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Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)
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August 9-15, 2007
|Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Cucina Restaurant has recently started serving lunch. Don’t go in the front, go around back to the bridge and you can have a seat mid-span or go inside to the bar area. We took a seat over the creek to grab a ‘za, but the waitress said that they don’t fire up the pizza oven for this meal.
It’s sad how lunch is the unloved stepchild of the meal world. We all know what “the most important meal of the day” is and there is no contest to which meal diners find most celebratory… and then there’s lunch - a meal that comes with a time limit, a budgetary expectation and is often relegated to a box. The two days of the week it does become a leisurely indulgence, its title is revoked.
Not only does the word “brunch” chop off its appendage, it gives it a split personality disorder that is the icing on the pancake. There is no “lunch of champions.” Lunch is only noteworthy when you have 3 martinis with it and at that point, you lessen your ability to comprehend what you are eating. I spared our waitress my reflections (that lunch is not worthy of heating up anything other than my sense of injustice) and we ordered a couple of panini.
I got a Caprese ($6.95):
... which was a foccacia insulating a blanket of mozzarella, Roma tomato slices and a basil chiffonade. This panino had a crisp exterior and melty belly. Olives and a radicchio dominated salad were nice additions to this tasty plate.
Chubby ordered the Mt. Tam Cheese, prosciutto and arugula panino ($6.95):
This salty (in a good way) ham and cheese was good, but not as engaging as my Italian-flag-tribute of a sandwich.
It’s a casual stop with wobbly folding tables and spotty shady bits (bring a hat to sit outside.)
They have a limited menu which includes a daily pasta special, nibbles, panini, salads and crostini. Items on my list to try next time are the burata crostini ($5.00) on levain and the avocado over greens with marinated prawns ($7.75)
If you are in the ‘nabe it’s a good place to bridge your appetite between breakfast and dinner.
From today’s bunrab email, Dr. B. writes in about yesterday’s bunrab email:
EEEEK !!! No !!! Walker's Pie Shop is old school, way way. It's really cool to walk past (or is that passed?) and ponder its nifty past. Keep walking, even if you are using a walker. I haven't had their pies in years, but have had their food recently. One can't possibly make food that salty, with nothing fresh or made there and have the pies worth eating. It isn't possible. Please walk on by and visit the Morningside Cafe a few doors up. It's absolutely wonderful (we don't have many breakfast cafes in this area, compared to Chico). It's the only place I've been to in years that makes scrambled eggs correctly. Their softly scrambled, all juicy. I asked for the same thing at the Shutter Cafe and he made me a damned plain omelette. I made a scrunchy face. Housemade sausage and the toast comes NOT buttered margarined. I go at least once a week now.
Thanks for walking me through that. I guess the pie search will never end…
|Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We thought a bar devoted to babies would be a chaotic Gin-boree but it turned out that we were the only shorties at Bar Bambino when we pacified our hunger with a colic-tion of teething items in this newborn establishment.
Last time we bellied away from this bar due to the long wait in this dodgey block of the Mission, but today we planned our feeding time away from the weekend bottle neck.
... sounded enticing. I imaged some meltingly tender meat strewn with some long, braised leek stalks with some starchy element. It turned out to be more of a rustic bowl o’ beef cooked down with onions and leeks. Delish? Check. But it needed a relief from this tasty onslaught of protein. A simple, vinegary parsley salad or even some bread would have helped to reset my tongue from this meaty marathon.
The Sausage panini ($11.50):
... was a simple, hearty, sandwich. Melty provolone, sweet peppers and onions on rustic bread was satisfying. An ample scoop of farro salad with celery and carrots was refreshing. I wish the carrots had their raw taste cooked off, but it was still good.
They have a cheese sommelier that makes selections based on your preferences. We pronounced that we were not faint of heart and that she should not hesitate to offer up something stinky or aggressive. The three cheeses ($12.50):
... that arrived were a Tartufare (sheep and cow milk cheese with truffles), a Tallegio (soft wash-rind cow milk cheese) and a Pecorino (hard sheep milk cheese) with mission fig, honey, walnuts, dried fruit and some thinly sliced, toasted, walnut bread. They were all fine, but the Tallegio was not as ripe as I prefer and the others were good, but not anything that was as exciting as a trip to the Cheeseboard or Cowgirl…but now I’m just being a baby.
From today’s bunrab email, Steven writes about yesterday’s pies:
With all this pie talk, I wondered if you've ever tried Walker's Pie Shop on Solano Ave. in Albany? I've been meaning to try it for years. It's probably old school, which could be good or... not. I also wanted to say that in the last few months, I've really enjoyed your writing (or finally realized how wonderfully witty you are.)
