Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sexy Girls Washing Car

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Eating our way through San Francisco . . .

Let me begin my post on eating with a photo of my cycling in Yountville -- and mad props to Pater for setting this one up -- I'd have sworn (based on much experience!) that he could never click the shutter that fast. We were very pleased to borrow the bikes from The Villagio Inn and set off daily following routes suggested by the concierge, then experimenting along the many side roads to create our own ideal distances. Calories, calories, and more calories needed to be burned between breakfast and dinner. We ran several times as well, and in San Francisco we walked miles and miles, but it was lovely to have some variety. Because, as I mentioned, all those calories . . .

First of all, the San Francisco calories. You already know about the tacos and tamales and the Humphrey Slocombe ice cream (ah, the memory!) all eaten in good company.

And I think I mentioned, in passing, that we ate a few times at decent, but not notable Italian restaurants in the North Beach area wending our way home from a long day sightseeing.

More memorable was a pleasant Italian restaurant we discovered by chance on our first evening, one I'd happily return to on a future visit: Seven Hills Restaurant on Hyde Street. Great food, lovely service, in a charmingly intimate two-room affair. The only impediment to full enjoyment was that I'd misunderstood Pater's intention (to return here for a full meal) when we'd popped into a nearby wine bar (Cafe Meuse, which I'd also recommend) to have a glass before dinner, since it was still a bit early. Instead, I surprised him by ordering a flight of reds (after all, weren't we in wine country? wasn't this educational?) . . . he rose to the challenge . . .and we arrived at Seven Hills 90 minutes later not quite so keen on a full bottle for dinner. No problem, though, as their list of wines available by the glass is very decent. Perhaps the ample lubrication before dinner accounts for my inability to tell you what we ate, but I do remember that it was all very good. Go. See for yourself. An added bonus is that you could take the cable car to get there, although we got the sense that this is very much a place frequented by locals rather than tourists.

We also loved the food at Canteen, one of the places Lisa was good enough to recommend. I loved the amuse-bouche, a perfectly-proportioned and textured spoonful of avocado and smoked trout, so I was hooked from the start. Good thing, too, because otherwise I might have been bothered by the cold drafts that kept sweeping in each time the door opened. We were sitting at the counter closest that door and brrrrr. . . But the sumptuous chestnut soup warmed me . . . so velvety good, such a rich, earthy flavour. The other highlight, for me, was my Vanilla Souffle, airy, sweet, rich with that eggy-vanilla fullness I can still conjure up in memory.
Too bad, though, that one dish came so quickly on the heels of the last.
I get the fun of the canteen/diner ambiance, but still, we were in and out in just under an hour, more than a little bemused at having spent close to $200 that quickly. We stretched out the evening (and burned off some of those calories) by walking back to our hotel (Canteen's downtown, our hotel at Fisherman's Wharf), comparing tasting notes but feeling a wee bit "What just happened" as well.
We'd go back, but we'd actively resist being prodded along through our courses.
The other foodie highlight for us in San Francisco was the Saturday Farmer's Market in the Ferry Building. We have some pretty wonderful Saturday markets in Vancouver, as well as Granville Island market which is open every day. But our daughter had really recommended this one so we went. And I have to say, if we lived in SF, we would be there every Saturday. We'd be able to pick up persimmons
and beautiful beets
but Pater would also be able to keep an ongoing supply of Tasty Salted Pig Parts from Boccalone instead of making do
with a Salumi cone (of assorted sausage slices).
(my apologies for the blurry photos)

This cone was picked up as we strolled along AFTER having wonderful home-baked scones with our latte and Americano which, in turn, were consumed AFTER the steamed pork dumplings we picked up because we were starving and hadn't yet found the scones to eat with our coffee (What? we'd walked all the way from our hotel -- it was time to take on more calories!) but BEFORE I stopped to sample a few oysters in the half shell and try my first-ever raw clam -- more rubbery than the oyster, but also more conducive to some enjoyable chewing . . . sweet and seasalt-y at once. . . .

I had thought to fit both Yountville and SF eating into this post, but this has gone on long enough and I really have to get to work. Still, enough for you to chew on here, no? Made you hungry yet? Personally, we've embarked on a bit of a healthier-eating kick around here, but it's lovely to reminisce about the good ol' days, week before last . . .

Pretty fitness model

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