Bocadillos Report - SF
With my (equally cuisine passionate) friend returning to France after almost two years working up here in Sonoma county, we took a day trip down in SF yesterday.
Famished and fatigued from some traffic delay in San Rafael we headed first to Bocadillos for lunch in the Financial District. As I am on a Spanish cuisine kick of sorts and she - the Bordeaux native - is soon planning to move 'south' of her border we initally planned on this place.
--- BOCADILLOS --- http://www.bocasf.com/site/start.html
I have to say that I really liked the the non-descriptness of the location - kind of hidden behind some large trees on a quiet stretch of North Montgomery.
The communal table made me instantly think of Cesar and I was attracted by the warm orange-red color of the walls and simplicity of the modern design.
The clientele seemed to be made up almost entirely of businesspersons - which makes sense - seeing as the concept behind bocadillos would attract me if I was a person in the same situation.
The waitress we had was proffesional, passionate, and articulate - everything I could ask for.
We each choosed two sandwiches which we shared and are accomp. by lemon-olive oil dressed greens.
>>Chorizo, Walnut Spread, and Parsley Bocadillo
This sandwich was actually one of the primary reasons I wanted to try the place. I was very intrigued by how the ingredients would work against each other.
Unfortunately it was our least favorite. It just tasted of bread - and what was worse was that they didnt seem to "toast" this bread with olive oil and a grill heating as they did the others . Just one mm thin slice of chorizo- which we could not detect and barely a smattering of the walnut spread.
>>Catalan Sausage with Manchego and Arugula
Our favorite Sandwich. Warm and juicy garlic laced sausage against a nice thin wedge of nutty manchego. Perfect foil for the little roll. (Any info on catalan sausage?)
>> Roast Beef with onion confit and Goat cheese
Second favorite - only reservation was that I wished the roast beef was a little rarer. I enjoyed the sweetness of the onions, creamy chivo wisps, and roast beef.
>> Serrano Jamon with Tomato rubbed Bread
What stood out in this sandwich for me was the subtle sweetness - which my guess came from the "Pan y tomate" technique of rubbing the olive oil toasted bread with tomato. Solid sandwich.
>> Spinach with pinenuts and golden raisins
"As seen on Chowhound" We desperately had to ask for salt for this. With the application, the flavors bloomed and would have been fine had the spinach been squeezed of moisture. Instead there was that pool many of us homecooks know when sauteeing the greens.
>>Patatas Bravas with Romesco
My favorite dish of the entire meal. However, the reverse was true for the seasoning of this tapa it was pretty agressively salted. I loved the smoked paprika laced small wedges of meaty, spicy potatoes. This we cooled with the delicate and creamy romeso. Order this when you come.
My friend is a big dessert person - I am not. But I am glad she insisted on the flan - after seeing it pass by many times. It was the most elegant. delicate flan I have ever had and she announced it as the best she ever had.
I asked the waitress to bring us a couple of glasses of what she liked from the Riojas. What she brought was so wonderful - I took the time to write down the name, and year with the hope of tracking it down. Except I dont have the name with me right now and the wine list on the site is not working. " 2000 reserva vino Alb..."
Being 21 and just moving to So Co- I am admittedly a novice when it comes to wine but this glass was perhaps the most revelatory part of my experience here. Medium dry - went excellent with our meat filled sandwiches (particularly the sausage).
I will be back to try the evening menu ...stay tuned
Tripe 'Basquaise' is my favorite dish in the Bay Area.
With Popul Vuh closed - hiked it all the way back the the Financial district for dinner -arrived around 9 to find the place pretty lively.
I swear I could just stand outside and look in for 15 min. There is something seriously sexy about the interior color and the dim lighting and the activity inside.
La Rioja Vina Alberdi called my name yet again (available at Traversos for Santa Rosa hounds out there) - placed an order for that.
The dish that piqued my interest to try dinner here was admitedlly the pig trotters, but new to the menu just above it, under the clever heading "The Innard Circle" was Tripe 'basquaise.'
So I was torn - especially so since still reeling from the Fillipino style callos we had at a Chowdown in Sonoma County. I finally decided on this upon hearing the pig trotters are removed from their original state and meat formed into a patty of sorts.
So it was tripe and citrus carmelized belgian endive to round out the meal.
Endive was first to arrive. Initally I was put off by the aggressive orange flavor - but then I really grew fond of it paired with the slightly braised tender endives. I imagine they used the Seville marmalade. I hope to recreate this dish at home.
Then came the steaming tripe - in all its glory - attractively presented in a little red creuset pot. All honeycomb tripe in a thick, rich, & herb fortified tomato sauce embedded with tender chunks of carrot sprinkled with fried wisps of breadcrumbs. If this dish is not the pure embodiment of Spanish cuisine - I know not what is.
I finished my meal with a amontillado with its hazelnut and honey tones and all that was missing was the music: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Up5qSOBF9Z8