People often ask, when they read posts like these, “How did you not explode eating all of that food?” Normally I answer, “Oh, I only took small bites” or “I burned it all off by walking a lot.” But the truth is, I did explode after our week, last week, in San Francisco. My hands are typing this, but my face is across the room, and you don’t want to know where my lower half is. But let me tell you, friends, it was totally worth it. We ate like kings (and queens, as the case may be) from Wednesday to Sunday and now you get to eat like kings and queens too–well, with your eyes–as I take you back through it.
Welcome to San Francisco. Actually, we’re not in San Francisco anymore but we were there last week because Craig had the chance to screen his movie (The Skeleton Twins) at Pixar and the San Francisco Film Festival and Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig came along with us and it was a pretty incredible five days and I’ll tell you all about them in my next post. Let’s focus on the important stuff. On my first free day there, I beelined for a place called The Mill to experience the cultural phenomenon du jour: $4 toast. Everyone’s talking about it. Some people are angry about it. Me? I wanted to eat it.
When I was invited to give a cookbook-related Google Talk in Mountain View, CA last Friday, I was incredibly honored and flattered but, also, I was really keen on checking out the cafeteria. I mean: what kind of food would I find there? What do people who work at Google eat?
Luckily, my host Chris invited me to lunch first. And not only that, I was allowed to take lots of pictures. So prepare yourselves for a journey, a journey to the Google Cafeteria.
Yesterday I described a mini-drama in my head when I was choosing, on Wednesday, between the fried potato bread with fried chicken and something healthier at Bar Tartine. I went with something healthier and kind of regretted it.
So yesterday (Thursday), I went back with Kate from Serious Eats and we tackled the fried potato bread with fried chicken on top. You can see it in the above photo. I see that picture and think to myself, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I ate that.”
I’ve decided to blog my book tour as it happens!
We’ll see if I can keep up, but I have 50 minutes now to write this post before having to do more cookbook-related stuff. Yesterday was such a good day; it started where I am now, at Ritual Coffee in the Mission. It’s a great place to work with wonderful coffee and free WiFi. From here, I walked over to Bar Tartine to have a sandwich.
When I was a nerd in high school (“What? YOU were a NERD in high school? That’s SHOCKING!”) my brother and I played many CD-ROMs. “Under A Killing Moon,” “The 7th Guest,” and, my personal favorite, “Return to Zork.”
This post has nothing to do with that except the title is an homage to that most peculiar video game, with creepy animations and a most memorable soundtrack. Instead, this post is about my return to one of San Francisco’s most beloved restaurants, a restaurant that I was dying to try my first time visiting here as an adult only to leave disappointed (see here). Was I disappointed this time around?
Here’s a review of my favorite bites from my trip to San Francisco. Thanks Bay Area Bloggers for making me feel so welcome: after I join a gym and burn off the 40 million calories I ingested this trip, I’ll book another flight and do it all again. And now, my favorite San Francisco bites!
Oysters (& Champagne) at The Ferry Building:
The quail at Ad Hoc:
The Burrito at Taqueria Pancho Villa:
The strawberry trifle at Zuni (all the way on the right):
The frangipane tart at Tartine:
The bruschetta at A16:
The cellophane noodles with fresh Dungeness crab meat at The Slanted Door:
The entire experience at Chez Panisse:
(I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I mean it. No individual dish stood out: the whole experience melded together into a sublime whole. Plus I’m really proud of that post, and want more people to read it!)
The spicy cauliflower at Pizza Delfina:
The green garlic flan at César:
The tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar:
And, finally, the Arpege farm egg at Manresa:
Whew! What a list. Hope visitors to San Francisco put it to good use. And two final tips: Never call San Francisco “Frisco” or “San Fran”; you will be shunned. And if you rent a car (a tricky issue: great to have for Napa and Los Gatos, bad to have if you’re just staying in the city), there’s good parking near the hospital on 14th in the Castro. Just make sure to move it before the street cleaners come on the corresponding day. I just paid my $40 ticket, a final souvenir from a terrific trip.
Brett had Bay Area bloggers buzzing. “Where is he taking you?” they asked when I told them about our e-mail exchange. The exchange went like this:
Me: I want to meet you!
Brett: Great! Let’s meet for lunch Thursday.
Me: Ok. But there’s a problem.
Me: I’m going to MANRESA that night and I don’t want to eat too big a lunch.
Brett: Hmmm… Ok, I’ve thought it over and I have the perfect place.
Me: You do?
Brett: Yes. It’s a surprise. See you Thursday!
So I told everyone he had a perfect place but that it was a surprise and everyone was anxious to know what it was. So was I. He picked me up near where I was staying in the Castro and drove me north or south or east or west, I really have no idea. I do know he said we were in the more authentic Chinatown. And then he said, “Here we are,” and we were there in front of the best-named restaurant in the history of restaurants: Burma Superstar.