Saturday, April 18, 2015

San Francisco Treats

Mark and I never go out to eat when we're home. Well, hardly ever. We're pretty much homebodies who only go out when we have out-of-town visitors.

But when we go out of town - except for Maui* - we enjoy eating out, particularly breakfasts. So what did we do the first morning after our arrival in San Francisco on Tuesday? We walked several miles to a restaurant we had previously visited with friends almost two years ago - Zazie's in Cole Valley. 

(*Our routine in Maui is much like the one when we're home: hardly ever go out to eat. Costco and Safeway are our friends.)

I wanted to recreate the magic I had felt the first time I devoured their gingerbread pancakes with lemon curd and roasted Bosc pear topping smothered with pure maple syrup. Alas, it didn't happen this time ... and I learned a lesson (again): sometimes, it's just best to leave past magic alone, preserved in a Mason jar of memory.

That night, Mark and I celebrated our anniversary at a Spanish tapas place not far from the apartment where we are staying in Noe Valley. Though the meal was good (we had a sampler), the most memorable taste of that evening was the Spanish sparkling rose wine (see lead photo). After all, we were there for a celebration.

The morning after (in more ways than one), we walked an hour and a half to order our next breakfast - at Brenda's French Soul Food located on the skirt of the Tenderloin. Again, we were returning to a place we had been before. Memories of mouthwatering Sweet Potato Pancakes swirled. That's what I had when I lost my virginity to Brenda's. The next time I came to see her, there were no sweet potatoes, but there were blueberries. So I ordered the French toast stuffed with cream cheese and topped with a rich blueberry compote. O. M. G. 

This time, I went a different direction. Mark and I ordered the French Toast with butter pecan sauce to share, and we ordered equal but separate omelets stuffed with shrimp, caramelized onions and a copious amount of the richest goat cheese I've ever tasted. Both were decadently delicious.

Oops, I forgot to take a picture until half were gone.

Delicious salsa, but I hardly touched the biscuit and potatoes. How can one eat all that?

That night, we had dinner over at David and Rob's place, and the next morning (yesterday), we headed for Chloe's cafe, where I had a wonderful scramble with chicken apple sausage and Mark and I shared Cinnamon croissant French toast topped with strawberries and organic maple syrup. All was good, but the French toast was ... amazing.

But food is not all we have discovered and are enjoying here. No! Mention must be made of the artisansal, locally distilled gin that we have found here in our little home away from home in Noe Valley.

Super smooth, despite the name that might suggest overwhelming botanical flavors, especially juniper. Highly recommend this brand to gin connoisseurs. 

Of course, staring at these shelves - we had gone in for our usual Bombay Blue Sapphire, which they didn't carry - created an existential moment: none of these brands (except Hendricks) would be available behind the Zion Curtain of Utah Liquor Control. I briefly felt like an East Berliner making his first trip to the West.

We shall continue our culinary explorations here in San Francisco - grateful for them, knowing that when we go home next week, we'll be back to boiled egg salad spread atop high-fiber toast for breakfast.

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