A Collection of Updates

Instead of a review this week, these are just a bunch of mini updates of pre-existing reviews. You can read the original reviews on the site, linked to each update.

CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen


With all the salumi mayhem going on out there, with some places giving you three slices of something for $9, I gotta hand it to CAV, which delivers one heck of a spread of salumi and more for $20. The plate was a total bounty of house-made charcuterie, cured meats, compotes, and pickled items. Some of the salumi were a bit more successful than others, but the bottom line is this: if you're looking for a little something something to share with a friend over a glass or two of wine (heck, make it a bottle), this platter is a total meaty playground.

Gialina

Goddamn, how did this pizza outpost manage to get even better? Well, let's start with the addition of a wicked appetizer: the pork belly ($10) on a bed of "angry" beet greens with currants and baby pine nuts and the tang of preserved lemon--almost like a spicy version of Italian collards. No gelatinous mass here--the pork fat was caramelized and sliced thin enough to be enjoyed in smaller bites with the spiced-up greens, a new perspective on this over-used piece of pork. Purr.



Prices have gone up a little (about $2 on the pies, $1 for each year Gialina has been open I guess, seems about right), but no matter: the pizza continues to hold steady in my top three--no one does a crust like chef/owner Sharon Ardiana. I tore into my leftover slices of Atomica ($15) and Puttanesca ($13) the next day like a raptor. Oh yeah, and we ended the pizza party with the blood orange Italian ice made with Campari ($6), a smashing finish.

Morty's Delicatessen

I originally said of the Big Easy sandwich, "It's not one I'd order again unless someone at Morty's went to NOLA, carted back a muffaletta from Central Grocery, studied the olive salad very very closely, and then gave it their best shot to recreate the mother lode of olive salad. Game on?"

So a while later, here's what charming owner Tim wrote to me, "Someone brought me back a Muffaletta from NOLA and I did dissect the olive salad. I have tweaked mine and hoping it will meet with your approval." Well, hot damn. You gotta love it when the owner of an establishment emails you to let you know they took you up on your tossed gauntlet. Of course I headed back in for round two with the Big Easy. The chopped-up olive salad was definitely a step in the right direction, and it's a mighty delicious sandwich. But I have sadly realized nothing is going to make me stop missing the muffalettas in NOLA.

One more thing: do you know about the Reuben at Morty's? Let me tell you, that sandwich continues to dominate the local Reuben scene, oh yesirree.

Namu

Since we don't have a Momofuku, chef Dennis Lee's food helps fill that blank in my book for creative food that is a bit Korean, a bit modern, and totally delicious--and I also appreciate the late-night hours (Thu-Sat until 1am). Uni shiso fry ($14)? Now, that's fun with tempura. Sadly the line-caught black cod isn't a constant on the menu, but the crispy chicken wings are ($10 for six). The spicy pork ribs now come four to a portion ($15), but the kalbi skirt steak, while totally tasty, has gone way up, to $19. Hrm. The food here rocks, the menu keeps getting tweaked and expanded, and I hope this little update reminds people to check it out.

The Pizza Place on Noriega

Yo, the Pizza Place has expanded into another room! So if you're looking for a space for a pizza party, or just a spot for a large group, they can seat about 35 people in the new side room. The back patio is also going to be opening in the spring (hopefully May 2009).

Healdsburg--Where to Eat (Jetsetter)


The last time I was up in Healdsburg, I finally had a chance to check out ~SCOPA~, the new rustic Italian café that opened on the square. It was packed, friendly, and smelled delicious. Loved the casual and cozy atmosphere, cherry red Naugahyde banquettes, wine served in tumblers, and the friendly servers. The antipasto plate ($7.50/person) looked rather generous, but we went with the special of favas with chili, greens, breadcrumbs, and tons of garlic. I was impressed with the nice fry on the fritto misto ($11) of calamari and vegetables served in a cone.

But the undeniable reason to come here is this dish: the Calabrese meatballs ($9). They were stupidly scrumptious, tender and springy, served in a piping hot cast iron skillet with smoked mozzarella. The deep, tomato-y, kicky sauce begged for bread--worth racking up the extra $2.50 bread charge (but would be nice if this dish came with some bread automatically, ahem). Pasta portions were huge but not quite on point--our baked bucatini with tripe and pecorino was too salty and heavy on the oregano, and a taste of a friend's house-made tortelli pasta (ravioli stuffed with potato) was an interesting starch-on-starch fest. I'd definitely return to try more dishes, and a look at the website shows prices actually have come down a touch from these listed here, nice.

109A Plaza St. at Healdsburg, 707-433-5282.

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