Four Corners of Italy

I find that people who do not blog cannot phantom how time consuming it really is. Although I have been down to one post a week these past few months (and I am so not happy with that), it is still nice to enlist help from some of my friends. Taylor is one of my guest stars on this blog (along with Abs and a few other pretty ladies) and I wanted to treat her to lunch to thank her for all of her dedicated help behind-the-scenes. I drag her to restaurants with me on a bi-weekly basis, sometimes make her proofread the night before when my brain stops functioning and she will walk around the Embarcadero all day with me to ensure that I complete my deadlines for side projects without complaining once. She is mostly open to trying new foods and provides valuable opinions about the dishes we try out.

So to celebrate our first day of summer school and as a thank you, I took her to Barbacco for lunch in the Financial District. We do not venture to that area a lot because parking is overwhelming and it is so far from the Mission. It was a nice change to see everyone in their business suits instead of rolled up hipster jeans.

I have heard so many good things about Barbacco and their fancier sister restaurant Perbacco, which is only two doors down. The restaurant is narrow but stretches really far into the back and you could not help but notice the abundance of communal tables; everything seemed very casual and comfortable. The place was jammed even on a mid-day Monday but luckily we got a great seat at the bar.

We started finalizing our dining options while sipping on fresh-made strawberry mint limonatas ($3).

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Before we get started, I wanted to just briefly mention that this lunch reminded me of my time in Denver. Crusty bread made an appearance in almost every dish.

Our first of the first courses was two unique bruschettes ($3/each). These thick crostinis are Acme brand and were so crunchy and perfect. One of our bruschetta was assembled with roasted peaches + prosciutto di parma and the other with asparagus, meyer lemon, capers and red onion. I loved that we did not have to stick to one flavor combination and we were allowed to branch out and get different kinds. Next time I am coming for the chicken liver pate and lardo with onion.

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What might be the hidden gem of salamis is ‘Nduja ($6). I have only seen it at one other restaurant and it is SO underrated. It is a spicy, spreadable smoked Calabrian salami that does not look too appealing at first. However, be prepared to have your life changed once you take your first bite. It is pretty salty on it’s own but fares well when eaten with the crusty bread. The smokiness of the salami added a complex flavor that we thoroughly enjoyed. Taylor was a little apprehensive at first but she instantly changed her mind and declared it her new favorite.

Half way through, our friendly waiter asked us what we thought it was made out of. I hesitantly answered pork because it seemed like a trick question. He laughed and said it was made out of liver and kidneys specifically and he always waits until his diners had a chance to taste it before sharing his fun fact. This is why you cannot knock things before you try them!

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The restaurant was filled with light and good vibes. We usually do not eat at the bar so it was a nice change of experience.

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This is our new favorite waiter, Vicenzo. It is pronounced with a hard C because duh, Italian. Whatever photography skills (see dark picture above) he lacks is made up with his charismatic personality.

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Taylor and I shared two entrees for our main course. The first being orecchiette ($13) with cavolo nero, fennel sausage and pecorino cheese. In other words, it is basically a fancy kale pesto pasta. Surprisingly, it is hard to find good pasta in the city but this one was very fresh, vibrant and had an amazing texture. There were little criss crosses on the back of the orrechiette.

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The next entree was Barbacco’s famous polpette ($13). If I had to describe these in one word, it would be “wow”. These Sicilian meat balls were ground and rolled with pine nuts and raisins. They were accompanied by braised chard and a spicy tomato sugo. At this point, I was stuffed to the brim but had to eat at least half of a meatball. Let’s just say that they were the perfect after school snack.

I am not a fan of rock hard meatballs and these were the complete opposite. The insides were airy and had large chunks of garlic (and other ingredients) rolled in. The synergy of flavors were balanced out by the crusty bread but still left an explosion of spice.

