April 28, 2011

A New Heid-Out to Add to Our List of Standbys: Heidi's

I’ve decided that a large factor in determining how excited I will get about a restaurant is how many things I’ll be able to eat in one visit.

More is better, it turns out.

So, by more, I don’t mean large portions. I just mean an assortment of foods to try. I’m not a one-entrée and done kind of girl. I like to have an app, I like to have an entrée, I like to have dessert. And I prefer not be stuffed. Well, let’s clarify. I don’t think I mind being stuffed. Uncomfortably stuffed, I don't like. Got it?

So last night when our fabulous waiter at Heidi’s (I have finally made it to the new Heidi’s) told us that the menu is designed to let people create their own little tasting menus, I was sold. I immediately decided I liked it there. A lot.

There is an hors d'oeuvres section of the menu, with items comprised of a bite or two. There is a grouping of appetizers that are maybe twice that size. Regular sized entrees. Regular sized desserts. There are a lot of things you could do with this. You could create a meal of hors d'oeuvres. You could create a meal of hors d'oeuvres and apps. You could go the traditional route and pick one in each section.

Love it.

And just while we’re talking about love—loved the décor in this place. A huge modern tree in the middle of the main dining room. A tasteful graffiti wall. Cool bright-colored chandeliers. A kitchen you can see into as you walk to and from your table.

And a great wait staff.

I started out with this uber chic cocktail that was as tasty as it was pretty. It was called the Pamplemousse, and it had a white wine base with Meyer lemon, grapefruit, and oranges. I loved that it wasn’t overly sweet. I hate overly sweet drinks.

And then I had the instant pork bun off the hors d'oeuvres list. It created a dose of excitement when it came to the table in a little pot with the lid shut tight. It was tasty, but it surprised me a bit, with a barbeque-ish flavor. It was okay; I didn’t love it. Probably my least favorite part of the meal.

But...oh how the Shefzilla Surprise app made me want to squeal with delight. Here's the deal: each week a new version of the Shefzilla Surprise makes it way onto the menu. You tell them if you have any food allergies, they tell you if you’re safe, and then you take a chance. They do a fantastic job at creating excitement about it without telling you what it is. I had to give it a whirl—and I’m glad I did. Ready for it? A big crouton….(the second they revealed a crouton, I was smitten)...fried in…duck fat. Duck. Fat. With an egg yolk prepared sous-vide. And cute little pea shoots. Can we say delicious?

Yes. Yes, we can.

I licked that plate clean. Well, to be honest, I dragged the last bit of crouton across every last remaining component on the dish. As my dining buddy Lizzie called me out on. :)

For my entrée, I picked the anise-scented lamb shank, which apparently has generated quite a following. It was very good—savory, falling off the bone tender, seasoned well. By that point in the meal though, I’d kind of had my fill of rich, so I’m not sure I ejoyed it as much as I could have. But still delicious.

By the time dessert came, we three were ready to share, and split the nitro chocolate mousse. I’ll let the menu description do the describing—you’ll get the point. “With roasted marshmallow, peanut butter bliss, and honey.”

Yep, bliss. 


Watch-out, friends. I have become obsessed with tasting menu-esque places. Had a similar experience at Meritage for brunch recently and was equally thrilled—details coming soon!

Heidi's Minneapolis on Urbanspoon

April 25, 2011

Where Humor Meets Delicious: Dulce de Leche Brownies

I just finished reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

I’ve decided I love this guy. I wish I could be him. He used to live in San Francisco (my new favorite US city). And now he lives in Paris (my favorite city, period).

He eats. He cooks. He bakes. He writes about it. He lives in Paris, the greatest city in the world.

And he’s funny, to boot.

I chuckled out loud numerous times on the recent flights that I’ve read his book on—and that’s saying something since I generally spend my time on a plane thinking about all of the things that might cause it to crash. (What’s that vibrating noise? Is that normal? Have you had turbulence this bad before? Do you think that person has been in the bathroom too long? Do you think they’re up to something?)

Just one of many funny excerpts:

“I don’t wear sneakers much, but as hard as I try, I’m unable to squeeze my feet into the stiff leather shoes that Parisian men favor. It’s beyond me how Parisian gents are able to wear these shoes on the city’s hard and treacherously slippery pavement. Consequently, my black, lug-soled Trippen shoes from Germany make me an outcast and invariably draw stares. Maybe it’s because the smooth soles are easier to wipe clean than my deep-grooved soles if you step in the minefield of sidewalk dog droppings. The downside is when racing through the market in the springtime, I have to stop and take a stick to flick out the cherry pits that get stuck in the bottoms or else people look up, expecting to see a seasoned hoofer tap-dancing his way toward them as I click around the city.”

