Pasión has been open in our Inner Sunset neighborhood for about a year and a half now. We had eagerly anticipated its arrival and had a meal there the first week it opened (review to be posted). It belongs to the Fresca empire (3 locations in SF!) and is helmed by Jose Calvo Perez, specializing in Modern Latin cuisine - fusions of Spanish, Peruvian, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Brazilian and Uruguayan influences.
We had not returned until they started with an amazing set of happy hour options - imho the best happy hour value in the entire Sunset (for folks who like shellfish and cocktails) – with $1 oysters, $5 cocktails (regularly $10) and half-price bar bites (regularly priced at $5- $10). Beers are $4 for drafts, $3 for bottles. There are probably better deals on beer elsewhere, but we go to Pasión for the oysters. Happy Hour runs from 5-7pm Monday-Friday.
You’ve got to respect and honor a chef who, so entranced by the offerings of his sous for family dinners, opens up another restaurant just to highlight their cooking. Nopa’s been a favourite of ours for some time, serving great, well-executed, responsibly-sourced and sustainable food, fantastic cocktails; a bright and airy convivial space that boasts a gorgeous mural by local artist Brian Barneclo… my personal favourite is their hefty pork chop, brined just so, about an inch thick, well-marbled, hugely taking up the size of the serving platter… but that’s for another post.
Hideki had pointed out Ichiran from where we met on the Ebisubashi bridge, telling us that it was a pretty good ramen place, possibly the best, in his opinion. So on our last night in Osaka, after drinks in the Umeda Sky Tower at Sky Lounge Stardust, we headed back to the Dotonbori to check it out. It’s along the Dotonbori canal, near the Nihonbashi bridge, which flanks Ebisubashi. Like Ippudo, Ichiran serves a Tonkotsu Hakata-style ramen made with pork broth.
Bar Agricole is on 11th street, in a somewhat seedy area largely known for its nightlife and late-night post-drunk binging from the mobile crepe truck rather than farm-to-table dining and craft cocktails. But it’s there, hidden cleverly behind a blocky slate wall, blue lettering on black hiding its identity in a smart understated industrial camouflage. If you didn’t know where to look, you’d easily miss it, and one might think Bar Agricole actually doesn’t want to be known or found. But once you step inside, you’re confronted with a lovely oasis (a bit incongruous for this area) of exposed wood, high ceilings, and striking light fixtures which hang down like cascades of frozen water. It’s a restauarant that doesn’t quite match the immediate neighbourhood.
We interrupt this stream of Japan-related posts to bring you this note from a much-beloved cocktail bar in the Upper Haight. We returned from our 3 weeks in Japan to somewhat stressful workplaces; then just as we were about to leave work for the weekend on Friday afternoon, we received emails from DD's grandmother reporting that DD's dad and stepmom had been in a car accident in Florida. (They were both injured but are recuperating.)
After DD was able to get as much information as he could from family members, he decided he needed a drink. I met him at the Alembic and we ended up having dinner there.