A Trader Giotto's Dinner


To say I don't cook much would be something of an understatement. But I do have my moments. One of my dishes (maybe my only) is a sausage pappardelle from Trader Joe's.





The whole meal, including wine, is just eight items, so it's perfect for the express checkout. I think it's just eight items. Wait. Six...seven...eight—ok we're good. Whew!

I remove the casing from the sausages and fry them up while the onions and peppers sauté in the other pan.


Then I dump the meat and veggies into the sauce, and let that go for at least an hour.



Then, viola! A Trader Giotto's feast! That wasn't so difficult.



Or was it? And I wonder why I don't cook very much.


Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder

When discussing Chicago pizza, it's usually the deep dish that gets all the press. But the thing is, there are so many other choices the city offers. One of the more interesting selections is the pizza pot pie from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder. That's right, a pizza pot pie.

Upon arriving at your table, it doesn't really resemble anything like a pizza.

But then your server deftly flips the doughy shape over and carefully removes the pot.

And behold! Here is your pizza pot pie. Made from scratch with triple-raised Sicilian bread-type dough; a homemade sauce consisting of olive oil, fresh garlic onions, green peppers, whole plum tomatoes and a blend of cheeses; sausage made from prime boston butts (?) and giant mushrooms. Depicted above is the half-pounder. There is also an unthinkable one-pound pot pie on the menu. And I thought restaurant's name was a mouthful.


Olive oil poached albacore at Nopa. (Wait a second—Is the olive oil poached? Or is it the albacore? And isn't poaching illegal?) Ok, back to the meal..this colorful dish is listed on the appetizer section of the menu, but it sure seemed like a full meal to me, as I was sufficiently satisfied after finishing it. The egg was a nice compliment, too. I highly recommended it, but from what I understand, the albacore is a fleeting seasonal fish, and only makes an appearance on the menu when available. In this case, it made an appearance on the wine menu—or at least the back of it. Kind of wish I kept this one, looking back on it. But I'm sure the poachers took good care of it. (smiley emoticon here)

Hog and Rocks

You know, I don't even like oysters and I love this place. Hog and Rocks is a ham and oyster bar located in the Mission. Super friendly staff, nice atmosphere, and great cocktails. I went more of the hog route, figuratively and literally. I shared some meatballs, fries, and hush puppies with friends, and ordered the Two Timer for myself. Delicious. I would love to come back for their brunch.

The Two Timer: Ground beef and country ham, american cheese, iceberg lettuce, avocado, frisco sauce, acme bun. I put some of the potato chips on the burger






It's hard to believe that you're still in Russian Hill when you walk into Leopold's, an Austrian restaurant on Polk Street. The decor, staff, and ambient music would have you believe you're closer to the Viennese Alps than the Sierras. Get here early as it fills up fast. (Like no later than 6:30 on a weekday.) If not, you'll have to summon a good deal of Teutonic perseverance.


Great selection of beers. Featured above is the Stiegl.

The schnitzel was super delicious and the jam was a nice touch.


A little pricey, yes, but the accurately—if uninspired—named Spruce Burger at Spruce is a delicious indulgence.

If you haven't made reservations, you can always sit at the bar if there is an opening.  Also, the cocktail/lounge area is fair game for dining, as well, which is where I sat on this visit. There's also a giant framed photograph of the back of a man's head.

Seven Hills

Take your coat off and stay a while.


You'll only have to climb up one hill to get to Seven Hills. Well, maybe more, depending on where you're coming from. And I recommend climbing, as parking in this neighborhood is scarce. The Alioto family's new restaurant is quite cozy and warm--very homey. Maybe it's the soft lighting, or the wainscoting, or maybe it's the fact I just wanted to say wainscoting.


Really yummy with a slight kick. This was the half order. Glad it wasn't Grandpa Munster's Sausage, that's for sure.