I am lucky to have some really great people in my life. There’s my dad, who has supported every single one of my endeavors (and even attended Swan Lake during the SUPER BOWL!), my oldest childhood friend (and polar opposite) Sara, Andrew (who entertains my food ramblings), my wonderfully crazy high school friends, and my roommates (including Jen!), who have seen me through four years of highs and lows. Another person who I am lucky to know, is my good friend Kevin (henceforth known as Albano), who I have mentioned multiple times in my foodie adventures. I like to call him my food soulmate, and it is possible that he has better taste and more experience with food than I do.
(I wanted to insert a picture of us here, but I’m not sure the blogging world is quite ready for what I could unleash).
To celebrate my birthday, Albano and I went to a restaurant that I have salivated over for about a year, one that I really couldn’t convince anyone else I know to go to with me. That restaurant would be La Folie in San Francisco, and it has been the highlight of my dining experiences thus far. It was his idea to go (PS LADIES, he is SINGLE!), and I feel so lucky that I got to tag along. Located in Russian Hill and possessing a MICHELIN STAR (!!!), La Folie is the perfect combination of whimsy and elegance (fitting, considering “la folie” translates to “madness” in English). Their menu consists of a variety of appetizer, meat, seafood, and dessert items, and you can create your own meal by choosing either three, four, or five items from the menu.
One can experience a degree of apprehension when attending a restaurant with the amount of hype (and the price point) of La Folie. I was curious if the portions would be enough, whether the atmosphere would be too snooty, and most importantly, if the food would live up to my taste expectations. I have to say, I was absolutely blown away.
First off, our waitress was amazing. She was genuinely friendly, funny, and helpful when guiding us in our menu choices, and I have to say that our experience would not have been the same without her. She brought out us two amuse bouches to start the meal (standard, but it makes you feel really special), and they both were excellent. The first was some kind of mousse, with caviar (good), and the second was a soup with egg yolk and leeks (GREAT) contained within an eggshell. Right off the bat with these tiny bites, you can see the chef’s sense of playfulness and whimsy.
After the amuse course, we chose to go with the caviar supplement. The perfection of this dish, an ounce of Oestra Caviar, served with potato blinis, lobster, and creme fraiche, was only heightened by the special feeling I got when eating it – this is not something you have very often.
For my first course, I chose the tempura duck egg, served on sweetbreads pancake with Frangelico almond pesto, wild mushroom salad, and truffle vinaigrette (also note the truffles shaved on top of the egg). I am an absolute sucker for a soft egg, and this did not disappoint.
Albano’s first course was the seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, served over spiced poached apple and apple consomme (poured table side). This was my first introduction to foie, and I enjoyed the unctuous, fatty texture. The slice was HUGE (we were already beginning to feel full), and the richness of the foie was perfectly balanced by the apple. An extremely well done dish.
My second course was the butter poached lobster, served atop mushroom ravioli, topped with truffle beurre fondue, and Marcona almond salad. I felt the salad wasn’t really necessary, but the truffle beurre fondue was excellent, and the lobster was perfectly done.
Albano’s second course was the warm pig feet, sweetbread, and lobster terrine, on lentil salad with bacon and hazelnut vinaigrette. There is absolutely nothing bad to be said about this standout dish.
Albano’s third course: lobster and mushroom risotto, with leeks and mushroom broth, topped with shaved black truffles. I was SO FULL by now (my earlier concerns about portion size were squashed) but this was my absolute favorite dish of the night. So creamy, savory, buttery, and NOMS.
For my third course, I chose the roti of quail and squab, stuffed with mushrooms, wrapped in crispy potato strings served with truffle jus. This was enjoyable, but not an absolute order again (although the presentation was very interesting).
Albano’s fourth course (word to the wise, three courses is PLENTY), was the “La Boeuf:” Creekstone beef tenderloin, braised beef short rib, and burger Rossini with sauce bordelaise. This was $20 extra, and while it was tasty, I would probably want to explore the menu a little bit more before ordering this again (although, don’t get me wrong – it was divine).
I ordered the cheese souffle with fromage blanc sorbet, crispy bacon, and white sesame tuile. NOMS THIS WAS SO GOOD. Such a different combination of flavors but they worked perfectly (hello, bacon works perfectly with everything), and they even gave my dessert a nice touch by adding some birthday wishes to it (no singing though, thankfully).
We finished off the night with some complimentary petit fours that, small as they were, we actually couldn’t finish due to being so full. I like to call this “food drunk” (although the multiple glasses of wine didn’t hurt either).
This was the BEST meal I have ever had, and not just because of the food: the non pretentious atmosphere, the friendly, knowledgable waitress, and yes, even the company (don’t let it go to your head Albano), all made for a great evening. I highly recommend La Folie for a special occasion to ANYONE…foodies and non foodies alike!