Further to the discussion a few weeks ago, Mrs Tif and I were in San Francisco this past weekend and we had a great time eating our way around town.
First, I now believe I have some weird culinary curse that follows me around. We showed up in town to find that Mission Chinese was closed for the week, and then later learned that Sway Oyster Bar (a late possible addition to the itinerary) was also closed for summer vacay. This happened to us when we went to Seattle two years ago only to find that Salumi was shut down for the week. There is something about this curse that prevents me from calling restaurants ahead of time to check their hours, but it's really annoying.
Anyway, on to the adventure.
Tony's Pizza Napoletana -- Hands down, far and away the best pizza I've ever had. Period. I have a hard time accepting everything I've had in the past as 'pizza' now. The Margherita from their wood-fired brick oven was simply perfect; four ingredients, each given the room to sing. And they have a bone marrow appetizer on the menu. Bone marrow at a pizzeria!!
Roli Roti - First, the Ferry Bldg and the Saturday farmers market are simply brilliant. If you're in SF on a weekend, you owe it to yourself to check out this market. The artisanal vendors inside the Ferry Bldg itself are worth the trip, but paired with the farmers market and it's exceptional. And then pair that with a porchetta sandwich and roasted potatoes from Roli Roti and you have something I might be tempted to call heaven. No joke, that sandwich was among the best 4 or 5 things I've ever eaten in my life. I've had food at Michelin-starred restaurants that didn't approach that level of craft and flavor. I'm not a guy who likes to take pictures of my food when I'm out and about (but thankful that others do), but I had to get a shot of this thing:
They take a whole pork loin and butterfly it open, then stuff it with sausage and fennel and herbs, then roll it up and tie it off. Then they wrap that with a pork belly (skin on) and hook the thing up to the rotisserie. As the fat renders, it drips down to flavor the potatoes as the cook on the flat top at the bottom. When finished the skin is like glass, and super crunchy. Such a flavor bomb, I can't even begin to do it justice.
Slanted Door -- Flyover. Skip. Immense disappointment. Highlight? The cocktails were tasty. Non-existent service (there was a 30-minute gap between appearances by our server; we think he was high when he reappeared) and mediocre food. Wouldn't have been worth it at 1/4 of the price.
Incanto -- Made up for Slanted Door in a big way. Excellent service and world-class food. We started with a charcuterie course that included a dish of Ibérico di bellota lardo with melon, and a plate of house-cured salumi. Coppa di testa (headcheese), mortadella, sopressata, mustard, roasted garlic...... Then it was on to the primi
course; calamaretti nero (pasta rings with squid ink), and pork skin 'spaghetti'. The latter was made by braising the skin in wine and aromatics until fall-apart tender, then extruded through a pasta machine into noodles. It was topped with local porcinis and about a handful of summer truffles. Outstanding dish. The mains did no disappoint, either. Beef heart with sweetbreads, and braised pork shoulder with stone fruit salad and salsiccia (sausage). At some point between the primi
I began to seriously question the wisdom of ordering a braised dish on the heels of all that other food, but it was delicious (if a skosh dry; no sauce or glaze). If pressed, I'd wager the meal clocked in at probably 5,000 calories, 95% of which was from animal protein and fat. So not exactly the healthiest fare, but I honestly don't really care.
All in all, I was a happy camper.