It's been a bit since my last Where & What - but I've kept mental notes about all the incredible restaurants I need to share with you - and we've added them all to the Restaurant Search & our Apps for you too. Here are some notes on the favorite places I've been lately - I've been lucky enough to share some amazing meals with some of the most fabulous people I know - there's just nothing like perfect food & perfect company, right?
Pig Part Perfection at Incanto -
My expectations were pretty high for Incanto, the Dante-laden San Francisco restaurant of Chef Chris Cosentino - the man behind Boccalone, where I regularly drag my friends for a Meat Cone & a Dry Soda in the Ferry Building. Four friends & I selected wines to try from the Italian-heavy list, and the next two hours were filled with amazing service, lots of laughter, house-marinated olives, house-made salumi, fresh sardines, California yellowtail, the single-best obscenely-good pork dish any of us had ever had, and desserts we thought we didn't think we had room for until we tried them.
A New Wine Country Favorite - Angèle
One of my favorite maneuvers is calling a local for foodie 411, and when I was told that I "should absolutely get to Angèle" because I would love it, I gave them a call. Was it going to be a problem that I'm Gluten & Almond Free? Absolutely not - in fact, the Chef's wife is Gluten Free too. Brilliant. So I hopped in a cab with a friend who had by now learned that I have no real sense of travel-times, nor am I much help navigating in towns where I usually taste wine instead of drive - and we headed over, and got to choose between a patio overlooking the Napa River or a cozy interior with a vaulted natural wood exposed-beam ceiling. (Did you know I'm a sucker for exposed-beam ceilings? I am.) I sneaked a look at the dessert menu first - Valrhona Chocolate Pot de Crème? Did someone tell them it's my Pot de Crème year? It was fabulous - and that was after a wild salmon tartare, pork shoulder with honey-roasted peaches, and short ribs that made my non-foodie companion make a total food-porn face. Get yourself to Napa, and let me know if you need winery recommendations.
Pizza & Beer that Restored my Faith in Humanity - Tony's Pizza Napoletana
As a foodie, the hardest thing for me has been adjusting some of my standards to fit my Gluten Free life - fine dining, which I love, is usually not the issue. Things get challenging in the areas that seem more simple: pizza, hot wings, cupcakes, street food, hot dogs + beer at ballgames (G-Free in section 112 at AT&T Park, Go Giants) which I may love even more.
I had recently survived a really GF bad pizza crust moment, so I headed to Tony's in Little Italy with my parents & daughter, cautiously optimistic but not stoked. We were greeted by Robvell the bar manager - we like to sit at the bar and meet random people - who immediately bonded with my kiddo and poured her a Shirley Temple with 2 cherries & an orange (LOVE waitstaff that treats kids like humans!) He explained that the G-Free pizza is made in a separate workspace, and cooked in it's own oven. Then he asked if I wanted a beer. "Redbridge?" (It's almost always Redbridge, and I understand that. I'll just order something else instead, thanks.) Robvell gave me a look that said he knew exactly why I was asking, and put a Estrella Damm Daura down in front of me. And now I love him. The pizza was fabulous, so good my supportive-but-brutally-honest-about-GFfood father ate two pieces and drank part of my beer. My daughter asked if we could move to San Francisco, so Robvell & Tony gave her some salted caramel gelato. I'm currently considering her request.
I was recently given this book by my caleic mother-in-law, and I am so grateful. My sister and I are both caleics, and desserts like cake and cookies have been missing from our lives for years. (I mean, REAL cakes and cookies that taste like their gluten-laiden counterparts.) From the very first recipe we tried- frosted macadamia nut bars (p.145) to my 25th birthday treat- whoopie pies (p.118), my entire family has devoured the outcomes. Including those who can eat wheat. This book explains evey detail about gluten-free flours, right down to thier protein contents, and how and why they work. This is an absolute must for anyone who wants to enter back into the realm of heavenly desserts, or anyone catering to their beloved caleic. Just be prepared to stock your shelves with a bunch of new flours, and you'll be on your way!