Monday, December 6, 2010

California (Day #3)

Sunday started with a trip to Caffe Delucchi for some mimosas. We were going to grab some food here, but we thought we'd walk around and work up an appetite. After venturing around the city for awhile we ended up in the Mission District of San Fran at a spot called Baretta.

Baretta serves contemporary Italian comfort food in a very cool and casual environment. Everything on the menu is fresh, seasonal, and sourced from local farmers while organic ingredients are used whenever possible. I originally heard of Baretta from an Eater article I read before my trip. I did alittle research on San Fran's restaurant scene and wanted to hit good spots--from popular destinations to hidden gems. Baretta was on Eater's list of MUST VISIT San Francisco eateries, so we gave it a shot.

Baretta is known for their pizza and cocktails, so thats exactly what we got. The cocktail program impressed me as the drinks seemed simple, yet very complex. Simple by the means of using few ingredients and complex in combining the ingredients. Each cocktail has such as delicate balance, so pouring these drinks could be more complex that one would think. Some of Baretta's great cocktails include:

dolores park swizzle
rum, lime, maraschino, absinthe, bitters

the new rider
rye, lemon, ginger, maraschino, bitters, sage

mumbai mule
saffron vodka, lime, ginger, mint

improved whiskey cocktail
rye, bitters, dubonnet, absinthe, maraschino

gin, apple, lemon, basil, honey

Nadine got a pizza with mushrooms, tomatos, fontina, and thyme while I got the Pizza Carbonara (Pancetta, eggs, mozzarella). Nadine also got a brushette with fava beans and pecorino that blew her mind, but I was pretty content with my breakfast pizza.

Now I know why Baretta was on Eaters must visit list. Its cool, casual, and delicious...and cheap if you don't overdose on the cocktails.

For dinner, we met up with our friends who live in San Francisco. We all decided on Mexican, so we headed back to the Mission District of town. We had dinner at Puerto Alegre on Valencia Street. Puerto Alegre is a family owned Mexican restaurant that has been in San Fran for 40 years!

We decided to take the outside table, which proved to be a little small for 4 people; but we didn't seem to mind. The restaurant inside was jamming and had a half hour wait. The server started off with some complimentary chips and salsa--I think we got a few refills! Everyone ordered their own meal, while plates seemed to be passed around for trying. The pitchers of margaritas were surprisingly good. I'm always skeptical on margaritas as I've had some pretty bad margaritas in my time. Some margaritas taste like sour mix while others taste of stale tequila. I'm not sure if Puerto Alegre uses fresh juices or what type of tequila, but it was definitely a good margarita.

Good conversations and good food/drinks made Puerto Alegre a great experience. Just watch out if you dine outside, homeless people might come up to you and sing--looking for a tip. We packed up all our leftovers for the lady in lieu of a tip.

I would definitely recommend both Puerto Alegre and Baretta if in San Francisco. Both our reasonably priced and serve delicious food in a comfortable environment. Check em' out!

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