Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheaper than a flight to Paris

The lovely Carol had a birthday recently, so I took CalTrain to San Francisco and walked a few blocks up 4th to meet her and our teen-ager at LuLu, on Folsom, just off 4th next to a Shell(?) station. I got there first, and decided to wait for them at the table. I saw them walking up to the door and dashed up to greet them. "Welcome to LuLu!" I said, and got a kiss from the birthday girl.

LuLu has an extensive wine list, and something I really liked was their "wine flight" -- "tastes", 2 oz. each -- of each of four wines from a region. I tried the Rhône valley set and liked three of them:
  • Syrah, costieres de Nimes, domaine de petite mas (France) 2006;
  • Syrah and Grenache, domaine de l'Echevin, Côtes du Rhône Villages (France) 2006 (really nice);
  • Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, Domaine de la Verrière, Côtes du Ventoux (France) 2007 (maybe my favorite)
H'm, I guess that means I'm a blend kind of guy? Those four quarter-glasses set us back $11, a fantastic chance to get a taste of four pretty good wines. Now if I spelled them correctly....

On to the food: we got the romaine salad for the table. Carol ordered the "Grilled Pacific Prawns with Chick Pea, White Bean and Green Bean Salad, Charmoula Sauce." The teen-ager got the asparagus risotto (big surprise there--not). I asked for the rotisserie lamb, which came with ratatouille. We also got a succotash of corn and... something. It was sweet and tasty.

Everything was good. The lamb was a little on the rare side. But what really excited me was the ratatouille. I'm not sure what they put in there, but every bite reminded me of a past visit to the Paris area. I can't describe it exactly, but there it is.

We didn't finish everything, and the wait-staff boxed the leftovers for us in paper-based boxes, placed in a paper sack. We did order dessert: a semifreddo with fruit, and the panna cotta. I asked for a cup of decaf coffee. It tasted great -- like coffee I've had in France -- but I think it was what one French barista called "vrai café" rather than "faux café" (I was wide awake quite early -- like two -- the next morning).

Dessert came with a candle for the birthday girl. The semifreddo -- well, I guess we aren't quite sophisticated enough to fully appreciate it. The panna cotta -- that was a different story. I took just a couple of small bites, but if I closed my eyes and forgot everybody was speaking English, I might think I was on the Continent.

Gosh, I feel really decadent writing all that stuff about Europe, and I hope I haven't oversold the place. But I'm glad we discovered LuLu. The service was terrific. It's not an economy kind of place, but it's a lot cheaper than a ticket to Europe, and you don't have to speak French.

No comments: