Saturday, 31 July 2010

Nopa and Toronado

We are in San Francisco and it is cold. Not just a little bit cold but go and buy a jacket in Macy's cos we didn't pack one, cold. It heats up a bit in the afternoon but in the shade when the wind is blowing it feels a little like death.
It a bit of a shock after sweaty New York and Chicago and the ridiculous desert heat of Vegas.
Last night we took a trip to a lovely part of SF around Haight street. We stopped off first in the Tornado bar to try a few beers.

The lit up back wall is a list of the beers they currently had on tap. It takes a while to decide from the range of beers, some unfamiliar, some notorious! The most intriguing beer of the evening was the Russian River brewery Consecration.

The picture doesn't really show you the size of this glass. It's a lot smaller than a normal glass of beer, I estimate 150ml. It's a sour beer, something I've not tried before, but i will definitely hunt out more of it. Brewed with naturally souring bacteria it and matured in wine barrels it takes a bit of getting used to. I'm looking forward to trying Russian River brewery's other sours.
We left after a couple of drinks, pints of 7-8% beer are not the best aperitif before a meal if you plan to stay awake!
Round the corner from Toronado is the restaurant, Nopa, made known to me by the now ex-employee Richie Nakano who wrote the engrossing blog linecook415. We were seated up on a balcony overlooking the long bar and open kitchen. It gave us a great overview of the busy restaurant from our relatively calm position. The style of the restaurant is very much San Francisco, with European influence but with a very large emphasis on the freshness, locality and quality of the ingredients. This quality really shone through in our starters of goats cheese with crostini and tomatoes,

And a pizza-like flatbread with mushrooms, home smoked bacon and rocket. I ate most of it before taking this picture!
For mains the choice was almost made for us. We had to try the famous Nopa burger and the pork chop. The Nopa burger came in a huge bun with a slice of gruyere ,loads of fries a salad and a basil aioli.

The pork chop really lived up to it's reputation. It was the best pork chop I've ever had. Moist yet cooked perfectly and an amazing porky flavour. I've hears that at Nopa they brine the whole loin before cutting the individual chops and then grilling them. This is definitely a ploy I want to use for the BBQ on my new weber when I get home.

It came with potatoes and some salad. Delicious.

We had bottle of lovely Californian Pinot to go with it.

We had a great time at Nopa, the food was great and the now expected high level of service was very much present. I wish we had enough time to go back so I could have another pork chop.


Mark Dredge said...

The Toronado rocks. Consecration is a great beer - I really like the Russian River sours and their big hoppy ones. About 10 minutes further up the Haight is Magnolia which is a very cool brewpub.

Sam said...

We were at magnolia yesterday afternoon, had some interesting beers including the IPA from cask and of course another draft racer 5.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, this is exactly how I spend a Friday after a long work week. Toronado and Nopa are a match made in heaven