That’s funny! To me, anyway.

He loves Parisians as much as he loves making fun of them. I think it hits a little too close to home for my mom—she hasn’t finished the book yet and started it a while ago. I usually fiercely protect the French among those who are unlucky enough to make fun of them in front of me (they only do it once). But, because I sense his true admiration of them, I let it slide. And laugh along.

So, because I’m feeling awfully inspired by him tonight—and because Zach is in need of some comfort after getting a flat tire on the same day that he woke up at 3:30 am, I’m making the Dulce de Leche Brownies from his book.

Homemade brownies with swirls of dulce de leche. Lebovitz says they’ve opened doors for him in Paris. I believe him.

Dulce de Leche Brownies—Adapted slightly from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

8 tbsp unsalted butter
6 oz semisweet chocolate
¼ c cocoa
3 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
1 c canned dulce de leche

Heat oven to 350.

Grease an 8-inch square pan. Line bottom and 2 sides with wax paper or parchment paper.

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add in chocolate, and stir until completely melted.

Off heat, whisk in cocoa until blended.

Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in sugar, vanilla, and flour.

Pour half of the batter into the pan. Then dollop 1/3 of the dulce de leche by teaspoon-sized mounds, evenly spaced apart. Use a knife to lightly swirl the dulce de leche into the brownie mixture.

Pour remaining brownie batter over the top, and dollop remainder of the dulce de leche, very lightly swirling.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.

April 21, 2011

Good Enough to Share

Lucia’s Wine Bar never fails to delight.

I know this because it’s the one place we go to regularly where Zach will split things and share. All other places, all bets are off. But because we (Zach) know(s) everything is always good, Zach is willing to share. This is rare.

When we lived in Uptown, we were at Lucia’s Wine Bar at least once a week. We spent many a school night at Lucia’s Wine Bar, procrastinating.

We don’t make it there every week anymore now that it’s more than four blocks away, so I’m super flattered that the waitress we always have (at the table all the way in the back by the serving window) always remembers that we like the crostini trio with extra goat cheese and no tapenade. (As you’ll see, we deviated from this tonight, and got the crostini trio as intended, but I loved that she remembered.) Good service example #1.

That focaccia that they use for the crostini trio is sinful. Full of olive oil, so moist. And even better when they brush it with more olive oil and give it a very light toasting.

The crostini trio is always a must for us.

After that, it’s hard to tell what we’ll order on any given night. The menu changes every week. Zach very frequently will pick whatever chicken they have (it IS so versatile, after all, which he apparently LOVES). I look and look and look, often overwhelmed with indecisiveness and too many tempting choices.

Tonight we decided to split the hangar steak. We put all our odds in one dish. (And maybe in the dessert tray we knew would come at the end of the meal, as well.)

Good service example #2: they brought our hangar steak out on two plates. This is a big deal when you’re sharing with a boy, particularly a boy who eats really fast. How relaxing it was to actually eat my hangar steak at my own pace because I wasn’t afraid he’d start eating MY share. I know that my mom will roll her eyes when she reads this. But I’m being real with you.

Hangar steak with watercress butter melting over the top (swoon), light and fluffy whipped potatoes, and broccolini…who wouldn’t want to make sure they got their fair share of that?

After we polished that off (some more quickly than others), we patiently waited for the killer dessert tray. Their dessert tray is incentive to split and be somewhat sensible.

I have had some pretty delicious things off this dessert tray: a broiled oatmeal cake, a root beer chocolate cake that I failed to replicate at home, a chocolate pecan pie, chocolate sea salt cookies with homemade ice cream.

Tonight we picked the carrot cake with homemade honey ice cream. It was as moist and perfect as it looks. And the ice cream was truly honey-y and lovely.

So, the food is fantastic. But so is the atmosphere. Cozy, consistent, dimly lit, friendly, European-ish. If you try, you can convince yourself you’re in another country. And if you're like me, you daydream about living there in that cute little space, pretending you're in Europe every night, eating at that table by the serving window every night. 

Lucia's on Urbanspoon

April 16, 2011

The Perfect Grilled Cheese

37 degrees today on a late April Saturday felt like a good day for a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

And if you didn’t know, I have some pretty strong feelings about grilled cheese sandwiches. No bacon, no tomato, no Gruyere, no fancy schmancy stuff for this girl. When I want a grilled cheese sandwich, I want the real thing. The way it was intended to be.

