Monday, November 17, 2008

Uva Enoteca

Most of my friends, as well as careful readers of this blog, know that I adore wine. I'm generally more familiar with New World wines, and I know the big names in the French regions. But I've only recently begun to dabble in Italian varietals, so I was excited when Uva Enoteca opened up in the Lower Haight. It's a charming restaurant and wine bar that is both classy and cozy, with an extensive wine list, simple but flavorful food, and very friendly staff.

Our waiter really knew his stuff -- he asked me for my preferences in varietal, flavor, and body, and was able to make several recommendations based on my comments. And of course, you can have a small taste of any wine before committing to a glass.

The food was also fantastic, with a menu that included Italian appetizers, pizzas, paninis, and a drool-worthy selection of cheeses and crafted meats.

Complimentary olives

Pancetta, chicken, and gorgonzola panini ($8) -- so heavenly!

Assorted meats ($16-35)

Three cheeses with honey and fruit spreads ($12)

In keeping with the Italian theme, I'll end this entry with an excerpt from one of my favorite books, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Americans don’t know how to do nothing. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype – the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax. I once asked Luca Spaghetti if Italians on vacation have that same problem. He laughed so hard he almost drove his motorbike into a fountain. “Oh no!” he said. “We are masters of il bel far niente.” This is a sweet expression. Il bel far niente means “the beauty of doing nothing.”

Now listen – Italians have traditionally always been hard workers, especially those long-suffering laborers known as braccianti (so called because they had nothing but the brute strength of their arms – braccie – to help them survive in the world). But even against that backdrop of hard work, il bel far niente has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement. You don’t necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either. There’s another wonderful Italian expression: l’arte d’arrangiarsi – the art of making something out of nothing. The art of turning a few simple ingredients into a feast, or a few gathered friends into a festival. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.

Uva Enoteca
568 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 829-2024


Erica said...

OOohh we have to go this time!! Turns out my coworker/friend Rachel's friend owns it. I love wine bars. Can't wait to try. The food looks scrumptious. :D

Chubbypanda said...

Elizabeth Gilbert has obviously never met me. (^_~)

Passionate Eater said...

Wow, this Italian restaurant is the next stop for me!