San Fran – 7/20/14 – Bar Agricole, Humphry Slocombe, Flour & Water

Bar Agricole
The only disappointment of the weekend was missing out on Bar Agricole’s cocktails. I woke up with migraine induced nausea so terrible that I didn’t know how I would possibly make it to brunch. I forced myself out and thankfully rallied but a Radler seemed to be a better idea for an upset stomach.

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Avocado and beets with goat cheese and seeds

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Baked eggs with black eyed peas, house-cured ham, wild spinach and goat cheese

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Humphry Slocombe
As it just happened to be National Ice Cream Day I needed no further justification for an afternoon ice cream! I’m not sure that there could be anything better than bourbon ice cream.

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Flour & Water
I waited in line but unfortunately lost our first table as my friends were stuck in traffic. How convenient that Trick Dog was right across the street while waiting for them to arrive! It all worked out perfectly and I had plenty of time to make it to the airport. I wish I had gotten the name of the absolutely lovely hostess who texted me updates on or new table.

Heirloom tomato panzanella with cucumber, mozzarella Di bufala & basil

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Grilled stone fruit with herbed ricotta, salsa verde, purslane & pistachio

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Corn cappelletti with honey & chocolate mint

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Pork cracklings with calabrian chili aioli

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Pici which braised rabbit, gypsy pepper & prosciutto soffrito

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Pomodoro – heirloom tomato, fior Di latte, garlic & basil

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Salsiccia – pork sausage, Calabrian chili, capers, lamb quarters

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Chocolate budino with espresso cream & sea salt

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Zucchini cake with fried squash blossom, chantenay carrot & gelato di bufala

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Seasonal gelato

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San Fran – 7/19/14 – SPQR, State Bird Provisions, Trick Dog, Wilson & Wilson

SPQR
After a morning walk up and down a few hills I kept walking the whole way to SPQR for lunch. I so rarely eat pasta that I appreciate it even more when I do and this was delicious. Of note, there were more solo diners here for lunch than I have ever seen at any other restaurant. We actually outnumbered the 2 and 4-tops. I know it’s not a good thing for the restaurant’s bottom line, but I did love seeing it. Even though I’m quite comfortable dining alone, there are still moments when I feel like a complete outcast.

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Sweet carrot and lentil salad, medulla date and vadouvan curry crema

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Buckwheat tagliatelle, cider and bacon braised suckling pork and spigarello broccoli

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State Bird Provisions
I had a moment after I had been waiting in line for about 45 minutes when I was seriously questioning my sanity. I hate waiting in line. Perhaps one too many times of trying to be in the front row of a general admission show. I’ve only waited at a restaurant twice before, oddly both for pizza, Di Fara and Pizzeria Bianco. The former I barely remember as we were so hungry by the time we got our pizza that we would have eaten cardboard and so totally inhaled it without even tasting it. And the latter is my absolute favorite pizza in the US so it was well worth the wait.

If I lived in San Fran I think I would be at State Bird once a week, line and all. Hands down this was the most fun I’ve ever had dining alone. I never even picked up my book. The dim sum concept is just fantastic when so well done. It’s a bit like gambling in that you don’t know if you should take the 1st dish that comes around, or hold out for something you may like better. At first I wished there was a list so I would know how many choices there would be and strategize appropriately (actually there is a list online but I wasn’t sure how frequently it changed, etc). But I quickly realized that being surprised made it so entertaining. Next time I do need friends just so I can try more. In the end I only ordered 2 things from the actual menu but saw so much leaving the kitchen that I wanted to be able to eat. Lastly I think it takes a certain personality to work in this type of concept and everybody here had ‘it’ in spades.

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Shrimp ‘Louie’ bean salad

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Guinea hen dumpling

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Garlic bread with burrata

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Air dried beef with chili juice, rice powder & garlic chips

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Smoked trout-avocado chip & dip

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CA state bird with provisions

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Yeasted butter cake, sing old tomato caramel & peaches

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Trick Dog
Thankfully not everybody went to Tales of the Cocktail!

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Coit Tower – Rittenhouse rye, raspberry, thyme, lemon, cider

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Dragon Gate – campo de encanto acholado pisco, muscat, Szechuan pepper, lemon, ginger, egg

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Wilson & Wilson (in Bourbon & Branch)
Even better than a basement speakeasy is one with a password. I’m still trying to figure out what I said to get myself labelled as a scotch drinker! I needed you dad.

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San Fran – 7/18/14 – Coqueta, Mikkeller Bar, Coi

Coqueta
A lovely lunch at Coqueta but why do I always get the clueless diners? A table of guys thought they were so cool, yet tried to order chips & salsa (at a clearly Spanish restaurant but I guess Spain and Mexico are the same) and then despite a great cocktail list, a T&T as if it was the greatest drink of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I love a G&T but not when there are much more interesting versions on the menu.

Tariff- jamon iberico infused gin, acorn & apricot tonic, orange, cava
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Esparragos Trigeros con Romesco – wood grilled green asparagus with coal roasted romesco salsa, raw manchego and Marconi almonds

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Huevos Nacional – deviled eggs filled with spring pea, smoked pimentos aioli, on pickled saffron potatoes and olive oil poached bonito

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Jamon Serrano

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Pintxos

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Albondigas a la Feria – Grilled duck and pork meatballs with tart cherry and Tempranillo salsa and crispy shallots

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El cazador – oloroso sherry, Campari, lime, honey

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Cheesecake

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Mikkeller Bar
I couldn’t stop thinking that as much as I enjoyed this place my brother should have been with me because he would have loved it more. I do find it interesting that while the brothers don’t get along, they clearly respect each other’s talents as Evil Twin is featured predominately here (as is Mikkeller at Torst).

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Coi
Lovely is the only word that comes to mind to describe this evening. Exceptional service. Great wine pairings. And the most perfectly portioned tasting menu I can remember having.

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California Bowl

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California Sturgeon Caviar, egg yolk poached in smoked oil,crema fresh, chive

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Seared Spot Prawn, watermelon, cucumber, opal basil

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Cherry tomatoes, purée of grilled zucchini and wheatgrass, green olive oil, herbs and flowers

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Chilled spiced eggplant soup, pole beans, charred okra, fermented chile, flowering cilantro

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Wild king salmon, crayfish bordelaise, lovage, fennel pollen

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Steamed shiitake potato dumpling, mushroom dashi, brown butter, tatsoi

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Emigh ranch lamb, chard leaves and stems, garum, rosemary

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Coconut Mochica bun, kiwi, shiso

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Ha’ogen melon, olive oil, holy basil

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Blueberries and Violet

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Frozen dark chocolate yuzu marshmallow

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