Serendipity! A cancellation, a reservation, and a reprieve from driving in circles led to a trip to Dogpatch in San Francisco for lunch. Dogpatch is one of the oldest neighborhoods in SF, located on the south side near Potrero Hill.
Because of it’s location – a bit distant from the main part of the city – it’s one of the few areas that escaped the devastating fires that destroyed much of SF after the 1906 earthquake.
As a result, there are smaller and older Victorians here than seen in most of the city.
Dogpatch is now a mixed use area with some neat stuff going on. Rickshaw Bags are manufactured to order here in a lofty space. If you want a messenger bag or backpack, check the site out.
Dogpatch still has some of the edginess of a working class neighborhood, but nice restaurants and offices have started their move in. The push/pull of gentrification is well underway.
We had lunch at Piccino, located in the cheery yellow building which also houses MAC, a super cool clothing and homegoods store; DIG, a wine store; and the Piccino Cafe serving Blue Bottle coffee and pastries out of the alcove signed ‘Allright Auto Park’. Piccino was reviewed by Michael Bauer in the SF Chronicle (see it here at SFGate) very favorably and it did not disappoint. We went with the recommendations of the hip and friendly server and ordered two ‘must haves’ from the review.
There was farro with almonds toasted to the brink – not burned – with an incredibly fresh olive oil, and a blue cheese wedge with figs and a strong dark honey. Order the $3 house made crackers and ask for table bread to go with everything. You’ll want to soak up all the sauces.
Semolina gnocchi with mushrooms was unlike the potato gnocchi I’m accustomed to, but delicious. These were semolina slices fried, and then placed in a sauce and sprinkled with good cheese and sauteed wild mushrooms.
I’m not a big fan of ordering meatballs out because I worry about mystery meat unless I’ve made them myself, but these were tender and flavorful and worth the mystery.
And the pizza we ordered with wild nettles, nectarines and ricotta was also lovely.
For dessert, we tried the Pink Squirrel ice cream affogato. Pink Squirrel ice cream is made with a special kind of almond with a lovely spumoni like scent – maybe they used some apricot pit to flavor the ice cream?
And we also had the Plum cake with pine nuts and a cardamom cream. As lovely as this cake looked, it was the only thing that I wasn’t crazy about. It reminded me of the kind of cake I make to hide vegetables from the kids, but maybe I’d just been spoiled by the standard of excellence before this final course.
A slight word of warning here. We ordered coffee (nothing fancy…. just coffee with cream and sugar) to go with dessert. Note that Piccino’s coffee is super charged. A modest cup combined with the shot of expresso that went over the ice cream (shared by four), there was a whole lot of caffeine coursing through my veins for a few hours after. Good for boring afternoon meetings. Bad for an afternoon nap or a racing heart.
Feeling hyper, I picked up some great freshly made peanut brittle from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous down the street to bribe, reward, and entice family members, repairmen and others.