January 21, 2010

I love you Michael Mina

I went to San Francisco for work this week.  It was cold.  Gray.  Raining.  Miserable.  Yuk.  I left work on Wednesday to stay at the airport since I had an early morning flight.  I decided to drop off my rental and take BART downtown for dinner.  Some people hate the thought of eating out by themselves, let alone at a nice restaurant but WTF, you have to make the best of it.  I carry books or magazines so I don't have to stare into space.  Anywhoo, I just read this huge article on Michael Mina so when I saw RN74 listed in the stupid tourist mag that the concierge had I thought, why not.  I deserve a little Fancy right?

Quite the adventure.  I had to take the rental car back, take the train to the airport to catch the BART (SFO's version of a subway) downtown (uptown?  I don't know).  On the 30+ minute train ride I got to see some young men wearing super skinny jeans and Keds (seriously?); a guy rapping out loud to his very profane music...something about white bitches; a young couple making out like I have never seen in public before; and a crazy girl yelling about some girl that was going to find her and beat her up...everytime she caught her reflection in the window she started talking trash to it.  Then I got off on the wrong stop so I had to walk awhile in the rain following my garmin.  Can you say Tourist?

Back to the restaurant.  If you've never heard of him, Michael Mina is a pretty famous restauranteur, but not in the Food Network, Mario Batalli sense. What I really liked about him when I read the article was not just the food he produces but his commitment to wine.  We all know how I like wine!  The atmosphere was cool.  Kind of modern with fun lighting.  They had orange water glasses that added cool color to the tables.  I couldn't get a table on zero notice but you could eat at the bar, or at some low bar tables or at a communal table. 

I chose the communal table.  They sat me next to the 5 most annoying drunk women ever to be in a nice restaurant.  They had empty drinks from the moment I arrived so I thought maybe they were on their way out.  Nope.  Picture all of the worst traits in Miranda from Sex in the City in hyperdrive times five.  Unmarried for obvious reasons.  Successful women that look down on everyone else.  Superficial.  Like cocky little stockbrokers in skirts.  Geographically challenged New Yorkers.  You get the picture.  Towards the end of my dinner they ordered another round.  They were still there when I left.  Lucky me.

The Menu
Market Greens Salad
with comte cheese and grilled della fattoria bread
Fingerling Potatoes
roasted w/rosemary and sprinkled w/castelmagno cheese
Grilled Prime Beef
on top of a red wine braised short rib w/brussels sprouts, salsify, bacon lardons & chestnuts
Pinot Noir - both from Burgundy & California
surprisingly I liked the CA pinot the best

The salad was simple but so good.  I would have never guessed how satisfying the grilled bread would be. Butter really does make everything better.  The potatoes were perfect.  I don't really like fatty meats but the short rib was so good.  Just a little square of yumminess under two perfect slices of filet mignon.  And brussels sprouts are my new favorite thing, especially when they come with bacon.  And here is the kicker, I salt EVERYTHING so I was a little worried that there were no seasonings on the table.  You don't want to be that person in a fancy restaurant that has to ask for salt or, gasp, ketchup.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This was the first meal I ever had that didn't need salt.  Now I get what they are talking about on Top Chef.  Ah ha!

Was it the best meal of my life?  No.  I don't think you ever have those alone as so much of a good meal or a good wine is the company your with and the experience you are sharing.  Would I recommend it?  For sure!  Michael Mina and his wine director Rajat Parr know their stuff.

And to anyone out there asking if this was a Biggest Loser approved meal?  No, no it definitely was not.  But I got a lot of walking in, if that counts for anything.  Oh, and I didn't eat dessert.  I swear.

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