Showing posts with label scotch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scotch. Show all posts

Friday, December 21, 2012

Buvare: The Tart in Tartan

I've never spent a winter in Scotland, though I imagine it would be spent fireside sipping something strong. This smoky and tart holiday cocktail is all about the pull. Best to give in and let it do its thing.

The Tart in Tartan

1 oz Laphroaig Islay Scotch whisky
1 oz Irish whisky
1 oz Cranberry Shrub (recipe here)
1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a tumbler over one large fresh ice cube. Express oil from a lemon peel and garnish. Sit back and enjoy slowly.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Croquer: Rosewood Tavern

And so George Abou-Daoud has done it again. Yes, he may have yelled at me when I snapped shots for my Mercantile piece, but the prolific owner also of District, Bowery, Delancey, Mission Cantina, Gelatovino, and Tamarind Deli has opened yet another rustic industrial-chic watering hole-cum-dinette. This one with a tight focus: Steak and Scotch. (Immediately, I like it).
Fresh to the Fairfax Village strip dominated by Animal and the Golden State, Rosewood Tavern resurrects the airy digs formerly of the Black Sea Russian restaurant, and by the noisy din of the room, not without some raucous leftover ghosts.
The bar bypasses specialty cocktails (though they do have a full bar), instead focusing on a hefty collection of Scotch and Irish Whiskeys and 28 craft brews on draught - From Eagle Rock Brewing's Solidarity to O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Eel River Triple Exultation to New Orleans' Abita Amber.
Opening night was expectedly nuts. We wove through the din and saddled up at the bar. Work week strain called for a stiff drink, so I ordered a 14 year old Oban Single Malt Scotch on the rocks. After that, the wait hardly bugged me. Wait - what wait?

From our table, it was clear the opening night staff was beyond weeded by the rowdy TGIF drinking crowd. But more importantly, they were sweet as rhubarb pie. I was once on the opening staff of the Doug Fir restaurant in Portland (took to first table, in fact!) - Thus - I will never complain on an opening night (yes, the computers WILL go down - and did).
That said, nothing took as dreadfully long as was promised. The food came out in little time, or so it seemed (thanks again, Scotch).
We started with the Horseradish Deviled Eggs. Standard fare, but welcomed all the same. Nice bite from the horseradish.
The Chicken Liver Mousse Crostinis were more of a revelation, texturely enhanced with sprinkled crushed walnuts and ever-so-slightly sweetened with drops of port reduction.
It's a steak place, you gotta get the Iceberg Wedge. More of a slab, this wedge is drowning in tangy bleu cheese dressing, bacon and spring onions - with extra bleu crumbles for good measure. Because we can.
My friend Michael's New York Strip Steak was basically perfect. Amazing seasoned sear, perfectly mid-rare, adequate marbling bursting with succulent flavor. Swoon. The side of Brussels sprouts with bacon literally and figuratively lived in its shadow. But neither of us cared.
My Beef Tenderloin was a gorgeous baseball of meat threatening to burst. Juicy and expertly prepared - an impressive cut of lean meat. The side of asparagus with Hollandaise sauce was a charming accoutrement.
It didn't arrive until the plates had been cleared, but our glasses of Old Chub Scotch Ale (8% ABV, from Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery) were still welcomed, and sweeter than expected so made an apropos dessert. With brown sugar and nutty coffee notes, it carried less peat than a Scotch barrel-aged ale suggests, but again, so what? It's Friday. Steaks were had. Smooth Scotch. Everything's A-OK.

Rosewood is open Sunday-Thursday, 5PM-midnight, Friday and Saturday, 5PM-2AM.

448 N Fairfax Ave. Mid-city 90036; 323.944.0980
Rosewood Tavern in Los Angeles on Fooddigger