Sure, there are times when I’m open to versions of grilled cheese sandwiches with stuff in them. Surdyk’s at the airport has a pretty tasty grilled cheese with caramelized onions and fancy cheeses. In college, I got my veggies in by getting the caf’s grilled cheese with tomato.

But when I really am hankering for a grilled cheese, I get serious. No messing around. Cheese, butter, bread. Done.

That’s not to say that good quality ingredients aren’t key. My perfect grilled cheese sandwich needs to start with really good white bread. (Grilled cheese time is not the time to start trying to get in more whole grains.) Breadsmith’s Honey White is my grilled cheese bread of choice.

I use Land O Lakes butter because it’s all I’ve ever used. And because my friend Wendy works there and I feel a sense of loyalty to her when I buy my butter.

And for the cheese, I have a magic formula. One slice of white American. One slice of cheddar. You really need both. I love the combination they provide. The American gives it the saltiness that I like. The cheddar gives it dimension. Both give it ooey gooey melted-ness.

Frying pan gets heated on medium. Bread gets liberally slathered with room temp butter. Cheese gets put between slices of bread. And into the frying pan it all goes to get its nice golden brown lovely crunch.

While the sandwich cooks, I get out my plate and put a folded paper towel down on it. Don’t ask.

(I don’t like when hot grilled cheese sandwiches “sweat” on the plate.)

I think a grilled cheese always needs to be served with something uber simple. Today, it was carrot sticks. Sometimes, it’s apple sauce. Sometimes it’s Campbell’s tomato soup.

This grilled cheese sandwich has a way of getting my equilibrium back in check when I’m out of sorts. I bite in and get hit with creaminess, crunchiness, saltiness. And just like that, all is right with the world again.

April 12, 2011

Head Over Hills for San Francisco (and Sonoma): Part III

On this episode of Head over Hills...we leave San Francisco and go to Sonoma. Healdsburg, to be exact. We’ll see how Sarah doesn’t let travel logistics get in the way of eating good food, we’ll finally hear about the strangers at the bar (way less interesting than it’s been made it out to be), and we’ll figure out who those weirdos were at the coolest restaurant in Healdsburg (or not).

Can you tell that I’ve been watching way too much Bravo lately?

But seriously, I’ll stop with the SF and Sonoma food after this post. For one, I’m getting sick of talking about it myself, so everyone else must really be sick of it. And just today, two different people asked me, “So, I know what you ATE in SF, but what did you guys DO?”

We did stuff, promise. We were good tourists.

But here we go, highlights from the end of the trip:

Making new friends @ Scopa

I’ve realized over the past year how Minnesotan Zach and I are. Some of this I’m proud of. Some of it, I’m not.

We actually didn’t have any set dinner plans the first night we got to Healdsburg, but I had read good things about a place called Scopa. I called to see if they had any reservations for that night, was told they didn’t, and that if we wanted to sit at their small bar, we should get there by 5:20. So, we strolled up around 5:15, a good 15 mins before they opened, and waited at the door. An older guy, about 70, was sitting there already reading a book. Shortly after, another couple showed up (prob late 50’s). And with that, the six seat bar was full before Scopa even opened.

And with that, we had made four new friends. As we were standing outside the door and they were starting up conversation, they were talking about how they like to sit at the bar because they can talk to the other people seated there. This started to make me antsy. I don't sit at the bar because I want to talk to others. I sit at the bar because I can’t get a seat at a regular table. (Broders is the exception to this, but people at the Broders bar don’t talk to each other. They’re Minnesotan.). I prefer not to risk knocking elbows with my fellow diners and I prefer not to talk to new people. Yes, I have true Minnesota blood in me.

But we made the best of it, and it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. It was actually enjoyable, and they offered to take our picture.

Delicious food: loved the meatballs with homemade bread. Really loved Zach's braised chicken with polenta, and really really loved the panna cotta with huckleberry sauce. Who knew panna cotta could be so great?

The wine divas @ Barndiva

You could call us gawkers. I’m sure we were super obvious.

We spent our last real dinner, our last night in Sonoma, at Barndiva, totally enthralled by the couple next to us.

They had a notebook out that they kept passing to each other that they appeared to be taking serious notes in. At first, I thought they were food critics. I initially got excited about this, and then started feeling very small and insecure about hauling out my camera to take pictures for my amateur food blog.

