Who needs a prix-fixe horror show when there’s Friday the 13th?
We decided to bag the traditional Valentine’s Day shitshow celebration this past weekend in favor of the far more interesting (and sinister?) night before, Friday the 13th. There was also a break in northern California’s recent rainy weather, so it seemed like a good idea to walk the length of Valencia Street to one of San Francisco’s better neighborhood eateries, Blue Plate.
Blue Plate was popping, and for a brief second it seemed inconceivable that restaurants in the Bay Area and beyond are suffering so much now, but then again it was the Friday night of Presidents’ Day weekend, with Valentine’s Day thrown in for good measure. Casual, simple in concept and with a menu that’s easy to execute, not to mention a long track record and loyal clientele, Blue Plate — and others like it — are likely to survive the economic downtown.
That seems more evident with a quick glance at the wine list: Et violà!, it’s Marc Ollivier’s Côt “La Pépiè”.
Ollivier is sort of the master of Muscadet and this feisty, juicy wine sort of behaves like a red Muscadet might, with cheerful fruit and refreshing acidity. I easily finished the first glass before the first course, and was ready for more. And I know that malbec — aka côt in the Loire Valley — is, like, totally popular these days but this version is hardly the jampot that seems common to Argentina and, increasingly, California. While no secret among winegeeks, La Pépiè — like much of the Louis/Dressner portfolio — seems to hit a magic price point ($14-$16 retail; $28-$30 restaurant list) that makes it sort of the vinous equivalent of a restaurant like Blue Plate: Delicious, affordable and, most importantly, friendly and honest. Qualities to look for no matter what’s going on with the economy.
Happily, too, the label is irresistibly cute.