Monday, April 30, 2012

Razzle Dazzle at Ragazza

It's been way too long since my first and only visit to Western Addition pizza place Ragazza. And of course I'm underplaying its worth by simply calling it a pizza place. Sister to Glen Park's Gialina (which several food enthusiasts—especially in the way of Italian pie—swear puts out the best pizza in town), Ragazza indeed rivals some of the best dough slingers and pie purveyors in SF.

And it's not just its Neapolitan-style chewy-crisp thin-crust 'zas that will rock your world. Ragazza's big and beautiful all-that-is-good-with-the-world-that-is-California-local-and-seasonal salads like the wild arugula tossed with big hunks of roasted beets, fresh fennel, gobs of Cypress Grove goat cheese and crunchy pistachios will make converts of anyone who may doubt the merits of fresh veg.

We were in the mood for more fresh veg, so easily settled on the savory roasted cauliflower with sweet red onion, fava leaves, fresh thyme and smoked mozzarella.

And because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, we went ahead and ordered the uber rich local asparagus with preserved lemon, leeks, green garlic and creamy ricotta pie. Honestly, it's impossible to exhibit any self-control when the splendiferous odors of crisping dough and roasting veg come wafting from the open kitchen into the airy dining room. And why try? Ragazza is well worth the splurge.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Like Mission Pie

"Mission Pie is a corner cafe, bakery and neighborhood gathering place."  It's also got a way with pie—and well it should considering its name. This here's the frangipane pear pie a la mode with the pear-rhubarb bringing up the rear. A mighty fine crumbly crust houses a luscious, fruit-laden interior, making these the perfect option for anyone with a sweet-tooth hankering.
Yay pie.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Farm to Table at Jole

Thank you, AB, for suggesting Calistoga gem Jole—celebrating my birthday with a parade of (mostly) delicious dishes showcasing California's best made it an especially memorable meal.

The tuna crudo—with its fragrantly addictive orange bergamot dressing—proved to be the highlight of our visit to Jole. 

Though the gnocchi with broccoli rabe had great flavor, its texture left a little to be desired. "I want pillowy. It's more like memory foam," said JP of the somewhat dense and durable potato pasta. Indeed, he was spot-on with his description.

The halibut was cooked to a perfect medium rare and sat atop a wondrously umami-esque mushroom jus, accompanied by a creamy pea risotto.
Ah, the seared foie gras. Time is a-ticking in California—it's soon to be outlawed, so we took the opportunity to order this hefty portion sitting atop caramelized onions and served with panko-crusted piquillo peppers. My half was divine: perfectly seared and almost melting like a hot stick of butter. But the very core of JP's portion was hard as a rock—turning his stomach to the fatty, rich hunk of liver.
Fortunately, the uber tender lamb chops accompanied by a crispy pile of smashed potatoes and grassy-bitter spears of asparagus redeemed Jole in JP's eyes.

A lovely cheese plate for dessert, and we rolled out of Jole pleased as punch, replete and ready to jump into the geyser-heated mineral pool back at Indian Springs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Chairman's Porky Pig

Mmmm .... pork. The Chairman's Coca-Cola braised pork with savoy cabbage and pickled mustard seeds on a steamed bun is my number one go-to whenever this awesome food truck happens to be in the neighborhood. Which unfortunately isn't often enough.

Sluice it with Sriracha, and it's the perfect midday pick-me-up, guaranteed to fuel you for the rest of the day. And then some.