December 10th, 2013

San Francisco and Napa, Part I

Flour + Water, San Francisco

“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.

salsiccia pizza

Then the parade of pastas began:

Sedanini with bacon, swordfish

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 and Teleme scarpinocc with aceto balsamico

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

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

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

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

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.

CandyBar Desserts