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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Andalu & Bi-Rite

I have a group of dear girlfriends that I don’t get to see very often, but we do get together a few times a year for birthdays. And for every birthday for the past 5 years we’ve always gone to the same place. The Elephant Bar. (Save for the one time we mixed it up and went to BJ’s).

Which is why when it came to M’s bday, her suggestion of trying something new was a huge, exciting deal. And not just dinner – but dessert too! Her one request was to have dinner somewhere in the vicinity of Bi-Rite Creamery, so we could end up there for dessert.

Yelp was consulted and we came up with a few contenders. Based on the menu, availability, as well as its geographically desirable location (right down the street from Bi-Rite) we voted on tapas spot Andalu.

And we couldn’t have made a better choice. The Mission, which is typically rowdy, crowded and very parking UN-friendly on weekends was calm and inviting on an early Monday evening. And Andalu’s small plates/sharing convention was fun, celebratory and very democratic. Everyone got to choose a little something.

The food felt festive but comfortingly familiar – like mac & cheese that was fried and cut into “fingers” and “fries” that were made of wedges of polenta. The meaty, tender ribs were basted with coca-cola and the miso sea bass lettuce “tacos” - were one perfect sweet-salty, soy-saucey bite.

Our overall favorite dish? That would be the delicate scallop ravioli, which came to the table bathed in a soft, buttery, truffle-y sauce. So yum. (I sighed a little thinking about it, just now. )

We almost got off track when we saw homemade donut holes (!) and Castilian hot cocoa (!) on the dessert menu. But we re-focused - and then headed towards Bi-Rite as planned.

Minutes later (thanks to an atypical shortish line) we spilled out onto the sidewalk, excited about the delicious combinations of salt, sweet, fruit, and spice that we held in our hands. Salted Caramel. Roasted Banana. Honey Lavender and Ricanelas (cinnamon & snickerdoodle). I can’t think of many better ways to end an evening.



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