Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pan Fried Steak with Mustard-Cilantro Root Vegetables

This steak was very simply marinated worcestershire sauce and steak seasoning, then pan fried for 3 minutes on each side (medium rare). The root vegetables were a great new side dish, with no added fat, but packed with flavor.

Mustard Cilantro Root Vegetable
-5 baby turnips, peeled and quartered
-1 large parsley root, peeled and cut in bite sized pieces
-1 Tb whole grain mustard
-1 handful of fresh cilantro, minced

Boil the veggies in salted water until fork tender. Drain. Mix the mustard and cilantro together, then stir in with the boiled veggies and serve.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Fish and Farm: Very Local, Pretty Good

We just heard about Fish and Farm, a restaurant that just opened up a few weeks ago and that claims to source as much of its ingredients as possible from within 100 miles of the front door of the restaurant. We like to eat locally, and we like to try new restaurants, so this seemed like a good bet. When we tried to get a reservation, the only thing left on a Friday night was at 9:45, so we took it. There were some hits and some misses, but the good outweighed the bad as far as food was concerned. And, although they are obviously still working out the kinks as far as service is concerned (the service was really slow), the waitstaff did an admirable job with menu knowledge. The waiter knew the provenance of every ingredient I asked about off the top of his head, except for the rice flour, which he promptly found the answer to.

The atmosphere was casual and fun. The decor consists of bright blue walls, some interesting art, a couple of oars and 2 big, cushy leather banquettes on opposite walls, with tables, a row of chairs and a central walkway in between. The one thing we found a bit off-putting was that there was an overwhelming fishy smell throughout the restaurant. Now, we understand that half the focus of the restaurant is fish, but this was a bit much.

Shaved Fennel with Kalamata Olives and House-Cured Gravlax (gratuit)
This amuse-bouche was well executed, if not particularly inventive. It was a fresh way to start the meal.

Mediterranean Style Sardines $8
These were really tasty. The tender, grilled flesh was served with roasted fennel, olives and a citrus vinaigrette. We did notice, however, when these sardines arrived at the table, that they were the source of the fishy odor that permeated the restaurant.

Fish and Farm Plate $18
This was probably the biggest dissapointment of the night. For the price, we expected about twice as much food and although the fish portion of this dish was tasty, the house-cured meats were sub par. From left to right;
House-Made Head Cheese with Boiled Egg Sauce--Not complex enough for head cheese and cut too thick
House-Made Mortadella--This was awful. It tasted like store-bought bologna.
Sardine Marinated in Champagne Vinegar--This little bite was sitting on a very thin lemon slice and reminded us of tuna tataki. It was quite good.
Escabeche of White Bass--This delicious bite was served fried in rice oil and served with carrots.

Salt Cod Fritters with Stewed Peppers and Onions and a Poached Egg $9
Wow. These were light and airy on the inside and perfectly crispy outside. We could eat these for breakfast any day.

Venison Spareribs with Celery Root Slaw $11
These meaty ribs were very tender and far less gamey than we would have expected. Perhaps they achieved this effect through the brining.

Crayfish, Braised Leeks and Okra with Polenta and Arugula $18
This dish was truly transcendant. All of the ingredients, eaten in a single bite, were more than the whole of their parts. We were skeptical that there were really crayfish within 100 miles of here, but we were informed that the crayfish come from the Sacramento Delta. We were impressed. The polenta was creamy without being gummy, and the sauce was made with Absinthe, one of the only ingredients of the night that was decidedly not from the area. This was a great finish to the night.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Fish and Farm
339 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Too New for Health Code Violations

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rosemary Chicken with Fennel Salad

This quick, crunchy salad is perfect topped with a warm chicken breast.

-1 bell pepper, julienned
-1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
-equal parts balsamic, mustard and olive oil, emulsified

Make the dressing and toss with the chopped veggies.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breast
-1 chicken breast per person
-3 stems rosemary, leaves removed and minced
-salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Pan fry in a bit of olive oil over medium low heat, flipping once, until just done in the center, about 15 minutes total. Sprinkle the minced rosemary over the chicken. Slice and serve over the above salad.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pinenuts

This silky smooth winter soup is thick and hearty. The addition of toasted pinenuts add an earthy appeal as well as creating a texture contrast.

