Thursday, January 28, 2016

my serious long term relationship with food

How do you go back to normalcy after a quick and dirty weekend in SF? It's a rough transition.
The last time I was here, it was summer 2010. We had just finished up high school, and I forgot my camera, so I bought some disposable ones. We did all the touristy things, and it's probably one of the only trips where I remember the activities more than the food. 
So this time, I landed in Oakland immediately ready to eat. First stop, Camber, where their chicken curry was just the right balance of spicy (for me) and spice and creamy. Described as a mix between yellow and red. Just as I expect a good curry to be, but I feel like I wish I went with the eggplant option. Too dark and crowded for me to think to take a picture. We were set up at a long, communal, high top that felt like a speed dating scenario. And that was as much as activity as I needed on a Friday full of travel and trail (or trial) mix.
That plus the time difference is how I roused us almost in time to catch the sunrise on Twin Peaks.
couple debatably out-cute-ing us
It's been awhile since I've been up and active early enough to pretend like I live the casual, carefree, Bohemian life. But when in San Francisco...
And when you have an hour or so to kill between a rained out sunrise viewing and friend catch-up brunch...and the clouds are parting to reveal the most beautiful day, it's only natural to drive around some winding neighborhoods, ending up by the beach at Devil's Teeth Baking Company for a precursor breakfast sandwich.
A special breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, thick bacon, pepper jack cheese, and mashed avocado on a flakey buttermilk biscuit. And the sauces, ughhh. Lemon-garlic aioli oozing through the ingredient crevices and this spicy, smokey, chipotle-y hot sauce for dipping. This is breakfast as breakfast should always be. All the sandwiches seem to be made to order and we saw a single egg pan on the multiple-burner stove, so expect a wait. But it was worth it.
We found Christy just in time at Brenda's French Soul Food, where, in keeping with my self-recommended high-carb diet, all I really wanted was the beignet flight that essentially allows you to try one of each of their stuffed beignets.  It was an obvious choice.  From top to bottom: plain, Ghirardelli chocolate, Granny smith apple, cheesy crawfish.  Expertly cut into thirds, thank you very much. I wouldn't describe it as the light and fluffy kind of beignet, but they were dense in a good way (and you can't really be airy if you're gonna support that much substance anyways). Gun to head, apple was probably my favorite, but it's not an even comparison when there's one savory in the mix.
The only thing to do after that glutinous display is napping fresh air and moderate activity. The botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park is free for SF residents. Unfortunately, the science museum is not. But there is a little giant snake named Lemon Drop in the gift shop. Thank you fickle weather for not pouring down on us. But I moderately resent that you were the sunniest whenever we were in the car.
Magnificent Magnolias
 I suddenly understand how relationships can begin on social media. I first saw Curry Up Now while scrolling through my creepily personalized explore page on Instagram just before bed. There was definitely an instant connection. Butterflies in the stomach kind. I would even go as far as to say it was love at first sight. Salivating did indeed occur.
I couldn't do the Naughty Naan justice. Snapped this as it was oozing in all its glory in my tiny hand.
My meal was actually the Deconstructed Samosa with paneer though. Because I love the word "deconstructed" in the context of food. And I love sweet and tangy and salty and herby chutneys. And the mini samosas sprinkled on top sealed the deal.. because duh. Mini things. Can I just sink into a pool of this?
By the end of the day, all I wanted was something fresh. Green. Raw. In other words, something quintessentially Sanfranciscan. I almost groaned out loud when Danny suggested a Mediterranean place because that word gives me [wonderful] flashbacks of baskets of bread drenched in olive oil and plates piled high with meat/seafood in Greece. The state of my body at the time wants to deeply thank Souvla for not being that way. Almost went with the veg salad until I got a dirty look followed by an adamant No, so chicken salad it was. With fennel, Navel orange, pickled red onion, pea shoots, and Mizithra cheese. So refreshing... until I got to the overdressed portion at the bottom of the bowl, but it was about time to call it quits by then anyways.

Against all reasonable reason, the decision to get ice cream was thrown out and acted upon. TCHO Chocolate with TCHO crispies at Smitten to be exact. It was one of those liquid nitrogen places where I am 2 parts aware of the fact that ice cream is not my go-to dessert, 2 parts skeptical of the gimmick, and 5 parts mesmerized by the "smoke" and machines.
By the way, I could munch on a huge bag of the crispies while blogging in bed.

If I had to spend the better half of my Sunday in transit losing daylight, at least it started off right.
And by right, I mean superb. This blackberry pistachio croissant at Neighbor Bakehouse was probably all I needed the entire weekend. I want to tuck myself into its layers and fall asleep forever.
I can't even describe my internal panic when Danny went and ordered the chocolate walnut thing instead. We had a plan! And a recommendation from Jade!!
"Anything else for you?"
"No, that's..."
"UH ACTUALLY, could I get a blackberry pistachio croissant, as well?"
To think BPC and I were almost ships in the night. I can't, it's too sad.
I mean...
Just like... look at it.
What is even happening?
Satisfied food groans = too high to count.
Yeah, I'll have ten more please.
[Also got the sauerkraut savory croissant, which was half gone before a picture could happen. Also great. Would recommend.]

Headed down the street a couple blocks to brunch at Serpentine (where they keep salt in a mini wooden bowl) with Neighbor pastries in hand. Must be tradition to nom before nomming now. Not that I'm complaining...
Red flannel* hash with the most tender beef brisket (where the best bites were the singed peppery pieces), the crispiest potatoes (which could only be improved by increasing overall surface area), the ooziest poached eggs, the sweetest roasted beets, arugula, horseradish creme fraiche (the dish decision dealmaker), and grilled levain bread (which I took to go, and the nicest waitress even brought out a little cup of the most fragrant pineapple jam for me).
*note: red flannel is apparently a thing and not just a clever allusion to heartiness and lumberjacks and flannel button downs on Serpentine's part.. But the picture kinda looks like a rugged lumberjack, doesn't it? If the eggs were eyes.. and the potatoes were his beard... no? Just me? Alright...

Thanks for the best edible weekend.

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