Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Food of San Francisco

I have so many photos from our trip to San Francisco, I'm not sure I have the patience to put them all into my blog. Honestly. So I am going to restrict this particular post to the many things I ate. We ate good in SF. Maybe too good. We got great recommendations from some of H's friends and well as the lovely Ann Marie! Also, as in usual Dipitie fashion, sometimes it looked so good I completely forgot I was supposed to take a picture. Nothing was disappointing.

As soon as we checked in, we headed across the street to the Ferry Building which seemed to have the most concentrated group of interesting and recommended restaurants, as well as a Farmer's Market and specialty food shops.





We were hungry, but didn't want to eat too much right away, so we stopped into Mijita for a quick snack. We opted for two of the specials - a squash blossom quesadilla and a chicken torta.



Frescas!





And of course, I forgot to take photos. After a 6.5 hour drive, we were famished, so sue me. :oP The torta was good, although the Tortas at my local hole in the wall are better. However, the squash blossom quesadilla was amazing - instead of a tortilla quesadilla, it was almost like an empanada with a wonderfully flaky crust, gooey cheese and the very delicate favor of a squash blossom, and it was served with a smoked tomato salsa. YUM.

After some sightseeing, I was in the mood for some good old carb loading, so we headed over to Sodini's - an old school Italian restaurant that had a family atmosphere and played Sinatra nonstop.



We ordered the bruschetta, which was delightful, but not unusual - balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, basil, garlic on toasted slices of bread.



I ordered the Gnocchi stuffed with spinach and ricotta and covered in pesto alfredo. It was a cream based pesto with a strong basil flavor, but was exactly what I was looking for - a nice heavy, home style meal before hitting the hay.



H ordered the chicken Parmesan - the chicken was tender, the tomato sauce delicious, and the pasta perfectly cooked al dente.



Sodini's doesn't do dessert. I know, I was like wtf? too. But there was an awesome little Italian pastry shop around the corner where we picked up a cannoli.





The cannoli was awesome, the ricotta cheese just lightly sweetened with chocolate chips mixed in, and the shell was still crispy - perfect!

After my race, my family and I headed next door to our hotel for breakfast at Perry's. Of course I started out with a Bloody Mary.



I was all ready to order eggs, and then I saw these Ahi Tacos on the menu. Once I confirmed with our server that the ahi was sushi grade and served raw, I changed my breakfast tune! They were good, with a crispy won ton shell and a wasabi slaw, although the wasabi was a bit strong. I like wasabi though, so I wasn't complaining. In fact, I ate two more tacos off my sister's boyfriend's plate. I guess he wasn't as thrilled with the strong flavor, and I just ran 13 miles, so I considered it justified.



For my post race celebration dinner, we again walked across the street to the Ferry Building and The Slanted Door - This restaurant came recommended by almost everyone we talked to, so we knew we had to try it while we were in town.





The drink list was so unique, we had to try a variety!
H started with a Zona Rosa - a drink of tequila, lime and guava. This drink was good, but not exquisite other than the fresh guava juice they used. It was sweet but no truly interesting favors to me.



And I started with a Phantasm - lemongrass vodka (!), lime and falernum. I didn't know what falernum was either, but according to Wikipedia, falernum is a sweet syrup used in Tropical and Caribbean drinks. It contains flavors of almond, ginger and/or cloves, and lime, and sometimes vanilla or allspice. Learn something new every day! This drink was good. REALLY good. And I might have stuck with this one, if I hadn't wanted to try so many more!



As far as food went, we started with a few appetizer small plates. First the vegetarian spring rolls with tofu, shitake mushrooms and mint, served with peanut sauce. These tasted very summery - the were cool, light and refreshing with the mint, and the flavor of the shitake mushrooms was to die for.



Next we has the Hoisin BBQ Pork Short Ribs. These had wonderful flavor, but weren't all that unique really. But they were tender and the sauce was not disappointing.



Next up was the daikon rice cake with shallots and shitake mushrooms - these were so savory! The mushrooms, daikon, and shallots worked together beautifully! We actually got a half order because there were so many dishes we were going to try, but I was sad that we didn't have more when they were gone. Just delightful.



By now, we had moved on to more drinks!
H ordered the Hotel Nacional Special - rum, lime juice, pineapple syrup and apricot brandy. This was good. And potent!



And I got a Ginger Limeade made out of Kaffir Lime Vodka, ginger and fresh lime juice. Favorite drink, hands down. Sour and spicy and not too sweet, and there was a yummy piece of fresh candied ginger as a garnish, which I promptly ate. I could drink these ALL DAY. Seriously. YUM.



We also had a Jicama salad with citrus. Of course, I can't remember the entire description, nor could I find it online. It was good, but I was dying to get to the main course.



Now, of course, right about this time, we started chatting up our neighbors and I again forgot to take pictures. H got the filet with the citrus sauce and I had fresh halibut with a lime crust. H's filet was cooked a bit past medium rare, but was still very flavorful, but my halibut was the star of the entrees.

We finished the meal with the lemon blueberry panna cotta. Delicious, especially the sour cream topping. Sooo good.



I loved the Slanted Door so much, that we are already planning it into our October trip for the Nike Marathon. Once of the biggest reasons is that I have vegetarian friends and family, and their vegetarian dishes are inspired instead of forced. Not cheap, but highly recommended by us!

The next morning we checked out of our hotel, but did not need to leave town just yet, and I was dying to try the grilled cheese at Hog Island. Nothing was open yet, so we went to the Blue Bottle Coffee Company which was another must do located in the ferry building.





H and I both ordered cafe lattes. Now I am not a coffee connoisseur, but this was pretty good. Not bitter at all. And the barista was talented - H got a leaf



and I got a heart!



H was really interested in hitting up the Marketbar, and since Hog Island wasn't open yet, I acquiesced. I was eyeing the Marketbar's Beggars Feast menu item the day before.



We started with the ceviche, which had a lot of lime, sweet corn and Serrano chiles to add a great bite! It was served with fresh tortilla chips. Very, VERY good.



I ordered a glass of the Vino Rosado, from Floresta, Spain. The description was "Surprising amount of grip and pucker from tannins, which balance all the fruit flavors" and this attracted me because I am still trying to find a Rose with enough tannins to replace my beloved Barnwood Grenache Rose which is no longer produced. This was okay, dry with slight tannins, but it was no Barnwood. ::insert sad face::



H had cioppino. The broth was delicious, but the dish as a whole was not groundbreaking.



And I had the Beggar's Banquet: a bowl of potato leek soup, grilled italian bread drizzled with olio nuovo, with a piece of hard cheese and some fruit. The soup was a little bland, but the plate as a whole was satisfying and delicious in a simple peasant sort of way, hence the name. The olio nuovo was awesome, but was an Italian oil - I was a little disappointed it wasn't local. With all the amazing olive oil producers in California, including my beloved Pasolivo, it seemed a shame that they imported. Pasolivo's Olio Nuovo can take that oil on any day.



Well, we had a great time and ate some really good food. I am really happy I will be back in just a couple months to do it all over again! Especially since we didn't get to hit every restaurant we want to try - like these guys:

4 comments:

  1. Love this post!!! I still haven't been to The Slanted Door, so I was excited to read about your experience!

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  2. Sounds like fun! We ate our way through San Francisco this past spring. I LOVE the food there!

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  3. YUM! Definitely going to have to try The Slanted Door on our next trip.

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  4. oh my god i'm so hungry after reading your post. that mexican place looks great! actually everything looked great.

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