March 15, 2007
Cuisine: Pizza, Italian
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Appetizer I: Spicy Cauliflower – with capers, garlic and Calabrian chilies ($6)
Appetizer II: Collard Greens – with guanciale and chili ($6.50)
Pizza I: Panna – tomato sauce, cream, basil, shaved Parmigiano ($10)
Pizza II: Hen O the Woods – mushroom, thyme, Taleggio ($15)
A trip to The Bay would not be complete without a meal with my Oaktown friends, Maria and Jessica. Jessica heard good things about Pizzeria Delfina, namely that it was tasty, vegetarian-friendly, and not too pricey. The pizzeria is an offshoot of Delfina, a high-end restaurant next door. I do appreciate fancy restaurants opening up more casual eateries with equally fabulous food such as Otto (Babbo), Osteria (Vetri), Brasserie Perrier (Le Bec Fin), etc.
Jess, Maria, The Astronomer
We started our dinner by sharing two vegetable plates–collard greens and cauliflower. Maria insisted on having leafy greens because she’s a bigger health nut than I am, while Jessica and I chose the starchier cauliflower. The Spicy Cauliflower was garlicky, just firm enough, and fried to perfection; the chilies added a sensational bite. I wish cauliflower could always be this delicious. The collard greens also included some chilies, which tied together the two veggies nicely. Neither Jessica, Maria, The Astronomer, or I had ever had collard greens that weren’t cooked to death a la Soul Food. We were all surprised by how flavorful and delicate the greens were. The guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowl or cheeks) were fabulous because bacon makes just about everything better!
Unfortunately, the pizzas were not nearly as spectacular as the appetizers. Jessica, Maria, and I shared the Hen O the Woods. Surprisingly, the mushrooms were tasteless and not the least bit woodsy and as a result, the pizza fell flat. Additionally, the crust was mediocre and the thyme was missing in action. We should have listened to Maria and ordered the Broccoli Rabe. The Astronomer’s Panna suited his taste, but was pretty basic and thus boring.