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March 17-24, 2008
|Monday, March 24, 2008
Egg salad and Deviled eggs should not be consumed on Easter Monday. There is no disguising the fact that these two mayo-egg combos are disposal preparations. Nobody is fooled. Either you should do some sort of straight Cool Hand Luke hardboiled egg eating contest or sieve them for your caviar and blini. Both of these methods have more gusto and do not treat eating as a chore.
Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of superior versions of these popular eggsamples, it's just the calendar context that is the problem. You are communicating to the recipient that they are second-class diners unworthy of an imaginative meal and easily distracted from their unworthiness by the addition of mayonnaise.
There were two sandwiches on the menu at Bakesale Betty's:
... today, eggsalad and their famous fried chicken. We sat inside and watched which came first with the hungry crowds. Everyone lining the counter sloughed off the egg (just as we had.)
We have had their famous fried chicken sandwich ($7.75):
... on previous visits and loved them. But we caught them on (what we hope) was an off day today. The chicken was on the dry side and the slaw didn't have enough jalapenos. Since we've had so many good sandwiches here in the past we are thinking that today's clunker was a fluke.
I know, I know, we should have gone with the egg salad…
Happy Easter Sunday!
From me and my peeps!
...your pal, Chubby
|Sunday, March 23, 2008
Ad Hoc has added Sunday Brunch to their schedule and they chose to hatch this service today on the Bunrabs favorite holiday - Easter.
The dining room was bustling with respecters of rabbits during this midday feast.
We sat down to an assortment of Bouchon Bakery's breakfast pastries:
A light and flaky croissant, a nutty sticky bun and a raisin snail made up this plate of buttery, dough twists and turns.
After the bread dandruff settled, we got a bowl of fresh greens with toasted pinenuts, slivers of red onion, sectioned citrus, chives and pitted olives:
... along with a cruet of champagne vinaigrette. This fresh and crisp greenery is just the sort of salad that we love - deceptively simple, yet perfectly balanced and craveable.
... and standing in for the American-style quick bread, was one of the Belgian persuasion:
A crisp shell of bronzed skin yielded to rich ducky flesh. A nest of spinach with pancetta-bits held a slow cooked hen's Easter egg that required no hunting. The waffle was lightened with whipped egg whites in the batter to produce a whiffable backboard to the pitcher of maple syrup - definitely a high falutin' take on the Roscoe classic.
At Ad Hoc, they never let you leave hungry. We declined the offer for more chow so that we could proceed directly to dessert:
Pink lady apples were peeled and sautéed in a light buttery caramel. Toasted hazelnuts added filberty crunch next to the scoops of cinnamon ice cream. The apples were a little firmer than we prefer, but they were still good enough that we ate every last one.
Brunch at Ad Hoc is an excellent deal at $38.00 per person (ten bucks less than dinner, which includes a cheese course.)
It would be a mistake to come here expecting a French Laundry type experience - it's casual, family style eating. Your coffee cup will probably not have the handle pointed at 4 o'clock, there are no tablecloths and the friendly servers:
... are not moving with TFL precision and polish (especially on a Sunday morning after a Saturday night, this is a young group)
The best part of brunch arrived in a cello sack before we hopped out the door. Thomas Keller should close up the restaurants so he can devote his time to the production of these chocolate rabbits:
|Saturday, March 22, 2008
... and we'll see how they turn out.
Agretti has a bunch of aliases: Barbe dei Frati, Monk's Beard and sometimes Goat's Beard (a name shared by fungi.) There are those who steam agretti and toss it with lemon juice and of course it's good raw like we had in our salad which we made with Mariquita Farms roasted, shaved beets, wild arugula and fennel:
We dotted the top with some goat cheese that we got from Andante Dairy.
The customer ahead of us there picked up some goat cheese and pushed dents into the plastic wrapped product as she whined, "is this good?" The monger replied "I don't sell anything that isn't good." "Okay….I'll trust you…." she replied suspiciously as she slowly parted with her seven bucks. I think there should be a Sweeney Todd section to the market…but then again, I don't think you would want to eat meat like that…
Meat that we want to eat was on sale across town at Incanto where it was a Boccalone Salumi Society pick up day. We picked up our pre-ordered, brined, bone in ham ($35.00):
... made from the hind leg of a suckling pig. Boccalone made these up special for the Easter holiday. We aren't big on waiting for food, so we cooked up our 3 ½ pound beauty today:
... and pigged out on its delicate meat. The fatty skin went into a pan for some seriously tasty cracklins:
We will definitely get one of these babies next time they make a batch.
|Friday, March 21, 2008
Tcho is San Francisco's only chocolate factory. Don't be confused by the shelves in the SF airport gift shops - Ghirardelli is made in San Leandro.
Pier 17 is the choc dock:
... where these pod people milk their cacash cacao.
They are shipping a product that is the hardcore porn of the food world - brown paper wrapper with no airbrushing.
Tcho is currently in beta testing, as an end user, you email them with your bugs and sugs which they evaluate for their ongoing re-formulations.
We liked this single source, dark chocolate:
... but when we imported bits into our cereal ports, we hoped for an even smoother mouthfeel. These richly flavored, complex rectangles have us anxious to sample upgrades and we can't wait for the version 1.0.
Their product is currently available online only, but they ship (for a flat rate of $5.00) nationwide.
