Toque of San Francisco April 2007
San Francisco Fancy Food Show and San Francisco Dining
By Carol & Joe Davis
We once again attended San Francisco’s Annual Fancy Food Show www.specialtyfood.com at the Moscone Convention Center where thousands of exhibitors and attendees shared their love for specialty foods and beverages. Each year exhibitors hope that their products will get the needed exposure and make it in the very competitive fancy food business. We always look for the tastiest and newest products that appeal to us and that truly stand out .This year we found some excellent new items and some old favorites. We had a chance to speak with a famous San Francisco chocolatier Joseph Schmidt.
He was very humble but we know that his chocolates are the best. In fact his chocolates are so fabulous that every holiday we continue to send and give them as gifts. www.jsc.com . Another over the top tasty treat was the Yam Good Sweet Potato Pie which was just scrumptious and not too sweet www.yamgoodpie.com.
Linda’s Gourmet Latkas lived up to Linda Hausberg’s slogan that her Latkas are “As good as Bubbie used to make” www.lindasgourmetlatkes.com.
We also loved Larry Jackson’s Biscotti di Suzy. www.crunchyfoods.com. It was as crunchy as advertised.
Pres a Vi - Global Cuisine & Wine Bar
Pres a Vi in the Presidio is a welcome new addition to the San Francisco dining scene. We were very impressed with both the great view which looks out on the Palace of Fine Arts and the sophisticated and stylish interior décor.
Pres a Vi means “captivated by wine” in Spanish Catalan and we found that their Wine Flights are very popular and a great way to try a group of similar wines. We had the Sauvignon Blanc Wine Flight which was aptly described as crisp, clean and wild and we particularly enjoyed the crisp and fruity flavors of the 2005 Star Lane from Santa Ynez Valley. We started our dining experience with Soup Shots which is a novel way to taste the soups without getting too filled up. We enjoyed the Butternut Squash Bisque with spiced pumpkin seeds and the Lobster Bisque with cream and brandy. Our next course was the delicious Roasted Beet Salad which consisted of red and yellow beets with baby arugula, sweet onion ring with a sherry vinaigrette. You must have the Oyster Spooners which were shucked Kumomoto oysters, finished with honey vinegar mignonette, horseradish cream and chili water gel. Another worthy small plate was the Monterey Bay Calamari. This was quickly sautéed with white wine, garlic, oven roasted tomato and capers and was just magnificent. We also loved the Seared Dayboat Scallops which were sautéed and finished with lemon oil. The deserts are fun, fancy and flavorful. We loved the Coconut Tapioca Brulee with roasted pineapples, passionfruit sorbet. Executive Chef Kelly Degala creates some excellent dishes.
Pres a Vi has a lot going for it with the great view, sophisticated decor, Wine flights and generous tasty small plates and is a worthy dining destination.
Pres a Vi
We had a great dinner at Espetus on upper Market Street in San Francisco. They just recentlyrenovated and expanded to accommodate twice as many diners as previously. This authentic Brazilian Steakhouse is a really fun concept in dining. There is no menu, you can eat as much as you like and you pay a set price for lunch or dinner.
We started out with Brazilian cheese bread and fried bananas delivered to our table, our drink order was taken and we then went to the Salad Bar to make our own salad. At the salad bar we created a lovely plate of salads all consisting of the freshest ingredients. Our favorites were Couscous, Hearts of Palm, Mango Salad, Brazilian Potato Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad, Guacamole, Grilled Eggplant, Cole Slaw, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Green Salad.
The fun part begins when the Rodizio service starts. This is where the main courses are cut and served at your table. All the meat is served spiced and cooked on skewers over an open fire and immediately brought tableside and carved directly onto diner’s plates by the well-trained carvers who were festively attired in authentic Gaucho outfits. You have a tabletop indicator which alerts the Carvers who continue to visit every table if you want more or not. The Green Indicator (Sim Por Favor) means Yes Please and the Red Indicator (Nao Obrigado) means No Thanx. We enjoyed the Filet Mignon which was rare, thin cut and delicious, Rare roast beef, Top Sirloin, Tri Tip, Pork Loin, Lamb, Chicken wrapped in bacon, fabulous garlicky Prawns , the most tender Beef ribs that are spicy slow cooked for 8 hours and are fall off the bone tender and roasted pineapple. All the meats were very lean and had a lovely roasted flavor. The Wine list features wines from around the world and our choice Catena Malbec 2004 from Argentina paired perfectly with our dinner. We did happily save room for dessert and chose Pudin a Homemade Brazilian Flan. We met Grill Master/ Owner Paulo Klein, who is a native of Novo Humburgo in Brazil. He told us that Espetus means skewer and that he was pleased with their recent remodel and expansion giving the interior a very stylish look with three distinct dining rooms reflecting the style of the Pampas in Brazil. Future plans include opening another Churrascaria later this year in San Mateo. Espetus was an impressive and healthy dining experience where you can eat all you like but still control your portions. We’ll be back!
We always enjoy dining at E & O Trading Co in Larkspur Landing. It has a very pleasing décor with its Tropical atmosphere, open kitchen and stylish Teak tables. The new Executive Chef Edwin Cabrillo- Torres has created some new menu items and put his stamp on the regular dishes for The Year of the Pig (4705). We started our leisurely dining experience with a glass of wine, McMurray Ranch Pinot Gris, Russian River 2005.
We loved the Panir Cheese Naan which is an Indian Style Flat Bread topped with tomato sambal and mango chutney. Next we had the Hot and Sour Soup with tiger shrimp, pineapple and bamboo. There was a sweetness that made the soup different and delicious. We always enjoy the Mandalay Spare Ribs which are rubbed with brown sugar and mango mustard glaze. It was a very hearty portion which was fall off the bone tender yet not too rich.
The Sea Scallop Potstickers with lemon “xo” sauce were ultra-light and delicious. The Long Life Noodles are made from yam noodles and were stir fried with lucky greens, garlic, crispy pork and toasted sesame. We loved the Firecracker Chicken which is a house signature dish made with long beans, cashews, chilies and oyster mushrooms. We also enjoyed our decadent dessert, which was the Warm Banana Spring Rolls with heath bar crunch Gelato, macadamia nuts and rum caramel sauce.We enjoyed meeting the Executive Chef Edwin Cabrillo- Torres’s who told us that his cooking philosophy is Salt, Pepper and a lot of Love! Our meal was fabulous and we felt that the food was lighter, more fine tuned, and healthier than on previous visits. We can’t wait to go back!
E & O Trading Co
“Until we eat again…”
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