March 2008

corned beef

Another St. Patrick’s day comes around and another time to taste the delicious corned beef made by my wife. Courtney does cook much but the few times she does it is worth the wait. The corned beef is glazed with her special New England recipe. There is just something magical about stewing beef that makes it melt in your mouth tender. The glaze just adds the nice tanginess and sweetness to bring it over the top. It seemed like everyone else enjoyed it as well.

Guiness and Guiness pudding

In addition to the corned beef, our friend Lauren brought over the missing other half, Guinness. However not the regular kind, the kind with Guinness flavored cream with Guinness flavored pudding. Delicious.


Not sure how true this actually is but some of the counting practices seemed familiar.

Tucked away in sleepy Noe Valley, is Incanto, with head chef Chris Constantino at the helm. Chef Constantino became very well known by being the runner up on the Next Iron Chef series on Food Network. He is known for rustic Italian food as well as preparing all of his own meats. It was nice to see him working in and out of the kitchen that night.

We started off with the Antipasto platter for two of the Boccalone artisan salumi, which you can actually order as part of a mail delivery club.


There was freshly made mortadella, coppa, and terrine, and some other cured meats that I did not recognize. All of the meats were fabulous, but the terrine was like eating a big slab of fat. We also got the asparagus, yellowfoot chanterelles, spring onion, and egg salad. The salad was nicely balanced. I also ordered a $3 plate of olive oil. This was not just any olive oil, but slightly salty, very sweet, not thick, but very rich. I’ll have to try and track down a bottle now. It is the Frantoio Olivestri DOP Umbria extra-virgin olive oil.


I had a half plate from the pasta selection of the pappardelle with tomato-braised duck and olives. The duck was gamey in a good way, and had a very thick texture that added to the sauce. The pappardelle was nice and thick and hearty, with a slight chewiness. I would like to try out more of the pastas the next time I go back.

Now onto the entrees.
I had a hard time trying to decide what to get, but ultimately I decided on the salsiccia & fagioli, or house made sausage with cannellini beans, tomato, and sage.


The sausage was good but it didn’t really stick out in my memory as something fantastic. The beans were nice and I likes the glazey sauce that accompanied everything. My first choice was what Courtney got instead.


She ended up ordering the basalmic-braised pork with garlicky spigarello greens and polenta. The pork had a shredded nature and just a hint of the basalmic. I almost wished that it had just a little more basalmic taste.
We all ended up with dessert. I had the fresh meyer lemon sorbetto, while everyone else got the chocolate cake (delicious) and what we then called a glorified muffin, listed on the menu as a tartlet.
I really appreciated the fact that the whole restaurant is very environmentally conscience as well as socially conscience. There is a 5% additive on the bill to help out with all the other restaurant staff.

There is a new mappping website that shows you street side views of San Francisco and for some reason Chiang Mai as well. Creepy but cool. It looks like they will be expanding to other cities. There are some VERY detailed images out there.

Check out Mapjack

Tomales bay

After a great hike in the nearby Muir Woods, and a beautiful scenic drive up past Point Reyes, we stopped by Tony’s Seafood in Marshall in the Tomales Bay area. We started off with some very fresh oysters, some of the best I’ve ever had, and some BBQ oysters. The BBQ oysters were hot but very meaty and had great mild BBQ sauce that didn’t overwhelm the oyster flavor.

We then had as a main the fresh cioppino. Although I did not have any crab in mine, the broth was lovely and the clams and mussels were tasty as was the fish and shrimp.

Be warned that they only accept cash and there is no nearby ATM, so if you want to eat lots of oysters come prepared.