SFBA Favorite Bites, September 2016

Riva Cucina donates 100% of this Bucatini all’Amatriciana to Earthquake Relief in Italy.
800 Heinz Ave
Berkeley, CA 94710

Post your favorite meals, snacks, drinks, etc. for September 2016

Cotogna for lunch last weekend . Party of six . From antipasti to dolce . 16 different dishes shared , two bottles of wine , plus the negroni I ordered . Fabulous service and food . Looking forward to heading back for dinner . loved it .

Cotogna’s Sunday Supper is truly delightful, too.

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I have my eye on the Sunday supper . Can’t wait to go back . The service , food , ambience , and that wood fired open oven .

Cynsa’s photo is from a Chowdown at Riva Cucina, where seven of us also enjoyed many other dishes, to allow the restaurant to at least make some money from our elaborate feast. Here’s what we had (pasted from their online menu):

CAPESANTA GRATINATA
Day boat scallop baked in the shell with herb & breadcrumb, organic mixed
greens, lemon

CARPACCIO DI BIETOLE
Organic Chioggia beets, Umbrian farro, organic baby romaine, chopped
eggs, Parmigiano, lemon condiment

BURRATA E BALSAMICO
Cream filled fresh mozzarella, mixed greens, balsamico, extra virgin
olive oil

PAPPARDELLE AL PESTO
Parsley pasta sautéed with basil-pinenut & Parmigiano pesto, zucchini,
squash, eggplant, fresh tomato

TORTELLI DI PERE E FORMAGGI
Pear, robiola and ricotta ravioli sauté with brown butter, sage and
Parmigiano

BUCATINI AMATRICIANA (x4)
Hollow spaghetti sauté with pork belly, red onion, Calabria pepper,
tomato, Pecorino Romano

PANINO ALLA SALSICCIA
Housemade Italian sausage, gorgonzola dolce, grilled fennel,
wildarugula, aioli

PANNA COTTA
“Cooked creme” served with choice of chocolate shavings or seasonal
fruit

and spinach sauteed in butter. Everything is made in house except for one of the desserts, including the bucatini–the chef has an elaborate extrusion machine to hollow out the pasta.

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Adding: they also cured the pork in-house. The Amatriciana had the richest sauce I’ve ever had in Italian food, probably from the fat in the pork. It was remarkable.

“Family-style” braised tofu at Great China, Berkeley. The tofu was in a rich sauce with other vegetables, served over cellophane rice noodles. And at the same lunch, their salt-and-pepper deep-fried squid. Their version had plenty of the squiggly parts, which are becoming rare around here.

Today’s favorite bite - pastry at A Taste of Greece 2016 - San Francisco’s Greek Food Festival.
Friday-Saturday-Sunday. September 16, 17, 18.
Annunciation Cathedral
245 Valencia Street, SF
Baklava-kourambiedes-Galactaboureko
(bring Cash)
The church ladies make the very best baklava! One is not enough.

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Hows that compared to Oasis’ baklava?

Love Greek church festivals! I look just Greek enough, and can pronounce most of the words accurately (I grew up speaking Greek at home) that the people there start chatting at me in Greek, with full hand gestures. I mostly smile and nod in return. The festivals are the best places for casual Greek food around here. The youvetsi–braised lamb shank in tomato sauce over orzo–at the Oakland festival was just like mom’s. Please, try the savory dishes when you go.

The pastitsio was wonderful! I wanted one of everything - this is the time to feast on favorites.

Chicken jook at Turtle Tower on Larkin. A great way to experience their broth without getting noodles— giant bowl, no condiments needed.

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What’s in it besides jook and chicken? What kind of style? Cantonese? or Teochew?

I don’t think I’d be able to classify jook styles. Here’s what I remember (i ate it first week of Sept.). There was shredded chicken, very moist, at the bottom of the bowl and IIRC it was garnished with cilantro and green onion. The rice grains had fully let out their starch and the thickness was consistent throughout the bowl and as I finished the bowl. It was the goldilocks of jooks— not too thick, not too watery, just right.

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the wagyu inaniwa udon at In Situ

I got curious about this dish and read up about Miyamasou and Hisato Nakahigashi’s food. And after reading the WSJ article, I would love to be able to stay there one day… Recalling @bradford’s comment about context of the food at In Situ, I think in this case its pretty hard to duplicate the tsumikusa/ freshly picked philosophy and the remote, tranquil, no cell phone setting of the ryokan at the museum.

What did you like about the udon?

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The perfection of those ultra-thin flat smooth noodles and the equally flat and smooth fatty shaved ribbons of marinated wagyu…sort of the ultimate pho… I hardly noticed the broth but will pay more attention next time

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Our table had the same reaction.

That sounds more like Cantonese than Chaozhou style, contrary to what one might expect. I think the Vietnamese like to garnish Chao Ga with rau ram, too. Did you find any of that in yours?

Interesting. I’ll have to try this next time. What I love about pho is the proportions and textures - in particular, for at least Saigon style (my favorite), the chew of the thin rice noodles taken with the almost creamy gelatin of tendon and “bouncy” tripe.

I like the idea of the julienned asparagus and thinness of the beef giving some nice textural variation to the noodles. I wonder where the wagyu in the In Situ / Miyamasou dish comes from - did In Situ comment on the provenance? Wagyu from different prefectures have different attributes, and I’m wondering which one they wanted texturally.

I’m thinking some fresh wasabi would really put a wagyu and inaniwa udon dish over the top (in a good way), for me at least.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold