Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meal of the Month: November

November was an insane month. Settling into a new apartment, a big trip to New York, and oh. Not one, but TWO Thanksgiving Feasts. I don’t even think I can even choose one meal for the month.

So this month, we’re picking two meals. One from the New York eats, and the other, from everything else.

Let’s begin with New York. Meals at the new hot spots, Locande Verde and the Breslin, old favorites such as Blue Ribbon Bakery, Momofuku Saam (ok, not once, but twice) and Harrison. There was also a special cup of coffee and cookie at Jake’s, as well as the most delicious compost cookie at Milk Bar. BBQ at Hill Country BBQ with a dear friend, and lots ‘meals’ at Pegu Club, Employees Only, Summit Bar and PDT.

Every experience in New York was amazing. So how do you even pick? Well, without a doubt, my Meal of the Month-NY would have to be the meal I had at 10 Downing. It was a special experience because my friend had recently moved from San Francisco to New York to take over the reigns here. So seeing Chef Jonnatan Leiva was already a special treat! He had barely settled into a new apartment, and had only been out there a matter of weeks. His own menu was JUST in place. And I’d say we were amongst the first of his friends to experience his menu out there.

From the awesome server we had, to bringing us tastes of virtually every dish on the menu. We should have had 10 friends with us—because we were STUFFED. There were too many favorites to list—but some true highlights? The cauliflower soup, Spanish boquerones and olives, grilled quail (with pomegranate, cornbread ‘French toast’, onion jam), and veal breast and sweetbreads.

Such amazing flavors. And beautiful presentations. The table next to us literally started to glare at us each time we had another plate dropped on our table. I think they were jealous. The best part of the meal? Being able to be there to support Jonny and to hang out with him after! THANK YOU JONNY!

The rest of the month. Lots of meals at home. A simple Sunday curry chicken night with Tarlan, pork chop night and lots of catching up with Sabine, a belated birthday steak night dinner for Defne, and lots and LOTS of wine and champagne with lots and lots of friends. A great lunch with dad and sis which ended with a detour to Park Chalet for some afternoon drinks.

There was checking out the local eats. Checking out a nearby sushi spot with Sarah and Evan, Eric’s Chinese food with Jim, Starbelly with Matt, Beretta with Lisa and Tarlan, and Starbelly with Wendy. Let’s not forget the ‘meal’ Lisa, Tim and I made of a little cheese and a lot of bourbon (oh vey.My head still hurts from that ‘meal’!)

I had an awesome Sunday night with Grace and Lien—checking out the new SPQR menu. Must have been some unofficial industry night there that evening, because it sure was a who’s who of the SF food business! We enjoyed the MOST delicious chicken liver, local sardines, eggs ‘al diavolo’, and spaghetti nero with Dungeness crab.

There were TWO amazing meals at Incanto. One where I was able to bring and share the experience with two friends that had never been before. Where we splurged with a yummy veal-rabbit terrina, an amazing chestnut soup, sardines, parsnip and bone marrow ravioli, pork shoulder and much much more.

That meal was amazing. And not enough for me. So I returned later that month, but this time for the Leg of Beast meal! With a group in hand, and a very excited 13 year old boy that was ready to celebrate his birthday with brains, we returned to Incanto.

In addition to the amazing beef shank, we had roasted marrow bones (that were the length of my forearm!), sardines, the most most MOST amazing pasta alla chitarra (so simple, but delicious with Boccalone lard, egg yolk, scallions and garlic chips), the biggest porcini mushroom I have ever see in my life (wrapped in bacon!), nervetti with cannellini beans, and again, much more. (Including the MOST delicious chocolate blood panna cotta!)

And then, there was Thanksgiving. I have to say, my TWO Thanksgivings would have to be my non-New York Meal of the Month. Thanksgiving is always a special time of year for me. It's near my mom' birthday--so it's near and dear to my heart. And for my family, Thanksgiving is of course about family and friends--but it's also about food. I wrote about Thanksgiving already (click here if you want more yummy details.)

Thanks to my family and friends, and to all of the chefs out there that feed me SO well in November!!

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