Friday, February 17, 2006

San Francisco Good Eats #2: Sticking Out Like A Sore Thumb - Winterland, San Francisco

Today, DY and I, again, ended up driving her Aunt all over San Francisco in preparation for her Chinese New Years ‘party’ at the City Hall. When we got to the City Hall, we were immediately assigned projects. I was assigned to “Project: Hang really tacky red banners with random Chinese characters on the second floor wall”. Using fishing line, I had to strategically tie and center the banners over the second floor railing of the humongous City Hall. DY’s “Project: Place as many apples and oranges on tacky Chinese platters without them falling over” seemed a bit monumental compared to mine. I think her Aunt was looking for something along the lines of a Egyptian pyramid of fruit. After about 30 visibly-failed attempts in about an hour, the eighth wonder of the world was erected. Whew, we’re done. Yeah right. I then had to bring in about 40 cases of wine and hard alcohol with a single dolly from the delivery dock. DY and I then tended to “Project: Pick up catered food from craphole Chinese restaurants”. Before all that, her Aunt insisted that we attend the ‘party’. After picking up the food, we devised our plan to avoid the lame party. I ended up telling her Aunt that she was too sick to go out. If any of you have seen the Asian American lesbian film, Saving Face, you can get a picture of what kind of party this would turn out to be. Basically, lame. Why the hell would they need 40+ cases of alcohol? If everyone at that party drank, it would’ve looked like a red sea.

Relieved that we were able to ditch the party, we took a nap and got ready for a delectable dinner at the wonderfully, experimental Winterland restaurant. DY had raved about this place months before, and I knew it had to be good. I was treating DY and her roommate JP tonight for their hospitality. Located off the ultra-sceny Haight Street, this was a break from the many bars and cafes that line the street. It stuck out like a sore-thumb with its bright orange awning over the front entrance. We walked in, and to my surprise, Interpol was playing. The ultra-posh restaurant seemed like it would have the usual jazz buzzing thru the room, but aimed for a younger crowd that had a palate for haute cuisine. Although Winterland was somewhat empty, most of the customers sat at the watering hole with martinis and well drinks.

The waiter came by to take our drink orders and served some warm Olive bread. One of my favorite types of bread. DY told me that the menu changed frequently here at Winterland, and that the Chef loved to experiment. Looking at the menu, she was definitely right. Here’s what we had.

A. Bay Scallop & Crispy Duck Tongue/Espresso Tapioca Pearls/Sea Urchin Emulsion
Whoa. Sounds frightening right? This was excellent. Sweet scallops, nicely battered duck tongue, boba and sea foam all layed out on a nice platter of goodness. For a minute, I thought it would be a buzzkill, but took the palate for a nice rollercoaster ride.

B. Duck Confit/Black Truffle Lentils/Chanterelles/Brussel Sprouts
This was my entree, and loved it. The crispy duck confit meshed well with the savory lentils, earthy chanterelles and bitter b-sprouts. I'm going to make this one very soon.

C. Squab Breast & Foie Gras Terrine/Sour Cherry Chutney
Although the squab was slightly tough and overcooked, the combination of gelatinous Foie Gras and Sour Cherry Chutney revived the dish as a whole. I would've been happy with just the Foie Gras terrine by itself.

D. Berkshire Pork Duo
A crispy pork belly which perfectly fried skin was covered in a smooth wave of almond praline foam. The texture of this dish was excellent.

E. Lamb Shank Braised with Vanilla Bean
This dish won the "Food Envy" award. DY and I eyed JP as he happily devoured this tender dish.

Also on the menu for the Anthony Bourdains out there - live Sea Urchin with Razor clam Ceviche, cucumber miso and Yuzu granita. I wasn't buzzed enough to try this. No reservations next time I'm here at Winterland. Like I said, with a menu like this, Winterland sticks out like a sore thumb, in a good way.

Thanks for reading.


Jeni said...

Bay Scallop & Crispy Duck Tongue/Espresso Tapioca Pearls/Sea Urchin Emulsion sounds insane.

elmomonster said...

That's some eclectic stuff you had...inventive, but eclectic.

BTW, Saving Face was an awesome movie...Asian lesbians...what could be more awesome than that! LOL!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Jeni, it was delicious.

Elmo, yes Saving Face is a nice movie. Especially when they, you know... haha. Such cute girls.

Passionate Eater said...

Sorry EDNBM, I'm going to have to say that Winterland sounds yucky. I can't help but cringe when I think about the tough and pointy duck tongue and the feeling of the little taste buds popping in my mouth. Plus, sea urchin emulsion sounds like a nicer way to say diarrhea from a sea urchin's anus.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

PE, it's definitely not your everyday restaurant fare haha. But I enjoyed it. I figure if it's on the menu, it can't be THAT bad.

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