It was also, however, nicely steamy, which brought some relief to my sniffly friend across the table.
Also nicely steamy was a bowl of Jude's vegan chili ($6.50), a black-bean preparation laced with tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives. We did catch a whiff of some faint, faintly exotic, eastern Mediterranean spice in there and found ourselves thinking more of Turkey than Texas: mushrooms and olives in chili? The Turks, it must be said, prefer chickpeas to black beans. (The chickpea is thought to be native to southeastern Turkey.)
The kitchen seemed to be in possession of a mushroom mother lode, because tasty fungus recurred as a ragout in the day's surprisingly elegant potpie ($14). I say elegant because the ragout had been baked in a handsome white crock with fluted sides, under a tarpaulin of butter-flaky pastry worthy of a beef Wellington. The potpie had the look of a huge, family-style dessert a giant pot de crème, possibly, lurking under the pastry.
We never quite got around to actual dessert, but we did dabble in the beers (whose listings go on for several pages), in part to see which glasses would be used to serve them. St. Bernardus, a dark, caramelly Belgian brew ($7.75 for an eight-ounce pour), arrived in a vessel that looked like a giant cognac snifter, while Bitburger pilsner ($6.25 for 14 ounces) was presented in an attractive if slightly disappointing pilsner glass, a close relation of the ones I have at home. Mr. Cider, meanwhile, partook of the Fox Barrel black currant cider ($4.50 for eight ounces); this was served in a wineglass look-alike and was refreshingly unsweet in the European manner but did not really taste of black currant a presence in name only, but we liked it anyway.
Mon.Fri., noon2 a.m.; Sat.Sun., 11:302 a.m.
3141 16th St., SF
Beer and wine
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