Thursday, August 20, 2009

SF Notes: Pizzaiolo


If you ever find yourself in Oakland, or San Francisco, looking for a place to eat, I cannot recommend Pizzaiolo enough. This was my second visit. The first, four years ago fueled an obsession that stuck with me.
Walking distance from the BART in a fun neighbourhood, the place is usually packed.
Four of us went this time and ordered a selection of items to share. We started (and kept going) with bread from Acme bread company. So addictive, chewy goodness.
Off the antipasti menu, we had Blue Heron Farm little gems Caesar, Hand stretched mozzarella with spicy gypsy peppers, little yellow beans and salsa rustica and Padron peppers and okra from the wood oven with seas salt and olive oil.
I had been dubious about the choice of Caesar salad (how good can a Caesar salad be??) but it was the best caesar I have ever had; lots of anchovy and garlic. The hand stretched mozzarella was decadent and the yellow bean salad a nice change from a usual accompaniment of basil and tomatoes. As for the Padrone peppers, well they are always a hit with their smokey sweet spiciness and the okra was a surprisingly delicious addition.
From the Primi, we ordered Spaghetti with Manila clams, housemade sausage and hot pepper. Perfect al dente pasta with just the right amount of sauciness. The clams were nicely done, no hint of rubbery toughness.
From the Pizze menu, we ordered two items. For me, the pizza is what makes this place so special. Their beautiful wood oven yields crusts with just the right balance of crispy and chewy with a hint of charred smokiness. They also have a light hand with the toppings, so the pizza do not end up overladen and soggy. The rapini and housemade sausage and the wild arugula, prosciutto and grana with an egg cracked on top were our choices. I wish i could have ordered them all.
Amazingly, we stilled had room for dessert and split an order of panna cotta with roasted nectarines and wild blackberries and one of chocolate walnut cream cake with espresso caramel sauce. Both desserts were well executed. The panna cotta was a little soft, but that was more than compensated for by the roasted nectarines intense flavour and natural sweetness.
We shared a bottle of Old Vines Zinfandel from Sausal Winery that one of my dining companions had brought and I started with a delicious tequila cocktail. The bill was roughly 40$ each.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Farmer's Market Bounty

I have been so lucky lately, having Thursdays off and getting to hit our Granville Island Farmers MArket. Two weeks ago, Rob and I went a little crazy on our Thursday night dinner, piling on the fresh produce.

Tomato Salad with fresh goats cheese and basil, Potato Salad made with 3 kinds of organic potatoes from Pemberton, Fresh Corn on the cob and fresh broad beans. Tastes like summer!!

Rob has been completely fixating on my potato salad, so I am going to try and write down the recipe next time I make it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Summer refresher

I was shopping on Granville Island the other day and noticed this in the display case at the Stock Market. I couldn't resist.

Once at home, the first glass was mixed with a generous splash of Gin and a twist of lemon. Instant summer refreshment.

I couldn't actually taste the chili, but the thai basil and lime leaf flavours were very present and the sweetness level was perfect. I wish it had a wee bit more of a citrus zing to it though, hence the twist of lemon.

Thursday, August 06, 2009



These are the first tomatoes we have evr grown. We ate one standing at the counter with salt and pepper. The other one is going with our flank steak tacos tonight.