||Tuesday, June 23, 2009
On our way into Sebo restaurant, we passed a Japanese couple at the door who were checking out the non-Japanese sushi chefs.
“Hakujin” the woman said vetoing this restaurant selection. Fortunately, there were a number of Japanese guests in the dining room who did not share in their raw judgement.
The chef’s selection sashimi ($16.00):
...was big eye tuna, yellowtail kingfish and fluke. These sweet and clean tasting tidbits paved our palates for scallops ($9.00):
...medium fatty tuna ($16.00):
...gizzard shad ($9.00):
...and a seared 3 line grunt ($8.00) with sancho pepper and sea salt:
Sea urchin roe ($9.00):
...stimson clam ($7.00):
...and striped jack ($11.00):
...were a rich, crunchy and fleshy finale to our fish fest.
Sebo serves insanely fresh and well selected seafood in this small, bustling eatery. The orders can get a little backed up at times but during our wait we were asked if we would like some miso soup to fill the gap (and we weren’t even whining...come to think of it, maybe it was a reward for not whining?) Whatever the case, we left happy as clams (and lighter by a few that were well spent.) These hakujin know a thing or two about sushi.
517 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA
||Monday, June 22, 2009
Pop a cap in your edit
We got some Damm beer at the damn store since we wanted to check out how elBulli’s Ferran Adrià has tapped into the heads of beer drinkers.
Estrella Damm INEDIT may not roll off the tongue, but it rolls down the throat just fine. These summery citrusy suds have a fine bubble, and subtle spice from coriander and liquorice. It’s hard not to have unrealistic expectations of hyper-bowl-ic chef-leb-preneurs but bypassing the corkscrew for the church key helped to unlock any ingrained preconceptions and hop to our own conclusions about this refreshing, star-sudded, food-friendly, bulldog brew - a damm good way to beat today’s heat.
In other chilly news, Traci Des Jardins revealed her menu for her upcoming Manzanita Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe. Rotisserie Wolfe Ranch quail, bread salad pancetta and raisins sounds worth skiing in for.
||Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Golden Glass tasting:
...included Italian, New Zealand:
...and domestic wines selected with an eye to the of expression of their terrior as well as sustainable practices.
This year’s Italian dominated line up included rare varietals and refreshingly familiar beverages. We enjoyed the Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot DOCG 2004 and the Adami Vigneto Giradino Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC 2007 before catching up with our friend Eleanor:
... who is working on reforming school lunch programs (but I don’t think that they will include imported wines.)
The Golden Glass
San Francisco, CA
||Saturday, June 20, 2009
... and music:
... got everyone in proof positive party mode at the Hangar One Summer Open House today.
The usual suspects:
... were shaking up cocktails:
... including the Whistlin’ Dixie with chipotle vodka, peach juice and whisky and (our fave) the Basil Bo Peep with basil eau de vie, lime juice and vanilla simple syrup.
Cowgirl Creamery cheese, sweets from some of the La Cocina entrepreneurs and 4505 Chicharrones:
...made for good snacking between drinks.
A lady approached the table of nduja:
... and told the Boccalone staff that she was a vegetarian, to which Terry replied, “these pigs were vegetarian too” but she chose to pass up this spicy salame spread (which allowed me to justify taking seconds.)
We savored sips of Agua Azul reposado and añejo as we queued for absinthe floats:
... before absinthe-mindedly floating away ourselves...
Hangar One soirees are always serious fun but for those who luge with Olympic aspirations, they have the party bus shuttle:
... to BART or the ferry (if you forgot your white stretch limo.)
Hangar One Summer Open House
Hangar One/St. George Spirits
2601 Monarch St.
||Friday, June 19, 2009
“Here we call it a Cento” the barsita espressed correcting my order of a “Gibraltar.” The metal Blue Bottle Coffee sign and the Linden-like layout (as well as my low caffeine level) had me thinking that this was another BBC, but Cento gets beans and training from the cobalt canteen crew and pulls their own poetry from their distinct grounds.
My Cento ($2.50):
...tasted a tad milkier than a Gibraltar, but it was still very nice. Chubby ordered a cappuccino ($2.75):
...which the barista handed over with a quizzed look and asked “you didn’t order non-fat did you?” Chubby said no, but that it wasn’t a big deal. She quickly withdrew the cup and insisted on correcting the order “because it will taste better” - so true.
We will definitely return to the peppy pit stop which has the added enticement of being next door to Little Skillet. Waffles and coffee al fresco!
360 Ritch St.
San Francisco, CA
||Thursday, June 18, 2009
Hood Canal and Kumamoto oysters ($2.75 each):
... with Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine shucked us out of our shells as we settled into one of the booths at Oola.
One of this evening’s specials was a ceviche of sole in a citrus-vodka sauce with ginger infused pickled onions, dried tomato and avocado on crostini:
This firm fleshed fish with creamy avocado, puckery scurvy tonic and crunchy bread made us sole-ivate.
Seared ahi ($14.50):
... appeared in a newfangled Niçoise with hard boiled quail eggs, haricots verts, mache,olives, hearts of palm and roasted peppers. This nicely seasoned Niç was drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette and benefited from top notch tuna. A 2007 Vionta Albarino went swimmingly with these surf-ings.
