Monday, September 20, 2010

Commonwealth, Mission

I wanted to try Commonwealth because I can't stop reading about it. It seems like every local food site has had some mention of it since it opened a month ago.  If you've seen any of these articles, you know that the new restaurant is the product of Jason Fox (Bar Tartine) and Anthony Myint (Mission Street Food) and that it donates $10 from every tasting menu to local charities.  We didn't order the tasting menu last night though, and instead ordered a bunch of different dishes and shared them amongst the four of us.

Instead of bread, Commonwealth serves homemade chips with vinegar foam.  I liked that it was something different, but I'm not hugely into chips so this wasn't really my thing - I would have preferred some rustic bread and butter, but that's just me. 

We ordered a few different appetizers, but I only got a picture of the soup.  This here is the "summer squash, chilled soup, fried blossoms, shaved salad, vadouvan".  I liked the soup - it was refreshing and flavorful, but I didn't like the fried blossoms as much as I did at Cafe Des Amis.  We also ordered the tomato salad (nice, ripe tomatoes with olive, cheese and basil),  shisito peppers with goat cheese and the gnocchi (with corn, maitake mushrooms, sage, parmesan and truffle oil). We all loved the gnocchi and agreed that if we were to come back we'd all want our own - no sharing this dish again. 

We also ordered the halibut, hangar steak and the young hen with spot prawns in a chocolate-almond emulsion. I really enjoyed the halibut, which had a nice coconut flavor to it, and the hen, which was really tender.  The spot prawns freaked me out a little - I don't like seeing their eyes - but once we removed their outfits (love that phrase, thanks Britt!) I felt much more comfortable. 

For dessert, we ordered the White Russian (coffee ice cream, vodka gelée, raw milk mousse,  génoise cake) and the Cinnamon Mille-Feuille (cardamom marshmallow, chocolate ganache, and burnt honey ice cream). Both of these were really different and complex, and I really liked certain flavors but not others. The vodka gelée was like a fancy vodka jello shot, and I could have done without it, but I liked the rest of the dish.  I really liked the ice cream in both desserts as well, and it seemed extra cold and creamy.

It was a good meal, with some great dishes, but I didn't leave feeling as excited as I felt leaving Frances, for example. 

As a side note, here's a little behind-the-scenes shot from our dinner -  it was really dark in there, but thanks to some strategically placed candles (and some brightening in Photoshop) I was able to salvage a few photos.

Sunday Night Dinner: Delfina Pizza

Birthday Pizza Party.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beretta, Mission

I was feeling a little stir crazy in our apartment this afternoon so Kev agreed to take a little walk with me.  We had both just eaten some cereal and weren't all that hungry, but like my mom always says, you don't need to be hungry to eat. We wandered on up Valencia Street and noticed all the new restaurants that have recently opened. We first tried to go to Heart, but they were about to close for an event. Instead we headed over to Beretta for some small plates.

We ordered the beets with ricotta salata and the eggplant caponatina with burrata.  The beets were nice and earthy and the cheese was really mild - I would have liked it with more cheese, but I think that about everything. The eggplant dish - which is composed of eggplant, tomatoes, basil, olives, capers, celery and pinenuts - was on the 2009 7x7 100 Things To Eat list.  I've ordered this before and I remember liking it more. It's really interesting, because some bites (tomato+basil+eggplant+burrata) are excellent, while others didn't work for me (any bite + olive and/or caper).  With fewer ingredients,  I think I would have really enjoyed the dish, but next time I'll probably order the pizza.

1199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-1199

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Comforts of Home

We just came back from a whirlwind two days in NY, celebrating my mom's 60th birthday. Can't get enough of black and white cookies or Dunkin' Donuts coffee.  These black and whites may be the best I've ever had.  According to my mom, they are like "cake air'.  They came from William Greenberg on the Upper East Side (where you can also custom order your colors) and  they are amazing.  You can also get them shipped to you if you happen to be unfortunate like me and live somewhere where you can't find black and whites.

I think if someone opened a Dunkin' Donuts franchise in San Francisco, that also sold black and white cookies, they'd make a fortune. From me alone.

ps: Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Farina, Mission

This morning we walked over to have some breakfast at Farina.  I only just learned that you can have  brunch there, and apparently I'm not the only one who didn't know this, because the place was pretty empty - very much unlike dinner there.

We both ordered the freshly pulped apricot/strawberry/mango smoothie. It was thick enough that I had trouble using my straw but I liked it better without - it was easier to taste it that way. It was also incredibly filling - that alone could have been my breakfast, and it was also our favorite thing that we had there. 

I love the red and metal tables. Oh, and the coffee was good too.

Kev ordered sunny side up eggs with  prosciutto cotto and toast. I got the eggs scrambled with bufala mozzarella. Both came with house made ketchup and apricot preserves.  My eggs were light and fluffy and you could really taste the mozzarella.  I think it needed a little more seasoning for my taste, but there wasn't salt or pepper available on the table.

If you're into pancakes or french toast for breakfast - or some other non-egg dish - this isn't the place for you, as all the menu choices are egg based.  But, if you're into not waiting in line, this is a great place for you - and me, as I hate waiting in line, especially when I'm hungry.

3560 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 565-0360
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