Monday, January 31, 2011

Fabulous Farina

I had a gorgeous meal at Farina with my equally gorgeous cousins, MCC and YJP, a few weeks ago. Yes, it was a bit pricey, but worth every penny. The scenestery Mission eatery is definitely back on my radar. This is love.

A refreshing tart-n-sweet-with-a-bit-of-a-bite radicchio of treviso and fennel salad sprinkled with walnuts and dressed with orange segments and balsamic vinegar.

Perfectly al dente Gragnano spaghetti (from Naples) tossed with a tumble of super fresh-and-sweet rock shrimp and clams.

The airiest handmade handkerchief pasta with Genovese basil pesto and big shavings of prosciutto. The menu says "Farina's pesto won the gold medal during the Genoa Pesto World Championship." I can see why ... AH-mazing.

My fave: Farina's oh-so-comforting, home-made pappardelle pasta, also done just right—that is, firm to the tooth—with a most succulent and musky wild boar ragu. MCC wanted to get in another order, but we wouldn't oblige her—we were stuffed to the gills (additional dishes not pictured).

And so we finished with the uber-creamy and luscious vanilla pannacotta with a generous drizzle of blueberry sauce. A very strong finish indeed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gary Danko ... Still the Best

It had been maybe a decade since my last visit to Gary Danko, and that visit had been heavenly. Probably one of my top 3 food experiences ever. Well, since that time, the fine-dining restaurant near Ghirardelli Square has continued to pull in culinary awards right and left.

And for good reason. Gary Danko still rocks. It's just as amazing as I remembered it to be. We recently dropped in for MN's bday and bon voyage and were absolutely delighted with everything that hit our table. And the service was beyond incredible. The only tiny minus? Decor that's a bit dated—stuck in the '90s, a bit like a "cruiseship," said MN, with its mirrored walls, gilt and over-the-top flower-filled vases.

Oh well, we soon forgot our surroundings as the courses started streaming out of the kitchen.

Amuse bouche of butternut squash soup

Risotto with lobster, rock shrimp, Shimeji mushrooms and butternut squash

Seared Sonoma foie gras with caramelized red onions and apples

Juniper crusted venison with braised red cabbage, cipollini onions, chestnut spaetzle, tangerines and cranberries

Roast Maine lobster with potato purée, chanterelle mushrooms, edamame and tarragon

Yay, cheese course

mmmm .... cheese

We love cheese

Flambéed bananas with mascarpone filled crèpes, graham cracker-pecan streusel and vanilla ice cream

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meat on a Stick at Espetus Churrascaria

What's not to love? When men keep coming around with meat on a stick, on many sticks really, then you know you're at Brazilian steakhouse Espetus Churrascaria. For a fixed price, you can eat all the meat you want. Just set the dial on your table to green, and the stream of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and seafood is steady and endless. Flip it to red when you need a break.

Your waiters will warn you not to load up on the salad bar, though there are plenty of goodies to be had there too. All in all, a good experience, though I'm not sure I'll ever go back. It's one of those things I've crossed off the list and will likely leave off unless I actually make it out to Brazil. ... Someday ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Awesome Ballpark Nosh

Once upon a time, I was a vegetarian. But after years of eschewing meat, I came back to my senses. Life is short. Eat what you love. I love meat.

Above: the 1/2 pound juicy kielbasa sausage with the works at SF's AT&T Park.