February 14, 2007

winecommando Goes West (but is back now)

Just got back from a business trip to the land of wine, silicon and internet bajillionaires. It was an excellent trip, and not least of all due to some of my dining and wine experiences. Here's the cool thing... I hit the wine and food blog vinography for some recommendations and was not disappointed. Last night we dined at Range in the Mission and had a terrific time. Small, intimate restaurant owned by a couple that are clearly passionate about food, wine and value. They basically built the place with their own hands to save money, and they did a terrific job.

The food was solid and the wine list well thought out. We had the Elk Cove Pinot Gris ($37... I think) and the Domaine Serene Yamhill Pinot Noir ($66), both from Oregon and I reviewed the Domaine Serene here earlier. The Pinot Gris paired exceptionally well with our appetizers, the standout of which was the Tombo tuna tartare. The Pinot Noir matched well with main courses that included lamb, shortribs (delish!) and a vegetarian option that I cannot remember, but looked really good. Honestly, though, the thing that blew me away the most was their prices. Entrees were $17-$22 and the wine list was incredibly reasonably priced. Totally terrific value. The pricing felt more like 1993 than 2007. Contrast this with our dinner at Jeffery Chodorow's Asia de Cuba (not on vinography's recommendation, just convenient), the hotel restaurant at The Clift, where entree prices were in the $29-$45 range and not nearly as inspired.

We also enjoyed Enoteca Viansa, the San Francisco wine bar of Viansa Winery. Not only was the service outstanding, the wines we tried were phenomenal. I had the 2003 Thalia Sangiovese and found it to be full of raspberry and cherry fruit. It had a spicy, peppery nose which made the fruit on the palate that much more rich and velvetty. It was a great sipping wine, but it made me crave some slow roasted lamb or pork with garlic, rosemary and oven-roasted fingerling potatoes. That's pretty specific, but what can I say... I have very detailed food fantasies.

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