There is a lot of great food associated with San Francisco. And rightly so. Hidden among those monstrous mountains the locals refer to as hills lie some of the city’s finest secrets. This was actually my third visit to this beautiful city by the bay and I was determined to eat as much as my gluttonous soul could hold.
By this time, I was feeling just a tad bit guilty about eating like a starving pig. I don’t eat like this at home, and thanks to all those mountain-hills, it was a miracle I hadn’t gained more than a pound by the time I got back to NY.
So what did I eat on Day 5?
Breakfast at Tartine Bakery in Mission Dolores:
Yes, I had cake for breakfast. And it was GLORIOUS! I adore passion fruit and as soon as I saw it was available, I had to have it. Some people are impulse shoppers–I am an impulse eater. The genoise cake layers were light and moist, and the passion fruit Bavarian cream in conjunction with the coconut and lime was so ethereal I nearly fainted from pure pleasure.
My only disappointment with my visit to Tartine was they’d run out of the banana cream tartlette I fell in love with the last time I was there. Holy mother of chocolate, if you do nothing else in San Francisco, you MUST try this tartlette. The crust is lined in dark chocolate and caramel, filled with banana pastry cream, and decorated with shaved chocolate and is just heavenly. This is a grainy camera-phone picture of the tartlette I took on my previous trip:
For lunch, I stopped at Phô 2000 in Little Saigon:
Vietnamese iced coffee and phô fixings
Phô #3 (brisket, tripe, tendon, I forget what else)
I was very very disappointed that their iced coffee (strong chicory coffee mixed with condensed sweetened milk) was pre-made–I’m used to seeing an individual coffee filter placed on top of a drinking glass and watching the coffee drip into the condensed milk at the bottom of the glass. I know it’s more efficient to make a whole batch at once but it never really tastes the same, and I hate not knowing how long it’s been sitting around.
This was my last night before I was to leave SF for Los Angeles, and my friends A and T invited me out for dinner at Nopa, which I think is short for north of the Panhandle. We were led upstairs to our table on the balcony, which, to our delight, looked directly over the open kitchen.
We started with an amuse-bouche of crostini and a savory citrus-scented ricotta that came with a tiny salt bowl (I think it’s called a salt dip- I have one made of jadeite). This was surprisingly good, creamy yet bright with a little crunch from the salt.
Gem salad. Haven’t the foggiest what was in this–it’s not on Nopa’s menu anymore
Warm olives with roasted garlic and, uh, olive oil
Giant white beans, tomato, feta, oregano, and breadcrumbs run quickly under the broiler
T ordered the tender, flavorful porchetta. She was almost too mesmerized by the action in the kitchen below us to give the porchetta its proper due. Almost. Unfortunately, she wasn’t feeling well and was unable to eat more than a bite or two of her main.
Her husband A went with the grass-fed burger with pickled onions and french fries. I didn’t try his burger but he seemed pleased with it. It looked excellent, better than this picture makes it look. The fries were nice too, crisp on the outside and potatoe-y on the inside.
I was feeling a little guilty about eating so much artery-clogging food since stepping foot in San Francisco, so I decided to get some semblance of health into my system via Nopa’s Moroccan vegetable tagine with toasted almonds and lemon yogurt. Wow, really tasty! It reminded me a little of ratatouille. I’m typically not a fan of green olives but these were actually pretty good, briny but not eye-poppingly salty. I should have asked our server where all the olives in our meal came from.
I remember this meal with great fondness as well as some bitterness because… that was the last time I saw my dear friend T alive. She passed away four weeks later.
Rest in peace, my friend. Wherever you are, I hope you’re dining on all the gourmet meals we didn’t get to share together. I hope every day is a black & white cookie day. I love you and miss you.