welcome

New to Arthur Hungry? Check out some of my favorite posts, learn a little about me, or browse the complete archives.

status

In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.

search
rss

Entries in Basque (2)

Saturday
Aug062005

Piperade

piperade.jpg

At long last, my final SF post from before my trip to France. This is a nice lunch from Piperade (older visit here) with my mom. Somehow, my mom never tried Piperade even though it's just down the street. I think it's the best restaurant in the immediate area. I still have memories of that foie gras/calamari dish - it was one of the most memorable things I ate last year. This time, since I was with my mom, I didn't want to have to finish one of the huge main dishes by myself, so we went with just stuff from the small plate section.

grande white bean salad with boquerones, roasted pepper and chopped egg - $9 Stupidly, we forgot to inquire about what boquerones are before ordering this. It turns out they're sardine-like fishies, which is bad because we for some reason assumed this was vegetarian. I liked the dish quite a bit - the beans were very hearty, the chopped egg was wonderful, and the fish were quite good if a bit sour from the dressing.

warm sheep's milk cheese and ham terrine with aged sherry - $11 I'd been wanting to try this dish after seeing it on the menu, and it did not disappoint. Gooey, salty and delicious! I'll admit I'd rather share this than eat it all myself though - it got pretty heavy halfway through.

small fries - $4 I must not have noticed fries on the menu last time or we would have surely gotten them. These fries were quite thin, crispy, and potatoey all at once. We asked for some aioli to dip them in, which made them even better!

crab salad "txangurro" with mango and red pepper - $12 At this point I started to think that maybe we'd ordered too much. The crab salad was pretty good, the mango slices were great, but I'm not sure I'd order this again. I guess I expected something more interesting because of the cool Basque name.

golden beet and braised fennel salad with lemon-cumin vinaigrette - $9 This dish was very good. I rarely see beets cut into such big pieces, but they were all tender and refreshing. I've also lately become more fond of fennel - it has a nice, subtle flavor that I'm learning to enjoy. The toasted almonds (?) were a nice touch.

whole prawns with garlic, parsley and lemon - $12 These were some great, fresh prawns. My mom and I were both surprised by how similar the preparation was to Chinese-style whole prawns or shrimp - it really tasted quite similar! The juice/sauce was delicious, just like the Chinese kind. I expect Piperade to become a semi-regular stop for me when I'm in the city. It's not really the type of food you could eat every day, but I sure love a lot of things that they serve. I'll start posting about France tomorrow!

Thursday
Dec022004

Piperade

This is Piperade, a fairly new Basque place literally 3 blocks from my building in SF. Keith was in town for a couple of days between coming back from the Philippines and going back to school, so he came along with my dad and I for lunch. I got really excited about the place after seeing rave reviews for it just about everywhere, and especially after reading about Anthony Bourdain's experiences in San Sebastian in his book A Cook's Tour. That really gave me a craving for some Basque food. Piperade did not disappoint.

bacalao fritters with piment�n aioli - $9

artisan foie gras sauteed with monterey squid, grapes and verjus - $17

garlic soup with rock shrimp, bacon, bread and egg - $8.5 We ate everything family style. Let me say, each of these dishes were excellent. Bacalao is salt cod, one of the staple items in Basque cuisine. These were little balls of heaven... perfectly fried with a delicious "filling" if you could call it that. The aioli was addictive and a wonderful complement to the fish. I think I could eat a whole plate of these myself. The foie gras and squid was superb. Foie gras and squid - sounds like a strange combination doesn't it? We thought so too, so of course we had to give it a try. I'm usually the type that prefers my squid fried, but in this case it was different. Simply put, this is one of the best squid dishes I've ever had. The squid was amazingly tender and bursting with flavor. A big chunk of foie gras is buried underneath there - not like a tiny appetizer foie gras as is commonly found, but a real slab of the stuff that you have to cut like a piece of meat. Taking a bite of everything at once creates a delicious combination. The taste of the foie gras mixed with the sweetness of the grapes and the sauce plus the texture of the squid... it was absolutely fabulous. I really think this is one of the must try dishes in SF. Do not sleep on this. The garlic soup also definitely held its own with a very robust and earthy flavor, much moreso than you expect when ordering "garlic soup." Simply fantastic.

pip�rade with saut�ed serrano ham and poached egg - $15

atlantic cod 'a la plancha' with potatoes riojanas, chorizo, thyme and onion jus - $17

roasted niman ranch pork chop with braised cabbage and apple & onion marmalada - $18

orange blossom beignets - $7 Piperade, the restaurant's namesake, is another typical Basque dish, a stew-like mixture of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Very good as expected. A nice mixture of different flavors, and heartier than I thought it would be. The cod was less exciting, but did have a lot of ingredients going on as you can tell. The fish was very nicely cooked and the treasure trove of potatoes, chorizo and onions underneath was yummy. We ordered the pork chops per our waiter's recommendation and it came out very nice. Very tender pork (which is getting harder to find I think) accompanied by a pleasant but not overwhelming sweetness. Unfortunately the three of us were getting pretty full. The mains were all very good, but really it was the appetizers that made this place as memorable for me as it was. Anyway, we did want to try a bite of dessert, and the word "beignet" triggers a natural reflex in my system. It doesn't matter what the word before beignet is; I have to order it whatever the situation. I'm glad we tried them. They were hot, fluffy, not overly sweet (despite the sugar you can see), and slightly orange-y. All in all, it was a killer meal! I really want to go to San Sebastian.