Aziza: Went here for the second time on Friday night (first experience was during Dine About Town a few weeks ago). My first taste of Aziza was pretty spectacular–mini meatball skewers over jicama salad, chicken couscous with yummy veggies, finished with pink grapefruit sorbet over caramelized lemon and served with a side of a sweet goat cheese-filled date. Needless to say, it was pretty darn good. Friday night, I took Matt and my parents for a little celebratory dinner. We shared a goat cheese appetizer, served with tomato-cheery jam and pistachios. The goat cheese was delicious and when the crostinis ran out, I found myself scooping up the remains with bread. For my entree, I had the branzino (a Mediterranean fish that is tender, white and moist). Per my request, the chef de-boned it and prepared it with a delicious array of roasted veggies. I’m told that the rabbit, lamp chops and quail are phenomenal as well. For dessert, Matt and I split the pear tarte, served with huckleberry sauce and ‘bitter almond ice cream’ while my parents took to the chocolate souffle. As I recently discovered my love for Dolcetto D’Alaba, we ordered a bottle to accompany dinner. I think that everyone was pretty pleased with the meal and I, for one, will be going back. It’s definitely a gem in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco.
Perbacco: I’ve heard rumors of the this restaurant in the financial district for quite some time and was quite excited to try it out. The modern interior does not necessarily parlay classic, clean, Italian, but that’s precisely what it was. Breadsticks, Dolcetto D’Alba, and their house-cured procuitto certainly started off the meal right. I’ve recently been on a kick of eating meat that I typically wouldn’t prepare at home (quail and duck, most predominantly), so I ordered the duck, served over chestnut polenta and roasted pears. I ate every last bite and even Matt, who had his own short rib ragout, proclaimed that it was ‘the best duck’ he’s ever had. I have to agree. Dessert started out curiously, a warm pistachio cake that, on first glance, appeared to resemble a mini muffin. I was about to give up in disappointment, but my first bite proved me wrong. There was warm, there was cream, there was crunch–it was everything I wanted. And with that, I now proclaim that Perbacco might just be another one of my Italian favorites in the city.
Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant: Checked out this new SOMA hotspot with my dad. The giant door at first, appears to be impossible to open. Walking in though, the space (a former karaoke bar of sorts, I hear?) is clearly a modern designer’s vision. High ceilings, simple, long tables and even a wide stack of magazines for those single SOMA lunchers are definitely the most standout pieces of the place. The environment definitely speaks coziness and hipness, but the food left much to be desired, I think. Both my mahi mahi and my dad’s pork were a bit on the dry side. For him, the truffle and cheese fries and tiramisu were the highlights. As we watched the thin crust pizzas be brought out to nearby tables (most at $12 a pop), we both realized that this pace is likely more of a hit for pizza and a glass of wine (their selection is quite extensive). Overall, I was pleased with my meal, but it certainly wasn’t spectacular. That said, I’ll come back for a pizza and another glass of Greek wine.
Jimisan: With this awful weather, there is only one place I wanted to go to dinner last night–my usual sushi standby, Jimisan. I fell in love with Jimisan to the extent that the place became my go-to sushi hangout. I love the super white tuna, their generous cuts, the Tropical Roll and the secret ‘Snow White.’ But, I have to say, last night made me realize that too much of a good thing can be…too much. Jimisan is a California-skewed sushi bistro, so a lot of the rolls are quite untraditional. If you’re looking for a real Japanese experience, you’d best stick to sashimi and nigiri. Jimi is generous with his fish and you won’t be disappointed. One specialty roll piece will wholly fit your mouth. Overall, I still love Jimisan, but I do think that my love has cooled..Just bit.
Little Star Pizza: O, deep dish pizza. I have a love/hate relationship with you. LSP’s fresh ingredients, delicious crust, and dark atmosphere make this a damn good pizza place. Went here with a group of friends and enjoyed some delicious garlic bread (the sourdough loaf is served warm with a huge clove of roasted garlic!) and of course, pizza. Little known fact: you can request a half and half pizza, which is awesome for those of us who want a bite of everything. I do love the Little Star–ricotta, tomatoes, basil–what more could you want. When I uttered, “why not try the thin crust?” my friend Jamie gave me a horrified look. I won’t argue. I think I am still a fan of traditional, thin crust pizzas, but this place definitely gets high marks from me.
I’m off to Mexico for a week, starting on Tuesday, so look ahead to talk of tacos, mariscos (Mazatlan is famous for its shrimp) and other local specialties. Adios for now, amigos!
Image above is of me and Matt’s first attempt at making homemade pizza–more on that once we make a second attempt 🙂