Lungomare Review: Delectable Black Mulefoot Pigs, Beautiful Local King Salmon, and Waterfront Views (Oakland)

If you've never had the pleasure of eating black mulefoot pigs, you are truly missing out. Imagine the thought of your mouth salivating as you place a piece of nutty and luscious 16 month aged mulefoot proscuitto into your mouth. Black mulefoots are an extremely rare breed of swine known for its superior fatty flavor and it's very uncommon to see this breed of heritage pork offered at restaurants, yet it is a highlight at Lungomare

Lungomare is an Italian restaurant that's located along the waterfront in Jack London Square with a heavy focus on locally sourced, high quality ingredients. It's been around since 2013, but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I had the pleasure of dining there with my friend Sandy (Foodhoe) as guests of the house. Our dining experience at Lungomare was wonderful-  fantastic food (hello mulefoot piggies!), refreshing housemade fountain sodas, excellent service and beautiful waterfront views. More than anything else, Lungomare's food stands out because each dish makes me feels like I'm eating food that has been locally sourced, hunted, caught or foraged.

I am a sucker for housemade sodas, so I started the evening with a mandarin cream soda made with orange, roobios tea, vanilla and lactic acid, then moved onto the Thai basil ginger beer- I would highly recommend both.

Our feast begins with a heaven-sent black mulefoot charcuterie board featuring 16 month aged proscuitto, coppa di tessa (headcheese), ciccioli, and fuet, served with grilled bread and grain mustard.

The coppa di tessa is made using tongue, ear, snout and feet. It's rich and gelatinous with lovely cinnamon and clove flavors. Headcheese is a sure way to get into this heart of mine.

The fuet is a medium-hard salami with wonderful chunks of back fat, and the ciccioli is soft, salty pork belly spread.

Sandy and I loved these locally caught sardines topped with golden raisins, peppers and pine nuts. These sardines were fresh and mildly flavored, not as strong as we know most sardines to be. The flaky fish and sweetness of the golden raisins combined with the buttery pine nuts and peppers makes this simple dish quite explosive in flavor. It reminds me of this Sicilian pasta dish that Patrick and I frequently make at home: pasta con le sarde.

The next dish to arrive is the torchio, a smoked boar pasta with fava beans, kale and cipollini onions. I found this dish to be a tad bit on the saltier side, likely because it was smoked, but salty in the best possible way. I took the leftovers home for Patrick and he fried up an egg over top and loved it. Lungomare, please take note to put an egg on it as an option :).

Then out comes this beautiful local wild king salmon that just melts in your mouth- check out that nice marbling. Oh, how I love the spring season- sunchokes, sugar snaps, artichokes, fiddle heads and pea sprouts. It felt like Chef Craig DiFonzo went out into the wild to create this magical dish. Truly one of the best salmon dishes I've had. 

By this point, we are stuffed to the point where we're unable to eat anymore, but who says no to dessert? Definitely not us as we indulged in this amazing chocolate budino with sea salt caramel and crispy chocolate balls.  Oh my goodness, that caramel layer was so thick and hard to resist.

Thank you for a fantastic dinner, Lungomare! I look forward to coming back for more.


Visiting Lungomare

Location

1 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

Website

http://www.lungomareoakland.com/

Phone

(510) 444-7171

Hours

  • Dinner: Su-Th. 5:30p - 10:00p. Fri&Sat. 5:30p - 11:00p.
  • Lunch: Mon-Fri. 11:00a - 3:00p.
  • Cafe: Everyday. 6:45a - 4:00p.
  • Mid Day: Everyday. 3:00p - 5:30p.
  • Brunch: Sat&Sun. 9:00a - 3:00p.
  • The Lounge: Everyday. 11:00a - till..

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Farallon Review: Abalone is the Highlight at San Francisco's Whimsical Seafood Restaurant

Sablefish from the Farallones
fava beans, greens, smoked mussel escabeche

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have never been to Farallon until my recent visit a couple of weeks ago. Farallon has been around since 1997 and is known to be a classic San Francisco seafood restaurant. The restaurant is housed inside of the historic San Francisco Elks Lodge No.3 built in 1925. A step inside and we were transported to an elegant, yet whimsical undersea world, mesmerized by the funky urchin and jellyfish light fixtures. If you're sitting near the open kitchen, you can't miss the hand painted mosaic ceiling. The room we were seated in used to be a boxing room and directly below us a swimming pool for Elks Lodge members only. 

