Monday, May 11, 2009

Sharing a Meal

One of my favorite things to do, is to share food with people. Whether it’s making just a tad more of a dish and sharing it with a friend, or sharing a favorite dish or restaurant with a friend. I had the opportunity to do that recently. My friend from college, John, is like me, a little food crazed. We recently got together for drinks and started talking about our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Much to my dismay, he had never been to Incanto before. One of my absolute favorites.

So we put it in the books. And a few weeks later, John, his wife Justyna, and I experienced an amazing meal, and they understood why Incanto is one of the handful of restaurants I’m always talking about. We couldn’t even begin to pick items off the menu. It really felt like we were going to need a lot more people to help us eat. With some help from Chef Chris Cosentino, we finally settled on a few starters…

Little gem lettuce with hazelnut, lemon and chili

Strawberries, fava beans, minutina and pecorino

Marinated local sardines, celery, grapefruit and radish

The little gem was delish, and the hazelnut added a yummy nutty flavor. The strawberries were amazing. I found myself going back and picking out the fava beans after my first helping, I just couldn’t stop. It was the perfect spring dish. And the sardines? SO GOOD! They were huge, and I’m pretty sure John ate more than his fair share of this dish. We moved onto the pastas next.
Rabbit liver foie gras ravioli with grappa brown butter

handkerchief pasta with rustic pork ragu

Spaghettini, Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk and parsley

The one thing I said when we sat down was that I HAD to order the spaghettini. There are a few dishes that I find myself CRAVING, and this is one of them. It’s perfect comfort food to me. Good anytime. John loved the rabbit liver—rich and delicious.

It was at this point in the meal that Chris decided to surprise us with a dish he was working on, that would be seeing it’s way onto the menu in the next week or so. We dug into it so quickly, I don’t have a great photo of it. But if you want to see a good photo of the dish, of what it’s suppose to look like, click here: In the meantime, here’s our photo:

It’s pea brain! Literally! Peas and brains. And it was so good. We ate all of it. Go and order this dish friends. Really. And for those of you that might be squeamish about brains…don’t be! Have an open mind (haha). I can’t speak for John and Justyna, but I was starting to get full. And we still had our two entrees.

white wine and rosemary braised rabbit, roasted carrots and spring flowers

Arctic char with cardoons, rhubarb and mint

The rabbit was so good. And the presentation was beautiful with the spring flowers. Really, our entire meal said spring to me. The Arctic char was really good too. And the rhubarb gave the dish a hint of pink. And how can I forget?! The best side dish ever!

A shout out to Winnie the Pooh, peas with honey and a knife. I think I ate more peas than anyone else. So after all of that, we really should have been done. But no. Dessert was next. And we were in for a treat.
We had to order the prosciutto panna cotta, because why wouldn’t you? And then we were privileged enough to be taste testers for a new dessert.

Cream soda float and a lavender toffee cookie with vanilla salt. The cream soda was SO good. Not too sweet, and perfectly fizzy. And as if that wasn't good enough?

TOAST ice cream! With a berry coulis. Get it?? Toast and jam! Yum.

At this point, we were definitely done. The meal had won over John and Justyna and reminded me of why it's one of my favorite places to eat. It was a great night not only because of the great food and wine. But the great company. And the fact that I was able to share something that I enjoy with friends. Here's looking forward to the next meal and to see what they plan to share with me!

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