Oola (San Francisco, CA)

Oola
860 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94107
Dining date: 12/27/12

8447108234 fb9768c432 Oola (San Francisco, CA)

This past year for my grandmother’s birthday, my cousins and I took her to dinner at Oola in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. It’s a tradition we’ve been doing a number of years now, and something I look forward to each holiday season. This year, my cousins chose Oola, somewhere they’ve been a number of times and raved about.

Opened in 2004, the restaurant calls its food “San Francisco cuisine” and a blend of chef Ola Fendert’s Swedish background and French/Italian training. The menu appeared to offer a number of upscale takes on American comfort food classics such as chicken and waffles, burgers, and the restaurant’s signature dish – pork baby back ribs.

8446022173 17b78926e5 Oola (San Francisco, CA)

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Bandera – 6/26/10

Bandera
3201 E Coast Hwy
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

exterior5 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

Bandera is part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, known for restaurants such as Houston’s and Gulfstream, and having a no-corkage-fee policy. I had been here before, but was summoned back to celebrate a friend’s new job. The restaurant always seems to have a lot people waiting outside – the comfortable American food is one of the main draws.

To start with, we had the skillet cornbread, one of their well-known appetizers.

Skillet Cornbread with jalapenos

cornbread1 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

The cornbread is nice and moist on the inside, with a crispy crust on top. The jalapenos give it an extra dimension of flavor. Unfortunately, this is a very filling dish – small portions are best.

cornbread2 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

Bandera-Style Roasted Chicken with green rice

chicken 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

This chicken is cooked on the rotisserie, and had a nicely browned skin. However, it wasn’t crispy at all, which was a disappointment. The meat was not quite as moist as I expected, but had some good flavor.

Sliced Leg of Lamb with Red Chile Sauce and Escab├ęche

lamb 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

I preferred this meat to be cooked a little bit less. The leg is cooked to a medium-well, though it wasn’t dry or tough. The lamb was mildly gamey, and the chile sauce added a little heat.

Barbecue Beef Back Ribs served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw

beef ribs 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

One of Bandera’s most notable dishes is the beef ribs, and for good reason. These ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, with a rich barbecue glaze that works well with the meat. Deliciously succulent.

Aged Prime Rib Slow Roasted on the Bone served with mashed potatoes

prime rib 500x335 Bandera   6/26/10

We also ordered the prime rib, which came with a side of au jus. This is one of the best au jus I’ve had in recent memory; we even asked for some to go. The prime rib was tasty and cooked a nice medium-rare, though I often find it’s hard to distinguish a good prime rib from a great one. The au jus here, though, really elevated it.

House Made Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches made with creme de cocoa

ice cream sandwich Bandera   6/26/10

When I first came into the restaurant, I saw this dessert being served and immediately thought to myself “I must have this!” And it did not disappoint. It’s a rather simple dish of homemade Oreo ice cream sandwiches, in a chocolate sauce with a subtle espresso flavor. Being a huge fan of both ice cream sandwiches and cookies and cream ice cream, this was a great match. One of the best desserts I’ve had in a while.

We had a pretty solid meal at Bandera, with a few clear highlights (the beef ribs, prime rib au jus, and ice cream sandwich come to mind). The service was really exceptional from start-to-finish, only making the experience better. I’ve been craving that ice cream sandwich ever since, so I’ll be back soon…at least for dessert.