The day before T's birthday, it took a giant kick via text for her to get her butt moving and actually make some decisions as to what she wanted to do to celebrate.
We started the day off at Mama's on Washington Square, where Mama's grandson got the entire restaurant to sing a rousing rendition of the happy birthday song to T...or more specifically, to "P" (inside joke). T's face was so red it was almost purple. To make up for the embarrassment, Mama's grandson also threw in a plate of french toast on the house.
After Mama's, we grabbed some Purple Kow then spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Land's End.
We didn't have any dinner plans ironed out, but T had a craving for tapas, so a Yelp search eventually led us to Coqueta:
The earliest reservation available was a bit too late for our tastes, but we were advised to try our luck at the bar. Which we did and were lucky enough to almost immediately snag seats in Coqueta's patio area:
Given that is was a birthday celebration, we couldn't not order a pitcher of sangria. That just wouldn't be right. So we ordered the white wine sangria with roasted apples and spices ($36):
Everyone knows I'm an alcohol wimp (I hate the taste), but even I will admit that the white sangria at Coqueta tastes refreshingly like fall. All the same, I couldn't take more than a couple sips before I was passing my glass to CL to finish.
The croquetas de pollo ($9) came in threes, but because we were a party of four, the server gave us the option of adding one more:
This was a big hit with all of us. The croquetas were chicharon crusted, made with chicken and english peas, and served with a side of cured cara cara orange. Think deep fried shepard's pie with a tangy finish. Yum.
We got the "bikini" brioche a la plancha ($10) without really knowing what it was:
We saw roasted eggplant and preserved grapefruit and were immediately sold. What we should have done was taken the time to look up what cana de cabra was. Then we would've known we were setting ourselves up for some goat cheese.
I hate goat cheese. But apparently not as much as CL does. I finished my fourth, but she refused to even touch hers.
I have a feeling I would have enjoyed the brioche quite a lot if it weren't for the goat cheese. All the other flavors were great, but the cheese was just that overpowering.
We ordered the albondigas a la feria ($14) and agan had to add an extra one to make four:
Made with duck and pork, the meatballs were cooked in a cherry-tempranillo salsa and topped with crispy shallots. While they were certainly good to eat, the best part was having a legitimate excuse to say "albondigas" repeatedly.
T wanted paella and what birthday girl wanted, birthday girl got:
The paella at Coqueta costs $45 and is supposed to serve two to three people. It comes with serrano-shellfish broth, jamon, shrimp, clams, chorizo, and cauliflower. It also comes with a side of lemon alioli, which I found strange at first, but it added a burst of freshness that quickly converted me into a believer.
Team Alioli forever!
To round out the celebration of T's arrival to this world, we got her the flan espanola ($9):
I'm not a flan person, but I can admire a smooth and rich flan when I taste one. The white chocolate plaque that said "happy birthday" in Spanish was a nice touch.
Coqueta was good, albeit a bit pricey. I mean, come on, each coquette cost $3. That's kind of ridiculous. The service was excellent though. And we had a bit of a bonding moment with about a dozen people as we all waited for the restroom. (Apparently nobody is willing to walk to the next closest restroom a couple piers down.)
For an impromptu day in San Francisco, everything worked out just about perfectly, from the wait time at Mama's to finding parking all over the city. Must be the magic of T.
Happy birthday, T. Here's to another year of food, food, and more food!
San Francisco, CA 94105