-1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
-4 cloves garlic, peeled
-3 or 4 cans chicken stock
-squeeze of lemon juice
-pepper to taste

Roast the squash, covered with foil on 375 on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted into the flesh. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and set aside. Sautee onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil in a soup pot until beginning to brown. Add the stock and the squash you set aside, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender (or regular blender). In a small pan, toast the pinenuts over medium-low heat until they begin to brown. Add them to the pureed soup. Season with lemon juice and pepper.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baked Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard and Balsamic

Baked fish is a great weeknight meal, as it takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

Baked Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard and Balsamic Vinegar
-1/2 lb filet of salmon
-1 tb whole grain mustard
-1 tb balsamic
-salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the over to 350. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Mix the mustard and the balsamic and spread over the salmon. Bake, covered for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes. Served with a salad of fresh greens and homemade vinaigrette.

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Hot and Sour Soup and Roast Duck at R&G Lounge, San Francisco, CA

Hot and Soup Soup $2
This was quite a good deal, but this lunch special was standard in execution.

1/2 Roast Duck $15
Far too expensive when you can get a whole roast duck for $10 down the street at Yee's and it's better at Yee's too.

R&G Lounge
631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Black and Blue Salad at The Royal Exchange, San Francisco, CA

This pub in the financial district actually had some decent food.

Black and Blue Salad $15
This daily special was a tasty salad with blue cheese dressing and grilled flank steak, bacon, and lots of fresh, yummy veggies. I asked for the steak medium rare and was pleasantly surprised that it arrived that way.

The Royal Exchange
301 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Health Code Violations

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Roasted Tomato Soup with Mini-Meatballs

We joined a CSA and now we find ourselves with tons of veggies each week. Alexis has resorted to making soup, which is good, since it's getting colder now. This soup was hearty and delicious.

Roasted Tomato Soup
-15 San Marzano Sauce Tomatos, cut in half lengthwise
-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
-2 cans chicken broth
-4 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 handful fresh basil
-salt and pepper to taste
-some olive oil

Place the tomatoes cut side up in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast on 350 for about 1/2 an hour. In a large pot, sautee the onions and garlic until beginning to brown. Add in roasted tomatoes and 2 cans of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then puree. Add in the fresh basil and puree a bit more.

-1 and 1/2 lbs ground beef
-1 egg
-1/2 cup parmasean
-2 tb Italian seasoning
-1 ts garlic powder
-1 ts salt
-1 ts ground pepper

Mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Roll 3/4 inch diameter meatballs and pan fry in 2 batches in a few Tb of veggie oil.

Add the meatballs to the soup just before serving.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wedding Catered by Michael Mina at The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, CA

Some friends of ours got married and the wedding, held at the Westin St. Francis, was catered by the chefs at Michael Mina Restaurant, also in the West St. Francis. The appetizers were delicious, and the meal itself was much better than average for wedding food. Although, it's always a bit hard to turn out 60 or so of the exact same meal at the same time, at the right temperature.

Shortrib Bite
These were tender and very flavorful. You don't usually think of shortribs as an appetizer, but these were really great.

Mini Mushroom Puff Pastry
Savory mushrooms in a tender, light crust. Standard, but great execution.

Crab Spring Rolls with Mango Sauce
The spring rolls themselves were very tasty, but the sauce was a bit sweet for our tastes.

Chicory Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Candied Pecans, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Pumpernickle Croutons
The chicory was very bitter, but stood up well to the strong flavors of blue cheese and pumpernickle.

Butternut Squash Soup with Cardamom Beignets and Granny Smith Apples
The soup was very creamy and super smooth, but the apples didn't add a whole lot and the beignet was rather heavy.

Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass with Matsutake Consomme, Braised Radish and Snow Peas
The fish was ever-so-slightly overcooked for our taste (although probably just right for most people). The flavors were very nice, however and overall, this was a successful dish.

Whole Roasted Ribeye of Veal with Herbed Spaetzle, Currants, Sweetbreads and Carrots
This dish was really amazing. The veal was tender and juicy. The spaetzle was light and flavorful. This was the most successful dish of the night.

Poached Pear with Vanilla Shortbread and Marscapone Glacage
Eve if we liked desserts, I don't think we could have liked this one. The pear was far too soft and the shortbread was dry.

The Wedding Cake
This was beautiful, very realistic looking, reasonably sized cake. And the piece Alexis had was carrot cake, which was a very pleasant surprise, since carrot cake is one of the only types of cake Alexis likes.

Michael Mina at the Westin St. Francis
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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