Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jewish Deli Done Right

The dill pickles were crunchy on the outside, but slightly soft on the inside. They had that salty, vinegar flavor associated with pickles. The catch was that they were also soaked with hot red peppers, and therefore they had a subtle spice to them that added a different dimension to pickles.

The real treat was the mountain of thin, soft slices of warm, salty pastrami and smokey corned beef. Neither of the meats were tough or chewy, and they were well marbled with fat; not at all stringy. The soft, savory meat was somehow squished between two pieces of herbed rye that were slightly toasted so that just the edges were crisp. This sandwich needed only just a touch of spicy dijon mustard to be perfect.

Too bad we don't have a Canter's in San Francisco.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rotten Tomatoes

The muscles in my jaw began to grow sore as I seemed to chew for an eternity. The crust was too thick, and instead of being especially crunchy or flaky on the outside, it was simply chewy. A giant mass of doughy bread. The tomato sauce, clearly made of some tomato other than Roma, was potently sweet, surprising my taste buds with the strange sensation that I was eating dessert. It seemed as if the sauce had been layered onto the crust as like the chocolate of a sacher torte. It was heavy and overwhelming instead of light; a simple undertone of the flavor. The sauce was totally over-seasoned with basil. I normally like lots of basil, however when mixed with the extremely sweet tomatoes, and possibly even sugar, the basil did not taste like its normal, refreshing self. It had morphed into a nameless monster-spice ruining flavor by adding a bitter aftertaste to something sweet. Unlike dark chocolate however, the bitter and sweet clashed tremendously when brought into contact with the salty cheese. The mozzarella seemed to have a high quantity of sodium, and instead of causing a good contrast between flavors, they all mixed into a very disappointing piece of pizza.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mario's Bohemian Cigar

Aromatic, slightly sweet, almost smokey tomato sauce was ladled over steak-cut-french-fry-sized pieces of eggplant. The eggplant had been breaded in Italian bread crumbs, and lightly panfried in olive oil. It was earthy, salty and tender, just crunchy on the outside. Just a hint of parmesan had been sprinkled over the hot eggplant to give it a slightly gooey, sharp flavor. The eggplant and sauce was sitting in between two large pieces of foccacia. This foccacia was not like the one at Farina however, it was soft and squishy, coated with herbs like chive. The sandwich was toasted in the oven for several minutes to make sure that the soft bread was just crisp around the edges, and to let all of the flavors of the sauce, eggplant, and cheese to mingle together. This eggplant parm was a real North Beach treat.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Thick, but smooth enough to be sucked through a straw. Creamy and icy cold, but without the little crystals of ice that can sometimes get trapped and cause the shake to be too airy. Just enough milk added to the ice cream for the texture to be goopy, but still stick together. The chocolate flavor of was potent enough to be fulfilling of even the biggest chocoholic's needs, and yet it wasn't as if I was sucking on cocoa powder. This chocolate milkshake was one of the best I have had in a while.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Paper thin, crusty, salty, and slightly bitter from the charred edges. A light layer of sweet, tangy tomato sauce spread atop the crust. Capers were sprinkled across the top like bite sized bombs that explode with juicy, salty flavor when bit into. The final touch was the anchovy, ground with mortar and pestle into an almost unrecognizable topping. That is, before it came into contact with the tongue anyway. While most anchovies are far too fishy and often overpower the rest of a dish, these anchovies simply provided the essence of their flavor. They complimented the crunch of the crust, the sweetness of the sauce, and the added saltiness of the capers. These anchovies played into the perfect balance of the pizzata at Farina.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Taste of the Day #1

Warmth was the first thing to hit my tongue as I bit into the foccacia at Farina. The crusty, crisp exterior held up enough so as to resist my teeth upon biting into it. The inner part of the bread however was soft, chewy, and moist. This texture is the key to a good foccacia. The bits of sea salt scattered about the bread, as well as the ample amounts of olive oil added to the dough give it a very salty and savory flavor. These pieces of sea salt give the bread tingly, salty bursts of flavor whenever they are bitten into. This bread took the simply art of making foccacia and perfected it.