Sorry for the gap in posting my monthly Wine Bar Wednesday blog. Have no fear, I am back on track. 🙂 🙂 🙂
I wanted to cry in my wine glass when I saw the shuttered doors and news-papered windows of my beloved Dell’uva Cafe this past summer. There were whispers and rumors about what would take its place. North Beach has a ban on chain restaurants so I knew it wouldn’t be a Starbucks or Chipotle. I would stop and peek in from time to time as workers were making her pretty for her debut. A little buffing here and sanding there; she was primed and ready to be adored.
In July of 2015, there was a new moniker on the door and Belle Cora was revealed. Belle Cora is named after a famed madame in the 1850’s that shook up San Francisco society along with her husband Charles. As noted on the back of Belle Cora’s menu “Belle’s story is a truly San Franciscan saga–full of life and love–elegance and intrigue–indecency and despair…..in her brief yet tumultuous 35 years she solidified herself as one of San Francisco’s most vibrant characters of the Gold Rush era”. If you want to read more about San Francisco’s bordello history, click here.
Belle Cora is in a prime location on Green Street between Columbus and Grant where neon signs mingle with a few lush trees. Across the street is the famed Gino and Carlo, the newly opened Massawa Restaurant and good old standby Golden Boy Pizza ($3 for a ‘square’ of thick crust pizza). If you are so inclined, there is a tattoo shop in case you want to get that tiger tattoo you’ve been thinking about.
As I settled in and looked over the menu, I opted for the Domaine du Tariquet($8), a light and fruity white blend of lesser known grapes–Ugni Blanc and Colombard– from the Gascony region of France which paired well with my visually stunning Crab Tower($15). This dish had layer after layer of crunchiness and decadence–avocado at the base, followed by a bed of seaweed, jicama, mango and crab, wading in a lusciously delicate pool of coconut, ginger and sriracha sauce and served with won-ton chips. The mouthwatering scent of my neighbor’s German bratwurst and fresh baked pretzel($12) was so distracting, I almost introduced myself so I might have a taste, but good manners prevailed and I left him alone–although I did see him eyeing my Crab Tower so he might have had the same idea. I will save that for the next trip.
With spacious outside seating and heat lamps, this is the perfect place to have brunch with friends or a glass of wine after work. It is also a perfect first date atmosphere, casual and fun–and you can quickly dash if your date is a dud. For you fellow solo travelers out there, this is a good place to go it alone. You can plant yourself at the bar and chat up the bartender, or sit outside and enjoy the scene. Although they are not touting themselves as a sports bar they did have a football game on when I was there so it might be a nice alternative to a crowded and stinky dive bar if you want to watch a Patriots (or insert favorite football team name here) game. Wine and football always go together.
If you are a local looking for a new favorite spot, or a visitor that needs a rest from sightseeing, stop by Belle Cora and get recharged. Although I didn’t sample any of them, Belle has a great selection of beers.
Belle Cora: 565 Green Street between Columbus and Grant.
11am to 1 am Monday-Friday
10am to 1am Saturday-Sunday
As a side note, if you are a Mrs. Doubtfire and/or Robin Williams fan, across the street is 520 Green Street, which is the apartment where Robin’s character stayed after getting kicked out of his posh digs on Steiner Street.
Wine quote of the month: “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.” Aristophanes
Wine book of the month: Like to cook with wine, while drinking wine? I’ve got the book for you- Perfect Pairings by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. Want to know how to cook Moroccan Lamb Barbecue and what wine pairs well with it? Evan will fill you in.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned…..