CHEF MONICA POPE
Travel Blog, Part 1 – San Francisco/Bay Area – August 2010
I was supposed to Tweet during my vacation but, because I prefer to eat life instead of tweet life, I saved all my tweets and decided to blog them instead. Call it “twogging.” That’s kind of like my other new favorite word: “GLOCAL” ( going local ).
*We land in SFO and hit Ferry Plaza Seafood. Had a Deluxe Seafood Platter — the best Fanny Bays and Little Skookums I’ve had…ever. Also, boiled shrimp and mussels with salted caper butter and Acme bread.
* I also had a flight of white wines starting with a Muscatel, then a Reisling and a French something…who knows now
*That was all a preamble for our 1:30 lunch reservation at Slanted Door.
*We’re sussing out the ferry plaza stores for our provisions to bring to the bay house. We check out Boulette’s Larder and get yelled out by one of the owners — that’s always fun. We take some pictures and promise to only use them as our own personal porn
*We buy a mixed carton of wonderful mushrooms….all local
*We buy some boccalone sausage…home of the salumi cone…tasty salted pig parts to go…
*Stop at acme bread co. for bread….Jewish Rye, Walnut-Cranberry, and Epi
* I really want to buy the bacon caramel popcorn but must go to Slanted Door…suddenly it’s 1:30!
*As we’re ordering beverages, Lili falls asleep on my lap; Josie looks like she might be next but the Vietnamese crepe keeps her awake!
*Lunch at Slanted Door: daikon cake (as always), spring rolls with shrimp, shredded pork and fresh herbs, the most unbelievable glass noodle dish with tofu skins – the skins are beautiful (we will be reminded of them again when we harvest seaweed from in front of the house in Marshall, we just don’t know it yet).
*I have a Troli, a Spanish white wine. The waiter remembers me somehow. I forget how loud and careening out of control Slanted Door is. We finish and decide to book it to the bay!
*At this point, I wonder if it is somehow more interesting for you all to get these tweets as I am enjoying it all….but I don’t care
*We must hit Tomales Bay Foods by 6pm or we miss out on the Cowgirl Creamery and roast chicken and wine. The small town does fold its bedcovers down early, especially on a Sunday
*Lots of bikers on the road….must remember we are not in Houston anymore….must remember….must remember
*An easy hop over the GGB (that’s the Golden Gate Bridge) and a left on Hwy 1 (that’s Sir Francis Drake Blvd to you)
*I’m bracing myself for the usual cold reception from the locals….it must be our GLOCAL t-shirts that they hate!
*We assemble local cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery, wine, roast chicken, fig jam, panforte (of course), almonds (NOT Marconas, we realize later). Must get produce at Toby’s as Shorty’s is on vacation for 12 days – this seemed odd to me as it is the highest of the high season, but the cashier is soooooo rude about my inquiring. She actually called me a shorty (as in short-timer), not realizing that I’ve been coming here for almost 20 years. Or was she the short-timer?
*We pick up a watermelon, some cherry tomatoes, peaches and plums at Toby’s then crash and burn at the bay house!
*Somehow we end up coming home WITHOUT most of our cheese!!! hum….that’s brutal.
*Next day: go out foraging, mostly for wild fennel, and I decide that I am going to provide Central Market with fennel pollen as we have a windfall of local fennel pollen. Flocal Flennel?- you know I just like the way that sounds.
*We find mussels but realize that August doesn’t have an R in it….Argust? hum?
*Hot tub is hot; but the next day, hot tub is not hot (left the cover off – oops. Don’t tell the owners. It takes an entire day to recover.)
*We do, too.
*Back into town to get some basics like garlic, onions, more wine. Signed up for Alice Water’s talk at Toby’s on Saturday night. She’s coming with my friend, Davia Nelson, one half of the Kitchen Sisters team – heck ya! I’m excited now. Alice is talking about her new Green Kitchen cookbook, which I will have her sign.
*On to the Marshall Store & Oyster Bar for some BBQ and smoked oysters! And clam chowder!
*Had the most unbelievable oysters. The chef here (supposedly) worked at Chez Panisse (who hasn’t out here, though). He’s using a Texas smoker – well, that’s intriguing. The oysters were great – made better by sitting on the blustery bay at tree trunk tables watching the boats decay. The BBQ sauce was really a perfect balance (or as Lili dubbed it: smerfect) with the oysters wearing the pants in the relationship.
*Honestly, I’ve never really appreciated oysters until now. Really.
*It’s not until mid-day the next day that we venture out again. To Dillon’s beach to play with the jellies and climb huge sand dunes!
*The next day we’re off to eat at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. I have to pry Lili away from Princess Mononoke (it’s already her 3rd or 4th viewing of the movie; she does this every summer – up to 12 viewings of the same movie. I think she’s memorizing it. When she was a baby, it was Lion King. Two years ago, Spiderwick Chronicles).
*Lili thinks Chez Panisse sounds Japanese…hum….I tell her she will have pizza at this place…she’s fooled.
*Heading over the veerrrrrry long Richmond Bridge. Is it longer than the Bay Bridge, we wonder?
*Finally in Berkeley. Lili says it sounds like Broccoli, so we re-name Oakland, Okraland.
*We meet Lisa’s friend Christy and her daughter Marisa at Cafe Rouge – a great restaurant and meat market (with gourmet grocery next door) from Zuni alums. No pizza here, so we just browse the grocery store and get some Umbrian Cicerchia (looks like a cross between fava and chickpeas).
*We’re all hungry and dinner at Chez Panisse is in 4 hours so we go to my favorite Japanese place, O Chamé, for corn-chive pancakes with a light tahini sauce, endive with eel (really good, utterly simple…only in SFO), miso soup, vinegar cucumbers with red radishes and shiso leaves. I have an Oakville Pinot Gris.
*We take a “hood tour” through the Berkeley, or Broccoli, hills — they sort of do look like bunches of broccoli — and the Oakland okra fields.
*Chez Panisse, aka Chapanese as Lili keeps reminding us, is only minutes away but too long for Lili. She’s hungry for pizza.
*Our car tour is done and we walk to Chez Panisse…stay tuned for Part 2!!!