Thursday, August 19, 2010

LOLO SF: San Francisco

Date:  18 aout 2010
Location:  3230 22nd Street (bt Valencia and Mission)
San Francisco, CA  94110
Tel:  +1 415 643 5656

HELLLLLOOOOOO Spanish/Medi/Turkish San Franciscan Mission style TAPAS!  I LUUUV Lolo's!!!
<-- Left:  Tuna wrap...
I've been to this trendy, funky, city hidden gem about a handful of times within the past year.  It's in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco... which means.. yup, come as you are (Nirvana).  Messy artist, high street, grunge, aging hipster, _relaxed_.  LOLO's is one of Soledad's favorite restaurants!  Not pretentious, not too noisy, electic, SAVORY tapas - style small dishes... and a happy wine list to choose from!  Oh, don't forget the cute Mexican boys straight from Mexico City that work there... providing warm, inviting service... with a twinkle in their sparkling dark eyes and dark hair, and that sexy roll of the "rrrrrr" on their tongue!  I truly look forward to Friday unwinds at this place after a long hard 75++hour, 6day work week.  Whhheeeee!!
What WOWS me about Lolo's is their unique and savory spin on Spanish style tapas.  You won't get this anywhere else in the world, literally.  Only in San Francisco, on 22nd Street.  :)  The hot sexy chefs hail from Mexico City and... TURKEY.  Yup.  So now it's so obvious right?  When was the last time you had Panko and spice-dusted shrimp, topped with tropical relish and spicy aioli, served on a thinly sliced JICAMA WRAP instead of a taco wrap?  Served with a creative squeeze of lemon wedge dipped in cayenne pepper?  (RIGHT -->)

This is the kind of "thinking outside the box" clever cooking that absolutely tantalizes my taste buds and makes them want to DANCE!  I love daring chefs who mix cross-cultural cuisine and spices, creating a completely solid dish that really makes you think - mmm what WAS that ingredient?? Where in the world did I last taste that??? 
RIGHT--> Very thinly sliced octopus tiradito: urfa isot flakes, sea salt, and cascabel aioli.

On of my recent visits here last, a dear friend joined me for Friday chillax to celebrate friendship.  He, being a wine collecter, brought from his cellar a Altesino 1997 Brunello di Montalcino...  Tasting notes follow:
Altesino 1997 Brunello di Montalcino:
"absolutely incredible....... heavenly on the palate. massively intoxicating aroma - our server juan carlos asked to try some as he could not resist the nose once he opened the bottle for us!"

-Dark ruby and red color. Blackberry, licorice and grilled meat aromas. Full-bodied, with layers of beautiful tannins and fresh ripe fruit and sliced mushroom. Very, very long. So powerful and rich, yet racy and beautiful. Still needs some time (1997 Italian blind retrospective).
-13 years later - its rightful perfect. patience.... and rewarded grand.
Above:  Pistachio encrusted salmon with wasabi cream sauce.

Above:  Endive served with fried cheese, baby heirloom tomatoes, sherry viniagerette dressing.

Above:  PEPPER STUFFED with herbed rice, pine nuts, YELLOW RAISINS, and CINNAMON. I LOVE THIS DARLING AND CUTE small dish. totally TURKISH. Yummmmmeezzz. i love the hat on this thing. :)

Above:  Bay scallop and chorizo tostada with sandia aioli and roasted tomatillo sauce.

Above:  Arugula and radicchio, dried cherries, pine nuts, goat and sheep feta cheese, with orange muscat vinaigrette.

Above:  Dessert!!  Mascarpone cheese served with fresh strawberries, blueberries and trifle. paired with yummy Velenosi, Visviloe, Sour Cherry, Marche, Italy.

Finalement... !

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Heart Wine Bar: San Francisco

Date:  31 juillet 2010
Location:  1270 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel:  +1 415 285 1200

So folks, it's been awhile since I blogged.  I am extremely behind, I know.  Life happens I guess!  Thanks to all of your encouragement and feedback regarding support for reading my blog, I'm well motivated once again.  Here's to getting back to blogging few x/month!  Cheers and to our health!