From our Bunrab email, Mike writes about our culinary observance of St. Jospeph's Day:
Sadly, sfingi with be a sfingi of the past by the time of your visit, but if you go to the SF Ferry Building, you can get a bombolone at I Preferiti di Boriana to get your Italian doughnut fix while touring one of the city's culinary highlights (especially during the Saturday Farmers Market.)
|Thursday, March 20, 2008
There was so much that our order barely fit in our two large backpacks, but we managed to make our way home with some nettles:
... green garlic, leeks, carrots, fennel, escarole, garlic chives, red and white turnips, mustard greens, beets, rapini, and a bunch of peppery, wild arugula.
... which is a tubular vegetable that tastes like a cross between cactus and sea beans. They seem like they would go well with chunks of raw yellowtail or cooked crab or maybe they could be used to make some sort of wacky pesto…I'll have to experiment.
It's good to get pulled out of your culinary comfort zone with ingredients that you would walk past at the market as if they were a pervy stranger in a dark alley, especially when that pervy stranger is delicious.
Since we are commitment-phobes, we like the reserve-a-box-if-you-feel-like-it approach rather than a weekly delivery cycle. Their next pick up date is April 3rd, between 5-7 p.m. at Aziza Restaurant, but it's best to reserve a box in advance at their website because they tend to sell out. And bring cash, because they don't take credit cards.
However, American Express is not taking this personally and is alive and kicking in the culinary world:
What are Thomas Keller, David Kinch, Michael Mina, Gary Danko and Elizabeth Faulkner doing next week? They will be cooking up a storm at the First Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, which is being presented by American Express.
I think that it's incredibly risky to have this concentration of culinary talent in one geographic location. They have rules against the President and Vice President of the United States traveling together – I think it's time to get our priorities straight; we should use those bunkers in "undisclosed locations" to hide our commander in chefs in an elevated threat situation. It's a matter of national culinary security.
Not only does Pebble Beach have an all-star roster of cooking talent lined up for this hedonist's holiday, there will be the swinging of clubs and swirling of glasses creating legs which will stress the full-bodied nature of the golfer as well as the wine.
Some events are sold out, but there's still time to reserve a reserve tasting or work on your handicap followed by a twist of a handi-Stelvin (from a well equipped caddy.)
So whether you want to sink a ball or pie into your hole, Pebble Beach is the place to do it.
|Wednesday, March 19, 2008
One great thing about San Francisco's diverse population is the ability to consume the specialties of traditional celebrations like a cultural parasite.
There are confections that you have to wait in massive queues for like the Golden Gate Bakery's annual moon cakes, which you eat to commemorate being Chinese during the Autumnal equinox.
Today is St. Joseph's Day. In case you haven't heard about him, he's Jesus' step-dad. He was married to Mary who told him that her pregnancy was the result of supernatural forces. I can only assume that this stressed him out enough that the local pharmacists named an asprin after him.
We filled our prescription for the St. Joseph's Day confection produced at Victoria Pastry:
They make two types of Sfingi ($4.25 each):
... for this celebration. These are basically filled, eggy donuts. You would think that they go with more traditional, unfilled doughnuts since it is a "holy day," but I suppose that would leave nowhere to put the baseball size wad of custard:
... or the lightly sweetened ricotta with chocolate chips:
Scarcity is one of the best flavor enhancers and although these sugar coated, fried dough casings filled with artery spackle were fun, they are not something we would seek out religiously.
|Tuesday, March 18, 2008
... since our alco-dance card was already full (and we didn't want to be the designated porcelain bus drivers.)
The Absinthe burger ($10.50):
... did not contain any of the spirit, perhaps the name references the absinthe of fries (which you can order a la carte but there should be a law against serving a restaurant burger without fries, slaw or a salad.) Our attention shifted from our side of tater-nots, to the perfectly medium rare meat disc. An dense eggy herb bun detracted from the patty with some doughy competition, but overall it was a decent burger.
The Croque Madame ($11.75):
... was a superior choice. The levain lent a nicely textured, sour accent to the meted Gruyere, and thin slices of ham topped with yolk sauce from the fried egg. I would reorder this even though I wasn’t crazy about the cranberry raisin chutney (which had a nice acidic contrast, but felt like a mismatch.)
|Monday, March 17, 2008
Blue Bottle’s Mint Plaza café:
... is a chic, Spartan, gathering place for gadget loving bean enthusiasts. We definitely understand why someone would want to sit in this sunny, wood accented, pristine room and watch the $20K Japanese halogen coffee maker or cold coffee drip apparatus:
...that works like an hour glass that runs on grounds, but it has that new jeans feel that makes us all squirmy.
The mid day food offerings were limited to small sandwiches, soup, and some small desserts from Miette. We just got the drinks we usually get at their kiosk. Our Gibraltar:
... and cappuccino:
... were perfectly fine, but we discovered that, in this case, we belong more the converted garage crowd than the café types.
As we were shopping at Rainbow Grocery today, we ran into the obscenely adorable diner #3. The list of restaurants on his regular rotation is already enviable.
After chatting with him mom, we headed over to Ask a Scientist at the Axis Café. This evening's topic was the science of baseball:
They say this sport is "America's favorite pastime" but we prefer catching a good meal.
Blue Bottle Café
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