Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Aziza, San Francisco

Valentine's Day fell on a Friday this year, which would have been great if we didn't have jobs or a baby.  Happily, we have both, so we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day a day later, up at the Moroccan restaurant Aziza in the Richmond District of San Francisco.

I'd been dying to visit Aziza since at least 2003, when I was a student at SFSU.  Since that time, they've earned (and maintained) a single Michelin star.

Aziza is known for its cocktails.  My wife greatly enjoyed her gin / lavender / orange blossom honey concoction.

Is it wrong of me that the Clash's Rock the Casbah was going through my mind?  Don't answer that.

My own cocktail had huckleberry, dry sherry, and pisco.  Not bad (though I preferred my wife's).

As our first course, we ordered "Spreads," featuring the best flatbread I've ever had and three of the most delectable dips (eggplant, dill-yogurt and piquillo-almond).  We ordered more flatbread simply because we couldn't let the dip go to waste (our bellies paid for that later, but it was still worth it).

Time to consult the beverage menu for another drink.

Decision made = gin with mango, coconut water, and basil seeds.  Good, but I was still ruined by my wife's drink, which topped both of mine.

Our second course was duck confit basteeya, which has been described by others as "a Hot Pocket on crack."  That's a sufficient if vulgar definition, though I'll augment that by saying it comes out looking like a Brie cheese, and tastes better than anything you've probably had in your entire existence.  This is the only menu item that is on both the a la carte menu and the tasting menu, and from the first bite it was plain to see why.

My wife and I have this unintentional yet hilarious habit = she orders like a man, and I order like a woman.  Case in point, this was my lamb loin (which was amazing, if a little dainty - it featured lamb belly, beets, chard, and I believe apple puree)...

...and this was my wife's lamb shank, which was probably the greatest piece of lamb I ever tried (my wife was kind enough to give me the leftovers the next day).

Verdict = we're going back, hopefully with friends in tow.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Moccasin Bend Brewing Co., Chattanooga, TN

Less than a month ago I had the good fortune to be able to visit Moccasin Bend Brewing Company in the St. Elmo district of Chattanooga, extremely close to where my in-laws live.  Good thing we went when we did, because as of today, the brewery has been closed down for alleged violations of city ordinance.  That's a shame, because this place rocks (er, rocked).

Moccasin Bend is housed inside of a historic building that was used for World War II rationing.

Suz with her beer.

Good local vibe.  That's the Colts vs. Chiefs game in the background, by the way.

The bathrooms were in the actual brewing part of the brewery, and visitors were semi-encouraged to take a look at the brewing operation.

Hops, etc.

This was pretty funny - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. sent Moccasin Bend a cease and desist letter over alleged copyright violation of their Celebration Beer.  Moccasin Bend released a Centennial Celebration Beer - apparently the word "celebration" is able to be copyright protected.  Reminds me of how McDonald's went after restaurants in Scotland with the same name - you know, in the land where people actually are named that?

In any case, the owner / brewmaster told me that he did absolutely nothing differently, and never heard from Sierra Nevada again.

I felt like some dessert, and fortunately a food truck was outside the premises.

Plenty of waffle goodness to soak up the delicious beer.