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And to complete our meal was an olive oil panna cotta with marinated peaches and a brown sugar crumble. This is the second time I had an olive oil dessert and it was a lot better than the first. The taste of the olive oil was subtle and paired well with the texture of the sugar crumbles. I love that they used seasonal peaches because they are so sweet right now! Seriously, I buy maybe 10 at the Farmer’s Market each week and I have not had a sour one yet.

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This is one of those few meals where every single dish knocks your socks off. I cannot wait to come back! Now I am in a pasta mood. Abby, SPQR next week?

How many hours a week would you say you spend on your blog?

Favorite type of pasta? Mine is bucatini.


12 thoughts on “Four Corners of Italy

  1. Ahhh liver! I’ve never had it but I imagine if someone didn’t tell me I was eating it I’d probably like it. Umm oh gosh my blog post schedule is so wishy washy lately (which I also don’t like) but um at least 15 hours probably. Which is crazy when I say it out loud like that. Out loud/in writing=same thing 🙂

  2. Ooh, we almost went there for a date night a couple weeks ago! Then our sitter cancelled and we had take-out at home. 🙁

    I probably spend at least an hour a day when I’m casually blogging. If I really do it “right” (commenting, Tweeting, actually proofreading posts, etc.) I can easily spend 3-4 hours, and that’s way too much time for me for my little “hobby blog!”

  3. You described everything so perfectly. I’m drooling because everything looks amazing. High five on the meatballs <3

    And what pretty friends I have!

    SPQR, here we come!

  4. blogging takes up far less time than the ebook has. Truth-be-told it’s not so much the blogging that takes up a lot of time, it’s the social media and promotion. Some days I just want to chuck my computer out the window. At the same time I don’t wanna complain cause I am SO lucky to be able to do what I love for a living. Anddddd now I want pasta.

  5. I think I spend 4-6 hours on a my blog week. Usually depending on how many posts a week I have.

    You’re so good at picking delicious restaurants and describing the flavors and the dishes! I always want to go to the places you post.

  6. Blogging takes up so much time! Actually it’s really all the stuff that goes with blogging that takes a ton of time. But I love it and would hate to give it up. I think the better question is how many hours a week do I NOT spend blogging! 🙂

    Your lunch trip looks awesome. I love pasta so it would be so hard to choose just one. I am typically a fan of any long pasta.

  7. Totally agree, blogging can take up a lot of time, especially picture-heavy posts! Usually writing the posts it the easy part for me, it’s the picture editing/uploading that seems to take up the majority of the time. Most of the time I blog late at night when my eyes are starting to cross haha but I have to say, I really enjoy blogging! Although I don’t love the backend stuff of having a website. It took me wayyy too much time at first to figure out how to do silly little things like put a Twitter widget on my sidebar…hmm I think I need a tech assistant or something!

  8. I love how the waiter waited till after you tried something out before telling you what it was….I did it with my friends and kangaroo and since then, they approach all my meals with caution. As for blogging, it’s hard to say but the posts tend to be easier to write but the other things…linking back, engaging with readers, commenting back- it adds up!

  9. Oh my goodness yummmm! The last time I tested food before knowing what it was, it ended up being snails in the Bahamas. Ever since then I’ve been overly cautious when it comes to food surprises, so props to you! As for blogging, I come and I go. With Summer here, I just got home for the first time in 3 weeks. I’m leaving this Saturday again, so it’s to the point where whenever I have a free second, I’m blogging! And favorite pasta? I’m really not sure. I’ve yet to meet a pasta I really don’t like.

  10. What a sweet friend you are to treat your friend and assistant to a scrumptious meal!
    My actual blog post tends to take less time than the other stuff involved in blogging, but I don’t have a concrete number.
    That asparagus, meyer lemon, capers and red onion crostini looks so good – as for that panna cotta – my mouth is watering!

  11. I love Barbacco! It is one of my favorite places for a casual meal with wine. And YES! I love their nduja! BTW, I try to post twice a week, but probably spend 10 hours a week on the blog (counting time writing, working on photos, and posting). It really has to be a labor of love.

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