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beef dessert Northern California reviews steak

Birthday Dinner @ Alexander’s Steakhouse

I’ve raved about Alexander’s Steakhouse before and have been trying to manufacture excuses to go back. My birthday was as good a reason as any to make my return. My previous post has all the background info on Alexander’s, so let’s cut to the chase.

We were greeted with a nice amuse of cold sunchoke soup with crouton.


Amuse - Cold Sunchoke Coup

I started off with my usual Hamachi Shot of Grade 5 hamachi, red chili, frizzled ginger, avocado, truffled ponzu, which was a great way to get your head in the game and start off the meal. It’s $4 for one and a six pack is $20.

Hamachi Shot

Next up were our appetizers. I ordered the “Steak and Eggs,” which was carpaccio, quail egg, deviled egg, and vegetable salpicon. The presentation was a little fussy, and I really wasn’t sure how I was supposed to eat it. In the end, it was really good, but I don’t think I’d order it again.

"Steak and Eggs"

My wife ordered the Smoked Salmon Pastrami served with Boursin cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and toasted rye bread. She made these into open-face sandwiches that were delicious, although I found the sauerkraut a little subtle. Still, if this is on the menu next time we go back, I think we’d have to get this again.

Smoked Salmon Pastrami

Before our entrees came out, we had an intermezzo—a watermelon shooter with cucumber foam. I normally hate cucumbers (it’s a texture thing), but as a foam, I thought it was great and complemented the watermelon really well.

Intermezzo-Watermelon Shooter with Cucumber Foam

I was really torn about what to order for the main course. I knew it was going to be steak, but there’s so many options on the menu. Do I go with the 10 oz. filet mignon with shiitakes, scallions and candied bacon? Or how about the 2 lb. bone-in ribeye with barbecue demi glace and roasted tomatoes? The Melange had been reconfigured since my last visit and featured a filet steak with green olives and bleu cheese and a Kobe patty melt panini to go with the braised shortrib and brie en cocotte. In the end, I decided on the 28 oz. dry-aged porterhouse with black truffle mousseline. (I requested the mousseline on the side and it got cropped out of the picture.)

28oz Porterhouse

It was cooked to a perfect medium rare (as it should be), and I really loved the filet section of the porterhouse.

My wife ordered the pan-roasted halibut with beurre noisette of porcini, butternut squash, chestnuts, and brussels sprouts. Alexander’s might be a steakhouse, but their seafood is also excellent.


Pan Roasted Halibut

We both ordered dessert, but I also received a complimentary peanut butter chocolate mousse cake, so the table got a bit crowded. Every knows that peanut butter and chocolate are two great tastes that go great together, and this little birthday cake was no exception.

Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Continuing with the peanut theme, my wife had the Peanut Gallery, which was an assortment of peanut-based desserts, including peanut brittle, peanut butter chocolate mousse, caramel ice cream, and some chocolate popcorn with peanut butter powder, which was the best thing on the plate. The crunchy saltiness of the popcorn combined with the subtle sweetness of the chocolate and the little hit of peanut butter from the powder was pure bliss.

Peanut Gallery

I had the Midnight Train, which was like a deconstructed tiramisu. I forgot to get more exact details about this dessert, but from what I remember it was a tiramisu cheesecake topped with meringue cookies, caramelized sugar strips, whipped cream and lemon zest.

Midnight Train

Overall, it was a great meal to celebrate a late 30s birthday. My wife’s birthday is in a couple months…maybe I can convince her to go back for her birthday, too.

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eggs Italian Neapolitan Northern California pizza reviews

Pizzeria Delfina

Earlier this year, I embarked on a quest to find the best Neapolitan pizza around. L.A.’s Pizzeria Mozza is my favorite, but in the Bay Area, that title currently belongs to Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur with Pizzaiolo in Oakland a close second. But after yesterday, Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco’s Mission District just squeezed itself into the number two slot.

I always like to start with the basics, so we ordered the Margherita pizza. The tomato sauce was a little bland, which was disappointing, and my wife said it could have used more fresh basil, as well. However, both the mozzarella and the crispy/chewy/salty crust were great and almost made up for these deficiencies.


Margherita

Our other pizza was one of the daily specials, the Carbonara, which featured pancetta, leeks, Pecorino Romano and two runny eggs. Thanks to Pizzaiolo, I love eggs on pizza, but Delfina was able to ensure that the eggs covered the entire pizza so that there was a little in every bite. This pizza was perfect and sinfully good.

Carbonara

The Carbonara and Delfina’s pizza crust were enough to put Pizzeria Delfina just slightly ahead of Pizzaiolo in the pizza category. (To be fair, Pizzaiolo offers a much more diverse menu that includes fresh burrata, as well as some excellent pastas.)

Pizzeria Delfina’s in a great location about 4 blocks from the 16th Street BART station, which is good because finding parking was a big issue for us. But its 18th Street location means that it’s also sandwiched between the venerable Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Creamery, my favorite ice cream in San Francisco. Maybe next time we go to Pizzeria Delfina we’ll try one of their desserts, but with those two options nearby, would you blame us for asking for the check when we were done with our pizzas?

INFORMATION
Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 map
415.437.6800
Web site
Pizzeria Delfina on Urbanspoon