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October 16-23, 2007
|Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The dark, rich, cabeza was fall-apart tender on this moist and tasty noggin nosh. The lengua was good, but not a better mouth organ than they serve at Tacqueria Bahia. This was made up for by the tripe which had a wealth of nicely salty, crispy bits to make this taco ultimately stomachable.
Chubby got a pollo adobado super burrito ($7.10):
... which was unremarkable with dulled flavors and a mushy, uniform texture. It’s clear that those with a brain should order the offal at this Mission Street Taqueria.
Taqueria San Jose
|Monday, October 22, 2007
We made a quick stop at Sol Food where I got a Cubano ($8.25):
Pig was blanketed two ways in this ham and roasted pork sandwich. Swiss cheese diplomatically bound the mustard with this meaty pressed meal. It verged on dry so a dose of their vinegar hot sauce added a moist kick to this generous swine mit. Next time I’ll probably go with their chicken sandwich instead.
Chubby chose the tried and true Ensalada con pollo ($8.95):
... which is a hefty salad with two generous thighs, tomato, avocado and a heap of tangy dressing. Nothing fancy, just a good simple and tasty lunch.
We washed it all down with a couple jars of their house made limeade and mango iced tea:
Sol Food is a great place:
... to whip by if you’re in the nabe. It’s open for breakfast and they stay open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. We like this place for a cheap and cheerful homey meal.
|Sunday, October 21, 2007
... of shortbreads, chocolates and chocolate bars which act as our depressurization chamber so that our butter count levels do not drop too suddenly.
Since we weren’t too big on dinner this evening, we headed over to hear Oliver Sacks' lecture:
... on his new book, Musicophilia:
He’s the dude who thawed out those frozen people with L-Dopa before Robin Williams took over his identity in the movie Awakenings. Even though we don’t agree on his anti-iPod stance, we still found his talk illuminating and funny. We also noticed that the door people at the Main county venue only admitted middle-aged white people for some reason. At least a couple of bunrabs could slip through and be in close proximity to a doctor during our detox period.
He's also speaking Monday evening at 8 pm at the Palace of Fine Arts theater in San Francisco. For information, call 415.392.4400.
|Saturday, October 20, 2007
Delegation is a threat to the insecure. Luckily, Thomas and Corey do not suffer from the dysfunction of needing to bask in a narrow high beam. Devon took the wheel during this evening’s 5 hour convoy which began with our empty tanks. He stood at the pass like a big rig driver as he provided us with several oil changes and flushed our valves.
We reved up with the standard gourgers and salmon cornets before indulging in a vibrant orange Musque de Provence pumpkin soup over pomegranate seeds that were peppered with black truffle. The red jewels popped on my teeth as I sipped on this velvety squash-shroom soup. The brocolini soup was poured over grilled brocolii and chopped preserved lemon which gave it a hint of a bright pucker.
A couple of our favorites classics followed. Oysters and pearls:
... and cauliflower panna cotta both with white sturgeon caviar.
After spending last week in Poland, the last thing that we expected to be excite our palates would be cabbage, but this heady veggie laid the foundation to slices of impeccably fresh kahala sashimi kissed with Blis maple syrup. We were presented with two delicate glass orbs filled with wood smoke that infused the fish before it rose in twisting clouds as the bell jars were lifted.
Then we got dos servings of uni:
... and abalone. These surfings of infant seafood were like robbing the cradle of the sea. The Japanese baby sea urchin roe were served on a ice bed of apple gelee. The little Monterey abalone were placed on parsnips with a hint of fermented bean paste.
More of the greatest hits followed with the truffle custard with a chive potato chip:
... as well as the coddled hens egg served with beurre noisette and brioche soldiers which we washed down with a Riesling.
The last of the tomatoes from the French Laundry garden across the street were sliced up with cukes and avocado and dressed with crème fraiche.
Belgian endive came grilled with beets and watercress and a Philo Gold apple relish. These apples are grown by the Schmitts who were the previous owners of the restaurant.
When that truffle box is carried towards our table, we know we are in for a fragrant and tasty starch augmentation. Both the tagliatelle and the Reggiano enhanced carnaroli risotto:
... were showered with thin, earthy black discs (the white ones will be on the menu in a few weeks.)
A Kanpachi almandine with Belgian endive and a passion fruit gastrique had nutty scales that jutted up from this firm fleshed yellowtail.
We nearly fell off our seats when we tasted the Spanish Blue fin tuna:
... which was seared to a fatty, perfection. This chicken of the sea was served with hen of the woods mushrooms and sunchokes which were wedded with a beurre rouge.
My butter poached lobster tail was tied together with saffron vanilla sauce, parsnip, and spinach two ways – wilted and tempura. Chubby had a tail with eggplant jingle bell peppers and fennel:
Both were tops.
When our sauterne and tokai glasses arrived, we knew it was time for some liver to go with our stickies. My torchon had a Banyuls vinegar gelee, bananas and streusel to create an acidic, sweet and crunchy relief to this cold foie-key puck of goal-worthy goodness. The accompanying toasted brioche was replaced when its crispy golden brown shell became cool.
Chubby got a seared foie gras with white strawbs and romaine ribs (which stuck to his.)
