Super Bowls and Birthdays

Busy with multiple deadlines at the moment so this one’s quick…


Above: Football? What football? Super Bowl Sunday at the Hog Island oyster farm in Tomales Bay. Taken as things were winding down. FYI – If you fancy oysters in January or February — both ‘r’ months — then skip out on the Super Bowl and head up to Hog Island. We practically had the place to ourselves.


Above: Diner at NOPA for my birthday, where we drank U Baccan, a single-vineyard pigato from Ligurian producer Bruna. One of my favorite white wines from Italy, and certainly one my two favorite pigatos (the other being Bruna’s Le Russeghine vineyard). It’s incredibly complex, with a powerfully deep mineral expression. It also has that groovy little neolithic man on the label, which just seals the deal.


Above: the prep area at the wood oven station at NOPA. I think I took this picture because I spent the entire night seated on the opposite side of the glass from that bin full of delicious pancetta. It ain’t a birthday without pancetta!


Pigato & Pesto, or, The Future of Our Past

(Above: an Italian poster for Elio Petri’s 1965 film, “La Decima Vittima”, or “The 10th Victim”)

I love Saturdays. Even in the middle of a crazy busy deadline period (and a trip to Seattle early this week for the second installment of Wine & Spirits’ Hot Picks event), there’s just something magical about Saturday. It helped, too, that this particular Saturday in San Francisco was the fishtail end of an extraordinary heat wave–the sun was hot but a cool wind blew gently from the Pacific, suggesting that SF’s famous fog was on its way to relieve the sweltering city.

I took a break from work and headed over to our neighborhood wine store with Simon, where, feeling somewhat inspired by Terry Hughes’ Friday post on what to drink with dinner, as well as Simon’s declaration that he was making fresh pesto, I picked up a bottle of 2006 Pigato from Bisson. As with its well-known sibling vermentino, pigato grows in Liguria, especially in the area around Imperia in western Liguria near the French border. Dry and full, it’s a wine that tastes a kind of salty and herbal–in other words, it’s not too far off from the flavors of fresh pesto. Little surprise, really, when you consider that Liguria produces excellent olive oil and pungent, flavorful basil. Anyway, together, pigato and pesto rock. Bisson’s version, an IGT Colline del Genovesato Bianco, is aromatic and savory, with a fine minerally acidity. Delicious.

To make the night even more Italian, we watched Elio Petri’s culty B-movie classic, “La Decima Vittima” starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress. It’s a great film, totally entertaining and rather biting with its satirical look at western society’s love of violence (and violence in love?). And, as a look at the ‘future’ as seen from the past, it’s a lovely example of “the future of our past.”* I found an article with a summary and brief analysis of the film by Paul Di Filippo on SciFi Weekly. Here’s his description of the opening sequence:

New York City, sometime in the near future: Across a construction site, a fashionably clad woman is being chased by an Asian man who fires wild pistol shots at her. Remarkably, no bystander or policeman intervenes. For as a thin, feverish spokesman tells us, these two are engaged in the “Big Hunt,” a socially sanctioned killing game. Every participant must alternate as either Victim or Hunter, and rare is the person who makes 10 kills, thus becoming an honored “decathlete.” The woman Victim lures the would-be killer into the Masoch Club, then disappears. Cut to Caroline Meredith (Andress), busy doing a strip-tease-cum-audience-flagellation act. Lulled by the sexy atmosphere, the killer relaxes—at which point, Meredith—Victim gaining the upper hand—nails him with twin guns concealed in her bra.

Behold, the genesis of the Fembots in “Austin Powers”!

*as said by Simon once we’d watched the movie and finished both the pesto and the pigato.