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Oct 23, 2006 09:29 PM

CAV, the Surprise of our SF visit

Ex-NYer, recent LA-er, in SF to watch my little sister run the Nike marathon.
Had an amazing meal at Zuni, I had my doubts that the chicken could be as good as it is said, even given that I use the cookbook and love it above most all others: but it was as good as that. Yes, it was the best chicken I've ever had in my life. 2 dozen amazing oysters didn't hurt.
Neither did the figs in the piccolo fritto.
Nor the granita for dessert, or the flourless chocolate cake, etc., etc.
Revisited old favorites like Taqueria Cancun. Veggie burrito, cebollitas, melon agua fresca. Instant Heaven.
But killing some time at CAV before our Zuni reservation, I was blown away.
It's a good wine bar, didn't try the hot dishes, but what blew me away was the charcuterie, specifically:
The wild boar pate.
This was the best pate I've had since I used to live in France, maybe better than most I have had there. I couldn't get over it. It was astoundingly good.
You should have seen , tasted, the slabs of bacon by which it was girdled.
I asked who made it--implying where did you get it?
Well, that wasn't exactly the wrong question, but it was quite clear from the menu that everything in the realm of charcuterie is made in-house at this bar.
I guess I was just kind of culture-shocked, too much so to register it.
"Chrissie," was the answer and I was invited to come back at times when their new prosciutto legs will be ready, etc., etc. CAV was obviously proud of Chrissie. I don't know Chrissie, but I am proud of Chrissie too!
I salute you Chrissie and CAV!!

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  1. I presume Chrissie would be Christine Mullen, the chef.

    You can treat the place as a restaurant with a great wine program or a wine bar with great food.

    1. I think--think--I remember the bartender saying when I asked where was this Chrissie, that there was both a Chrissie and a Christine in the kitchen...?

      1. Nice report. First time we went to Zuni w/o a res. so had to wait for about an hour at the bar. I nursed the meyer lemon cocktail while husband had the balsamic bloody mary. They were pretty good, but it got a little old just standing there.

        The meal was worth the wait, but as we headed back to our car we noticed CAV. It looked so warm and intimate inside that I had wished we had been sensible enough to get a drink there while waiting. Since then, I've heard raves for their fried okra and now I must try Chrissie's charcuterie!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover

          We were there last Thursday and, alas, the fried okra is not on the menu anymore but its been replaced by a very good frito misto.

          1. re: larochelle

            The fried sardines/bocquerones are back on the menu as of last Wednesday. Unfortunately, the core flavor in this batch was not nearly as good as I remember them last year, and the frying was well below the normal standard. I'm going to treat these as an outlier. The fish was a bit strange, wheras before there was just a beautiful bright fishy flavor that I expect in fresh sardines.

            Charcut, cheeses, and the beef tartare were all quite tasty, so hopefully the bad fried fish was just a midweek mishap.