Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kappa Revisited

One of my favorite Japanese restaurants in SF. I first went about a year ago (read the original review here) and ordered a la carte. Armed with an appetite and a different camera (can't believe I once lived in a 3.2 megapixel world), I went for a second time and tried the $85 pre-fixe omakase dinner. It was definitely a feast for the senses! Enjoy the photo essay!

Sake for you, sake for me...

Asparagus with peanut sauce

Crabmeat and cucumbers with vinegar dressing and sesame seeds

Simmered daikon and bean curd skin

Tuna sashimi

Uni and hamachi sashimi

Sampler platter #1

Clockwise from left: crabmeat sushi, eel, chicken meatball, grilled prawn, ankimo

Clockwise from left: candied walnuts, grilled prawn, takoyaki, squid mentaiko, duck breast, tamago, sardines

Sampler platter #2

Fried blackskin pork (front) and red snapper (back)

Unagi (front) and shrimp mushroom puff (back)

Red bean pudding

Fresh fruit

Kappa Restaurant
1700 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Some Non-Traditional Food & Wine Pairings

Jay McInerney's Bacchus & Me is a wonderful wine book that belongs on the shelf of every oenophile. The book is comprised of numerous vignettes describing wine from a particular grape or region, and like a good wine, a little taste can go a long way. McInerney's writing is very witty, and he definitely knows his wine but is talented enough to describe it in a casual, accessible way. For example, he criticizes California chardonnays by analogizing them to Playboy models ("their homogeneous voluptuosity often had more to do with technology than with nature") rather than going off about oak and filters and malolactic fermentation. Gotta love this guy!

One of the appendices in his book is a list of more modern food and wine pairings that has been really helpful when I'm eating a meal that has not traditionally been paired with wine. We all know that champagne and oysters are a good match, and that cabernet sauvignon can enhance a steak, but what wine would go well with pad thai?

Not Your Grandfather's Food and Wine Combinations
  • Australian Chardonnay and Kraft macaroni and cheese [For the kid in all of us?]
  • Australian Semillon and lemongrass chicken
  • Bandol Rose and barbecue
  • Barbera d'Alba and pizza
  • Barbaresco and steak tartare
  • California Cabernet and grilled eel
  • Chateauneuf-du-Pape and antelope
  • Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Champagne and sushi [I'm going to have to give this a try!]
  • Gewurztraminer and Thai food [I can personally vouch for this one. A sweeter Riesling would also pair nicely.]
  • Gruner Veltliner and peekytoe crab
  • Krug champagne and popcorn
  • Late harvest zinfandel and chocolate cake
  • Late harvest Alsatian Pinot Gris and foie gras
  • Oregon Pinot Noir and grilled king salmon [Yum!]
  • Oregon Pinot Gris and grilled king salmon
  • Old-vine zinfandel and southern fried chicken [Interesting...]
  • Petite Sirah and steak au poivre
  • Pinot Noir and guinea fowl
  • Pinot Noir and Arctic char
  • Riesling and dim sum (or Cantonese food in general) [I've never had a satisfactory wine paired with Canto food, just because there's such a variety of flavors in the cuisine. But hey, this suggestion is better than none.]
  • Riesling and anything

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bistro Jeanty

One of the things I love about the Napa region is that you can pretty much pick a restaurant randomly and be guaranteed a decent, and usually delicious, meal. On a recent trip with the boyfriend, we fortuitously came across Bistro Jeanty after imbibing a little too much nectar. And we were pleasantly surprised with what we tried at this welcoming, no-fuss bistro with classic, tasty French fare.

French onion soup

I almost cried tears of joy when I tried their French onion soup (and trust me, I've had my fair share of this soup over the years). The sweetness of the onions and the hearty beef flavors burst through the top layer of rich cheese, and the bread soaked in the soup nicely. One of the most savory soups I've ever had!

Duck pâté with baguettes and pickles

Can't go to a French bistro without trying their pâté! This variety was buttery and more gamey than others, but I've never really met a pâté I didn't like (the same goes for cheese).

Pork chop with mashed potatoes, spinach, and carmelized onions sauce

This was my boyfriend's dish, but I tried a bite and started wishing I were hungrier so I could order my own. The pork was tender, juicy, and nicely sweetened from the carmelized onions. Fluffy mashed potatoes and fresh spinach completed this simple but excellent dish.

Guess I have another reason to love wine country! Also, Bistro Jeanty has a spin-off restaurant in San Francisco called Jeanty at Jack's, and you can bet I'll be trying that out too!

Bistro Jeanty
6510 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599