Wednesday, April 27, 2011
San Francisco Weekend
Flew out to San Francisco last weekend to visit some wonderful friends. While there, of course I took full advantage of the many fabulous restaurants, complete with an outstanding dinner at the legendary Chez Panisse.
First stop, the Ferry Building. Opened in 1898, it was the transportation focal point for anyone arriving by train into San Francisco. Today, it serves as a marketplace for everything from artisan cheeses to fresh fish to high-end coffee roasters. One of my goals on this trip was to visit as many of the West Coast coffee roasters as possible (more about our "coffee crawl" later). The Ferry Building is a great place to sample some of the California purveyors of fine food in one location (Slanted Door, Gott's Roadside, Hog Island Oyster, just to name a few). Unfortunately for us, Friday at lunch hour is not the most ideal time for this. It was mobbed. We could not get in anywhere without at least a 60 minute wait. And after a 6 hour flight, we just couldn't endure it. So we settled for some fish tacos at a not quite-so-mobbed seafood stall. But all was not lost! I spied a Blue Bottle outpost and quickly got on line. They specialize in small batch roasting and individually prepared drip coffee. I ordered a cappuccino and watched as the barista carefully brewed the coffee, then frothed the milk, and finally "drew" a lovely little heart design with the foam. Outside of Italy, this is the best cappuccino I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Smooth with a rich coffee-caramel flavor, I savored each drop.
Dinner our first night in SF, was at Perbacco, a sleek Italian on California Street. In Italian, Perbacco means "to accentuate the positive," and the restaurant's food certainly lives up to that. I had a delightful Strawberry and Arugula Salad with a white balsamic vinaigrette, ricotta salata, and toasted almonds for my first course. I couldn't resist having pasta for an entree and the Raviora were comforting yet sophisticated. Small pillows filled with Meyer lemon and ricotta, bathed in an asparagus passatini with mint, accompanied by a hearty Dolcetto were the perfect "welcome" to San Francisco.
Day 2 of this whirlwind food tour, including the Chez Panisse dinner, tomorrow. Bye for now...