Tonight at the Soul Asylum show:
LJR: I don't like the bass player
ME: Yeah, it's like he's a bad Tommy Stinson
Dave Pirner: . . .and on bass, Tommy Stinson!
LJR and ME: Oh.
LJR: Now it's really funny.
Go in Peace
Three weeks ago I had a delightful lunch at Piperade, over near the Embarcadero. I’ve never been to Spain (but I kinda like the music) and should I go, I hope the food would be like this.
We all ordered light and the definite winner was the Monterey Squid and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mint, Coriander, and Espelette Pepper. Over the last four years I’ve tried different dishes with watermelon and had never been impressed. It seems like a great idea in the middle of summer and I have been looking for something to steal, take credit for, write a book about, and retire happily to my 5 acres of Rhone varietal grapes. What the Chef nailed here was to go for heat. The pepper, coriander, and mint bring out all the good of the melon without overwhelming it.
Expect to see something similar on an upcoming post.
My Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Serrano Ham (Spanish Proscuitto, kind of) Terrine was nice and the Lamb Chops with Thyme- Mancho Potato Gratin was another winner. Oddly, I ordered the side of roasted seasonal vegetables that just rocked. I have no idea where they got those fresh porcini mushrooms in the middle of summer, but they are a fav and I just chowed down.
All of this was complimented by the wine, a Rioja Blanco that I blindly picked off their large menu. Since then I’ve bought several bottles for friends and even took one up for Elfini’s first 40th birthday last month.
2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco
Can’t beat the price, get a bottle while summer is still around.
Now, here's a thing. I'm forgetting a dinner out. My desk is clear of menus and my mind is equally empty. If I remember, I'll post it, otherwise I'll declare "Mission Accomplished" and go on to get re-elected.
Go in Peace
Last Friday I babysat Zoe and Vincent. Karin's neice, Lindsey, is in town and she wanted to go to Gillman Street for the all ages show. Lindsey is a HUGE Green Day fan and this is a sorta Mecca-like trip for her to go the Club where they started, eat at Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe- the restaurant the band owns. In her enthusiasm, she moussed up the hair of the babies. Look:
My girl Z, enthusiasm plus developing motor skills equals drop cloth.
Go in Peace
Yesterday went to the Family Vintner's Association annual tasting thingy at Fort Mason. Much to my surprise, Van der Heyden was there showing off their newly bottled grape juices. The new Chardonnay is a deep amber wonder but that was eclisped 'cause they now have a Late Harvest Merlot and all is right in the world.
Go in Peace
I'm still two restaurants behind. Last night's meal at 1550 Hyde gets bumped to the top of que- I'll get around to the others later this week. This was my fourth trip there, each has been fantastic.
Last night was my first dinner with The Prophet, a self-professed foodie and wine maven I met last week over KT's birthday weekend. We were seated next to each other and spent the an hour or so discussing why she couldn't find a decent burger in SF. Motivating me to go out for a nice meal is only a little harder than convincing a lesbian comedienne to host a daytime talkshow. Over the week negotiations were held.
1550 is a trump card. It impresses everyone with the Chef's impeccable sense of flavor matches. To this day I can get a Pavlovian response out of LJR by mentioning the Broiled Swordfish with Tarragon Creme Fraiche on Braised Lentils with Caramelized Onions. It doesn't sound all that impressive, but one bite and it's hard to imagine a better combo. And, if the food didn't work I had a fifth ace: 1994 Markham Cabernet.
We started with warmed olives (a mix of four) to share while we had our starters. She had the Grilled Romaine Leaves with Basil-Parmesan Dressing, Bacon and Cherry Tomatoes. Please note the Bacon Rule: Bacon makes everything better. I went for the Tomato and Bread Soup with Tuscan Olive Oil. Both were outstanding. Tomatoes are just hitting now and this soup was killer. Her salad was a nice change up from a Caesar. I loved my soup and with only a little begrudgement shared- I think she felt the same way for her salad. To go with all this we had a half bottle of 2004 Hirsch Gruner Vletliner, "Heiligenstein" Kamptal, a lovely Austrian white that almost justified that ugly stream of typing.
