Food, Wine & Friends Page 254
We ventured to the San Francisco International Airport to meet
Isabella Oddero, a young lady who's from the famous ODDERO winery in Piemonte's town of
She and her family produce some very good Barolo, Barbaresco and other classic
wines of Piemonte, along with a nice little white wine blend using Chardonnay
I stood alongside the various well-dressed chauffeurs who were all holding
little signs featuring company logos in search of their V-I-P Passengers who
were flying in to town...and finally I saw our blonde-haired beauty.
She was a bit fatigued and searching for airport information as to where they'd
be sending her luggage (if they hadn't sent it to Timbuktu) and Isabella didn't
notice me standing there.
She searched for Carousel #5 and I followed her, carrying my "welcome
sign" and balloons...and, finally!
So I handed her the sign and snapped a photo.
We got her bags and headed immediately for The Koi Palace to
meet Chris Tarbell, the Northern California sales rep for Soilair, the company
importing the Oddero wines.
Inside the restaurant, Isabella noticed tanks of fish, crabs,
shrimp and more crabs.
She was ready to dive in for a quick swim!
The place was packed as it's Chinese New Year...so we had a
brief wait for a table.
I brought a bottle of Heitz Napa Valley "Grignolino Rose" to pair with
the Dim Sum.
enjoyed several Dim Sum plates and the Rose is especially good in this venue.
Har Gow are shrimp dumplings...
Spinach & Shrimp Dumplings at the top, Barbecued Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) in
And of course we needed to order some Chinese Noodles...these were a nice
reminder of Piemontese Tajarin, though different...
Isabella, once again, was anxious to dive right in!
We had some Garlic and Sautéed Greens...
And the kitchen
was still open, fortunately, so we enjoyed some "Chinese Beignets."
They call them "Sugar Egg Puffs."
We took care of the check and then made our way out of the Koi Palace...
in the parking lot, Isabella presented me with a box of some home-grown "Nocciole."
These are Piemontese hazelnuts and Oddero has been growing these for years in
sites not especially suitable for vineyards. They've planted trees on very
steep hills or at lower areas near the valley floor.
"Yes, we are a litle but nuts at Oddero!!!"
Tante Grazie Isabella!!!
in the week we met again...looking to go dine at another Asian-themed place.
We met at a little wine store in The City where they were featuring Oddero wines
for the night and Isabella was there to show the flag and encourage people to
taste (and buy) some wine.
We headed towards Union Square and downtown San Francisco...
It was a clear evening and the Bay Bridge was fully illuminated...
We navigated our way through City Traffic on Valentine's Day and finally got to
the restaurant...and I pulled a bottle out of my cellar bag: ZOCKER Gruner
Veltliner from California's Edna Valley region.
perused the menu at E&O Asian Kitchen and the chefs were ready to get
brought my book, AMICI DEL PIEMONTE for Isabella to shuffle through...and she
was intrigued to see so many friends and neighbors.
began with Duck-filled "Imperial Rolls."
The Zocker Gruner really was good with this Asian-styled food.
Corn Fritters are another specialty of the house...the sweetness of the corn
paired nicely with the fruity notes of the Gruner, which was quite dry in
By now we had a bottle of red opened...
Shaking Beef is quite good at E&O...
better was the Wood-Oven Roasted Black Cod.
Isabella was intrigued by the red wine...
Summers Napa Valley Charbono.
We called it "Charbuonissimo!"
The meal at E&O was very nice and we headed back to the garage to find our
"I'll drive!" she said.
We motored through Chinatown and North Beach and then up Telegraph Hill.
Coit Tower was nicely lit up and there was a full moon, too!
And with that little tour of The City, we rode back to Isabella's hotel near
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