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Mar 19, 2011 07:08 PM

Short SF/Sonoma Trip Report

NOTICE- we are foodies. I plan restaurants to visit before sights.

Food truck in parking lot at Dutton-Grafton & Red Car Wineries-We picked up a light lunch here. The pulled pork taco was amazing as were the burger (rare from a food truck??? Wow!) and the grilled cheese sandwich with roasted red peppers. I wish I could remember the name of the company that ran the truck.

Cyrus Restaurant, Healdsburg- We had the eight course tasting menu with the wine pairings. I won’t go into all the detail here unless anyone wants it. Everything was wonderful. Just a few notes- amazingly enough one of our favorite dishes was a lentil ragout, the pairing of pear cider with the cheeses was unbelievable and I have to figure out how to make the savory rye and caraway tuile that was served with the foie gras course. Expensive as expected but worth it.

Scoma’s, Sausalito, lunch- On the way into San Francisco my cousin’s wife took us to Scoma’s for lunch. We waited for a room in the front dining room which had glorious views. It would be great to dine out doors here. As we passed into the dining room I noticed someone eating an artichoke. Well that makes up my mind without even seeing the menu!!! My DH had the ahi tuna appetizer and it was gorgeous both in flavor and presentation. I had the aforementioned artichoke which was steamed and grilled then served with a roasted garlic aoilli. For entrees my DH & I had the green salad with Dungeness crab and my cousin had the Louie Salad with crab. We hadn’t had Dungeness crab before and it was on our list of things to try. It was very good. We shared a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay for a very nice lunch.

Lolo ( 3230 22nd St SF We had a GTG here with people from Fodors. It had been suggested by another Fodorite who unfortunately couldn’t attend. It was a great funky little place with excellent food. We tried a lot of dishes: deep-fried Brussels sprout leaves with hazelnuts (I don’t like sprouts but loved this!!), pistachio salmon with wasabi cream, a tuna special which came on a bed of asparagus, vegetarian flautas, guacamole, carnitas and shrimp tacos. There was one more but I couldn’t remember what it was. Several of us had sparkling sangria which was nice and light. Not someplace I would have gone to without the GTG.

The Hog Island Oyster Bar- Ferry Building As usual with us we went to the Farmers Market in front of the Ferry Building. It was a Tuesday morning so not as large as what is probably there on Saturday (sigh!). While we were there we noticed the oyster bar. As we weren’t far away when hunger struck we went back and stood in line for 10 minutes for two seats at the bar. Since we were sipping on Juve y Camps Cave while waiting and deciding on our meal it wasn’t too onerous. We had a plate of their Oyster Bar Mix which was two of each of the varieties they had that day. These were Hog Island Sweetwater (CA), two from Washington State- Chelsea Gems and Blue Pools, Kusshi from British Colombia, Sewansecott from VA and the last Naked Cowboy from Long Island Sound, NY. The only one I didn’t care for was the Chelsea Gems but the rest were fabulous. We also shared the Chowder which were tiny Manila clams steamed with bacon and cream. How can you go wrong? A green salad and a couple of glasses of rose rounded out the meal.

Spruce ( 3640 Sacramento St SF Spruce was the restaurant I was unsure of. I didn’t see much written about it and when we were seated at a tiny deuce near the front door was dismayed. I am so glad we kept the reservation because the meal was fabulous!! I started with a glass of Cremant d’Alsace which I had to order because it was from Domaine Gresser which is my maiden name. They brought two gougeres which were big crisp and warm. We could have eaten a bunch of these. I adore sweetbreads and order them pretty much where ever they appear. The seared sweetbread with foraged mushrooms and tagliarini was the best sweetbreads dish I have ever had. YUM. We also had the agnolotti with nettles and green garlic and a mint nage. For entrees we chose the squab a l’orange which had a bitter orange sauce rather than a sweet and the oxtail crepinette with foie gras. Desserts were a pineapple cake and a panna cotta with blood orange sauce. We had fun with the sommelier and ordered two half bottles of California reds. As usual Tomas had an Armagnac and a cappucino. Dinner was $132 for two. Drinks and wines were more but there were wines by the glass.

Z&Y Restaurant 655 Jackson St SF We like spicy Szechuan food and can’t get it at home so when I saw this place mentioned on Chowhound I knew we had to go. We had a fabulous lunch here. It was funny everything was swimming in a pool of chili oil but it wasn’t too spicy. The dishes were flavored with more than just the chilis. We had the wontons with peanut sauce, the cold pork with spicy garlic sauce, tan tan noodles and chicken with explosive chili peppers. Everything was great. I drank tea and Tomas had a Tsing tao. We took leftovers with us but the pork spilled over things in my bag so we ditched it in the SFO airport.

