My Dinner at Ad Hoc

So I have this car I rented, here in San Francisco, and on Saturday–after the farmer’s market–I wanted to put it to use. I never realized that the Napa Valley was so close to the City by the Bay and after the storm let up, and as I considered my options, I decided that I would venture out to Napa to eat at Thomas Keller’s newest (and arguably, coolest) restaurant: Ad Hoc.

A Ferry Building Welcome

“You have to go to the Ferry Building!” “You have to go to the Farmer’s Market!” “If you don’t go to the Ferry Building or the Farmer’s Market I’ll never read your blog again and not only that, I’ll burn my computer with your page loaded up so I can watch you smolder.”

These are the words that regaled me when I announced I was going to San Francisco. My readers are very aggressive people. So I knew, Saturday morning, that I’d have to go to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market or pay the price.

Luckily, Sam of Becks and Posh was happy to be my host. She met me at the front of the Ferry Building (a San Francisco icon, poorly photographed from the back, above) and told me how crappy it was that it was raining. But I said, “Well, let’s embrace the rain: maybe it won’t be as crowded.”

San Francisco: Arrival & Starvation

The plane left from Kennedy Airport. I bought a muffin near my apartment and, upon arriving at the terminal, decided I’d eat whatever snack they gave me on the plane. Little did I know, American Airlines doesn’t give you snacks: they charge you for one of four horrible options. The worst of these options, the Chinese Chicken Salad, was consumed (enthusiastically, I might add) by the girl across the aisle from me. It smelled worse than it looked. I had a $3 giant Snickerdoodle that had more chemicals listed in its ingredients than Janice Dickensen’s face. But it held me over until the plane landed.

When the plane landed, I got my rental car (a controversial decision: half my friends said I was crazy, the other half said I’d need it) and drove to meet my friend Raife near his acting program in, what I think, was downtown San Fran (near all the giant chain stories–Macy’s, Banana Republic, Borders.) I parked in the most expensive parking lot in the history of the world and then set out to find (in the hour I had before I had to meet Raife) my first San Francisco bite.

Do you do this when you arrive at a new city? Seek out a meaningful first bite? I do. I want my first bite to be memorable, significant, something the city is known for. When I went to Paris last year, my first bite was a chocolate eclair at a patisserie near my hotel.

I paced and paced, searched and searched: maybe I’d find a Mission style burrito (which made no sense because I was nowhere near the Mission). Maybe I’d have fresh sour dough bread.

But I could find nothing and I was getting hungrier and hungrier and time was ticking and soon I’d have to meet Raife and, not only that, but see a play with him. So, friends, readers, country men, forgive me, but this was my first bite:

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