Saturday, 7 May 2011

San Francisco

We scored a studio apartment in the Castro. This was fantastic after weeks in hotels and no self-sufficiency. It came equipped with a kitchen far fancier than mine, and I wanted to take the huge Kitchenaid oven home, but there was already an overweight luggage issue after visiting Sur la Table in the Ferry Building and being unable to resist a Le Creuset cast-iron saucepan with a reversible sauté-pan lid. 

Not to mention a series of visits to Trader Joe’s in search of the bulk Callebaut gianduja I’d heard tell of on forums, which was sadly unrewarded, but did mean the accumulation of a lot of other stuff. All declared, too, and brushed aside as lacking any threat.

San Francisco is my sort of city. In the same way we have a 7-Eleven on every corner, they have delis. And not little milk-bar delis, but a cross between Soulfoods and King & Godfree’s complete with the booze section and without the it’s-really-special-to-shop-here-at-great-expense vibe. (Love both these places, but as they’re uncommon emporiums in these antipodean parts, that vibe is pretty much inevitable.) And the Wholefoods and Mollie Stone's supermarkets are a far cry from Smith Street Safeway, loyalty to my crusty old outpost of the multinational aside. Therefore we rarely came home without several brown-paper bags full of food, which we stored and ate in the kitchen as if we’d lived there forever.

We still ate out a lot, though, especially lunches. Every morning, there was Spikes just down 19th Street from us for excellent espresso and a bear claw. There was great yum cha in Chinatown, inadvisably followed by a walk up an impossible hill to Coit Tower. 

There was The Little Chihuahua for Mexican. 

There was Woodhouse Fish Company for a Dungeness crab (look, I’m going to have to say it – I don’t get crab and lobster. I so rarely have the opportunity to eat it that I always feel compelled to when it’s there for $11, but it’s a lot of work for not much taste. And then there’s the wearing of a huge bib with a lobster on it, and the way you need to get your hands unspeakably sticky and greasy and vile; you know me and my hand neurosis. I mean, look at the state of me. Like a cavewoman. And I could not stop stealing bits of the Guitar Teacher’s peerless fish and chips instead.) and clam chowder.

La Boulange for pastries. The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma on the way to wine-tasting for a lunch that ended with mind-blowing caramelised pecan and chocolate tart.

And there was drinking, a lot of it. Nine-dollar Grey Goose martinis at Twin Peaks Tavern. We had quite a bit to do of that at home, with several bottles of sake to get through in order to make way for single-malts and cognac and Hendricks, all at about a third the price of Dan Murphy’s. On Haight Street was Toronado, with no food but 45 imported beers on tap. And where I was asked for age ID on the door for the first time in fifteen years.

Our last day in San Francisco, we had a superb lunch at Magnolia Brewery on Haight Street, with generously-alcoholic $3 Tuesday pints of their own offerings; I was anybody’s after one Prescription Pale Ale.. And I finally got around to trying a giant pretzel, found to be bread to have with dinner rather than a species of chip to have with beer. It’s the little differences...

No comments:

Post a Comment