“We should just get all of them, except for the crazy expensive one,” Brian concluded after an initial debate about what to order. Mj and I nodded our heads in agreement as Steve’s eyes budged at the prospect of getting 7 pasta dishes for 4 people. “Oh, and don’t forget the pizza,” I added. What may have seemed ludicrous to Steve made perfect sense to the rest of us. I smiled and told him that is how we (Brian, Mj & I) roll and fist bumped Brian across the table. Oh, how I have missed them.
Steve and I enjoyed a short jaunt to the West coast, spending the first day and a half with Brian and Mj in San Francisco and then 3 days, on our own, in Napa. I barely managed to obtain a 5:45pm reservation at Flour + Water, a restaurant that has been winning awards for their pizza and pasta menu. We started with the salsiccia pizza ($18) – san marzano, pork sausage, olive, broccoli di ciccio, chili & pecorino. The crust was spot on, tender and flavorful with blistered char marks. The toppings were flavorful, especially the large chunks of sausage.
Then the parade of pastas began:
Sedanini with bacon, swordfish, olive & chili breadcrumbs ($18). This was Steve’s favorite. We all agreed that we liked the texture of the bread crumb topping.
Beet tagliarini with Dungeness crab & romanesco ($19). I did not think the beet added anything but color to this dish, but I loved how the brininess of the crab perfumed the whole dish. (on left)
Teleme scarpinocc with aceto balsamico ($17). This looked like small filled belt buckles. There was a nice contrast with the creamy cheese sauce and the balsamic vinegar drizzle. (on right)
Agnolotti dal plin ($17). These tiny filled pastas were rich and creamy. To be honest, I don’t remember much about them, but they were good.
Lamb raviolini with kale & pine nut ($18). This was the big disappointment of the night. The filling was unidentifiable as lamb and Mj did not like the pine nuts. Don’t get me wrong – we finished the plate and when they mistakenly brought us a second, we finished that, too (because that’s how we roll).
Campanelle with braised pork, scallion & fine herbs ($18). Another favorite of the evening; the pork was meltingly tender.
Cocoa tajarin with brown butter giblets, pumpkin & sage ($18). Like the beet pasta, I did not taste much cocoa, but I loved the brown butter giblets. They were tiny nuggets of meaty goodness.
The service was good; they keep the pastas coming out at a perfect pace. Bread is “available upon request” and we, of course, requested it. The portions were small, which meant we had room for dessert after a pizza and 8 pastas. The pastas ranged from $17-$19 (there was a $50 white truffle topped pasta) and the pizzas were $15-$18, so the menu is on the pricier side for the portion size.
CandyBar, San Francisco
We went to CandyBar, a dessert lounge, after dinner. I loved the concept: drinks, desserts and a wall of board games to play. We settled in a small candlelit alcove and chose a fun game called Zero. Steve opted out of dessert, so we only ordered 3 – clearly we were slowing down.
I had the Lemon & White Chocolate ($9). It was lemon cake layered with white chocolate mousse and topped with granola, blueberries and lemon sorbet. Each of the components was pretty good; the cake was moist and tart and I enjoy the contrasting crunch of the granola, but the whole thing was served in a canning jar with a flip top lid. It was a structural disaster. I could not reach the cake without causing an avalanche of granola and ice cream. Why didn’t they think of this when designing the plating??
Brian got Peanut Butter Jelly Time! ($9) - Chocolate tart, peanut butter cream and salted candied peanuts and Mj got the flourless chocolate banana torte ($10) with pineapple and peanuts. No one was floored by their dessert, but it is still worth going for the fun environment.