|Liver and onions at John's Grill|
Eastside Road, March 13, 2014—TRULY FEAST OR FAST around here: yesterday we were down in the city with a visiting daughter, and food and beverages were on my mind, along with hikes and visits, and introducing her to corners of San Francisco she may have missed somehow.
So we started out with lunch at John's Grill — suitable, as she'd just read The Maltese Falcon, and the bird's on display there upstairs. I had my pink-cooked calve's liver and onions, as you see, under its rashers of bacon, with nice mashed potatoes on the side, and those old-fashioned mixed-steamed restaurant vegetables. Oh, and a small salad on the side, because one mustn't neglect one's health. Oh, and a Martini, which was curiously shaken with sweet white vermouth, and quickly sent back to the bar.
• John's Grill, 63 Ellis Street, San Francisco; 415-986-3274
Then came the round of visits and hikes: a friend with a successful landscape architecture business; a stop for coffee at the marvelous Flora Grubb Gardens; another stop for perfect cookies at a friend's Little Bee Bakery; admiring the views from an out-of-the-way hilltop park; a unique shop specializing in books on food and wine.
We still needed to kill a little time before dinner, and thought a spot of tea was in order. Fortunately a tea room was available from an opportune parking space, and we were seated even though we hadn't made a reservation in a corner shop converted to a tea salon maybe twenty years ago. The place was full of little girls, young women, and ladies of uncertain age; there was only one other man present, with wife and daughter, and he looked a little gloomy, I thought: perhaps a touring Brit or Russian.
Still the tea was pleasant and my cucumber-and-cream-cheese sandwich quite acceptable. (Lindsey had egg salad, I think.)
• Lovejoy's Tea Room, 1351 Church St, San Francisco; (415) 648-5895
Finally it was time for dinner, at a restaurant I've very much liked the few times I'd been there, and was sorry to hear was closing later this month. (It will re-open in a new configuration by the same owner-chef, and I'll be back as soon as possible.)
I began with a plate of green Rotelle, served with dandelion greens and pesto and littered with shaved Pecorino and sprinklings of pine nuts, a very nice combination. And I went on to braised pork shoulder with lentils, mushrooms, and pickled ramps, also very nice. I like the way this place, usually thought of as a carnivore's delight, enterprisingly incorporates vegetables into its dishes, balancing assertive flavors and substantial textures. The others had panna cotta afterward; I contented myself with a Fernet and soda on finally arriving back home.
Nebbiolo, Cascina Ca' Rossa (Langhe, Piemonte), 2011 (crisp, good flavor and terroir); Nebbiolo, Matteo Correggia (Roero, Piemonte), 2010 (a little less deep but still attractive)• Incanto, 1550 Church St, San Francisco; (415) 641-4500
Tea sandwiches at Lovejoy's
…pork shoulder at Incanto