I haven’t been to Walker’s in ages. I actually was under the mistaken impression that you must actually use a walker in order to qualify as a customer, but now that I have cleared that up, I must go back and refresh my memory on their pastry packets. Thanks for the reminder and for the props.
|Monday, August 13, 2007
As far as we are concerned, there are not enough places that serve pie. Pie is supposed to be 2 things:
1) easy, and
...yet our observations do not fully support this theory. Good pie is often best left to home baking, but when the mood strikes, I formulate what pie outlets are within my radius.
We were pretty close to Fat Apples so we peeled in for a couple of their fruity wedges.
I got peach ($4.50):
... which had a crumble topping. It was fine with its chunks of fruit and pleasant with its barely sweet flavor, but the winner was the purple triangle that Chubby ordered.
The Olallieberry pie ($4.00):
... hit the spot. Tangy and stuffed with purple fruit, the seeds added texture-tainment to this flakey-crusted tongue dyer.
Fat Apples may not be trip worthy, but it was just the ticket for today’s pie-eyed craving.
Fat Apples Restaurant and Bakery
|Sunday, August 12, 2007
Incanto was the first restaurant in these parts to provide filtered, sparkling or still water to diners at no additional charge. This may seem counter-intuitive from a business standpoint because it dams up a revenue stream that most restaurants use to upsell customers on as soon as they take a seat.
Although this loses thousands of dollars a year for Incanto, it is a great thing to do. When you think about the packaging and fuel involved in getting Perrier to your table it does seem a little earth hostile.
After many years of having big blue bottles delivered to the hutch in a huge truck, we were inspired by Incanto to go with an in-hutch water filtration system:
We installed it ourselves, and even without prehensile thumbs, it was easy to do. Now we’ll have more money to spend on yummy chow.
|Saturday, August 11, 2007
Dinner at Incanto:
... started with a plate of shaved snails with purslane ($9.50):
This succulent, garlicy salad contained the emblem of the slow food movement (appropriately shaved for this cac-tie event.)
House-marinated olives ($3.50) were served warm infused with lemon, rosemary, and spices.
The Duncan Street prosciutto with Mission figs ($14.00):
... was as simple as it was delish. Paper thin Duncan hines-quarters mixed devilishly with ripe fruit. It took the cake.
... with pork ragu which is required eating. This gets a high hanky ranky.
The Malfatti ($17.00):
... with lamb sugo had a richness that was cut by the preserved lemon. It’s difficult to compete with the pork ragu pasta, but this dish held its own without living down to its name “malfatti” (poorly made.)
Clams and sausage ($18.00):
... were linked with perfect little cherry tomatoes in a chili laced broth. The tenderness of the belly walkers against the richness of the porky tube is a good reason to forget the word kosher.
Duck breast ($22.00):
... with foie gras was cooked to a pink perfection. This flavorful pig of the sky was just ducky.
... with mushrooms potatoes and greens was prepared as an herb stuffed roulade. This goat does not ‘scape notice. I point the finger of blame to the chef for bucking the trend with this un-bleat-able dish.
... came with dates, biscotti and jam. The Salva Cremasco (cow), Pecorino (sheep) and Caprino pura capra (goat) were a nice combo of different textures and utter origins.
Chocolate-raspberry cake ($7.50):
... was served with plump raspberries and coffee cream. This was a tasty sweet, but it’s difficult to compete with their signature dessert - bay leaf panna cotta ($7.50):
Even if you are full, you cotta save room for this delicate, vanilla and bay scented cloud of creamy goodness.
Incanto is one of San Francisco’s best restaurants. They excel at crowd-pleasing pastas and meats but aren’t afraid to also serve pig’s heads and duck testicles. What’s not to love?
|Friday, August 10, 2007
I decided to skip the sandwiches and go for some sweets. My strawberry rhubarb tart ($3.00):
... had a nice barby tang, but the crust was soggy. The canelle ($1.75):
... was perfectly fine, but the coffee macaron ($1.50):
... suffered from the same affliction as the tart crust. I wanted that delicate, meringuey shell, but got as soft, cookie filled with a ganache that was slightly too sweet for my taste.
The counter service was jumbled due to the lunch rush, but they offered an apology for forgetting my order and quickly fixed the situation once I called it to their attention.
Boulange de Strawberry
|Thursday, August 9, 2007
Even though Tabla Café swapped their “a” for an “e” we still like to digest the contents of their table.
The specials were all enticing today and we couldn’t resist getting a couple of their seasonal dosai:
Gulf shrimp ($12.50) were grilled and wrapped in a tangy cigar with snap peas, sliced radishes, arugula, cilantro and a chili aioli.
Fried squash blossoms ($10.50) flourished with tomatillos, teleme cheese, corn and basil.
A pot of avocado relish and cuke and yogurt came to gild the lily.
Table is one of our favorite places to grab a bite. The food is fresh and tasty and the vibe is welcoming and casual.
Entire contents copyright © 2007 by BunRabCo. All rights reserved.