Posted in Uncategorized

Sociale Redo

A repeat visit to Sociale is always a welcome opportunity. Getting there is easy, parking is a breeze, and walking down that hidden cobblestone corridor to find this gem of a restaurant at the end of it is nothing short of a pleasure. I sometimes feel sorry for the people who are dining across the street at the well-known Spruce Restaurant because they have no idea what they’re missing!

Their menus change with the seasons and they represent the essence of that time of year so well. The Foodinistas and I (@joanneisafoodie, @lickmyspoon, @istelleinad) shared a variety of appetizers, including their famous Fried Olives stuffed with fontina cheese, Seared Scallops with mango, hearts of palm, and a citrus reduction, and the Watermelon and Burrata Salad. They were all wildly different, wildly fresh, and wonderfully delicious.

I am a huge sucker for burrata, now. It’s like a creamier version of fresh mozzerella, liquid and all. So creamy soft that it’s perfect on a small slice of bread. Just heavenly. And the red and yellow watermelon slices with a touch of chili flakes were such a simple yet ingenious combo.

And the scallops were definitely worth mentioning since they were perfectly cooked, sweet, and tender. Hearts of palm usually reminds me of a cross between fennel and bamboo shoots, and here, they were the perfect textural contrast to the sweet mango slices. This dish was perfectly executed and beautiful as well.

For our entrees we ordered the Pici with Venison Bolognaise, Spinach Tagliatelle with corn and tomatoes, and the Duck Breast with a cherry sauce and potato torte. All of these dishes had wonderful character and flavor combinations.

I LOVED the tagliatelle and have always wanted to order this dish simply because the colors are beautiful! And I’m happy to say the dish itself is just as delightful to eat. I love how fresh the sweet corn and tomatoes were, and the housemade pasta was chewy and delicious. A generous shaving of cheese on top and I was loving every bite.

But it was the duck breast that really surprised me. The accompanying cherry sauce fortunately didn’t overpower the meat, like it can sometimes. It was merely an accent to the perfectly medium rare duck, which was perfectly prepared and seasoned. I would definitely order it on my next visit.

As always, sitting outside at this restaurant is the only way to go, which means you must request a table here beforehand. It’s so charming and adds to the whole experience of eating there. It’s at once romantic, intimate, special, and makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint little elegant European restaurant. Yet the service is exceptionally friendly and comfortable. Eating here is always an experience I relish.

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Posted in Dinner, San Francisco

High-end Meatless Fare

Meat and potatoes: that’s the kind of girl I am.  I am NOT a granola-loving, nuts and twigs eating, prissy little salad ordering princess.  I want my savory rich meaty goodness with a side of cheese or earthy potatoes, though the older I get the more I’m paying for that indulgence.  But I can certainly respect one’s beliefs and causes.

Now, that said, I was still curious about vegan food.  Would I enjoy it just as much as a meat-filled meal?  I’d never had a vegan meal and I was excited about visiting Millennium in San Francisco with a group of co-workers.

This is high-end meatlessness.  We ordered a variety of appetizers to start for the entire table to share, including a Black Bean Torte, Green Beans with an amazing dill aioli, and others.  There were a lot of citrus, beans, and different textures but it was all brightly flavored and expertly prepared.

Then we got to our entrees.  I’d ordered the Portobello Mushroom with Smashed Potatoes.  It was a dish full of color and the mushroom was meaty and substantive.  It was topped with a wonderful balsamic and fresh apricot glaze that and gave it a nice sweet and zesty flavor that surprised me.  It was delightful.  And the accompanying shaved fennel salad and mix of beans, peas, corn and carrots were bright and wonderfully fresh.

We finished the meal with the Green Tea Cheesecake which was made with a variety of nuts (no real cheese of course) and an ice cream that was made from almond milk.  Again, a delightful alternative to the “original”, and again, substantive.

I loved realizing how different ingredients could be used to create alternate versions of some typical non-vegan dishes.  It was fascinating to see how you could use nuts, fruits, and other ingredients to season, accent, and flavor things in different ways.  And surprisingly, I didn’t miss the meat.

Service was a little spotty and the decor could definitely use a more modern touch, especially with the type of food they serve.  I would definitely return if given the chance.  It’s a nice change from your typical meat and potatoes. 🙂

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