Back in the day, a very long time before I knew Shane, he was really into electronic music. I’m not sure if his devotion to electronic music reached the same heights as my devotion to a certain Canadian band, but I do know that he was similarly involved in online communities related to his musical passions, most specifically the IDM mailing list. His work trip to SF last fall provided the opportunity to finally meet Kiya, one of his friends from the IDM list – as well as a fellow aficionado of fine denim, good food, and good beer. Calling Kiya a denim aficionado is a bit of an understatement. He and his wife own amazing denim stores in SF, New York, and, most recently, Los Angeles. He’s a dangerous – or fantastic – sort of friend to have when you are a gentleman of discriminating denim tastes. Long story short: we were looking forward to hanging out with Kiya and his wife, and were delighted when they suggested dinner Monday night.
After a full day of walking and driving and photo taking, we were exceedingly happy to be picked up – along with our luggage – by Kiya and Demitra and whisked off in the direction of the Mission. Our first stop for the night was Zeitgeist, an intense bar featuring the best Bloody Mary in the city. As we walked in, Kiya told us that the bar goes through more beer than any other bar in the city, which I would believe based on the hipster population density on the patio. True to form, my Bloody Mary was excellent – though a bit spicy for me – and packed to the brim with snacks:
Photo by fatniu
Alcohol blankets in place against the cool SF night, we were off to our next stop: dinner at Hog and Rocks. We were interested in having some good seafood while in SF, and Hog and Rocks specializes in ham and oysters, so it seemed like a perfect spot. Hog and Rocks has only been open since mid-summer, and I’m guessing this interesting and moderately-priced spot is going to be a lot harder to get into by the time we get back to SF.
We were seated at the bar and directed to three menus: dinner, ham/oysters, and shot/beer. That’s right – shot and a beer. And not in the Irish car bomb sense – more like a pairing of a shot and a beer. All were priced at around $8 – an outstanding price in Ann Arbor, much less in an up-and-coming spot in SF. I had a shot of a very floral gin along with a Sam Adams Light – the ladies’ choice, obviously. On to dinner, and to a serious consultation of the ham and oyster menu. We decided to order two small plates each, giving us lots of delicious things to sample over the course of the evening. My two came from the ham menu – an Italian speck served with melon, and a Spanish jamon serrano with olive oil, saba, and a nutty mahon cheese. Both were delicious and just the right size for a few bites each. From the main menu:
- Ham and cheese corn fritters – a little too doughy, but good dipped in a spicy mustard.
- Sea scallops crudo – didn’t realize that ‘crudo’ meant ‘basically raw’ – the plate wasn’t all that appetizing when it arrived, but the basil and citrus came together nicely with the jiggly scallop.
- Cast iron octopus – I’d had my cephalopod fill at Flour + Water, but this looked intriguing and apparently tasted even better.
- Chicken wing confit – the name was enough to convince Kiya that this might be the dinner of his dreams. The wings were good, but not dream-worthy, though they did feature the house hot sauce.
- Cavatelli pasta with English peas, egg, and ham – really the stand-out dish for both of us – pure comfort food without the weight you’d expect from a pasta dish. Along with last night’s succotash, I’m newly convinced that you can make a simple and lovely pasta the centerpiece of a meal without having to feel guilty and/or run a 5K the next morning.
I pocketed the ham menu to see if we can recreate some of the dishes for future snack dinners, though I doubt we’ll be trying the oysters at home. With plans made for the next day’s Russian River trip, Kiya and Demitra delivered us to our Airbnb room, and we slept the sweet sleep of the tired and full.
If you go:
199 Valencia St (Valencia and Duboce)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Get a Bloody Mary, if that’s your thing. Demitra also highly recommended the tamales sold by the tamale lady on the patio.
Hog and Rocks
3431 19th St (19th & Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Get a shot and a beer and some really excellent ham.