But then it became clear that they weren’t food critics. Then our theory was that they were in the wine business. They rattled off the wines they had tasted that day, what they would pair well with, and discussed what they would “hold” on. We were intrigued.

Until they started running down the list of top lessons they have learned while being married for five years, giggling. Puke. At that point, I tried to focus on my food, and drown it out. Done.

Luckily our food was interesting. Surprisingly fabulous, after a week of fabulous things. I wish the designer of the restaurant could decorate my house. I wish the person who designed their cute little business cards would design some for me. And I wish their chef would cook for me every night.

I had a delicious salad that I loved most for its beauty.

And then a lasagna that will likely live forever as the most interesting lasagna I’ve ever eaten. Assembled after being cooked, the meat sauce was somewhat traditional, but had balsamic something running through it that broke up the richness. Fresh layers of homemade pasta. An arugula pesto on the side. A small scattering of grilled seasonal veggies on top that were more of a garnish than anything else. Creamy delicious ricotta. Super fresh, not heavy.

And for dessert: a trio of profiteroles with creamsicle ice cream, chocolate salted caramel ice cream, and crème fraiche ice cream. Loaded with chocolate sauce. Garnished with caramelized bananas. Plate. Eaten. Clean.

Have food, will travel

Planner me always makes sure to pack snacks. Anyone who has half of a brain that travels with me also makes sure I pack snacks. I don’t really subscribe to the whole, “We’ll just stop at Mc Donald’s thing.” And I really don’t like to try restaurants that just happen to be on the way that I know nothing about. I’ve had many a bad meal under that plan.

So, I’ve gotten scrappy (and rather brilliant) over the years.

This is what I ate for breakfast the morning we left SF for Sonoma. I hadn’t had Tartine’s bread yet and was horrified by the prospect of not having Tartine’s bread before I left. I mean, I had had everything else on their menu. So, part of our order the morning of our 40 minute wait was toast. Thick, toasted, uber-crunchy, perfect toast. With butter and apricot jam. I happily ate it from a to go box on my lap as the GPS guided Zach safely and accurately (pleasant surprise) out of town.

The night before we left to come back to Minneapolis, we stayed at a hotel by the airport because our flight left at 6:00 am. I knew the food prospects by the hotel would be less than stellar for dinner. So I convinced Zach to go the Ferry Building that afternoon to collect picnic supplies. We’d have a hotel room picnic. It is a feat in and of itself that we had made it to the Ferry Building that day. We had the rental car. We had been in the rental car all day. And there were some crazy parking rules going on again (no parking after 3 this time…and it was 3:15), but Zach persevered. About seven illegal u-turns about ten unnecessary blocks circled. A good amount of patience depleted.

But worth it. We had ourselves a quite tasty hotel room picnic despite no plates and no napkins. (When in need, paper bags make good makeshift plates or food tents).

Creamy goat cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, Marcona almonds, grapes, orange and fennel salami from…the meat place. Can’t remember the name. A half bottle of wine (that we wished had been a full bottle), and some sour gummy cherries.

Happy. :)

April 9, 2011

Head Over Hills for San Francisco: Part II

After a few days of technical challenges in getting the rest of my photos from the trip uploaded, I think I am back in business. Thank god for tech-savvy husbands who are patient and care about their wife's blogging.

Here is round two of our fabulous food aventures in SF. It includes the only disappointing meal we had (which was far away from being a bad meal), the benefit of being on vacation when you can’t decide what to have for breakfast, and the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had.

When giddy turns to disappointed @ Chez Panisse

Anyone who loves food knows about Alice Waters and her restaurant Chez Panisse. She's a legend. And I've been looking forward to going to Chez Panisse for months. Months. You have to be on top of your game to get in. They only take reservations up to one month in advance, and you pretty much have to make the reservation exactly one month in advance for any hope of getting in. Check, thanks to reminders on my Outlook calendar at work.

We showed up, I was beyond excited. I even took a picture of the entrance. I was completely giddy.

We made our way up to the bar on the second floor, got a glass of wine, got a little bit of snobbiness from who I'm guessing was the manager, and waited patiently to be seated. (We were early of course.)

We did the tasting menu--four courses of promised seasonal goodness.

Spring vegetable salad with lemongrass vinaigrette

Local rockfish in a bouillabaisse broth cooked in the fireplace with rouille and toast

Spit-roasted Becker Lane pork shoulder with star anise and coriander, potato and green garlic galette, and garden greens

Meyer lemon meringue tart

Was the food good? Yes, of course.

