I'm going to go ahead and do all of you a favor by NOT talking about everything I ate over, ummm, the last 2 months. There was a lot. But not a lot of photography. Call me distracted.
Half the menu, La Marcha, Berkeley
I wrote a formal review of this restaurant for Berkeleyside this week. We visited last Wednesday and drank a lot of wine. Much too much wine for a Wednesday. But is it really our fault that we were given a gratis glass of dessert sherry? And that the bottle list was way better than the glass list? I think not. We also ate about as much as we drank, so there's that. My favorites were some crazy delicious wild boar albondigas in a creamy-cheesy tomato sauce and frizzle-fried Brussels sprouts with grapes. The blood sausage and croquetas were also notable. The service needs a lot of work, but that just seems to be how things are going these days. Where did all the good servers go? Martinez? Dublin? Hello?? Come back! Berkeley's about to pay you $19 (sorta)!
Chu-Ka Soba, Orenchi Beyond, Mission
Orenchi is a sorta new transplant from the South Bay and it's about as far towards SOMA on Valencia Street as you can go while still being in the Mission. It has gnarly lines, especially on Fridays, so Em and I went super early. I wish I had gotten their actual ramen because the soba was pretty fucking boring. The toppings were suuuuuuper sparse; my dinner ended up being mostly buckwheat noodles and salty broth. Oh well, live and learn to better embrace tonkotsu broth.
$4 Sierra Nevada, BAR bar, Mission
After ramen, Em and I wandered around the Mission, eventually meeting up with more people at BAR bar. I KNOW it is not technically called BAR bar, but what else are you supposed to call a place with such a large neon sign screaming BAR? You can't miss it, unless you're Sean. Also, they serve $4 Sierra Nevadas all day long, which is super fucking cheap for San Francisco. It's a pretty ok bar, too, but that night a group of kids showed up and screamed a lot about their fancy tech lives. We left.
Bolognese sauce, sparkling wine, beer, Old Fashioned (yikes!), home
To make up for my lackluster dinner the night before, we spent all day drinking and making a ridiculous bolognese sauce. It was basically Kenji's recipe on Serious Eats, which is basically Barbara Lynch's recipe from No. 9 Park/Sportello. There's pork, beef, more pork and chicken livers inside. Plus there's supposed to be lamb, too, but we skipped that for some reason I can't recall now. Wine, broth, tomatoes, milk, cream, burble burble. The sauce emerges triumphantly fatty, and tastes like the way all meat dreams of tasting. It took like 6 hours, so by the time we ate it we were kinda drunk and very happy. The intention was to also make pasta, but, um, I guess we lost interest about halfway through that bottle of wine.
Fernet, Missouri Lounge, Berkeley
Don't. Just, don't. Again.
Trout Almandine, home
I'm currently talking/interviewing with a couple of chefs who own a restaurant in San Francisco about hopping on their cookbook project. (It'd be for recipe development and/or ghostwriting.) I'm not going to tell you the name because of secrets and no jinxing. I will say that I tested one of the recipes in their proposal and it was mostly very tasty. There were issues with proportions and whatnot, but I did learn that almond milk reduced by two-thirds is SUPER FUCKING DELICIOUS, especially on spinach. Trout cooked in brown butter is also never bad. It felt good to actually cook and plate a multi-component meal again. Lesson: I should do this more often.
Turkey sandwich, The Sandwich Spot, Berkeley
I usually rave about The Sandwich Spot, the best of the several semi-crappy delis in downtown Berkeley. But this week, I went in for my usual, a turkey sandwich on semi-crappy sliced sourdough, and emerged sadly depleted. They somehow managed to leave off two key ingredients — avocado and "special sauce" — so the sandwich was uncharacteristically dry. I ate it at my desk and complained the whole time.
Thai yellow curry with chicken and vegetables, home
After several days of eating little more than bolognese sauce, I finally got my shit together and made another meal — this time with lots of veggies. Plus coconut milk, chicken thighs, lots of fish sauce. I've had this killer stash of homemade curry pastes in my freezer for close to a year now, so it is easy to whip up curries like this on the reg. They taste impressive, too, so it's kinda a double-win. I ate this for the next three meals in a row.