Perbacco ( 230 California St SF Our final night in SF we had an early dinner at Perbacco. I was surprised that it was such a large restaurant. I guess I was expecting something similar to Spruce. We thought our waitress was a little ditzy but she was ok. I had a Bellissimo which is Prosecco with blood orange. We started with the Crudo which was Hamachi which was very good and the Fritto Misto of Rock Shrimp with fennel, olives and a lemon aoili. Then we split an asparagus risotto which was great. Then things took a turn for the worse. We had ordered the duck breast and Tomas took one bite and spit it out. It was bad. I went to the ladies room while Tomas dealt with it. When I returned the owner/general manager came over and apologized and admitted it was bad. We told him we would just finish the Quail stuffed with foie gras and not to worry about it. The quail was good but we kind of lost the groove after the duck. We split a blood orange sorbetto for dessert and they gave us an order of cookies. Italian wines predominate on the list so we went with two half bottles. The first was a Sannio which is an Italian white we had never heard of but it was very good. The other was a Barbaresco which was also good. I just wasn’t as taken with this place as I was with Spruce.

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. What a great report, thanks! I'm especially glad to hear more about Lolo, as it is around the corner from my house and in the whole time it's been there I've never been. I've only heard one other ch-er, i think mention it. (positively.) and i'm also intrigued by your Spruce review because i've still not been there either! thanks again! glad you enjoyed your time here.

    1. Sounds like you and your DH had a great time here. Excellent TR!

      1. Photo of Chicken with explosive chilis. It shows why we were worried it would be too spicy.

        12 Replies
        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

          The Chongqing Style dishes are a impressive sight, especially to people who have never eaten it before. One of my favorites.

          1. re: chefj

            Yeah. That dish is usually called 1,000 chili chicken, or Chongqing Style. There's variations about whether it's wings, or drumsticks, or thighs, etc. A very pleasant dish.

            Thanks for the note on lolo - what is a GTG? To me, that means Good To Go.

            Peay makes very good wine. A little popular, but still good.

            1. re: bbulkow

              I thought get together in that sentence.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  This may have been mentioned anywhere but are there whole hua jiao (Sichuan peppercorn) in the chicken with explosive chilis dish at Z&Y? Can't tell for sure from the pic but it looks like not.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I didn't see any whole Sichuan peppercorns but they were there. My husband brought home some Sichuan peppercorns from a recent trip to China and we were suddenly aware of the difference between the irradiated and not.

                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                      Thanks -- I love this dish but it's gotta have the ma la :-).

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Just wanted to let you know that when I was eating the leftovers I noticed lots of Szechuan peppercorns.

                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                          Thanks! Z&Y has been "on the list" for ages but that moves it up :-).

            2. Please tell us what you had at Cyrus.

              Brussels sprouts are tiny cabbages. And that Chongqing chicken is a great dish, even if it doesn't travel well.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Windy

                And what wines did you have at Spruce?

                1. re: baron45

                  The wines at Spruce were:
                  PINOT NOIR, CALERA, RYAN, MT.HARLAN 2006
                  SYRAH, PEAY, LA BRUMA, SONOMA COAST 2008

                2. re: Windy

                  We had the 8 course tasting menu and where there was a choice we had one of each. The asterisk denotes the dish we prefered.

                  Chilled Oxtail-Umeshu Consomme with Kindai Tuna and Myoga*
                  Sweet Shrimp with Narazuke of Cuttlefish, Watermelon Radish and Blood Orange

                  Bay Scallops with Sweet Potato-Passion Fruit Puree and Turnip, Poke
                  Quail Egg with Foie Gras-Black Truffle Jus, Rye and Caraway tuile*

                  Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Smoked Soba Noodles and Mitusba, Oolong Broth

                  Milk Poached Chicken with Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts, Uni Froth
                  Lentil Ragout with Cippolini, Broccoli and Mushroom Confit*

                  Braised Pork Cheek with Cabbage and Red Wine Truffled Risotto, Parmesan*
                  Wagyu Strip Loin with Lotus and Shitake, Ginger Bone Marrow Flan

                  Artisanal and Farmhouse Cheeses

                  Vanilla Bean Fontainebleau with Rhubarb and Lime, Farina Fritter

                  Butterscotch “Sundae” Popcorn Tuile and Chocolate Soil
                  Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, Honeycomb Parfait*

                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                    Thank you. It helps to live vicariously.