Did I like it? Think so.

Was it what I expected? Mmm, not really.

To be completely totally brutally honest, I was disappointed with Chez Panisse. Maybe (surely) I had unfairly high expectations. I went in expecting to be blown away and just wasn't. The actual restaurant was charming, a craftsman-style house, with a few romantic nooks and crannies that you'd pay extra for to be seated in. And of course the food was expertly prepared. But have I had similar food before? Sure have. Waters may have invented seasonal cooking in Berkeley, but she isn't the only one doing it anymore. I think I just made my pilgrimage too late in life. Sigh.

Fishies out of water in search of coffee and burritos

As I've said before, I do my research before a trip. I enlist the help of my foodie loving friends and countless reviews and articles. My previous SF resident friend Emily hooked me up with a thorough list of places we needed to try. Philz Coffee and Pancho Villa were on the list, and were definitely two places that we probably would have missed without her. They were both on blocks that I wouldn't have gone to on my own. I was slightly out of my element. But good food awaited. I was sure of it. And there isn't a whole lot that will stop me when that is the case.

Philz was like a totally grunged out version of Uptown (but somehow in a good way). Great coffee, great personality. And the best part? The mint leaves that they place in your coffee with cream that steep and give off an amazing aroma. Will be doing this at home for sure.

Pancho Villa was our burrito fix. After all, we were in a land much better known for its Mexican than Mpls is. I knew as soon as we parked the car that we'd have a good burrito. Probably everyone inside Pancho Villa besides us spoke Spanish: a good sign. Carnitas, black beans, rice, cheese, pico. All wrapped up in foil. Yum.

The most delicious chicken I've ever had

I was planning to score some major brownie points with Zach at Zuni Cafe. They are known for their roast chicken for two served atop a warm bread salad. Zach loooooooooooves chicken. "It's so versatile," he says. Versatility isn't what I judge foods by when deciding how much I like them, but okay, I roll with it. I knew he'd love this roast chicken for two. And I decided ahead of time that I'd be a good wifey and have the roast chicken with him.

As a result, I will be dreaming of this chicken for a long time. What came to our table was not your average chicken. It was delicious. So moist, so flavorful. And the bread salad that laid under it, soaking up its chicken juices was amazing. Big chunks of grilled bread, pine nuts, tiny little currants to provide the faintest hit of sweetness. All soaking up in a vinaigrette that was packing a vinegary punch. It was amazing. Truly a memorable meal.

Drive-by cake purchasing

So we had actually changed the time of our reservation at Zuni to an hour earlier that day. It was our last full day in SF, and I was getting antsy about not having crossed all of the places on my list off. Citizen Cake still remained. And this cake eater was not about to miss it.

So we ate our beyond delicious chicken for two, hailed a cab, and worked our way over to Citizen Cake for dessert to go. I wisely chose a chocolate banana peanut butter mousse tart. Riiiiiiii-diculous. And very much over the top. Zach not quite as wisely chose a s'mores brownie that I didn't really think tasted anything like s'mores. But to each their own.

I'll have one of each, please

What do you usually do when you can't decide what to order when out for breakfast? You suck it up and pick one, hoping you won't regret your decision.

What do you do when you're on vacation and you can't decide what to order when out for breakfast? You order one of each. It is vacation, after all.

One morning we really got adventurous and decided to try somewhere besides Tartine for breakfast. We decided to try Zazie.

Ironically, as we'd come to find out, we picked a particularly difficult day to do this. As we pulled into a parking spot on the street, we saw a sign that said "No parking 1st  Friday of the month." Oh, we're fine, I thought. And then I did the mental calculation. Nevermind, we weren't fine. It was in fact, the first Friday of the month. Of course.

After a lot of driving around and a very thorough tour of a new neighborhood by car, we finally found a spot, filled the meter with every last dime we had in our wallets, and got to eat. I had worked up an appetite by this point and both the crab egg benedict and the cornmeal pancakes with lemon curd sounded good. So I ordered both. And didn't for one second feel bad about it.

The crab was obviously a real treat. Light, rich, the perfect bed for a poached egg with holandaise running down it.

The cornmeal pancake was also a treat. Turns out lemon curd on a cornmeal pancake is a do, especially when you smear the pancake with butter first, and then also pour syrup over the top. I am so my father's daughter sometimes.

Are you hungry yet? I am. If you ever need a SF travel companion, you know who to call. I promise you'll eat well.

