Showing posts with label coffeepencilknife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffeepencilknife. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Croquer: Bar Tartine

San Francisco's Mission neighborhood has a need for new restaurants and bars about as much as I need second dessert. Yet amongst the hullabaloo, a constant star has always been Tartine Bakery. Though I'd peeked into the windows of their younger sister restaurant Bar Tartine, I had not had the pleasure to dine there.
Lucky for me, that is where Catherine decided we would dine for her 30th birthday. And did we!

As three of the four of us went to college in the Willamette Valley, the Adelsheim Pinot Gris seemed fitting for the celebration. The crisp, clean pinot gris provided a wonderful companion to the vegetable-forward Eastern European-influenced menu.

To start, we grazed on duck pate, rye bread, gooseberry jam, elderberry and coriander mustards. And chewy Tartine Bakery bread, of course.

A jar of green cherry tomato pickles added a bright accompaniment to the board.

Our succession of veggie-heavy small plates started with the smoked eggplant, cranberry beans, and garlic sausage. Rich and smoky, yet somehow (albeit sharing) I did not get a bite of eggplant!

Probably my favorite of the lot, the romano beans, potatoes, basil, and corn sauce was a stunner. So simple, yet we all silently fought over the last beans, and even scraped the tangy corn sauce from the dish...

Halászlé is a Hungarian fisherman's soup, here comprised of mussels, sturgeon, tomato, green chili, purslane, and fennel. The paprika broth is a bold and delicious base for mussels. A runner up for my favorite, though selfishly I wished for a couple more mussels!

The butter boletes mushrooms, yoghurt, turnip sauce, carrot, and radish was an earthy side in the disguise of a stand-aone dish. Not terribly memorable on the shadow of the Halászlé.

The side of summer squash, squash blossoms, and curried squash sauce was brought out last. We consumed it vacantly (read: on the side of ubiquitous), possibly due to the coursing order. Might have fit more nicely at the beginning of the meal.

The dessert left a little to be desired as well. Layers of sour cream custard, lemon curd, poppyseed, and a cherry/oat/walnut crumble suggested disparate flavors and sensations, but lacked a certain pride that any one of the contents of the Tartine Bakery case exudes.

After dinner we walked around the corner to spend the rest of Catherine's birthday sipping drinks upstairs in The Hideout, the back room bar at Dalva (3121 16th St.) The cocktails here are serious, such was the "Whisky In Church": Smokehead Scotch, Oloroso Sherry, and a splash of maple and pear syrup. Holy! Bittersweet amaro cocktails quickly lulled us into pleasant propensity.
The night was good.

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.487.1600
Bar Tartine on Urbanspoon

Voyager Bien: Brunch & the Bay

When I moved out of Portland in 2005, I knew Oregon would always be my home away from home, largely because of the adopted family I was leaving behind. And while PDX is still tattooed on my heart, my last visit to the bay area reminded me that often times people is place. It was my dear friend Catherine's milestone 30th, and I was helping her celebrate in her new city post-Portland. But curled up in her cozy Tenderloin apartment with Casey and Allie Afternoon (their pug) while we ordered-in dinner, I was overwhelmed with the familiar comfort of home.

For our first family outing, Catherine decided to make a day out of going to breakfast. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands, winding down between the historic officers' residences of Fort Baker. Eventually this lead us to Murray Circle at Cavallo Point. Brunch, with one heck of a view.

While we weren't there for the food per se, we were pleasantly surprised. Catherine's house-made granola with organic yogurt and dried fruit was hearty and complex.

It was a chilly morning, and I couldn't resist the idea of a warming plate of eggs benedict with bacon, spinach, fresh-baked biscuit, and béarnaise. Classic good times.

We polished off the cornmeal pancakes and fresh berries with ease. After breakfast Catherine surprised us with a hike. And so we made off across the green toward the bridge.

After soaking in the view, we needed a nap- or a coffee. Coffee won. We visited the revitalized Hayes Valley neighborhood's Blue Bottle Coffee outpost for a little cup of what-what.

Craving an afternoon sweet treat, Casey and I walked across the strangely utopian Patricia's Green to Miette for a macaron fix. Rose geranium, please.

Back at the homestead I mixed us pre-dinner happy hour drinks while we got ready for our dinner at Bar Tartine...

Murray Circle
601 Murray Cir. Sausalito, CA 94965; 415.339.4750

Blue Bottle Coffee
315 Linden St. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.252.7535

449 Octavia St. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.626.6221

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Croquer: Bar Agricole

Deciding where to dine in San Francisco stresses me out. In a city where everything is "good" sometimes finding "worthwhile" gets a little hectic.
Thank goodness for friends.
On my last trip, my lovely hosts informed me "we have reservations for brunch on Sunday at Bar Agricole." What a relief! Come Sunday we approached the closed gate, with a smattering of other trolling groups, hungry fire in their eyes. Open open open...

Beyond the gate, a spacious deck patio leads into an airy interior of high ceilings and concrete, warmed with worn wood and spectral skylight sculptures.

Denim napkins. I mean, so hip.

It was breakfast, so naturally I ordered a Scrimshaw pilsner. In a cute little glass.

Prized company. Casey and Catherine of Coffee Pencil Knife always know where to take me.

Of course Andy of the Wind Attack was along. We were skipping out on the Foodbuzz Blogger Fest's farewell brunch, and determined to trump it with the meal ahead.

We started with the buckwheat beignets with rum raisins and cream. These fluffy doughnuts melt in your mouth. Into it.

Keeping with the dessert first, the crêpe cake with persimmon was next. An impressive stack, brûléed to a satisfying crisp.

Casey was feeling Nordic, and feasted on King salmon gravlax with rye, roasted beets and horseradish. Gorgeous, and delicious.

Catherine's three scrambled eggs with leeks, rainbow chard, chives and chantrelles inspired. A scrambled egg is an art, and these fellows were golden perfection.

Neither Andy or I could resist the corned beef brisket with potato hash, a poached egg and mustard hollandaise, and were happy to not to have to share. Intensely awesome.

Oh, what's one more beer? They're tiny.

355 11th St. San Francisco, CA 94103; 415.355.9400
Bar Agricole on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 27, 2010

Croquer: Farm Table

Let's be honest, anyone who drools over food as much as I do has a little dream somewhere in there to open their own cafe someday. When Catherine told me about a group of like-minded friends in San Francisco who got together and did just that, my heart ached with a tinge of jealousy - and hope. While walking the pug one afternoon, we stopped in at their extremely quaint (read: TINY) Farm Table to sample this dream team's wares.
With one table inside and barely enough room to stand and order one of the 3 or so items from the daily changing chalk board, I began to understand the realities of "starting small." At our sidewalk patio table Catherine explained their mission to get a Pavement to Parks type of extended seating platform over the parking spaces in front of the cafe - the wave of the future for urban San Francisco.
The fennel and English pea soup was light but layered with complex flavors, drizzled with fruity olive oil and cracked black pepper, served with incredible crusty sourdough bread.
I fell in love with the meatloaf sandwich, coarsely ground quality beef and sweet tomatoes with house aioli on the same thickest, softest sourdough bread... It was hard enough to share with Catherine, I had to apologize to the dog, there simply weren't any leftovers.

754 Post St. San Francisco, CA 94109; 415.292.7089
Farm:Table on Urbanspoon