I’ve been in San Francisco nearly two weeks now (time flies!) and am thoroughly enjoying what’s looking to be a fantastic summer. After a couple of do-nothing days in NYC, I flew out to join the bf who, conveniently, will be spending the next month or so in SF for work.
We’re staying in Nob Hill which, as the name suggests, is no friend to the faint hearted. My first week here, I nearly died climbing up the steep incline that leads home. I’m getting better at it but continue to be overtaken by pesky locals who make climbing a 60 degree gradient look like sliding on ice. I have also learned that wearing heels in SF is social suicide (you *will* get left behind).
From Nob Hill, it takes me about 40 minutes to get to the tech start up I’ve been working at, located on yet another, [Potrero] Hill. The Muni is certainly not the finest public transport I’ve taken, but at $2 each way, I really can’t complain. So many friends are spending ~3 hours/day driving back and forth from the Valley that I’m pretty happy to be able to re-discover Milan Kundera on the train.
Anyway, on to the food! We’ve been oyster shucking, boatside brunching, farmer’s market-ing, tea tasting and generally face-stuffing and, so far, the City has not disappointed. More to come but here’s the low down on some great local restaurants.
Cafe Kati, a cute little place in Pac Heights offers a fun menu of Asian Fusion delights ranging from old classics like chicken lettuce cups to creative hits like peanut crusted prawns with green papaya, mint and fresh basil. The ambience is small, cosy and intimate. It feels a little like a quaint old bookstore. Service is friendly and the wine list is great. We tried the dragon roll, the prawns and the sliders – servings are bigger than you’d expect and the food is melt in the mouth delicious.
Damage: $70 for two, including drinks (but then we didn’t order entrees)
Next, we tried Frascati, a Mediterranean style bistro located on the corner of a lovely tree-lined street not far from where we live. There are a couple of very cute looking restaurants on this block, but Frascati stands out for a unique and seasonally fresh menu. The Duck Confit Salad was fabulously tasty, the Dungeness Salad good, but very small. The big let down came from the desserts. We ordered the bread pudding and the apple cobbler and both were giant sized portions of mediocre kitchen fare. Nothing memorable about them and certainly out of sync with the rest of the restaurant’s delicate, deliberate sensibility.
Another great restaurant tucked away on a quiet corner at the top of Nob Hill is Venticello, which means “soft breeze” in Italian. This hidden gem exudes old world romance and Tuscan charm. The lights are dim, the tones are warm, the tables are candle lit and the doors and windows are thrown open to the cool night air. The maitre’D was warm and welcoming and the service, prompt and professional. The Carpaccio and Polenta con Portobello were absolutely divine – creative, original and beautifully presented. The meat pasta was so-so and somewhat uninspiringly arranged in a plain white bowl. The dish of the night however, was definitely the veal Scallopini – absolutely to die for. Served with tiger prawns and a basil cream sauce, this is apparently their most popular dish and something I could not get enough of!