For the next and final installment, we'll move along to Sonoma (and the Radisson we stayed at the night before we left).

April 5, 2011

Head Over Hills for San Francisco: Part 1

We’re back from our week in San Francisco and Sonoma! And we’re ready to eat only vegetables for the foreseeable future (maybe…I did sense some slight disappointment when there was no dessert after dinner tonight). We ate like a king and queen, the two of us. I have fallen in love with San Francisco. It had me at Tartine. And then at Delfina. And then at Slanted Door. And then at every other place where we had something to eat over the course of the week.

So much deliciousness, to be recapped in experiences over the course of the next week. The first installment:

How you know you married "the right guy" (aka the 40 minute line @ Tartine)

Saturday morning I was reminded that I married a good egg. We pulled up to Tartine on our way out of SF, and there was a line out the door. Far enough out the door that it equaled a 40 minute wait. It was our third visit to Tartine for breakfast in the four days we were there. I got out of the car, got in line, and started mentally compiling the list of goodies to buy, and Zach patiently waited in the car, loading up the GPS with the day’s addresses, not complaining once. Not even appearing to be put out by this. It was excessive, perhaps, both the 40 minute wait part and the three visits in four days part. But this is what I do. Anyone who has traveled with me knows this. If I find a place I love, I go back as many times as I can throughout the course of the trip. And if it’s out of the way, I still go. If it takes $12 in cab fare each way and it’s the only thing we’re venturing to that part of town for, I still go. And we did.

Over the course of our three visits, I sampled a lot: an impossibly flaky and buttery croissant, a very very rich pain au chocolat, a cappuccino, eggy bread pudding topped with roasted apples, perfectly toasted and perfectly simple toast with butter and apricot jam, a latte, a slice of asparagus quiche, a totally fantastic morning bun that was moist and faintly scented with orange, a chocolate walnut cookie, and a smoked ham open-faced sandwich. (Don’t judge, there were a few things in that list that I had only a few bites of.)

A-mazing. I'll leave it at that. I love Tartine. Their cookbooks have been added to my Amazon wish list, and they will be purchased soon, and I will get busy making morning buns and bread pudding.

The Tcho Chocolate budino @ Delfina

Generally speaking, I think it’s hard to find good desserts in restaurants. This trip was so not so. The first hint of this came at Delfina, our first real dinner in SF. A totally cool restaurant. I knew the minute we stepped in and entered its coolness that I’d like it. Food was great, service was good, vibe was good, people watching was good. The highlight was dessert—the chocolate budino. We were sure we had to split it because we were so full when we ordered it. And then we were sure we shouldn't have split it after we tasted it. The chocolate budino was a cross between a chocolate cake and a bread pudding, not quite ooey and gooey, but definitely not as sturdy as a cake. Warm, chocolately, melt-in-your mouth. And on the other side of the plate was a cocoa nib gelato (gelato sat above actual crunchy cocoa nibs). We were off to a good start for the week.

The before dessert portion was great too: a grilled calamari and white bean salad and spaghetti with plum tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and peperoncini. And wine. Obviously.

I think it’s worth mentioning that Delfina and Tartine are on the same block, right next to each other. If / when I move to SF, I will live on that block and be happy for the rest of my life.

Marathon walking and making up for it with lunch @ Slanted Door

Slanted Door was recommended to me by tons of people, but after Zach told me he “doesn’t really like Vietnamese food,” we didn’t formally schedule it in (and yes, we had a schedule, and yes, it was formal). But we ended up there on Thursday for lunch after we had walked about 5,000 miles down the Embarcadero in the lovely hot sun. We were sweaty, in workout clothes, looking very touristy. “Can we sit in here like this,” I tried to kindly ask the host. “Of course, this is San Francisco” he said back. I'm pretty sure he only half meant it and was truly judging us quietly, but we were in.

Zach likes Vietnamese food now.

Completely delicious. We had outdone ourselves with the walking (another thing I’m known for on vaca), and we just sat there quietly, not talking, shoveling food into our mouths happily, once in a while remarking on how great it was. Cold lemonade, spring rolls, green papaya salad, and 5-spice chicken with jasmine rice. I wish I could have that for lunch tomorrow and every day.

And here ends installment #1. Stay tuned for installments #2 and #3, which will include but not be limited to: what we really thought of famous Chez Panisse, true trekking to get the best of the best, and being forced out of our Minnesota comfort levels by strangers at the bar.