I "HEART" WINE BARS ~ especially wine bars such as "HEART" in SF... where a short, varied selection of interesting wines allow me the opportunity to taste wines I would never had otherwise thought to taste!  Soledad... on her neverending travels, both real and vicarious... through the study of wine and food of the world!

Heart Wine Bar is located in the Mission, my favorite neighborhood in SF at the moment.  I like the super laid back culture in this neighborhood.  People come as they are, unpurposed, slightly messy, urban chic, high street or aging hipster ville.  Someone always has on a pair of cool spectacles.  Just plain old confidence in being themselves.  None of this hoity toity Marina or Financial District having to get dressed up and feigning perfectly coiffed pretenses, too contrived.  That gets tiring and old after awhile.  Somehow, showing up to life in a pair of your favorite washed out Saturday jeans, T shirt going braless, hair tied back in messy ponytail, clear skin and no makeup, can be a fabulously sexy and lazy relaxing way to enjoy a Saturday unwind.  I still got a nice pair of shoes on (Italian designer or China flipflops?!  Whatever suits the mood!).  Welcome to the Mission, San Francisco.  

Heart Wine Bar is a relatively new establishment in SF.  Had been wanting to try it since my Master Sommelier friend recommended it 3 months back, yet I was too jet lagged and already drunk to tag a long!   So, it's been on my list of places to try!

Heart has an interesting wine list, mostly from France and Italy - OH and a nice little selection of SHERRIES THANK YOU!  What is it with the lack of appreciation of Sherrys?  I predict more restaurants will begin expanding their dessert wine lists with at least one Sherry.  Anyhoo, obviously I like Sherrys a lot because some (like the Gutiereez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso I had last night) taste like caramel and sweet cherry compote on the tongue and pair FABULOUSLY with dessert cheeses (like the Essex Comte that I had last night OMG!), yet also due to their rarity, makes me feel in the know to appreciate something rare.  :)))))

Heart serves their wine in Mason jars.  YES read that again.  Mason jars and not fussy Riedels or Spieglaus.  I was 10% skeptical, yet 90% open and up for the experience!  Funny thing is, the Mason jars they use actually have a nice curvature at the top so as to contain the nose of the wine.  Somehow also gives the illusion of a larger pour.... and we all like that!

The small plates at Heart really aren't that small....  mid size between a small plate and an entree.  The food is definitely savory, yet a little heavy on the cream/butter/dressing/sea salt for my taste.  Kind of odd to see that, since San Franciscan quintessential cooking is soooo much about fine, clean cooking, and not messing with Mother Nature's local fresh ingredients' pure goodness.  Nevertheless, all I needed to do was ask the chefs to prepare my dishes with less salt, less dressing, less butter, et voila!  So accomodating and flexible.  Love these guys.  

What I tasted:
1 - Philippe Bornard Tant Mieux Ploussard Petillant Rose (Sparkling table wine from France, naturally sparkling and very delicious!) 
2 - 2008 Pinon Vouvray Brut Non Dose (100% Chenin Blanc from Loire Valley)
3 - 2007 Garey Mercurey Vielilles Vignes (Burgundy)
4 - And my favorite of the eve...  a very generous pour of Sherry, Gutiereez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso, served delightfully chilled!!

Left: Philippe Bornard Tant Mieux Ploussard Petillant Rose.
Right: 2008 Pinon Vouvray Brut Non Dose.


Grilled baby octopus. Lemon, raw onion, roasted potatoes, chermoula.

Beef shortribs braised with horseradish leaf. Roasted beets and potatoes, knoll farm horseradish gremoulata. Tooooo much butter in the sauce for my taste, but the shortrib meat itself was tasty and soft, beets and potatoes YUMYUM.

County line farm little gems. Green goddess dressing, roasted willey farm beets, cucumbers, shaved french breakfast radishes. A little too many dashes of sea salt, in my opinion. Freshness of the vegetables though, FRESH and SO SWEEEET!

Still working on my petllant rose but time to start on the reds...
Right:  2007 Garey Mercurey Vielilles Vignes.

Gutiereez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso Sherry, with Essex Comte Cheese, and Cherry Compote. WOW!!!!! Fabulous pairing and finishing last!