Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 12, 2001 12:25 PM

SF Get Together

  • s

Just a very brief note to say a huge thanks to my Colonial chowhounding chums for organising a great evening at Da Flora ( a magical place in the very truest sense of the word - they know what I mean )

The food was excellent Venetian-italian ( Bottaga (sp?) being the star treat ) and Melanie brought some interesting wines which go a long way to changing my views on the californian's ability to Vint ( is that a word?)

All in all, a memorable part of my West Coast debauchery.

So Ta! again and I hope to host a London dinner when any of you are in the UK. Hell, if he can stop whining about not getting his mum's cooking in London for a minute ( even a second ) we might even invite Howler. Now that would be an interesting meeting Anne Vs Howler. I might even pay more than I paid for my Hamed/Barerra Tickets.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. god, one minute in san francisco and you've gone native.

    but i admire your courage. faced by melanie armed with californian wine, i would have turned tail and bravely fled.

    awright, thats just a joke.

    11 Replies
    1. re: howler

      We heard a bit about your taste in trousers, Howler. Come on over and we'll give you equal time.

      I'll second Simon's thanks for Melanie's generosity with some wonderful bottles of Zinfandel. I rate last night as one of the most gorgeous, civilized, high-spirited (!) evenings I've enjoyed in a long time. A few of us talked about how amazing it was to walk in and sit down with a table full of people we'd never seen, and feel an instant camaraderie -- friends well-met over a wonderful dinner.

      Who's planning the next get-together?


      1. re: Anne Emry

        Cugina Anne, thank you for bringing us to Da Flora. With you as our spirit guide, it was indeed magical.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Serious ta to Anne for bringing the gathering to Da Flora. The restaurant was absolutely charming as was Flora - I'm glad she knows what she wants and it shows up in her food. Ah the food. As promised, the bottarga was a stunner. As Flora said, the plain and simple presentation was an excellent way to show off the flavor of the roe. Though I absolutely love bottarga, I'd have to say that the gnocchi also knocked me out. Feather light and simply sweet.

          Additionally, I'd like to offer kudos to Melanie for bringing some fantastic wines. The zin was a wonderful complement to that out of this world gnocchi, and I enjoyed the rose with the fish. REally accentuated the smokiness of the trout. Thank you for sharing!

          Finally, thanks to all who attended, particularly the charming Simon. Go native, you're certainly welcome here!

          1. re: Tida

            My dear Cousin Tida, it was wonderful to finally meet you and share the delights of bottarga. Yes, I loved the rose' from Flora's list, a bone dry 1999 from the Alto Adige region, with the roe, smoked trout and especially with the octopus.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Everything last night was a treat but to finally meet my cousin Melanie!

              Btw, I am always looking for cheese farms to go to so please do keep me in the loop re. cheese expeditions. I go to cheese farms on my own, just for the sake of going, so any opportunity to share the curds with fellow cheesehounds would be most welcome!

              1. re: Tida

                Oh, you were all just too much fun!


                1. re: Tida

                  Will do, Tida. And, please keep us posted on what you and Nancy come up with for another chowhound dinner.

              2. re: Tida

                Yes, thanks to Anne for organizing, Melanie for the wine, and Simon and his brother for making the trek and providing much amusement!

                I had to leave after the appetizers (the heavenly gnocchi, bottarga, octopus & smoked trout -- oh, yum!), but it seems everyone is really raving about them alone. How were the main dishes? Any recommendations? I intend to drag my husband there ASAP. :-)

                Deb H.

                1. re: Deb H.

                  My entree was the duck livers venezia, and tasted exactly as I wished it to, rich and sweet with lots of sauteed onions.

                  We shared two 'puddings.' I ate most of the intensely flavored strawberry tart, and had a bite of Melanie's chocolate nut tart. I must say my discriminatory faculties had diminished into an undiferentiated state of bliss by this point. Caused by what? Possibly the wine, certainly the company, always the enchanted atmosphere of the place. I finished the meal with coffee (they serve no tea, no decaf) and a glass of vin santo which was more flavorful and less sweet than other tastes of vin santo I have had.

                  I'm guessing that we were all talking more about the appetizers because we all shared them family style. That, and the fact that conversation became so droll and lively that even we hard-core chowhounds turned our attention to non-food entertainment.

                  1. re: Deb H.

                    Deb, I had the pork braised in milk which was a brick o' meat with crusty edges providing plenty for others to share. The white bean were mushier than usual, but twice as tasty with fresh rosemary, garlic and meaty flavor. I had but a spoonful of the risotto nipped from Simon's plate - fluffy rather than creamy texture, very light and delicate seafood flavors punctuated by citrus.

            2. re: howler

              He did indeed go native in the haunts of SF's gay ways.

              Even guzzled some Zinfandel! This was the 1993 Nalle Dry Creek Valley Zin, probably the most clarety in style of the Sonoma County producers. My last bottle of this one had aged gracefully with more cassis and red currants than in-your-face blackberry jam, and interesting complexity of pfeffernuss spice and smoke. Elegant and silky in the mouth with nice sweet middle and satisfying length. Most zin fans would find this too restrained and subtle. I loved it with the sweet potato gnocchi and my entree of pork shoulder braised in milk on a bed of rosemary white beans.

              The other wine, the starter actually, was the 1994 Sanford "Barrel Select" Santa Ynez Valley Pinot Noir. A great vintage in the Santa Barbara area, the sweet strawberry fruit was still evident, supported by a harmony of floral aromas, attractive earth tones and mushroomy notes. Still lively, very generous and expansive on the palate. Such a pretty wine, alas the last of this one too.


            3. Simon, I thought your intro would be more along the lines of "the skirl of the lone piper shrouded by the mists of Brigadoon ..."

              Even so, I can't stop talking about the bottarga from Sardinia, yet my favorite dish was the death by gnocchi. Gotta love those sweet potato bites swathed in cream and pancetta.

              We Californians do more than "vint", which in US regulatory language means the assembler of the wine, rather than the grower or producer. I'm glad you enjoyed the bottles from the garage stash. As I mentioned, I purposely chose from the older ones with more complexity and less flamboyant fruit.