Very uncharacteristically, I was in San Francisco for the afternoon yesterday. I don’t love San Francisco very much, but I found a few spots that really hit the nail on the head.
1. If you find yourself in, or are willing to travel to, an undesirable neighborhood (the Marina) you can rely on an oasis of soothing at Blue Barn Gourmet on Chestnut. I love Blue Barn because of the truly amazing produce in their salads and sandwiches. Romaine lettuce isn’t something I usually want to write home about, but Blue Barn changed all that for me. Who knew romaine actually had flavor?! In addition to composing tasty lunches, Blue Barn serves as a point of contact for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) exchange.
2. Happy hour was spent at Nihon, a Japanese whisky bar. At 5:45, the rays of the sunset were streaming in and I was sitting with two lovely companions-one had the French 75 and the other the Negroni. Both were delicious. There were beats playing, but soft enough, and the bar was full but not crowded. I told the lovely waitress that I wasn’t in the mood for whisky (she was understanding), and was looking for something not too sweet (I detest sugary cocktails served up). She recommended the “21 Hayes,” with gin, cucumber and lemon. It was perfect: not too much alcohol, not too much saturated fruit or vegetable flavor, not too much simple syrup. Apparently, Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe Bar made this drink famous, but the Nihon version was good enough for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to stay for snacks or a second drink because it just got too crowded and loud in there for 6:30 (with everyone from college kids to yuppies to a baby carriage (?!)…people in the Bay are so crazy). But aren’t we glad someone is making money these days?
I really must get around to writing that post dedicated to my love of Sunset Magazine. Tonight might not be the night. But I can never resist the urge to impulsively share exciting information so here it goes.
First, Sunset Magazine has not one, but several excellent blogs available through their website. The one I’m inspired by is the uber-locavore challenge, the “One block diet” and blog. Sunset editors and contributors have dedicated themselves to eating what is grown and available within one block of Sunset’s property.
The Sunset test garden
When reading the “about” section, I found that a former Saveur editor, Margo True, is currently behind Sunset’s excellent food writing! Naturally. My first internship ever was at Saveur magazine in the summer of 1999–while the magazine still had its original sense of elegance and culinary veritas intact under the leadership of Dorothy Kalins, Christopher Hirsheimer, and Colman Andrews–and True herself of course. These days Saveur seems to be suffering along with the economy, crisis of print journalism, and weight (or lack thereof) of their glossy pages. But Sunset with its niche market seems to be thriving. Here’s to Sunset! Here’s to the West!
Peko Peko’s Early Spring Bento arrived today in this unbelievably soothing printed paper and red string. Perfect since it was an early birthday gift from me to Rimpletide! I love the Golden Gate graphic+little cars!
The pork cutlet and rolled omelette were amazing, but my Oprah a-ha moment was the crab and rice. Ah-ma-zing. Steamed Dungeness crab, Tamaki Gold rice, hand-made ginger pickle (ginger, sugar, umeboshi vinegar), sancho, and salt. The hand-made ginger pickle really took things to the next level.
We sat, ate, and smiled.
Thanks Peko Peko!
Ici Ice Cream has a new website! Remember them?
New soothing additions such as a forthcoming online shop (!), details on the history and founders of Ici (let us all bow down to Maria Canales), and Ici’s pioneering efforts towards sustainability (who doesn’t love it?).
Soothing pastels abound.
I also found out that if you call Ici (510.665.6054 ) you can select the number ‘2’ to hear the ice cream flavors of the day. Soothe. The efficient way to find out if they are serving Meyer lemon without making the trip to Elmwood.
We made a trip yesterday morning to the farmers market. The harvest is upon us. The market was truly abundant yesterday.
The Phoenix Bakery has a tent there. They sell the most amazing things called “Pecan Chewies.” Insane.
The ingredients are simply: egg whites, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and pecans. They have the lightness of a meringue, yet are so chocolate-y and pecan-y. Yum.
And as we were leaving, we found the inevitable “Oaklandish” t-shirt. So earnest, so Oakland.