We had a wonderful time at NOPA on Saturday night, with David's sister Monica and her husband Chris, who are in town to visit on Oliver's second birthday weekend. Fantastic meal, and fantastic evening away from the kids. Between the dim, foggy night, the cocktails and the bottle of wine, the steam coming off our dinners, and the fact I'm still using my phone to take pictures, there is a lot of wasted potential in this post.
I have lived in this neighborhood for 15 years, and for about ten years, give or take a few, the building that currently houses the restaurant was an abandoned laundromat. Years before it was a laundromat, it was a bank. I love being able to tell people that ever since that laundromat closed I knew this was the perfect place for a restaurant, with it's space slowly sinking below Hayes Street and the huge windows. I just knew it!
We've never been disappointed here, except when the trout isn't on the menu. The service is amazing, and we are really lucky to be able to come here occasionally. Not to mention it's only 1 1/2 blocks away from our place.
Without a reservation, we were outside the door before 5:00 to assure a place at the bar and enjoyed several bar snacks before scoring their one open table for the night.
Gins with fog.
Round One: David enjoys a Manzanita which was made with mescal, his new favorite spirit.
Round Two: Martinez for me, martini for him.
Round Three: A bottle of Robert Sinskey Vineyards Rosé. I'd been reading about NOPA's staff field trip to the vineyard this week and thought we'd give it a try. It was lovely and worked well with all of our meals.
Here are Monica and Chris. Chris asked the bartender to make him NOPA's version of a Long Island Iced Tea, of all things! He figured it would be pretty inventive considering their intensely varied and "spirited" cocktail menu. They gave him a "Vieux Carre" (the "Old Square", as in the French Quarter). Can you see how happy it made him?
Grilled squab with sweet corn, Jimmy Nardello peppers and Mission figs, see NOPA's flickr page here. Also some terrific goat cheese and crostini.
My dish: Wood roasted halibut with purslane and cherry tomato confit. Delicious, and light enough so the next day I could still attack Oliver's birthday cakes with vigor. A NOPA shot here.
Chris ordered my favorite dish on the menu, the Moroccan Vegetable Tagine. I usually can't resist this.
And now for the lamest photo of the night, David's duck breast, which he loved. Monica finished off her pappardelle with fennel sausage and cranberry beans. At 8:00 I had to run home and let the sitter off the hook, or we would've stayed for dessert. Cake was in the offing the next day, so I was okay missing dessert this time.