Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Girl & The Fig

A day trip to Sonoma was in order as I hadn't yet been since my move back to SF almost a year ago. After a bit of wine-tasting at one of my fave small wineries, Gundlach Bundschu, which after six generations is still family-owned, my mom, dad and I stopped at the girl & the fig for a midday repast that was overall pretty good. Here's how it rated:

7.5 for the grilled fig salad consisting of a dense pile of arugula, toasted pecans, "Laura Chenel" chevre, pancetta with a fig and port vinaigrette. The ripe figs were squishy and soft, the goat cheese super luscious and creamy; both contrasted nicely against the crunch of the pecans and crisp, peppery leaves. Only downside: the saltiness of the pancetta cubes, all huddled at the bottom of the plate, was a bit much for my taste.

6 for the open-faced roast pork loin tartine with an apple and apricot chutney (probably the best thing on the plate) sitting on a slice of grilled country bread and accompanied by a red potato salad. Even though it was the prettiest of all the entrees, it fell short of my mom's expectations. She much prefers soft bread to hard, and the grilled bread definitely fell in the latter of the two categories, so much so that she had to saw quite energetically to cut through the crisped exterior. As well, she'd hoped for a hot sammy, and the pork slices, though good, were cold to the touch. And the salad, dressed in an herbed vinaigrette, was not terribly flavorful. (I left the sample she put on my plate almost untouched, and I typically love potato salad.)

8.5 for the croque monsieur made with Niman Ranch jambon and “St George” cheese accompanied by some of the best sweet 'n tangy pickles I've had in recent memory. The brioche bread had been skillfully grilled so that the crispy exterior housed a buttery buoyant interior. The vinegary pickles proved a perfect foil to the richness of the croques. I was quite happy with my order and would probably have been ecstatic except for the fact that I kinda wished I'd gotten my dad's dish.

9 for the top sirloin burger served up in a dutch crunch bun and smothered in cheddar and grilled onions with a generous tumble of matchstick fries by its side. The moist, crumbly patty was well seasoned; the bread soft and fluffy. Slathered with a zesty garlic mayonnaise and a generous splatter of ketchup, the girl & the fig burger is just about the best rendition I've tasted so far this side of the Colorado. Judging from the way he laid waste to his dish, my dad thought so too.

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