... stuffed with foie gras and minced chicken rested in a fragrant black truffle broth. The perfume from these poultry pasta parcels mushroomed as we went from this featherweight round to take a few jabs at some ribs ($14.00):
Their baby backs win the cage match for their sticky soy, ginger and cilantro sauce with a little kick of both heat and sweet. The meat came willingly off the bone in this signature dish with a side of apple and cabbage slaw and a river of peppery 2005 Les Caves Roties de Pente Syrah.
Grilled Mahi Mahi, ($24.50):
... braised fennel, fava beans, tomatoes, pistou and beurre blanc with sides of parmesan and truffle oil tossed fried potatoes ($8.00):
... and Swiss chard ($6.00):
... with bacon cubes with the cherry and spice of a 2006 Byron Pinot Noir made us glad we had a comfy booth in case we couldn’t move after our meal.
A warm fruit crisp ($9.00) with blue and black berries was topped with a scoop of lemon mascarpone ice cream while a rich and oozy chocolate caramel cake ($9.00):
... with crunchy bits of praline and a refreshing yogurt sorbet were both good, but the fleur de sel sprinkled over the hot chocolate round contrasted by the clean and clear flavor of the yogurt ice couldn’t be argued with.
Even though we consumed enough calories to power a village, this is a good place to grab a smaller bite too. Couples dropped by for drinks at the bar:
... and a neighboring booth got a round of some fine looking burgers (with a side of fries natch.)
This clubby eatery has knowledgeable service and a welcoming vibe to complement their tasty chow.
Oola Restaurant & Bar
860 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA
||Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The StarChefs.com Rising Stars Revue reception kicked off in the Charles Krug Winery garden where rising stars appeared in the form of vintage Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne bubbles to accompany Petrossian caviar hors d’oeuvres.
An impressive list of Chefs included such notables as Bottega’s Nick Ritchie, the Meadowood’s Christopher Kostow and Madrona Manor’s Jesse Mallgren in this showcase of Napa and Sonoma talent.
Sommeliers Yoon Ha and Geoff Kruth were in charge of the vino pair-itas that were true to each chef’s signature dish. Scott Beattie:
... was also mixing up Bellini and bellissimo Bella Ruffina:
... which were a hit with the cocktail connoisseurs.
Nuttiness from sous vide heated mushrooms:
... sunchokes and toasted Marcona almonds over a creamy bruléed:
... sunchoke glaçage topped with garlic chips and upland cress had us nutty for this clear and complex construction:
... by Chef Phillip Tessler of Bouchon:
Nicolas Feuillate Rosé Champagne put a ‘choke hold on this two fisted, fungustatory feat.
Ubuntu’s Chef Jeremy Fox:
... made a fantastic fregola:
... in caramelized vegetable juices with fried leeks and baby agretti (harvested from the restaurant’s garden) followed up by Ubuntu pastry Chef Deanie Hickox-Fox’s lemon verbena infused, eggless cheesecake with a roasted Frog Hollow apricot over a graham crust with a crisp spiral cookie:
... to complete the delicate and thoughtful array of textures and flavors.
Chef John Toulze kicked bass with his fish preparation:
This Girl and the Fig figure put a nice crispy skin on Maryland wild striped bass served over a ragout of salsify, mushrooms and spinach.
Pasta packets of sweet peas and egg yolk:
... were stamped with black truffle and scent special delivery by Restaurant Eloise Chefs Eric Korsh and Ginevra Iverson:
Winery Chef Richard Haake got our goat with some Rancho Gordo beans which we contented grazed on while on his home turf.
This constellation of culinary command had us loosening our Orion belts as we expanded our universe by filling our black holes. Navigating to the establishments of these celestial chefs now has more of a gravitational pull...
Napa Sonoma Rising Stars Revue
Charles Krug Winery
||Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Our pal L. took us to Pizzaolio:
...to round up some of the obvious entree but before polishing off some slices, we nibbled on flatbreads with Bellwether Farms ricotta, long cooked fava beans, rocket and spicy, pickled carrot ribbons ($10.00):
...which was a crunchy, creamy, fresh and pickley combo of crackery goodness.
A couple discs spun into the mix, the first with nettle needles playing off pecorino ($16.00):
...on this pie fidelity recording of a simple blistered baseline with a vegetal percussion followed by a squid, cherry tomato and aioli ($18.00):
...number with a three part harmony of tomato, mayo and seafood performing in this ring cycle.
Hoffman Farm chicken breast ($24.00):
...was battered and fried to a crisp crusted casing around a moist (and probably brined) bird. This nicely seasoned nugget nested on a lumpy and luscious layer of garbanzos and turnips.
Pizzaiolo is a great restaurant in most every way. The only issue I have is their under illuminated bathrooms. Loo-ney lamps and a few tea lights create a seance setting to this rest in peace room. I always get the feeling that darkness by design is meant to diminish the detection of detritus (which was the case with my nettley teeth.)
5008 Telegraph Ave.