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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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February 19-28, 2009


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  Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Chronic call of wine competitions caused a sell out crowd to fill Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion for the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition tasting.

Despite the mob, we were able to sample wines without too much difficulty since the biggest logjams were from those waiting for the buffet created by culinary students:

We enjoyed the 2005 Cyrus Bordeaux blend:

... the black fruit brandishing 2005 Peter Murphy Vineyards cab and the 2007 Jim Ball “Boonville” Pinot Noir:

...which kept us rolling with its cherry and balanced oak.

The festive crowd may not have created the best conditions for this videographer:

...but for those focussed on the soundness of wines, this climate held more promise.

2009 SF Chronicle Wine Competition Tasting

Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA



  Friday, February 27, 2009

Contigo! We have been waiting with sardine baited breath for the “t” to be crossed and the “i” to be dotted and now, this con-vivial Spanish accented kitchen and cava is a go.

Brett and Elan filled the restaurant with a group of diners (who are not easy to please) to inaugur-ate their casually chic eatery.

We sipped on dry sherry as we nibbled on marcona almonds, spanish olives, pickled carrots and cauliflower:

Warmed Acme epi came with a fruity Arbequina olive oil that added a peppery flavor to the crusty bread which we topped with Spanish anchovies:

House made salt cod rocked in an orange, olive and frisee salad:

The citrus provided balance with the salt of the olives and fish in this take on a Catalan creation.

Creamy Pt. Reyes blue cheese and the crunch of toasted hazelnuts punctuated a deliciously bitter chicory salad:

Quinault river steelhead:

... was cooked to a perfect rare preserving the firm fleshed flavor of this pristine piece of pleasingly seasoned seafood. A bed of grilled spring onions and pickled red onion allium-ated this fin-tastic dish.

Chubby is pretty much all belly and ears and so was this amazing butter bean bordered pork platillo:

We loved the chewy and earily crispy pig listening devices with the slice of abs that never encountered a sit up (until we took notice of them.) We savored the leaner bits of pork with the perfectly cooked beans before cutting up the pork fat and mushing it onto pieces of epi with a sprinkle of flor de sal tarteso to create a perfect carbo-conveyer belt loosening device.

For dessert we devoured, a gateau Basque-like wedge of almond cake:

... filled with olallieberry preserves and pastry cream as well as fresh, hot, sugar-coated churros:

... with a cup of rich chocolate from the hypno-churn. This combo had us paddling our deep fried dough oars through a sea of perfectly sweetened cacao.

Contigo is everything we love in a restaurant. Excellent imaginative chow and talented warm people. They will open their doors for dinner on March 3rd with a well priced menu (appetizers from $8-$9 and entrees from $12-$16). The bar is as welcoming for a glass of cava and a grilled jamon and queso sandwich as it is for a full meal.

Contigo Kitchen + Cava
1320 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA



  Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stick a Fork in it

It is a sign of the tines that Fork Restaurant has pitched a new concept to be in tune with the road ahead. DreamFarm has landed in its place (cultivated by the same owner) clearing the field of prix fixe to rotate crops of comfort food customers.

Chicken and dumplings ($12.95):

...had fluffy, herb speckled, dough balls in a pea dotted gravy strewn with tender chicken and carrots. This was a fun take on a homey American classic.

The burger ($10.50):

...had a perfectly cooked, well seasoned patty on a soft Artisan bakery bun with red onions, tomato, lettuce and mayo. A haystack of shoestrings came with this beefy bundle.

The simple and serene dining room has remained unchanged from the Fork lift and the service is friendly and efficient.

Fork’s salad days may have come to an end but DreamFarm is a good option for locals who want cozy chow with reces-sensitive prices.


198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
San Anselmo, CA



  Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cottage Eatery’s Wednesday night burger special ($15.00):

... contained the alchemizing agents of bacon and fried egg on their brioche bordered, Prather Ranch beef Gruyere cheeseburger.

