Sunday, April 22, 2007
Alaskan king crab and lots of it swimming in a lovely curry sauce. I had second helpings of the tender fleshy legs ... who wouldn't, right? Served up on a bed of rice and washed down with an ice cold beer (ok, two), the crabs (and the company) made this the perfect Sunday afternoon.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
For the fairly modest price of $8, the grilled chicken salad comes packed with organic greens, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, chunks of tomato, Granny Smith apple slivers, gobs of Laura Chenel's goat cheese and a partridge in a pear tree. OK, maybe not the bird, but when I picked the box up off the counter, it sure felt like a carcass had been tucked away in there. Needless to say, my lunch mate had serious box envy; mine was bigger than his.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Super fresh, seasonal and really quite simple, the dishes we ordered stood up, demanding we take notice. And we did. The grilled shrimp, cooked and seasoned just right, came out on a bed of al dente, mildly flavored chickpeas with kalamata olives peppering the app. A little lemon, a lot of olive oil and a drizzle of creme fraiche added just the right amount of zing and zag to create contrast and ultimately balance in the dish.
You can't have red wine without some serious meat, so I went for the Niman Ranch braised pork sitting atop a generous helping of herbacious spaetzle along with some wild greens. The pork was DeeRishous ... falling apart with just a flick of the fork. The bitterness of the greens cut through the richness of the pork and contrasted nicely with the easy-going flavor of the pasta.
But it was the wild mushroom homemade pasta in a creamy pancetta-flecked sauce that bowled us over. It's probably the best pasta I've ever had, said my dinner partner. And how. Munching on a trumpet mushroom and then some maitake and then still more on oyster mushrooms, I quickly filed through my memory of previous pasta feeds. Nope. Save for a bolognese and tagliatelle dish at Supper in the East Village, I've got to say this is the best.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
You get two lovely crumbly balls o' meat when you go for the entree. My South African friend likes it this way: with a pile of fries on top. ("I'm hungry," he said.) Heck. Who am I to argue?
Saturday, April 7, 2007
For the first time ever, I got the afternoon off for Good Friday, and in celebration my coworking cohorts and I a-hopped, skipped and a-jumped over to Puerto Alegre in the Mission where we sucked down copious amounts of citrusy-sweet (in a good way) margaritas and noshed on spicy (jalapenos and onions galore), chunky guacamole and chips. What a perfect pairing.
The topper was the super meat burrito my mate sitting beside me got handed. Jaw-dropping to say the least. At least a foot long and packed with all the goodies: tender beef, beans, rice, guac, salsa, cheese and more ... doused in a super tasty sauce with lotsa sour cream. It's one of the best burritos I've ever tasted (and I've probably had a few hundred growing up here in SF)—the moist interior was well seasoned, with all of the ingredients pulling together in perfect harmony. After this visit, I'm gonna have to say that, pound for pound, Puerto Alegre's tortilla torpedo now outranks the almost-puny-in-comparison burritos at my usual go-to fave: Pancho Villa.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
does not a great meal make. Though it sure made me think my impending meal at the Presidio's barn of a wine bar-cum-global/eclectic tapas restaurant Pres a Vi could be a tasty one.
Well, the seared foie gras and dayboat scallop with rhubarb wasn't bad, though it was a tad underseasoned and barely lukewarm. Hmmmm ....
The next 2 small plates, duck buns and rock shrimp 'n avocado lumpia, didn't do much to dazzle either. The soft, springy buns and shredded duck dressed in hoisin were pleasant enough, but the lumpia was a tad overseasoned and again only lukewarm. Truth be told, the deep-fried avocado rolls at the Cheesecake Factory are 10 times better (crispier, zestier ... just plain yummier). As far as I could tell, there was nothing really pinoy about this plate; and mind you, I grew up with my mom—the deep-frying diva—making mad lumpia (she having learned how to make them from her filipina friends).
The paella was salty and kinda mushy, the shrimp a bit fishy. It was nothing like the dish I'd fallen in love with 3 times over: once in Nice, France; a second time in Monterey, CA; and a third over a home-cooked meal in Berkeley. We tried a few other things, the worst being a cold, undercooked slab of fat, otherwise known as the pork belly (love pork belly, but that was some clammy, chewy, hard fat ... completely inedible); and the best being a humble crabcake, which was loose and crumbly, almost all crab, and well seasoned to boot.
All in all, it was a toss-up. The kitchen is huge, the place fairly new. Maybe they'll get it down in a year. Not sure I'll want to go back even then. Plenty of SF restos that are already getting it right.