Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird on a Fire

Most people recognize Vietnamese cuisine for it's fresh ingredients, amazing sandwiches and a bay area favorite that rapidly spread to other parts of California, phở.

Phở is just one of the reasons I am grateful to live in a city with such a large Vietnamese population. Spring rolls are but another, and iced coffee. Honestly I could go on all day. Suffice it to say I really enjoy Vietnamese food.

I found a new reason to thank the food gods today, it's called quail. On a recent trip to a local Vietnamese restaurant I favor, I am persuaded to try something new by a new friend. I never thought of eating quail as if it were chicken but leave it to Vietnamese talent to create a dish of something most people would never consider eating.

Jasmine Garden near the Church Street Muni station serves a honey roasted quail, which is flambeed at the table and then cut into pieces with meat scissors for easier consumption. It's a tiny bird, with tiny bones but those are my only real complaints. You'll be picking bones out of your mouth for sure, but eating quail is nowhere near as laborious as eating say, crab or any crustaceans with an exoskeleton. Don't skimp on the white pepper sauce that comes with. It give this little bird a tang and an extra layer of flavor that really sets this dish a flame. Not too sweet, nor too meaty the quail is slightly gamier, but otherwise tastes like chicken.

P.S. If you haven't tried phở, you're missing out big time. And, it's pronounced fuh. As in phở-cking amazing. 708 14th St (415) 861-2682. $

Friday, March 4, 2011

Holy Smokes

Every now and then you come across a cocktail you just have to try. We found this one at Lafitte, a Califonia style eatery with bit of French technique thrown in. We'll call it Ameri-french. The food is definitely noteworthy and bring a serious appetite because the portions are huge, but we'd really like to focus on the cocktail for dis or del because it's much less often that we run into drinks that are interesting and weird.

On the bar menu at this watefront resto is, drum roll please, The Mohawk. This drink is bad ass in a glass. Made with Russell's six year rye, sweet vermouth and bitters it is essentially a manhattan. But don't call it a manhattan. It's secret ingredients, tobacco leaf infused simple syrup and star anise, make The Mohawk a unique drink in a class all its own.
Just the right amount of smoky and sweet this drink should be garnished with a piece of nicorette chewing gum. At first sip it tastes just like a manhattan but when you swallow you can feel the tobacco linger in the middle of your pallete. Oddly enough when you get to the bottom of this drink you'll not only feel an alcohol buzz but also a bit of a tobacco buzz, like you just smoked a cigarette. For all you cigarette smokers out there, The Mohawk is the multi-tasking drunk's wet dream. Surgeon general says tobacco's addictive. That's the impression we get at the bottom this glass. The Mohawk only left us jonesing for more of that liquid nicotine. 500 The Embarcadero (415) 986-4806