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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MLK in NorCal

I spent MLK weekend up in San Francisco on yet another eating and drinking binge so I thought I'd share my adventures from the weekend.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

My flight got in extremely late so we had just enough time to drop my bag at my boyfriend's apartment before jogging over to the restaurant. He had planned a special dinner location for each night I was there and I LOVE surprises.

Tonight's restaurant was called A16 at 2355 Chestnut Street in the Marina District. It's a small little Italian restaurant named after highway that runs from Naples to Canosa, Italy. And the food mimics Southern Italy. The inside of the restaurant is very narrow. You walk past the kitchen to a bunch of small tables. From there you can go out to a patio but it was January so - no thank you. It was a little scrunched and they were out of a lot of stuff because it was so late so we settled for...

Bruschetta with cecci, neopolitan chilies, black olives and arugula

Blood orange, grapefruit, mint and fennel salad

Bianca – mozzarella, grana, green olives, basil, chiles, garlic, olive oil

Maccaronara with ragu napoletana and house-made ricotta salata

Chocolate budino tart with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil

The salad and the chocolate tart where AMAZING. The pizza we could barely finish but the leftovers later that night were just as tasty as the few bites we managed at dinner. The only truly disappointing dish was the Maccaronara with ragu. The noodles were really rubbery. It's my first time eating that pasta so I don't know if that is how it normally tastes or if it wasn't cooked properly. However, the restaurant earned an extra point in my book by leaving it off the bill since it was clear we hadn't touched it.

We also had an AMAZING wine at the restaurant. We were so full and it was so late at this point that we just went back to the apartment and crashed.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

It felt soooo nice to sleep in today. We woke up late and wandered down to Squat and Gobble for breakfast. I had the Strawberry Nutella crepes (fresh strawberries, Nutella, brown sugar and cinnamon) which were exactly what I wanted. With a mimosa of course! My boyfriend got the special which was a tasty, salty breakfast sandwich on an English muffin.

From there we met his roommate at East Side West to watch the NFL playoffs. We were already full but I took a mental note of how delicious the House Ground Wagyu Cheeseburger with Spring Hill Jersey Organic Colby cheese, special sauce, and steak fries looked.

We then wasted the afternoon wandering around so I'll skip straight to dinner.

Tonight, we arrived at Alegrias, a Spanish tapas restaurant at 2018 Lombard St (cross street, Webster). It is a VERY homey restaurant with bright yellow walls covered in knick-knacks and lacy table coverings. We ordered a bottle of Santa Digna Cab Sav (2007 Reserve) which was quite nice and recommended by our waiter.

For dinner, we wolfed down Empanadillas de Carne that were HEAVENLY. I just recently was introduced to empanadillas and I am making up for lost time. We had the Cazuela de Queso de Cabra (oven cooked goat cheese on a bed of red sauce) and the Patatas Alioli (crisp fried potatoes tossed with a traditional alioli sauce) both of which were fine but nothing to write home about. The Conejo a la Cazuela (stewed rabbit with vegetables and wine) was also delicious! Dessert, as usual, was a chocolate torte of some sort with raspberry sauce that was a perfect topper. During the meal, the waiter was kind enough to let me try the house-made sangria and it was delightful. I highly recommend it if you like sangria.

Feeling stuffed again, we headed back to his apartment for the housewarming party that awaited us. A bunch of people had arrived by the time we got there so we got down to the business of drinking even more. The party went extremely well and then we hit the bars. I think we ended up at City Tavern? (I can never keep track of which Triangle Bar is which) There seemed to be a birthday party or bachelor party where all the members of the group were wearing orange scarves. I feel like we asked on of them but got a jumbled answer.

The bar started kicking people out but we weren't ready to head home just yet! We passed a few places but half the group couldn't agree with the other half. Hope was almost lost when I saw my favorite word blinking at me from across the night: K-A-R-A-O-K-E. Silver Clouds is a restaurant by day and sleazy karaoke bar by night. Karaoke starts at 9pm and goes until who knows when (1994 Lombard Street) - I think 2am. The girl in charge of karaoke was kind of a biatch and more or less said I needed to pay her $20 in order to move to the front of the line. So, I sidestepped her authority and just got up on stage with the next rowdy group of drunk guys.

They didn't mind at all! Awesome topper to the night and even better? Leftover pizza waiting for me at home...

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Wow I just can't deal with hangovers like I used to! We woke up late again today and stumbled to East Side West for hangover food and more football. My two girlfriends arrived and we snuck out to Urban Outfitters down the street for some shopping and girl time. After making an absolute killing on clothes, we wandered back to find the game almost over.

The rest of the day was spent watching football on the couch so I yet again will fast forward to dinner.

The last dinner of the weekend found us at Bin 38 at 3232 Scott St (cross street Chestnut). This restaurant is hip, yet homey inside which a menu full of tasty wine and innovative, contemporary American food. They also have a tented back patio with lights and a fire-pit table. Very cool place to have a birthday dinner or drinks.

They also have wine flights which I love even though wine snobs hate them because they are "lesser" wines. My palate doesn't give a shit so I ordered the The Art Of The Blend for $16 for three glasses. Two were great; the other was not so great.

Dinner was absolutely amazing. By far the best of the three nights and ranks in my top ten restaurants in California. We had..

Butternut Squash Soup with hazelnut, marshmallow, cocoa nibs, spiced crème fraiche

From the Garden with baby lettuce, blossoms, shaved vegetables, sauvignon blanc vinaigrette

Sweet Potato & Ricotta Agnolotti with pancetta, smoked cipollini, and brussel sprouts (I asked to have it without mushrooms)

Flatbread with , sweet garlic puree, arugula, shaved parmigiano reggiano, truffle oil

Warm Chocolate Cake with dulce de leche, cinnamon-chocolate ice cream

When they served the soup they literally poured the soup over a mound of marshmallows. Yes, MARSHMALLOWS! It was thick just how I like it, though very filling. The garden salad was beautifully plated but on the light side. The pear shavings were sweet and juicy. The sweet potato agnolotti was also nicely presented and was good but didn't quite have the intense flavors that I like. The flatbread was also delicious - the prosciutto was excellent quality and they didn't overdo the arugula which I find to be the case on a lot of "salad" pizzas. And the warm chocolate cake was of course GREAT especially the cinnamon-chocolate ice cream.

I wish we could have sat there all night chatting and drinking wine but a boisterous part of six sat down next to us and eventually we moved on.

As a side note, we went to go see Tron that night at the AMC Metreon in IMAX. It was the coolest 3-D movie I have ever seen. Granted the "Grid" totally works with 3-D but I was literally bugging out watching it. The screen is also HUGE. I've been to IMAX 3-D before for Avatar but either they've improved 3-D movies since then or this screen is incredible. Hard to say.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Today, I had to head home but before leaving we had breakfast at the Blue Front Cafe on Haight Street. I've only been gone for Egypt but I miss the food terribly (same way I felt after coming back from China). So, I got the Middle Eastern Plate with hummus, babaganoush, tomato cucumber salad, tabouleh, dolmas, falafels and pita.

It was exactly what I wanted although HUGE. A great way to end my foodie weekend.