First off, I hope that anyone and everyone reading this had a safe and happy New Year. 2007 was a good year for me and I’m looking forward to an even better 2008. I’ve definitely been enjoying some fabulous meals and wonderful times catching up with old friends and my family. This past weekend, my parents came up to the city and took myself and Matt out to dinner to one of my favorite restaurants–Kokkari. I’ve been to Kokkari once before and had a seafood plate for two and the amazing zucchini cakes. This time around, we sampled a lot more food–Spanakotiropita, zucchini cakes, grilled calamari, and artichoke and eggplant skewers. My father had the lamb chops, Matt had the roast of the day (pork), and my mom and I had two different kinds of fish. While all of the food was quite delicious, the most memorable part of the meal was absolutely the dessert. Two phyllo tubes filled with semolina custard, accompanied by quince and pistachio ice cream. The picture below does it some justice, but my empty plate probably did it more. There is something about passing a special occasion (the passing of an old year) at a classy and beautiful establishment. New Year’s is a big event in my family. I was born in Moscow, Russia, where New Year’s has the status of Christmas in the U.S. We have a ‘New Year’s tree’–which came out of a pagan tradition–exchange presents, and go all out. Provided, my festivities didn’t end on December 30th.
On December 31st, I headed to Range in San Francisco–a restaurant I’ve been dying to try for quite some time. I was excited to share the experience with my friend Sonia, her boyfriend Hobie and my boyfriend Matt. Since it was New Year’s Eve, we were treated to a special three course menu. Our meal started with a lovely bottle of prosecco that we brought and enjoyed while we waited for our table. Once we were seated, we were served goat-cheese and prosciutto-stuffed dates, followed by our appetizers: bluefin tuna tartare and venison on a bed of duck liver pate. I have to say the venison/pate combo was something quite out of this world. Three of us ordered the hanger steak (–which was cooked to perfection–and one of us got the quail. Before we were served our dessert, we received a quasi amuse-bouche of lemon-lime sorbet in a frozen satsuma shells. Dessert at Range was also memorable and unexpected–a dark chocolate smore tarte that oozed smoky-scented dark chocolate, accompanied by a caramel-cardamom ice cream. After finishing off our wine with some chocolate truffles and pomegranate jelly, we headed to my friend Angela’s house party. The 6 block walk was definitely helpful. Overall, my New Year got off to a great start. If my last meals of 2007 are any indication, 2008 has a lot of culinary adventures in store.