How’s everyone’s week polishing off? Mine is getting better and better, for once I have no complaints!
On Tuesday, I drove over to downtown (can you believe it took me 45 minutes to travel 3 miles?) to join a round table at the Burritt Room Bar + Tavern.
The Burritt Room is the cocktail bar for Charlie Palmer’s Mystic Hotel on Stockton St. It was actually built right after the infamous earthquake and named after the back alley that it’s right next to. The first thing I noticed about the bar that I really liked was the live band playing and how it had that vintage feel to it but still felt very comfortable with the wide assortment of business men to happy hour patrons.
The first part of our night started with a mixology class graciously taught by their head bartender, Josh Trabulsi.
Waiting for me as I arrived was the Knickerbocker a la Monsieur. Fresh, not too sweet and most importantly, did not skimp on the alcohol!
2 oz aged rhum auricle
1/2 oz cointreau
1/2 oz raspberry syrup
1 oz lemon
4 ea raspberries
Muddle, shake, then double strain. Garnish with raspberries and lemon wheel.
It is the best example of a summer drink that you could pass on to anyone, so I wanted to give it to my dear readers before fall heads our way.
Any other cities have Indian Summers like SF? We’re just starting ours and it will last until the end of October.
I probably should of paced myself, but Josh came quickly with the next drink, a Vesper Lynd. I’m not surprised how elegant this drink looks, considering it’s named after a classic movie with a smooth individual: James Bond.
1 1/2 oz leopold’s navy strength gin
1 1/2 oz cucumbre colin blanc
Stir for 35 seconds and strain. Garnish with cucumber.
Last, is the Berlinetta which was packaged for us to drink on the go. I love the chic little jar they placed it in, almost makes me not want to drink it. This was described to us as an Italian Manhattan. Regular Manhattans have more bourbon then vermouth, this is the opposite.
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 1/2 oz carpano antica vermouth
1/4 oz cynar
Stir for 10 seconds and strain. Garnish with orange peel, serve.
I also snagged one of their menus to check it out and thought the pictures were so adorable and helpful for any bar novices like myself.
Thank you Josh for your expertise! He was so knowledgable, friendly and welcoming that I officially nominate him for the best bartender award.
Moving on to dinner, which was something I was really looking forward to. (I honestly spend the larger part of my day thinking about food. Maybe if I spent more time worrying about astrophysics or biochemistry instead of what my next meal is going to be, I will be doing something good for the world).
Our chef for the evening, Luke Knox, grew up in Nebraska and moved to Portland to attend culinary school. He worked for Chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Vegas and then went under the arms of Chef Charlie Palmer. He is a new San Francisco transplant, only living here for five months, and is now the executive chef here at the Burritt Tavern!
The philosophy of the tavern was to be progressive American cuisine but use California’s fresh ingredients.
When being invited to this event, they asked us to submit a childhood favorite dish so the chef can put his own spin on it. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick mine but I was not disappointed when I looked at the menu. The first course was a County Line Harvest Salad with Frog Hollow plums, smoked almonds, goat feta and a plum vinaigrette.
I loved how well the sweetness of the plums worked with the smoked almonds and goat cheese.
Next up was the holy Macaroni and Cheese, made with tasso ham, tubeti pasta and a three cheese mornay.
I actually have the recipe that I will share in the following few weeks with you guys. This was the best Mac and Cheese I had for a lonnng time.
I wasn’t sure what was on top, bread crumbs maybe? When Chef Luke worked in Vegas, the head chef there would always put cured ham in their employee Mac and Cheese meals and now it’s a wrap; he couldn’t go back to anything else. Quite frankly, I have no complaints with that remark!
Also wanted to sneak a picture of old San Francisco, crazy how many buildings have been raised and how much has progressed in a little over a hundred years.
We were allowed to choose between a pacific halibut or oxtail stew for our main course and I knew which one I would be tasting immediately.
My eating companion, Ben, chose the same dish too. Oxtail stew with roasted eggplant, heirloom carrots, cipollini onions and ricotta to finish.
The oxtail was pulled from the bone, braised naturally and then cooled down before being pulled. He cooked the veggies separately so they maintained their texture and flavor. We thought the ricotta was an interesting choice to use with the dish, but it was delicious, sweet and tangy without weighing down the stew.
We had pairings for each of the courses and I loved the Riesling so much I had to take a picture of it.
Last but not least, our desert composed of a Meyer Lemon Tart with basil-blueberry compote and white chocolate feuillentine crisp.
I am a sucker for tarts and never seen basil added to a desert dish like this one did. The fried basil and oil added a nice savory element to combat with the sweetness of the blueberries. I was already stuffed and couldn’t finish sadly.
One of my favorite parts of the night was having the chef sit down with us and talking about his experiences a little more in detail and understanding where he gets his creativity from.
He was so humble and just oozed passion for his career and being the head chef here at the Burritt Room. Some things I remember from our discussion was he felt a lot more creativity here in San Francisco compared to the restaurant industry in Las Vegas. His main goal was also to keep the tavern as American as possible, they don’t use any Asian/Latin ingredients and it limits but also challenges him at the same time.
Thank you Chef Knox and the Burritt Room + Tavern for this opportunity!
As I was leaving the garage across the street, a taxi guy was being the biggest jerk and I quietly thought to myself that karma will suck for him. Not twenty seconds later, a cop pulled him over! I thought about buying a lotto ticket because of the huge coincidence, but if anyone has had any trouble with taxis this week then I hope this made you feel better!
**I was not compensated for this post, but did receive the dinner on the house. All opinions are proudly my own!
What’s your drink of choice? Do you have any stories that involve sweet, sweet karma?