And then came the mains. She reluctantly gave up on the Bistro Steak and went instead with Grilled Local King Salmon with Chanterelles, Heirloom Tomato, Brentwood White Corn, Basil and Yellow Fin Potatoes. This was a perfect summer dish! The tomatoes were wedges just barely warmed and covered with the sauteed corn. And fresh local King is always a touch-yourself kinda moment. The nice thing about SF? Our summers have winteresque qualities. Last night was foggy, chilly and I took advantage of it ordering Red Wattle Pork Country Rib Confit with Italian Butterbeans, Spinach and Toasted Bread Crumbs. Oh, it was lovely and rich. And here The Prophet and I bonded over the decadent act of sopping. Sure, some of you will say it's wrong to sop with someone on your first dinner . . . but the mood was there and we just went with it until my bowl was empty.
Next we had a cheese plate with Garrotxa, Carmody, and Roquefort. Great cheeses that were well complimented with figs, hazelnuts, warm almonds,nectarines and honey. After that we split a perfect Chocolate Pots de Creme before we waddled off into night.
Go in Peace
Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio, Sheepsmilk Ricotta Cheese, Balsamic Syrup, Micro Basil:
Summer is finally here! Tomatoes, at last. These are, clockwise, Black Prince, Lemon Boy, and German Green. All sprinkled with just a bit of sea salt. Awesome.
Baked Lobster Mousse with Baby Greens, Ginger Vinaigrette.
This looked better on the plate- I'm a crappy photographer. Simple, clean flavors- that's the ticket. Lobster is subtle and all the curry, ponzu, and other WOW flavors overwhelm it. The vinaigrette was understated and the lobster remained the focus.
Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Roquefort Sauce, Herb-Potato Phyllo Pouch, Sauteed Broccoli with Red Onion Confit.
Again, lousy photo. I'd hire Lis if'n I could. It's summer and beef is king. I like the phyllo pouch because it gives a nice crunch to the plate.
Broiled Wild KIng Salmon, Lemon Creme Fraiche with Caviar, Risotto with Bacon and Fava Beans, Sauteed Asparagus with Pickled Peppers.
This was the hit of the night, fresh wild King is hard to beat. And anything with bacon is always a winner. I like creme fraiche with fish because is it sooooo much lighter than a butter sauce.
Vanilla Creme Brulee with Black Mission Figs.
Creme Brulee is the all time fav dessert. On your average menu, it'll sell half the time. Any fresh fruit works here, but figs are coming on strong this week and I wanted to avoid the expected berry, rasp or straw.
Go in Peace
I spent six whole hours babysitting Zoe and Vincent last Saturday night. Vincent went down at 9pm, no problem. Zoe . . . here's what happened: we left Vincent in his room to sleep and stopped off at the bathroom- I had to pee. I set her down in the hall, left the door open so's I could watch her. Sensible, no? She gets right up, turns, walks away with the phone to her head saying, hello, hello, hello. How much trouble can she get into over the next 30 seconds or so?
Thud! Child screaming.
I run out, zipping up, and find her on flat on her back in the middle of the kitchen floor. I pick her up, she starts crying for Dada, I try to soothe her which doesn't work. I try a small piece of chocolate. That does work. Well, she's all awake now so I pop in a DVD and we settle into the floor pillows and she falls asleep in 20 minutes.
None of this makes me Bad Uncle.
Luke and Karin come home and we talk about how much the kids have changed in the month since I'd seen them. Mostly we talk about Zoe's talking, how quickly she learns new words. "Yeah," says Luke, "Vincent knocked over the phone the other day and I yelled 'shit'. She went on saying it." Then Karin chimes in, "I said 'fuck' the other day and she said it for the next three days."
"Oh," I mumble, "so, I shouldn't have let her watch Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back?"
And that's what makes me Bad Uncle.
Go in Peace