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June 03, 2005

Pete in the Bay Area

In case you're interested in what I ate...  Bay Area meals, 5/26-30, 2005

Paul K, a Mediterranean restaurant on Gough & Oak–a convenient place for the concert halls, and quite good, though I’m more impressed with the appetizers than the main courses. Shared a mezza platter -- lamb riblets and kofte, baba & pomegranate/walnut dips, feta, olives, confit artichokes. The lamb riblets, with a bit of a pomegranate glaze, are really great. Main course: Syrian spiced duck breast -- red cabbage, cippolini onions, ragu of duck confit, bulghur-rice cake, pomegranate molasses.

Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, period, Bruno Viscovi’s wonderful Istrian place, Albona, with 4 others. For starters we had the Craffi (pan fried 3-cheese ravioli with pine nuts & raisins in cumin-sirloin tip sauce); chifiletti–pan fried, wonderfully fluffy gnocchi, and a mixed pepper salad. My main course was a heimish lamb dish, in a brown sauce with potatoes and stuffed mushrooms on the side. We drank an Alsatian Riesling and an Italian Pinot Bianco. I wasn’t going to order dessert, until Bruno insisted I have a fresh strawberry sorbet on the house.

Dining solo at Pesce, a wonderful Venetian Ciccheteria (tapas bar) on Polk in Russian hill, where I’d been twice before with friends, I tried 2 new things–Zuppa di pesce (good, but not bowled over), and a very nice octopus salad, with potatoes. It’s a great place to go with a small group and sample a lot of stuff, mostly seafood.

Dim Sum at Ton Kiang, the best dim sum place in the U.S., in my experience. The most amazing thing is the hot mango custard dumplings–the custard comes inside a pan fried, chewy rice flour disc.


Lunch at Old Shanghai, on Geary & 16th. I had OK, but nothing special shao lon bao, and a very nice chive turnover that was filled with chives, egg & clear noodle inside what was like a big potsticker wrapping. Everybody else in the place was Chinese, and I think they were all speaking Mandarin, or maybe Shanghaiese, but nobody was speaking Cantonese.

Sunday afternoon-evening, I went to a barbecue at some friends’ house in Berkeley. Robert & Gail are psycho-foodies, and many of their friends are too. There were about 25-30 people there. I’ll try my best to remember what was there, or at least what I tasted: noodle kugel, Basque chicken salad pintxos, eggplant salad, 3 kinds of potato salad, bay shrimp kebabs, grilled prawns, kalbi (Korean marinated beef short ribs), steak, spicy dry rub baby back ribs, sweet & messy ribs, pork belly with star anise & cardamom, boudin blanc, Italian sausage, chocolate cookies with a hint of chili & ginger, grand marnier cookies, blueberry pie. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch.

An amazing Memorial Day lunch at Bistro Jeanty, in Yountville, in the Napa Valley. 3 of us made a meal of shared appetizers–Rabbit terrine with celery root/apple salad; Quenelles de brochet (pike dumplings in lobster cream sauce); lamb ! tongue & potato salad; beet salad with chevre & frisee (my least favorite, since I don’t care for chevre, and I’m not crazy about beets either); perfectly grilled asparagus with cream sauce; pommes frites done just right & a very nice bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc (Mason). For dessert I had Armagnac prunes with vanilla ice cream. The place is a low key gem, and not expensive, especially considering the quality.

Posted by BKG at June 3, 2005 11:29 AM


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