Are you going to San Francisco? Forget about wearing flowers in your hair - that is so, well, yesterday. What you simply MUST do is stop by Olea.
A marvelous little restaurant on the corner of California and Larkin, Olea is run by Gabe Amaya and Glen Bolosan. Long before Olea opened, I got to know both Gabe and Glen when I worked with Gabe briefly at a not-to-be-named SF Ferry Building restaurant. I fell in love with their humor, their charm, and their unfailing adoration of good food, beautifully prepared.
San Francisco Magazine had this to say:
In his tiny open kitchen, chef Gabriel Amaya performs as an anti-showman, eschewing grand productions for endearing little numbers: farmers' market-driven dishes that are slightly more ambitious than what you'ld try at home. On a recent evening, rose-stewed manila clams gave off the smoky heat of bacon, green garlic and Peruvian peppers. Paper-thin flat-bread, freshly bronzed in the fire, arrived undressed, its flattering toppings (ricotta, roasted pear, sauteed bitter greens) offered on the side.
Amaya clearly has imagination--witness roast duck drizzled with orange-and-star anise honey--but simple demonstrations, like a beautifully done burger with housemade aioli, will convince you that it's all about you, not him. The service is spot-on, and the strains of Edith Piaf in the small, spare space enhance the restaurant's sweetness. In an age when very little seems to be undiscovered, Olea makes you feel like you're stumbled on a find.
So stop into Olea, and prepare to be delighted. Tell them Alline sent you.