Dress Well

Taste the whole spectrum of olive oils

Assembling a salad has become an adventure.

Olive This Olive That, open since June, stocks quite a range of olive oils as well as balsamic vinegars from Modena. They're all sold by volume, and owners Janell Pekkain and Mary Kucel encourage tasting.

You could find the ingredients for a vinaigrette of hallucinatory dimensions, with infused oils like herbes de Provence or Persian lime, and vinegars in such outré flavors as chocolate marshmallow.

We gravitated instead toward the store's line of single-origin olive oils (all $17 for 375 ml), arranged in order of pungency.

The mildest of these, suitable for tender butter lettuce, is an Australian Picual whose notes of clean-cut grass drift over the palate.

On the opposite end of the shelf, a Frantoio from a small orchard in Calaveras County trumpets its presence the moment it touches the lips; ripe and peppery, it is a good foil for arugula.

And ripe September tomatoes come to mind when tasting the Santa Ynez Sevillano, its fruity flavor unfurling lazily.

If you can't commit to one bottle, a trio of samplers ($6 per 100-ml bottle) should get you through your next few CSA boxes.

Olive This Olive That, 304 Vicksburg St. (at 24th St.); 415-251-7520 or olivethisolivethat.com