Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY: Pear Crostata

Just a little something I made last weekend.

Subbing pears in place of rhubarb and raspberries, I made a crostata compliments of Locanda Verde's Karen DeMasco. This is my second go 'round with this slammin' recipe. My first successful attempt featured peaches and raspberries ... mmmmm.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Offal Good at Incanto

It's not just offal that's good at Incanto, but it's certainly what chef Chris Cosentino is known for, having showcased a variety of organ meats on his way to winning the most recent cycle of Top Chef Masters. That said, it's clear he's still pushing himself and the boundaries to create inventive and harmonious flavor combinations. When we decided to forego our 7:45 reservations last week so that we could fill our empty bellies an hour and a half earlier (Incanto was fully booked for the evening), we got to sit at the bar—and enjoy hearing Cosentino himself regaling a few VIP diners perched beside us with the intricate details behind the new dishes dotting the Fall menu.

Here are (most of) the treats that came our way:

An Incanto special: the most unctuous lamb liver pate set off nicely by a generous embellishment of piquant pepperoncini and shreddings of minty, sweet basil.

Another special: Creamy sea urchin carrying the barest hint of the ocean, partnered with thin shavings of melt-like-buttah lardo, a tiny helping of tangy pesto and crunchy, sharp radish. All of it piled atop a toasted and slightly bitter piece of brown bread. I savored every bite.

Spaghettini tossed with Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk, chili flakes (this dish had a nice kick to it) and a big handful of fresh, grassy parsley. We got a half order, which was plenty—partly because the tuna heart curled our tongues, it was so salty. But we didn't mind. It was right for the amount we had. And we paired it with another primi: the handkerchief pasta and rustic pork ragu topped with a big ol' duck egg (not pictured, but ever so delightful).

Rounding out the meal was the bollito misto, which made its debut that very night. The broth had been enriched with bone marrow, flavored with star anise and strained through hay. Pork belly, bone marrow, lamb tongue, lamb thigh and shoulder, along with some lovely veg filled the enticing bowl. We were told to throw in the cilantro and other garnishes before digging in, but to save the pickled and fresh radish as a palate cleanser post-meal. We were more than happy to oblige.

A truly inspired dish, and overall a wonderful experience at Incanto.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bibimbap: Korean Comfort Food

There's nothing terribly remarkable about Miyabi Sushi near Fisherman's Wharf, except for this: the bibimbap with spicy pork that comes out sizzling hot, the rice all crispety crunchety, in an oven-heated stone pot.

The bibimbap comes chock full of veggies, both pickled and fresh. And with a generous dousing of kochujang, the Korean version of Sriracha, it's all about comfort and goodness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-Camping Pig-Out at Shanghai Dumpling King

Something about spending time in the great outdoors really works up a big appetite. So on our way back from an overnight camping trip in Marin, we decided to make a detour to Shanghai Dumpling King in the outer Richmond to load up on the ethereal soup dumplings plus a couple other fave dishes.

A worthy detour indeed. Piping hot and juicy with the most perfect, near-transparent skins, these dainty little soldiers disappeared down our gullets in no time at all.