figs, caramelized onions, blue cheese, vincotto, and arugula. We also shared a bowl of the mushroom soup. All 3 were fabulous, but the standout dish to me was the popcorn shrimp, which was super fresh and breaded and fried to perfection. After looking at the extensive wine list, I chose a half bottle of cabernet franc from Lang & Reed, which was mellow enough for the appetizers, but stood up nicely to our hearty main courses.

Mushroom soup with a cabernet franc from Lang & Reed. The AMAZING popcorn shrimp in the rear.

Flatbread with figs, caramelized onions, bleu cheese, vincotta and arugula. So tasty.

For our main entrees, TC chose the Painted Hill pot roast, with garlic mashed potatoes and baby root vegetables. He’s gotten it before at Esin and really liked it, and was debating whether or not to try something new. In the end, he decided to go with his old standby, since it’s one of his favorite dishes ever.

Pot roast with mashed potatoes and baby veggies.

For me, I ordered the duck confit with pomegranate, crispy sage, celery root puree, rainbow chard, and pear chutney. I like to order things I wouldn’t cook at home, and this dish definitely fit the bill.

Ooh la la! Duck leg confit!

The duck was delicious, but since I was pretty full from our appetizers, and because I wanted to save room for dessert, I had all of 5 bites and asked for the rest to be boxed up. TC did the same with his pot roast. Then it was on to dessert!

Esin is famous for their bread pudding, but neither of us are bread pudding people, if you know what I mean. So we put caution to the wind. I ordered the apple crumble and TC ordered the lemon meringue pie. While the pie looked very impressive, my apple crumble was superior.

Impressive presentation, but the proportions were off.

Apple crumble. Would've been better if I got it a la mode, but it was darn good nevertheless.

We were completely stuffed! I should mention that the service was superb. Our server was knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. The manager stopped by twice to check on us, and agreed to take a photo (see below), even though he had no idea how to use a DSLR camera. As for the atmosphere, I thought it was good but not great. I liked the spaciousness of it; nothing irks me more than paying a pretty penny for a meal and being seated 2 feet away from the next table, and also when a dining room is so loud, you can hardly carry a conversation. On the other hand, Esin was almost too spacious. They sat us in a giant booth, big enough for six people! I joked that we had enough room to lie down to nap between courses. Also, the restaurant is located in a shopping center, which, even though it was a nicer shopping center, was still a little off-putting. (Yes, I know, snobbishness in full force!) But all in all, it was a very memorable and delicious meal, and hopefully the first in many anniversary dinners to come.


Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

2 thoughts on “A Good Year

  1. Aw! That pizza looks amazing, and I heartily condone the man’s choice in encore-ordering the pot roast. I would have, too. MM, POT ROAST. GARLIC MASHED POTATOES. So good.

  2. I love when they roast veggies with the stem buds still on. I don’t know why, but carrots with a little green just taste better!
    (I’m sure your duck was also very good)

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