I have wanted to eat at Cotogna for a long, long while. The seed was planted by Lee, our fearless leader at Figue, when he mentioned dining there and seeing the rotisserie of his dreams. He was so moved by the experience that he bought a similar model for our restaurant Figue in La Quinta. For the first few months, I waited and waited for it to be delivered, dreaming of spit roasting rabbit porchettas, lambs, pigs and chickens. Rotisseries give food a flavor not matched by roasting or sauteing and a super crispy exterior.
our Universo Tuscany 180 Rotisserie with Jidori Chickens Spinning!
“I’ve always divided human beings into two categories:
those who resemble a courtyard and suffocate you between their walls-
Then there are those who resemble a garden, where you can walk and be silent, and breathe.”
– Antoine de St. Exupery
Lisa, Beau and I had dropped off our VW bus for routine maintenance at Van Cafe in Santa Cruz in the morning. The drive to the Bay was punctuated with lively conversation about seeing old friends we hadn’t seen in a long time and the impending eating marathon. Our friend Peter, with whom I completed the Appalachian Trail with in 2000 would be there with his new wife Eileen and dear friend Gina and her three handsome boys. We were looking forward to this for weeks. Luckily we found a spot in front and shaded as Lucy the wunderhound had to stay there. Peter and his lovely wife Eileen showed up Just as we pulled up.
All of us at the table doing what we all do best!
Gina had phoned to say she was running late so we started the onslaught of dishes. The first few dishes were rustic as promised with great depth of flavor. We started with Leek Sformato with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Pate di Campagna and Terra Firma Farm Tomatoes and Burrata.
We plowed through three bottles of a Sardinian red that on it’s own wasn’t the most interesting wine ever but coupled with the food danced. The next courses brought Ravioli di Ricotta with a Farm Egg and Brown Butter, Heger Farm Corn Triangoli, Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu, Octopus with Pole Beans, and Heritage Red Wattle Pork. The thing I loved the most about the pork was that the Chef did not feel the need to tell you what came with it… you simply ate it. I think Americans are too scared of food in whole to do that with regularity across the country. I loved it. I did not notice anyone freaking out that all the secondi were presented that way.
To finish it off we ordered three Pizze… Artichoke, Stracchino Cheese and Black Olives; Gypsy Pepper. Nepitella and Flor di Latte Mozzarella; and Happy Boy Farm San Marzano Tomato, Nettle and Sausage Pizze.
Thoroughly sated with indulged with Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries and their Dark Chocolate Budino with Cake Crumble. Overall I thought the restaurant was fun to eat at. I would definitely go back… it was great to see old and new friends…
Cotogna is located at 490 Pacific Avenue and can be reached at 415.775.8508, www.Cotognasf.com