Last night, a group of 6 hounds spent the evening eating and drinking at Piperade:
1015 Battery x Green, San Francisco
The atmosphere is warm and cozy, as depicted by the pictures on their website. The restaurant and the bar area were both full and thus it was a bit noisy, or bustling and energetic, depending on how you see it. The service was excellent and friendly, with the tiny exception being the few minutes we had to wait for water and bread. The waitress and the kitchen made our dinner selections.
What we ate:
TIPIA (small plates)
Warm sheep's milk cheese and ham terrine - its saltiness overshadowed other flavors, but the texture was amazing. There were many layers of melted cheese and crispy ham - so it was like crispy-soft-crispy-soft-crispy-soft-crispy-soft....
Warm piquillo peppers with goat cheese, raisins, and moscatel vinaigrette - I have been excited to try this ever since I had the pork medallion/piquillo pepper dish at Zarzuela. I liked this dish a lot - party because piquillos are one of my favorite peppers. The goat cheese was a mild version that went well with the sweet raisins. I couldn't detect much of the vinaigrette.
Whole prawns with garlic, parsley, and lemon - a good and simple preparation that let the flavor of shrimp dominate. I could taste the sauce more when I ate it with bread.
Grande white bean salad with eggs, chives, and marinated anchovies - beans had a nice texture, and I didn't get an anchovy so someone else will have to tell you about it. This dish can be very well described just by its name.
HANDIA (big plates)
Braised seafood and shellfish stew in red pepper sauce - good. Seafood consisted of a mix of scallop, mussel, fish, squid, and clam.
Steamed pacific snapper with fried garlic vinaigrette - excellent, one of my favorite dishes of the night. Perfectly done snapper laid atop a bed of garlic flavored spinach. A few sharply acidic pieces of fried garlic was scattered on top. I loved the fried garlic.
Marinated lamb chops with thyme and aged sherry vinegar - excellent, another one of my favorite dishes. The lamb chops were juicy. I was lucky enough to get a piece with a bone, and it was even better. The sherry vinegar were used to cook small onions (maybe shallots), and these onions were used to garnish the lamb. I loved the onions almost as much as the garlic.
Pork daube wih summer vegetables - rounded out our savory courses with something on the sweet side. The pork was tender and delicious, but I didn't like the vegetables as much (probably due to the selection of vegetable rather than the preparation).
Pear and almond tart with vanilla ice cream (complementary) - standard
Orange blossom beignets (complementary) - not very flavorful, but light and puffy. Maybe my taste buds were tired, but I didn't taste any orange blossom.
Turron mousse cake with roasted almonds - excellent . Creamy and not-too-sweet mousse contrasted with crunchy roasted almonds.
Gateau basque with mango coulis - the gateau part was fine, but the mango coulis was wonderful. It was like pure mango extract.
Walnut and sheep's milk cheese gratin - excellent. Salty and sweet and then a bit tangy right at the end. This is an unusual dessert that I am very glad we ordered.
What we drank:
A selection of Zinfandels:
2001 Ridge Pagani Ranch
1991 Ridge Pagani Ranch
2001 Carlisle Gum Tree Ranch
And a white wine from the wine list:
2002 Muga Rioja
Thanks to Paul and Joan for providing the Zinfandels!
Total cost, including wine, tax, tip, $15 corkage per bottle: $46.