Monday, September 26, 2016

La Zucca

Finding La Zucca in the dark is quite an experience, so take a flashlight, then take warning that if you miss it and cross a small bridge to Calle Larga, and are standing in Front of Trattoria ai Ponte, you have gone a bridge too far.

Even with wood paneling, this restaurant looked homey rather than somber or moody, as so many Venetian restaurants seem to appear.

The bread basket will always tell you about the quality of a restaurant and La Zucca got a decent grade on the variety and taste of its selection of pane. Since you are obliged to pay for it, it may as well be enjoyable. The lentil soup was also decent with carrots and squash added to vary the texture and add a bit of sweetness, but it's difficult to make a bad version. Adding the grated cheese is so very Italian and it does create a greater depth of flavor.

When at La Zucca, it only seems fitting to order something made of the squash, so my selection for a starter was a flan of it with grated Ricotta Salata, sprinkled with roasted squash seeds. It was filling, but not heavy and one of their specialties.

Although they serve a great number of vegetable dishes, this restaurant is neither vegetarian nor vegan, however, it makes a good choice of restaurant for anyone in your party who might be either. For a main dish we went with the fettuccine served with duck sauce. Never have I found one of these offered in Venice that wasn't good.

Another specialty that we sampled was the potato cake, very similar to a French recipe using cream and cheese between layers of thinly sliced potatoes. It was very rich and delicious. 

I'm sorry to report that the carrots in a curried yogurt sauce were a complete fail. Nothing about it seemed to work and it was difficult to finish, but at least it was a big leap for an Italian restaurant to think out of the box.

Osteria La Zucca Website 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

San Jalisco

Not being a drama queen by nature, it was shocking that I felt heart palpitations and a lump in my throat the minute I walked into Los Jarritos and was handed the menu. The name of the restaurant had been changed to San Jalisco. Could my long beloved Los Jarritos be gone forever, having been sold by the family with the wonderful mole recipe? Where could I ever find another Enchiladas Deanna, or goat, for that matter? It was my fault for not going there more often.

Shortly after reading the menu, I calmed down a bit seeing that they still had the nopale quesadilla, so I ordered it. Enchiladas Deanna was nowhere to be seen, but after inquiring, the waitress assured me that it could be made as a special order, but more importantly told me that the original family still owned the restaurant. The presentation on the quesadilla was nicer and they had added a side of guacamole that I dipped into with the quesadilla in hand.

My culinary partner in crime ordered the Milanesa, not surprising, since we had recently returned from a trip to Austria, where he consumed schnitzel as often as possible. As usual, the plate was generously loaded with food and there were actually two large pieces of the breadcrumb encrusted meat. Rather than chicken or pork, this was made with beef.

Never before had I noticed burritos on the menu, but then, I had never before seen this menu. I noticed them this time as I perused the list looking for the word mole. For an extra $3 you could have any burrito smothered in mole sauce, which makes it a Wet Burrito. They can also be made with a Colorado or tomatillo sauce. I selected the Grande that included guacamole, but not cheese. It was magical. Since my first time at San Jalisco, I have tried both chicken and carnitas and still can't decide which is best. I have yet to revisit the Enchiladas Deanna, so my new "favorite" choice has been established.
San Jalisco Website 

901 South Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco CA 94110