Food & Home Magazine - Summer 2018

Page 16


801 State Street. 16


The cioppino at Louie’s

Downtown Dish: A Summertime Feast By Angela Borda


ave you ever wanted to sit on the porch of a beautiful Victorian at a table covered in white linens, and spend a summer evening under the branches of a cherry tree, drinking wine and contemplating a Zagat-reviewed menu? That is precisely what I’m doing at the elegant Louie’s California Bistro, nestled in the Upham Hotel. Tonight’s entree is the cioppino, a circular mound of saffron rice rising above a lake of light, spicy tomato broth tinted with mirepoix and a hint of the sea. Filled with shrimp, clams, bountiful gleaming salmon, and substantial swordfish, a bounty of melt-inyour-mouth seafood awaits. Jeff, a waiter of 12 years here, assures me the cioppino is a fa-

vorite that many diners come back for regularly. He recommends a glass of Cent’Anni’s 2013 Sangiovese from Santa Ynez Valley. It’s light, dry, and perfect for the subtleties of seafood. Crusty bread comes to the table warm;

I slather it with butter and dip it into the cioppino, the tomato broth soaking in, bite after bite, until it disappears entirely. Having dined with elegance, I head a few blocks away for dessert fun. In keeping with the taco theme of this issue, I choose Rori’s ice-cream taco. A waffle “taco shell” holds three scoops of decadent vanilla, rich chocolate, and luxurious strawberry cheesecake, drizzled with creamy caramel, scattered with sweet coconut flakes, and topped with swirls of whipped cream. A sweet end to a summer feast. Louie’s California Bistro, 1404 De La Vina St., (805) 963-7003 Rori’s Creamery, 38 West Victoria St., (805) 845-2223 w w w. f o o d – h o m e . c o m

Photo by Angela of Rori’s

for both my veal and pork brats,” says Whitefoot. “It’s got the most flavor.” He then custom-seasons the meats with his own blend of fresh herbs, spices, and peppers. Brats are good vehicles for culinary creativity. Last year Whitefoot came up with two new creations, the ranch-raised elk with jalapeno and cheddar and the cheddar and sage. Both are top sellers at Hoffman. Chef Mario says other menu favorites include the smoked wild boar and the free-range chicken with asiago cheese and fennel. One exotic menu item not sourced from Whitefoot is the rattlesnake and rabbit brat, which comes from Texas. Really good, and not as dangerous as it sounds. When you’re feasting on brats you absolutely have to have a beer to wash it down, even at lunch. Chef Mario and staff take pride in pairing each brat variety with a particular beer, of which there are many, mostly from Europe and delivered straight from the actual breweries. For instance, the free-range chicken with mango and jalapeno goes well with Piraat Blonde, Belgian Strong pale ale. The pork with habanero and pepper Jack cheese pairs with Tripel Karmeliet, a blond variety also from Belgium. The list goes on. If you’re undecided you can order a custom flight of beers and brats. A popular way to go, says Mario. Hoffman also features traditional German pub fare like bangers and mash, which comes with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, chives, caramelized onions, and any brat you choose. There’s a schnitzel with gluten-free breading, salads, sandwiches, and regular hot dogs … some for under $6. Hoffman also offers some vegetarian brat varieties, which are formed and served without casings. House-made gluten-free brat buns are available too. –By Raymond Bloom

Photo by Brayden Russell


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