Saturday, November 24, 2007

San Fransico - Incanto and Bacar

To add to my Iron Chef America experiences, upon arriving back from Cleveland I found out that I would be flying out to San Francisco for a photo shoot. I immediately made reservations at Incanto, Chef Chris Cosentino's restaurant in the Noe Valley. My supervisor, Dave, and I arrived there at 9pm, after landing at 8p, to a full dining room. I could see Chef Chris hard at work in the kitchen adjoining the dining room.

Dave and I opted for the sparkling water and I also ordered a reisling. I started with an appetizer of Crispy Hog's Head Terrine with pickled turnips and grapes, which looked a lot like breaded SPAM, but tasted a whole lot better. The pickled grapes were amazing...a flavor that was tart with vinegar but sweet from the red grape. Both the grapes and turnips complemented the richness of the pork very well.

My main course was the Chicken Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter and Dave chose the Handkerchief Pasta with Rustic Pork Ragù. The ravioli was creamy and rich and incredibly delicious.

To finish the meal I tried the Bay Leaf Panna Cotta & 15-year old Balsamic and Dave had the Roasted Peach, Ginger Ice Cream & Bergamot Mint.

After the photo shoot the next day, we went out with Greg Lorencz and Kim Avelar, the photographers, to Bacar on Brannan St. Kim picked a very nice Cabernet and we started with appetizers of Calamari and the Wood Oven Roasted Bone Marrow, Sultana Raisin-Caper Relish, Parsley Salad & Grilled Bread. Greg and Kim had never tasted bone marrow and were brave enough to give it a try. Using special long, narrow spoons we dug deep into the roasted bones and scooped out its goodness. We spread it on the toast, added a few raisins and heartily crunched down. Yum.

As a main course Kim and Greg chose the Mesquite Grilled Prime Ribeye Steak Slow Cooked Broccoli, Fingerling Potatoes & Arugula Salad, Sauce Bordelaise, Dave chose the Alaskan Salmon Cauliflower, Roasted Yukon Potatos & Toasted Almonds, Caper Emulsion with a side of Roasted Baby Beets & Humboldt Fog Chèvre, and I picked the Loin of Cervena Venison Savoy Cabbage, Hazelnuts & Spiced Quince Broth. The tenderloin was a bit tough, but very flavorful and the sauce was wonderful.

Dave and were the only ones up for dessert so I ordered the Pumpkin Pie Panna Cotta with Hazelnut Sable Breton, Pepita Praline and Ginger Caramel; dave chose a dessert called the Milky Way which is a Fudge Cake, two quenelles Malt Ice Cream dressed with Bourbon Caramel. Both were fabulous.

We followed dinner with a round of drinks at a nearby bar but had to cut it short as the jet lag finally took hold (just in time to take off again at 7a.) and so called it a night, and an end to my time on the west coast.

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