Negronis paired with gargantuan Kufteh Tabrizi? Sounds like an unlikely pair, but it all made perfect sense at the I-Talian, I-Ranian American Spaghetti feed at newly renovated Long Bar in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights district. Thrown in conjunction with San Francisco Cocktail Week, this merging of cultures brought Long Bar chef Erick Hopfinger with Zare Fly Trap chef Hoss Zare to create Italian and Iranian themed dishes paired with cocktails from local star mixologists Jacques Bezuidenhout and Carlo Splendorini.
Communal tables were packed, but we scored the best seats in the house with front row views of Jacques and Carlo (above) stirring, shaking and pouring their own signature libations at the bar for the jovial, laid-back Sunday night crowd. It was delightful observing their love and passion for what they do, and do well. San Francisco has their fair share of some of the top mixologists and this evening was no exception. Jacques and Carlo’s Negroni was the celebrated star of the night, but we also sipped on fresh mint and cucumber infused Pimm’s Cups along with Grappa and a yet to be released ‘08 La Maialina Chianti Classico.
Just like a visit to an Italian or Iranian friend’s home, Long Bar’s Reza Esmaili along with Chefs Zare and Hopfinger made sure the crowd were well-fed, while enjoying a comfortable, convivial experience. Fit for the occasion, some even showed up in their Jersey finest tracksuits and elastic high-waisted pants.
First course included a simply presented but packed with flavor chilled yogurt cucumber soup with dill, mint, hazelnuts, rose petals and cumin. This was followed by a salad course of Hopfinger’s traditional antipasti and Zare’s Mediterranean chick pea with young grapes, pine nuts and the popular Iranian spice turmeric. Main courses were family style and meat friendly. Hopfinger served a straight forward plate of Spaghetti and meatballs with his version of garlic bread, which was might I say…an addictive perfect pairing to absorb the cocktails. Zare’s Kufteh Tabrizi was a sight to be seen and deliciously distinctive with a stuffed concoction of braised duck, foie gras, apricot and prunes. No Italian or Iranian meal would be complete without a finishing dessert course of ladyfinger soaked Tiramisu or Faloodeh with Persian lime sorbet, rice noodles, pistachio and limoncello.
Just like the rich cultural heritages of these two countries, the first annual I-Talian, I-Ranian Spaghetti Feed will be an event that we hope will be around and cherished for ages.
To view ALL photos from the I-Talian, I-Ranian American Spaghetti Feed, visit HERE
For more information on SF Cocktail Week, visit HERE