The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.

Iowa folk in Little Italy

February 12, 2010 - 6:00 AM

I mean, we're in San Francisco, surrounded by a bay and the big blue ocean - there HAS to be a good seafood joint.  We didn't want just any seafood joint, we wanted something offering a fresh catch, had some character, and we, once again, wanted to find a gem. 

Enter Yelp and Sotto Mare.

We were in Chinatown, enjoying appetizers, when we searched on Yelp for a seafood joint nearby.  It sent us to Little Italy/North Beach, just next door, and a place called Sotto Mare. 


It is a long and narrow restaurant with the kitchen filling one half and the seating the other.  There was a huge party taking up the back half of the seating when we first entered.  We were the only ones there who were not invited.  No worries, they were serving others, they just love hosting parties/gatherings every. single. day.  We happily sat at the bar where we were given a background story to Gigi, the owner.  We also were told the party taking up space today was being hosted by Gigi & friends, as they were planning a trip to Italy together.  (They took one last year to Greece.)

On Yelp, most of the comments were raving about the "cioppino."  Cioppino is a seafood dish native to the Bay Area, not Italy.  Never having had it or heard the story of it before, our waiter/host/great guy proceeded to tell us (one of) the tale(s) of how the original Italian fishermen who settled in the Bay Area had huge families and at the end of the day would go from boat to boat shouting, "Chip in!"  Each boat caught different fish and shellfish and they would contribute their leftovers into a huge vat that they would then use to serve all their families.  Hearing the story and after ordering some West Coast Oysters, we happily ordered the Cioppino.


While waiting for our food, the party people had brought out a map of Italy and laid it on a table.  They each took turns looking at it with a magnifying glass, pointing, laughing, planning.  At one point, Josh and I went over to the map, me showing him where I had lived and traveled while there.  Then we were joined by one of the party hosts and he filled us in on their exciting adventure they were planning.


Then our food came.  Seriously... It. Was. Amazing.  Filled with mussels, clams, crab, squid, maybe octopus and scallops, random fish, etc.  The sauce that it was cooked in was the most amazing sauce I have ever had.  It wasn't heavy or thick and it held each individual flavor perfectly, from the tomatoes to spices to a mild seafood stock.  If we could have just ordered bowls of the sauce on the side, or to go, we would have.  Wow.


Before leaving we were offered more food, sides of meat, cheese & bread, even though Gigi himself scolded us for eating too much and not bussing our own table.  But we didn't mind.  Eating out for us is as much about the experience as it is the food. 

Sotto Mare had it all!

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About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
   Travels in Germany & Austria
   Travels in Czech & Poland


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