1.21.2007

Last Weekend In San Francisco...

Last Saturday, my wife and kids decided to jump aboard a Boeing Jet(United of course) and head south, to S.F. We really were not on a food-find excursion, as we were were accompanied with those that do not tolerate the sometimes obscure ingredients, strong flavors and/or durations of gustatory experiences as well. Enter... my kids, and God Bless em'. But nonetheless, we forged ahead to see the city and just play for the day. I came to find, much to my disappointment, that many of my old stomping grounds, aka; restaurants and shops were no where to be found! What a bummer. I was looking forward to some mini artisan pizzas on Union street, excellent pastries by La Nouvelle Patisserie, the small Greek bistro that served up a great lamb and boulangere potatoes and perhaps some great fresh Italian breads in North Beach. No more Baby Cakes muffins outside my old apartment in the Marina district. What we did stumble across however was a few good and interesting finds~ The first stop, purely out of luck was La Boulange, a small artisan outpost ran by the Bay Bread Group, an outstanding bakery outfit operating about a dozen or so different munchie joints in the city, well recognized for their wares. We had some really tasty chocolate-hazelnut croissants, which was filled with a frangipane-like mixture with dark chocolate. They were still warm! We also tried a unique and fun mini baguette sandwich, filled with roasted chicken, tomatoes, gruyere and basil pesto. The whole thing was about 5 inches long and about 1 inch in width. Tre Chic! Later, we stumbled into the Hard Rock Cafe, obviously not for the food, but for the fun of it and to show my kids. It was cool enough, they loved the big screen video above our table touting everyone from Madonna to Guns and Roses. The only thing from a food standpoint worth mentioning, was some spicy chicken tenders, my pulled pork sandwich with a tangy BBQ sauce and a side of smoky baked beans( the best of the lot!). The next day we wandered, perused, gazed upon, snacked and ate at various places around the city. Nothing in particular, just plain ol' places. An exploration if you will. We drove through the Marina, over to Sausalito, Cow Hollow and Pacific Heights, North Beach, Mission and Potrero Hill areas. Again, to my dismay, many a place closed, or re-opened as something that did not suit. I would have liked to venture into some of them to give them the benefit of the doubt, but that will have to wait until next time, as we were pressed for minutes. We drove back into the city and decided to catch a bite at an old favorite, Postrio at the Prescott Hotel. We sat in the entrance by the bar, which sported a nice wood fired oven and grill, ran by a Haight-Ashbury looking guy wearing more tats than kitchen unis. Cool. We started with a "Caesar" salad, which had shoots of romaine, a nice subtle creamy garlicky dressing, shaved grana padano and herbed croutons, flanked by a basket of fresh local breads, which I believe to be from the same Bay Bread Bakery. My 9-year old took that on. We ordered a triad of Flat Bread Pizzas, which consisted of a Four Cheese(basic, with Provolone, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano), a Roasted Tomato, Pepperoni and Aged Cheddar, complete with Basil and Chilis, and my favorite; a Prosciutto-Dried Black Mission Fig with Mascarpone, Truffle Oil and a scattering of Black Pepper, Balsamic Syrup and Shaved Reggiano...freakin awesome. We had next been presented with a plat du jour of grilled house made sausages...Spicy Chicken with Cilantro Mustard and spices. Very moist and flavorful. Definitely the best made and cooked. The next was Roasted Duck & Pistachio Sausage accompanied by a Golden Raisin and Tomato Chutney which brought out the flavor of the duck to it's fullest extent. The sausages are seemingly starting to get a bit "done" in the oven. We'll see. Yep... The third of the bunch, the ugly duckling if you will, was a savory lamb variety nestled in a bath of spicy stoneground mustard. Unfortunately, this one was definitely overcooked. So far, that the crust was almost too tough to cut through, and it drowned out the flavor of the lamb. Someone took his eyes off the wood fired oven for too long. Inadequency at it's finest! The flavor was muddled and lost. Such a waste of product and time. One might had just as well thrown the damn thing in the garbage and called it a night. There was some highlights however...they make wonderful fresh, petit pretzels, which played back-up to the sausages. Tasty and chewy, with a small hint of salt. The mustards also shined through. Tasty, tangy and tantalizing. My wife has a simple, yet satisfying salad of Santa Rosa Greens, Gorgonzola, Candied Walnuts and an artisan fruit Vinegar. For dessert, we were tempted by only offering, and not that the others did not sound appetizing, we were just full and needed something clean and easy. We opted for the Green Apple Sherbet with a Cinnamon-Dulce de Leche Napoleon,( made complete with Feuilles de Brick) Caramelized Apples, Salted Popcorn and a warm, rich Caramel Jus. By the time we finished, we felt that we had certainly consumed plenty. No stops at a bakery or cheese shop, no drive-bys at the local gelataria...sniffle, just the long haul to the airport. As we drove out of the city, I reminisced of the times spent living there. There are many new places to conquer, exciting eateries to expand my horizons on and plenty of foodie-based lures to continue to do so. Soon, I will have yet another post full with experiences, as I will return.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rhodora said...

I do miss San Francisco!! Some of my favorite stops:
Michelangelo, tiny corner eatery in North Beach right on Columbus, good for some no-nonsense pasta, seafood and great bolognese! Wine is served in goblets and the huge wheel of grana is passed around from table to table!!! I also like the Ferry building on Embarcadero because of the huge indoor farmer's market. The last time i went I discovered Recchiuti chocolates. Yum! Happy trails!

11:53:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

cool. I should have chatted with you before I left! I passed by the pasta joint. Check out Chef SHop.com for Recchiutti chocolates. Better yet, remind me and weilol order some.

4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Speaking of Babycakes Muffins. Does anyone have any idea who owned that place or how to find someone who has the recipes. I literally lived on there bran muffins for years (used to drive from Portland Oregon just to stock up) and have been missing them for years.

2:49:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

you could try to google them, or do a search for baby cake muffin recipes?

7:34:00 PM  

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