The salt selection included the Japanese, Montanaese, French and Hawaiian punch of saline to accent the luscious liver.
We both homed in on our delectable rare slices of Scottish wood pigeon with Tokyo turnips and Brussels sprouts. This international naming convention took flight with the addition of a huckleberry sauce that carriered this to new heights along with a Barbera d’Alba.
Lamb and short rib with honey poached cranberries, brocolini and a chestnut combined to a seasonal savory combo of rich, earthy acidic and slightly sweet complexity.
We can never pass up the French Laundry Wagyu beef which never does the tenderness for flavor tradeoff that you are forced to choose between in other venues. They must purchase it through some back alley transaction since it qualifies as an addictive vice.
Carrots, garlic pudding, mushrooms and a thyme jus steered in the same delicious direction.
Gabietou (cow and sheep milk cheese) came with cippolini onion, Michigan sour cherries and a truffle sauce in this composed cheese plate that I went nutty for.
Chubby got the Nisa (sheep milk cheese) with pain perdu and globe artichokes.
To cool things down, Chubby got a red curry squash sorbet with granola as a crunchy backdrop, and I got the Persian lime sorbet:
... with coconut gelee. Both were refreshing and exotic.
A couple plates of coffee and doughnuts, another FL classic, warmed us up with the hot from the fryer donuts and holes rolled in cinnamon sugar with the cooling effect of the cappuccino semifreddo and milk foam.
Delice au chocolat is another of the FL’s greatest hits with its white and dark chocolate ganache, mint parfait and mint gastrique.
The s’more of chocolate sponge, caramel ganache, peanut butter and toasted marshmallow was s’marvelous.
Next were the Tahitian vanilla crème brulee and strawberry pot du crème to insure our arteries were filled with the proper level of cream before we moved on to some niciose olive financiers and caramelized macadamias coated with chocolate.
As always, the food was beautiful, playful and delish and the service was efficient and personal, without a trace of stuffiness.
The inn is taking a little longer to get ironed out with all the red tape, but there will be a time that you can just collapse into a bed at their nearby facility and wake up to some Bouchon baked goods (although food is always the last thing on our minds the next morning when our butter and alcohol infused systems are trying to reset.)
The French Laundry
|Friday, October 19, 2007
In N Out
It was time to say “do widzenia” to our wonderful hosts before we reversed our polarity on the globe. We made a bleary eyed layover at Heathrow:
The upside is that we ran into our friend M. who was also on the same flight to SFO (but from Mumbai) so at least we had a cheerful, sleep deprived, commiseration opportunity.
... where we had a meal without any cabbage.
|Thursday, October 18, 2007
It’s refreshing to visit a place without a Starbucks. I have nothing against this coffee chain, it’s just a pleasant change of scenery. There are still a gagillion Golden Arches, Colonels and pizza chains that make Poland blend in with every other big city, but those green mermaid circles are absent from each street corner.
However, in a matter of months, it will be a different story. If all goes to plan, Starbucks hopes to earn over $50 million a year in Poland. Cabbage lattes…mmmmm. I’m glad we made it here while we could soak in the virgin landscape:
|Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Head of Party
I think that we have eaten more capitas of cabbage in a week than we have slawed through in the last year. Today, our stuffed cabbage:
... came with a side of cabbage and boiled potatoes to complete the effect. We planned poorly and ducked into a generic establishment:
... so it is undemocratic to judge this cuisine, which did not commune with our tastebuds. This is our capital punishment for not using our heads and planning dinner.
|Tuesday, October 16, 2007
There are two dueling kabab shops along our daily migratory path in Warsaw:
These neighboring hole-in-the-walls have identical, endless queues, even late at night. We decided to see what all the fuss was about and grabbed one lamb and one chicken kabab (about $3.00 US each) for a late snack.
This studenty chow was cheap belly ballast with a “spicy” sauce that didn’t deliver on its promise. The cabbage slaw underlined our location as we tucked into our pocket of tough, dry lamb and the other of innocuous chicken, but hey, for around three bucks (7 Zloty) on the main road, what did we really expect?
The best cheap chow in our book turns out to be these Polish produced candy bars Chubby has become worryingly addicted to these chocolate-sheathed, sesame-powered halva (chalwa in Polish) bricks:
... which keep him energetically bouncing down the cobblestoned streets before crashing on a cozy featherbed at the hotel.
We have utilized our feet and the last four letters of the alphabet with great frequency:
... in this Central (don’t call it “Eastern” unless you want to be abruptly corrected) European locale.
I wonder if Milton Bradley lessens the Scrabble tile value for the letter “J” in the Polish version. It seems like you could really clean up around here if you used the U.S. tile values while simultaneously taking advantage of the Euro transition scheduled in the next few years.
Change is also in store in a matter of days with the upcoming elections but every rally that we’ve seen has a crowd that numbers in the teens:
I guess America has not cornered the market on political complacency, but I need to consult the exit Poles.
And speaking of polls - we have a winner for the guess the airline contest. Congratulations Roger B! You submitted the correct answer of British Airways as the source of our flying fish. We have sent you an email with additional info for your prize of 2 tickets to the Fort Mason Singles Chocolate Salon courtesy of TasteTV.
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