Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3 Days of Gluttony in San Francisco - Day 1

To celebrate the three day weekend Emi and I decided to take a last minute trip down to San Francisco to visit our friend Calvin. It was nice to finally see Calvin's condo, but the true reason we made the trip was for the food and shopping. San Francisco is our favorite city to visit and we'll use any excuse to get back down there. We might even have a few future posts detailing some of our favorite meals from previous trips down to our favorite city.

We decided on this last trip to help keep things economical by focusing our spending on food and drinks and by trying to cut out shopping. We definitely had a busy weekend full of fun food related activities that we wanted to share with everyone and did so much that we will need to split up the posts by day.

Day 1

We flew in Friday night and immediately went to a wine bar called Press Club in Union Square. Press Club is described as an urban wine tasting bar that highlights six award winning Northern California wineries. Basically it's an upscale wine bar where you get a debit like card when you check in and use it to buy either flights, glasses, or bottles of wine. The whole experience is very social with multiple bars, one for each winery, and common shared tables.

We sampled two flights of wine, one from Fritz winery and the other from Miner winery.

The woman who served us was very knowledgeable about the wine and was able to describe the wines in advance before we tried each. Emi and Calvin really enjoyed the sweeter Miner sangiovese red wine.

My favorite was the Oracle wine. The owner of Miner was a co-founder of Oracle so named one of his premium wines after it.

After enjoying a few flights we were starving and went to First Crush for dinner. Thank you Calvin for making reservations because the place was packed! First Crush was one of multiple restaurants participating in the San Francisco Dine About Town promotion where each restaurant offered a full three course dinner for $34.95.
First Crush describes itself as a wine bar, lounge, and restaurant specializing in progressive American cuisine. Our description was awesome American comfort food.

One of the highlights of the trip as far as creativity goes was the bacon infused vodka bloody mary. Interesting flavor, I've had better bloody marys (Emi's are the best), but really enjoyed the distinct bacon after taste. Also the crispy, salty strip of bacon went perfectly with the spicy bloody mary.

Emi's Crush Salad - organic greens, shaved fennel, shelling beans, roasted beats, marcona almonds, croutons, reggiano. One of my new favorite snacks are marcona almonds, especially with wine and olives and it also went well with the salad.

My grilled green asparagus with serrano ham, bellweather farms ricotta, and sauce gribiche. The sweet grilled asparagus matched up well with the salty ham and tart ricotta.

Calvin's Winter Citrus Salad - avocado, fresno chili, jicama, cilantro, and pumpkin seed oil. It looks nice, but Calvin said the flavors were too random and didn't go very well together.

Emi and I both got the same thing; Meyers Ranch all natural braised short ribs. Usually we both try to get different things so that we can try an assortment of dishes, but this looked too good to pass up and we were definitely not disappointed. This was exactly what we needed; something hearty and delicious to fill us up.

Calvin's all natural free range coq au vin with roasted root vegetables, parsnip puree, button mushrooms, smoked bacon, and natural jus.

Calvin's dessert - peanut butter tart - graham cracker crust and chocolate ganache. Basically if you love peanut butter which Calvin says he does than this dessert is for you because it's basically sweetened chocolate peanut butter.

My brownie a la mode - valrhona chocolate gelato, stewed cherries, and Maldon salt. I don't think dessert was First Crush's specialty. This wasn't bad and I understand how you can pair salt with chocolate, but this was too salty for me.

Emi's dessert the macadamia nut & chocolate chip creme brulee was my favorite
dessert of the night. A unique pairing of flavors for creme brulee.
All of that food and in only one night. Plus Calvin had arranged for us to go out for drinks afterwards with some of his friends which ended up being a great time. We had so much fun that we weren't 100% the next morning when we left for wine tasting in Napa. Tht will be covered in the Day 2 post which will hopefully come soon.
- Kyle

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