Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bar Agricole: San Francisco

Date:  vendredi 26 novembre 2010
Location:  355 11th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel:  (415) 355-9400

Agricole rum, made from pure can sugar (not molasses).  This new joint opened in August 2010.  I'd anxiously been awaiting its revealing, having known about its clandestine R&D beginnings a year prior from fellow friend and hot Ducati rider Eric Johnson, who is a Mixologist here.  These guys take their drinks seriously (but still fun!).  Backgrounds from San Francisco speakeasy Bourbon and Branch gives you an idea... though its not the place that makes the drink.  Its the Mixologist.  All the way.  

When other Sommeliers frequent a place for meetings, deal closings, or just to grab a drink, then you know that establishment is solid.  Bar Agricole is this kind of place.  Casual conversations taking place over bar area and tables frequently revolve around industry knowledge of food, wine and spirits and who or what is creatively pushing the envelope, carving new areas of opportunity.  

Cutting to the chase, why is Bar Agricole such a cool joint?  Because their drinks are refined, they specialize in fine rum and tequila, its one of 3 places in the city that has that sexy square block ice (Bar Agricole makes their own, my favorite of the 3), and the Mixologists know what they're doing, and do it without being a snob.  Patrons come here and are well taken care of enveloped in the height of fine spirits education - yet never pretentious.  I absolutely love this about San Francisco.  Only the very best of fine food and wine atmosphere but still casual cool, swanky, high street and hip.  Freedom loving vibe.  That's San Francisco for you.  No other way to live.  

Funny as I write this blog... another Master Somm friend pings me asking me what time I was at Bar Agricole last night as he got there around 1030pm PST.   told you.  This is the place if you want genuine good drink.

Quickly and finally - the sole reason I come here is for their Ti Punch.  Ain't nuthin punchy about this drink.  Pure 50 proof white agricole and lime zest, served on one solid block of defrosting ice.  They've got other fine, high end cocktail creations too... of the tequila, brandy, and whisky likes.  I love them all.  Though if forced to choose, I'll take the agricole rum.  Because it's rare and tastes like tamarind.... 

Thanks Eric Johnson and team for masterminding this place.  Knowing palates like Soledad's applaud and bow down.  5 solid drinks down last night and no hang over.  That's cuz it was the good shit.  Dam straight.  Well, off for my morning run!  Cheers all and big bisous, from the world of Sole.  

TI PUNCH:  with white agricole and lime zest.

 BOURBON OLD FASHIONED:  with two bitters.

 PRESIDENTE:  Haitian rum, farmhouse curacao, grenadine, orange bitters.

 RHUM DANDY:  with white agricole, sweet vermouth, lime, and absinthe.

 Bar agricole... the sexy swank bar.  Soledad's second home.

Bar agricole main dining floor.

LONG RHUM BUCK:  with ginger and lime.

Bar agricole secret sauces.... labeled just as in an apothecary...

Mixing spoons and straw in one.  Silver.  First time introduced to such.  LIKE.

TEQUILA COCKTAIL:  with sweet vermouth, stonefruit bitters, and orange.

 Soledad at ease.  Beautiful drink in hand.  Gorgeous and feeling sexy. 

The fresh fruits for the mixologists' concoctions.

 BROOKLYN COCKTAIL:  with whiskey, dry vermouth, amaro, maraska, and orange.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chez Maman: Potrero Hill, SF

Date:  vendredi 19 novembre 2010
Address:  1453 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107-2801
Tel:  (415) 824-7166

French.  Cafe.  Bistro.  Escargot.  Onion Soup w melted cheeeese.  Crepes.  Un Cafe.  KIR ROYALE.  Decadent chillax on a drizzly, cold, late Friday afternoon for late breakfast/lunch.  Mmmmmm.  In my cool neighborhood Potrero Hill.  Love dining at the bar with a good friend and discussing on life's exciting, twisted journeys... 

PLOW: Potrero Hill, SF

Date:  dimanche 14 novembre 2010
Address:  1299 18th Street @ Texas
San Francisco, CA 94107

Nyom nyom nyom!!  PLOW is a new brekky/brunch joint that just opened a few blocks away from my house.  Potrero Hill hood of SF, where the cool cats hang out.  :)  I had heard about this place for some time from local and international friends in HK (of all places!).  Finally got to try it when I missed my Sunday morning 730am JFK flight out to NYC.   Blessing in disguise... breakfast in SF!

This place does great for a couple reasons.  The location and set up has great feng shui (Maxine, wife of husband/wife team is Chinese, it's a given).  The decor is contemporary (marble bar top, actually refurbished post office counter!), yet warm (gorgeous wood floors and heavy velvet curtains).  Huge ceiling windows let the sun drench in, while tilting in the San Franciscan breeze.  The clientele, relaxed and San Francisco "come as you are" as I like to describe.  Grungy Sunday garb, or respectable dress down, never purposed.   Didn't see any kids or strollers (yay!).  30's older crowd, the kind that knows discerning food, ambiance, and time with good company.   Finally, the food is savory and genuine and soooo down to earth.  I love how the cooks are bold and confident, and handle the food with their fingers.  That's how I cook.  Don't be afraid to touch the food! 

Plow was rightly named due to the idea that the food created here is natural and of the earth.  The colors of the food stays in line with overall clean, muted tones of the restaurant (no jalopy style cooking here).  Though, flavors are long lasting and keep you thinking for awhile to come.  I want to go back!  Coffee - very strong roasted... wood chips.  Mmmmmmm. 

I sat at the bar (Soledad's favorite seat in the house) and eagerly looked on as the cooks and Maxine prepare every dish with noticeable finishing detail.  Triangle bread slices places just right, sliced bananas caramelized perfect for banana french toast, eggs cooked to order with a little special magic.  My scrambled eggs were light and fluffy (probably added milk?).  Small syrup container tilted just right on my plate.  Lemon ricotta pancakes - small and cute, and delicious with lemony finish!