The next night, Ashley and I head for dinner to the Pass & Provisions, a new dual-concept restaurant on Taft Street that boasts a seasonal menu where the familiar (pasta, pizza, seafood and meat) gives a nod to the flavors of Asia and Africa. At the time of my visit, only the casual side, Provisions, is open, with the more formal Pass expected to debut in a few weeks. My entree of harissa bucatini tossed with Gulf shrimp, guanciale and broccoli is devoid of spice and sans the promised broccoli, and has me longing for the uni-topped pizza on my neighbor’s table. But the meal’s beginning — kimchi pan au lait accompanied by a warm egg yolk afloat in kimchi spices and a wedge of perfectly runny cremant cheese — and its end — Thai iced tea soft-serve sprinkled with chocolate feuilletine (crisps), candied peanuts and dehydrated strawberries — prove most noteworthy. Provisions’ unisex bathroom, however, where Julia Child follows you into the stall thanks to piped-in audio recordings from “The French Chef,” may alone be worth the trip.
Post-dinner, we belly up to the bar for a cocktail at Anvil Bar & Refuge, back in the Montrose neighborhood. My soon-to-be-wed buddy is working the bar there these days, but Anvil also happens to be slinging some of the most creative cocktails in town. The menu, a list of 100 cocktails ranging from light to bitter to fruity to boozy, can be overwhelming. Skip the heavy reading and consult with the able bartenders for guidance, or throw caution to the wind and ask for “bartender’s choice.”