The Oxbow Market in Napa is kind of heaven on earth. It’s like the Ferry Building in San Francisco (and is designed by the same architecture firm) – an indoor artisan market with a huge range of mini restaurants and local shops. I made two marinade and spice purchases, could have gone crazy at the Napa Valley Distillery and tried some tasty tacos from C Casa. All in all, and excellent pit stop if you find yourself in wine country.
New to the neighborhood in Noe Valley is La Nebbia, sister restaurant of La Ciccia (pretty much across the street). In the same vein as La Ciccia, they’re serving truly authentic Italian food, but with a more casual tilt. La Nebbia – which fittingly means “the fog” in Italian – just opened this week (and happens to be a block from my house), so my roommate and I decided to check it out.
Despite some definite first-week-of-opening glitches in service, it’s a really nice space and sure to be a neighborhood staple. An extensive Italian wine list, waiters from Italy, a few pizzas, fresh cheeses and meats (the bufala is really delicious). The menu is pretty hard to maneuver if you’re not familiar with the language, but it’s a fun foray into the unknown and I appreciate the authenticity.
I made it to the acclaimed and very-hyped Coqueta this weekend for a wonderful birthday dinner. The food was definitely excellent, but with restaurants like these that are written about so much and you hear so much about, you go in with super high expectations without even realizing it. So despite really great food, intriguing drinks (but not the best service, for the price you pay), it felt like it didn’t measure up in some way. I think the best eating experiences are those you expect nothing out of. So Coqueta was difficult, but undoubtedly delicious. I especially enjoyed a giant meat and cheese platter and all the hot tapas we tried.
Lots of blog hubbub about this new market, which opened on Nov. 5 on Harrison and 23rd in the Mission, made me want to stop in right away. They take local to the next level with an open kitchen inside the market where a ton of their food stuffs are made. (Apparently chef-partner Jake Des Voignes spent 12 hours straight butchering meat the weekend before opening, according to InsideScoop.) Yogurt, sausage, pear butter, smoked salmon – you name it. Really tasty looking stuff, REALLY expensive – but you are paying for quality (and that in-house labor!). They also carry lots of San Francisco favorites – Humphrey Slocombe ice cream, De Laz Paz and Four Barrel coffee, TCHO chocolate and the like.
The market isn’t quite full yet, with some empty shelves, but I think it’ll be great when it’s been up and running for a few weeks or so. I’d love to see some really unique beer/wine finds. I splurged on some tasty dried figs, walnut-thyme vinaigrette (made in-house), a Local Mission Market tea mixture and some fruit.
For any and all of your cheese, charcuterie, pasta, sauces, jams, jellies, crackers, olives, oils, vinegars, meats and wine needs, head to 24th Street Cheese Co. in Noe Valley. Don’t let the strong cheese smell deter you; it’s only a sign of the goodness inside. They carry local, national and international goods. I picked up some Italian olives that were particularly tasty, a wonderful new pepper-mango salsa and sweet potato crackers from a North Carolina bakery. This is the perfect spot to pick up goods for a picnic.
24th Street Cheese Co. // 3893 24th St., San Francisco
Stumbled upon the San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose last night and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s the same model as the Ferry Building in San Francisco: indoor market with multiple food and drink vendors, places to sit and hang out. But San Pedro Square is like the Ferry Building on crack. There’s not one, but two huge warehouse-like areas full of delicious eats and drinks, from tacos to pizza to falafel to sushi to oysters to cheese to hot dogs to ice cream …you get the idea. If you’re ever in San Jose, I highly recommend checking it out.
San Pedro Square Market // 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose
Mission Cheese has been on my to-eat list for quite some time. I finally made it there for dinner this week and loved it – very cute small space, beautiful bar, delicious cheese-centric menu (cheese flights, charcuterie, griled cheeses, mac and cheese…it goes on), great wine and beer selection. I especially enjoyed the California Gold (San Joaquin Gold, chevre, prosciutto, fig preserves) and Alotta Buratta (Belfiore burrata, cherry tomatoes, balsamic, basil) sandies. The only two pitfalls: they turn their grill off at 8 p.m. (and close at 10 p.m.), so if you’re out for a late dinner you’ll miss out on their sandwiches. Oh, and you have to bus your own tables? I don’t really get the point and it doesn’t bother me too much, but for such a small place, it’s sort of a strange policy.