As with any nice seafood restaurant in San Francisco, you can expect the usual raw bar favorites- oysters from the Pacific and Atlantic, grand platters of prawns, crabs, and lobsters. If you're rollin' super fancy, Farallon even has a selection of caviar sold by the ounce and frozen bottles of Stolichnaya or Ketel One to pair with. What really sets Farallon a part though is their local seafood dishes.

Patrick and I were invited as guests of the house to check out the new revamped tasting menu featuring Executive Chef Jason Ryczek's personal touches and wine pairings by Wine Director Luke Kenning. 

The highlights of the evening were the tender Cayucos farm-raised abalone and local halibut crudo with three plays on spring garlic. The wine pairings across the board- brilliant and harmonious. And the three desserts we devoured by Executive Pastry Chef Eleana Rosenthal deserve a tasting menu of its own. 

Of all the desserts we had, we both loved the fennel pollen flan with coriander tuile and creme fraiche. The deep semi-dark caramel flavor had just the right touch of fennel and silky custard that just made me feel like melting into my chair. 

The dining experience we had at Farallon was very nice and the service was superb, but overall it really isn't my kind of scene. There is a classic charm to this seafood restaurant and I think the appetizers and desserts are worth the trip back, though the price point is too rich for my blood to frequent. It's the kind of place you'd want to take someone special for a celebration. 

Cayucos Abalone
house cultured brown butter and white balsamic seafoam 

Local Halibut Crudo
spring garlic: pickled, fried & oil from the tops 

Oak Grilled Dixon Lamb
fiddleheads, raps, morel yogurt

Fennel Pollen Flan
coriander tuile, crème fraîche

Strawberry Shortcake
buttermilk biscuit, strawberry mousse, mint pearls

Port Poached Rhubarb
shortbread, frangipane, caramel, brown butter ice cream

Thank you so much for dinner, Farallon! 


VISITING FARALLON

Location

450 Post Street San Francisco, CA 94102

Website

http://www.farallonrestaurant.com/

Phone

(415) 956-6969

Hours

HAPPY HOUR

  • Daily 4:30pm-6:00pm.

DINNER HOURS

  • Sunday: 5:00 – 9:30PM
  • Monday – Thursday:  5:30 – 9:30PM
  • Friday – Saturday:  5:30 – 10:00PM

JELLY BAR HOURS

  • Cocktails and bar menu available nightly - 4:30pm

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Recipe: Broiled Hamachi Collar (Hama Kama) - Quick and Easy

It's not often that you find fish collars offered on a menu unless you're at a Japanese restaurant, but even so it's usually an item limited to how much fish was brought in for the day. If there is a collar on the menu, I will order it in a heartbeat. It's one of the best parts of the fish because the meat is rich, tender and fatty.

We picked up two insanely marbled sushi-grade hamachi collars, patted them dry,  seasoned them with Maldon salt, and broiled them in the oven.

Patrick did an excellent job with the cook on the hamachi collar and served it with roasted Tokyo turnips (inspired by my recent dinner at Ozumo) and grated daikon-soy garnish with a wedge of lemon. The daikons and lemons were harvested from our garden. This recipe is so simple, yet so incredibly satisfying. Plus, the crispy fatty skin from the hamachi collar is such a pleasurable treat- it's like fish chicharrones. 

Broiled Hamachi Collar (Hama Kama)

Serves 2 people (as an appetizer) 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole yellowtail collars
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil

Garnish: 

  • Daikon radish, finely grated in a microplane or box grater
  • Dash of soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest broil and position the rack in your oven to about 8 inches from the top. 
  2. Line up a large baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly brush it with oil to prevent the hamachi from sticking. Dry the hamachi, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and place the collars skin down and broil for 8 minutes until the meat is nicely brown. Turn off the oven, but keep the fish in the oven for an additional 5 minutes until the fish flakes nicely then remove.
  3. Garnish: If there is too much excess liquid from the grated daikon, gently press it through a strainer or paper towel. Mix grated daikon with soy sauce and lemon juice to taste. 

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