Chopped iceberg, red onions, pickles, aioli, ketchup and a pureed onion-balsamic sauce augmented our sandwiches along with a heap of French fries.

With Tiburon business currently Tiburoff, it’s good to see that Cottage continues to dwell on delivering tasty chow.

Cottage Eatery
114 Main St.
Tiburon, CA



  Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kiwi and Brussels sprouts ($9.00):

... may not sound like they have a gravitational pull, but these green orbs were well aligned in a salad of Half Moon Bay mini cabbages and California fruit. This crispy leaved, sweet and salty combo had a hint of pleasant bitterness washed away with an effervescent 2006 Ameztoi Hondarrabi Zuri during our dinner at Bocadillos this evening.

Seared jewel-like chunks of tuna ($14.00):

... with avocado, grapefruit, blood orange, parsley and chives were dusted with piment d’espelette in a rich, clean and refreshing preparation.

We nibbled on savory slices of Serrano ham and chorizo ($7.00):

... as we sipped 2007 Montebaco Verdejo with a hint of spritz.

Tender octopus ($13.00):

... with roasted piquillo peppers and potatoes was a feat before more feet in the form of pigs trotters ($10.00):

These pork patties were fried to a deep brown with a lace of crispy bits encasing rich and flavorful morsels of meat. Frisee, parsley, giant caper berries and an egg salad add arch support to this shoe-in for the best foot you will put in your mouth.

We tamped our foot down with a fitting 2004 Arrels Garnacha and dug into braised Belgian endive ($9.00):

... with a hint of cumin, a kick of espelette and a pucker of Meyer lemon.

Bavette steak ($15.00):

... was cooked to a perfect medium rare and sliced thin under a lawn of chimichurri and a splash of olive oil. This tender beef was serenaded with black trumpets, hen of the woods, oyster and hedgehog mushrooms ($13.00):

... in a fungustatory umami harmony with a bassline of 2005 Volver Tempranillo.

We didn’t allow time for the banana ice cream to melt over the rich, warm (and not too sweet) chocolate cake ($7.00):

The caramel flan ($7.00):

... was ‘tastic with pyramids of Maldon salt which dissolved into the vanilla bean flecked pool. This is a must order for salted caramel fanatics.

Their tapas menu lends itself to dropping in for a nibble or engaging in a hedonistic feast. Chef Scott Peterson knows how to coax flavor from his well sourced ingredients which are served with a friendly, casual efficiency.

Next time we’ll visit during their Basque happy hour when they serve little assorted skewered bites called pintxos ($2.00 each) weekdays from 5-7 p.m.

710 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA



  Monday, February 23, 2009

Spell Check Please

Our lamentable late lunching
often causes us to alter our venue evaluation criteria. The determining factor shifts from the chef’s abilities or philosophy, to the overriding consideration that it’s open.

I should have heeded the menu’s warning of pot “sickers” (sic-ers):

... before requesting these doughy pork dumplings ($5.50):

The shrimp and pork wontons over noodles ($7.25):

... were okay, (but not a reorder) along with the standard issue beef asparagus dish:

But to be fair, our insane hunger was sated and we have had better luck here in the past with the plainer rice and chicken dish and I love that they are open from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week.

Pacific East Shopping Mall
3288A Pierce St.
Richmond, CA



  Sunday, February 22, 2009

The pizza at Piccino Cafe isn’t licked by the flames of a wood burning oven, but this does not mean that they these flatbreads are not lick-worthy.

We split a “red” ($14.00):

... and a “white” ($13.50):

... to chase away our hunger blues.

A tangy tomato sauce was topped with Fatted Calf pancetta and ricotta salata on this rosemarriage of classic flavors while the plainer pigmented pizza got a boost from anchovies, Meyer lemon and a scattering of cauliflower.

Their espresso machine is located 3 doors down:

... the street to prevent a Blue Bottle-neck by spreading around their grounds. They also have a small case of baked goods to for those who want a quick and peppy snack.

Piccino Cafe
801 22nd St.
Piccino Coffee Bar
807 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA



  Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Mustard Festival Le Grand Dîner:

... was orchestrated so that each course was prepared by a local chef:

... and paired with a wine from a nearby winery.

A crisp and delicious 2007 Saddleback Pinot Blanc washed down sweetbreads with Pommery mustard:

... prepared by Chef Charles Weber.

Our favorite course was Chef Greg Cole’s seared scallop and braised pork belly:

... which surfed on a turf mustard seed beurre blanc followed by a luscious lasagna with broccoli rabe:

... from Scott Warner served with a rose-scented 2006 Luna Sangiovese.

Zuzu’s Chef Angela Tamura covered duck with dried cherry jus:

... followed by blue nose sea bass with black chanterelles and root vegetables:

... from Chef Aaron Meneghelli.

Chef Ken Frank’s slow cooked short ribs:

... were served over Cheddared tapioca in a foie gras sauce.

CIA Pastry Instructor Stephen Durfee tested our stomach capacity with brown sugar ice cream topped pecan cake with salted butterscotch:

A 2007 Honig late harvest Sauvignon Blanc was the sweet ending to a fun evening hosted by Margrit Biever Mondavi:

... and Chef Ken Frank.

The Mustard Festival continues through March with art, music and food related events. Take a look at their calendar for the deets.

The 16th Annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival



Mark your Calendar

Honig vineyard (who poured the delicious late harvest Sauvignon Blanc this evening) will be showcasing their wines at a dinner at McCormick & Kuleto’s on Wednesday, March 18th.

Steve Honig will be on hand at this 5 course seafood and eat it evening.

McCormick & Kuleto’s

Honig Winemaker Dinner
March 18th, $85 per person, reservations required
900 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA



  Friday, February 20, 2009

Rock Wall Wine Company hosted this evening’s Dark and Delicious event.

This Petite Sirah rah squad fell into formation with a durif-fic selection of reds.

Our fave of the evening was the 2006 Stanton Vineyards St. Helena Petite Sirah:

... and we also appreciated the Stag’s Leap:

... 2006 Estate Grown offering.

There were also non-alcoholic liquids flowing including nitrogen:

Why cry over spilt milk when you can spill cryogenic material over sweetened cream? Patrick David’s catering whipped up some peanut butter ice cream which was a gas over a chocolate brownie:

Yoshi’s went belly up with a meltingly tender braised pork:

... over a satsuma sweet potato and apple puree with blanched leeks.

Other edibles included charcuterie, crostini and Riesling gelees encased berries:

... which were devoured by the hangar of hedonists:

... enjoying a variety of varietal variations.

Dark and Delicious
Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch St.
Alameda, CA




  Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crushpad was the launchpad for this evening’s Around the World in 80 Sips event.

Rather than circumnavigating the world in 80 days via a hot air balloon, Bottlenotes orchestrated a terrestrial terroir tour under one roof.

Pinotage not your thing? How about Israeli or Chinese wines? There was both the exotic and the familiar in this wide assortment of international intoxicants.

There was also good nibbling. The Fatted Calf’s:

... pancetta tesa:

... is pork belly that didn’t roll with the bacon crowd and chose to cure flat out. These nano-sheets of fat streaked meat are like a delectable, culinary band aid with curative properties.

Lev Delany Catering:

... cooked up braised pork shoulder with hazelnut salsa verde over polenta:

Robert guided towards the Chateau Musar:

...a lovely Lebanese Cabernet, Cinsault and Carignan blend.

Artisanal Premium Cheese:

... brought some of our faves (no generic cheese cubes here.) Piccino, TCHO chocolate and Galaxy desserts:

... flew in with fixes for our sweet tooth during this evaluation of the rank and oenophile.


2573 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA




back to last week - February 9-18, 2009



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