Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Bay Area Sampler - Day Two


Ferry Building - I had an interview down near Fisherman's Warf, and as happened for everything during our trip, we overestimated the time it would take to get there and arrived early. Luckily on the way we passed the famed Ferry Building and its Saturday farmers' market. I insisted that we hop out and take a look. It was incredible. The farmer stalls went on forever and there were lots of stands preparing hot food. We grabbed some apples and dried fruit and I headed off for my appointment. But when the interview ended early, we headed back. We sampled cheese and citrus and jams. I bought some Meyer lemon marmalade and pluot butter and we shared some salmon jerky and a hamburger.

salmon jerky

The verdict: I loved the market. The prospect of buying groceries there is thrilling. I've since tried the Meyer lemon marmalade and it's great - tart with lots of chunky lemon pieces. The salmon jerky was very surprising. It really had the texture of a Slim Jim, but it tasted like salmon. The burger was free-range organic from Prather Ranch on an Acme bun. It was really simple, but there's nothing like good quality beef cooked outside. Yummy.

burgers at the Ferry Building

La Taqueria - we then headed over to the Mission to explore. We went to this Slow Food establishment and debated whether to get tacos or share a burrito. We ultimately went for a veggie burrito, and while I understand the place is famous for its tacos, we were very satisfied.

The verdict: A not too enormous burrito on a flour tortilla. Beans, avocado, not much else. But it was great. There was a fantastic hot sauce on the table that we poured all over it and achieved the perfet level of spiciness. Daniel's horchata cut the sting and we were very happy. Next time I'll get some sort of meaty taco, but the burrito was a delicious comfort. Chewy and satisfying.

Mission Pie - across the street from La Taqueria. This place uses fresh organic ingredients from the Pie Ranch and teaches local high school students about agriculture. The students then work at the pie shop. Pretty cool. The kid who was manning the joint when we went recommended the Meyer Lemon pie.

The verdict: I have to say the pie was too sweet for my taste. I liked the texture of the filling a lot though, big pieces of lemon, rind and all. The crust was also really good and flaky. I will go back though. The atmosphere was nice. It would be a great place to get a piece of pie and a cup of coffee and to sit and read for a while. The "mission" of the place is awesome and our friend Scott knows the owner maybe I can get involved some how...

Cafe du Soleil - we walked from the Mission up some big hills through the Castro to the Lower Haight. Daniel had heard this place was nice, so we stopped in for an iced tea and a lemonade.

The verdict: Daniel was very excited about sitting here in the future and working. Then we saw a couple in which the woman was grading papers and the man was doing something on a computer. We're pretty sure that'll be us pretty soon. The lemonade was also great.

Eva’s Café – We drove out to the beach and then sat in the car for a while and watched the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge. Amazing. I love ocean and Daniel loves mountains, so you can imagine our delight. On the way back to the East Bay, I had to go to the bathroom very badly, so as we drove through Richmond, I kept my eyes peeled for an appropriate establishment. When I spotted this brightly lit Hawaiian restaurant, I shouted at Daniel to stop and ran in. Overwhelmed by the menu, I asked the girl at the counter to recommend something small. She suggested the spam musibi or the barbeque chicken musibi. Not knowing what either was, but knowing I didn't want spam, I chose the latter and ran to the bathroom.

The verdict: a musibi it turns out is some meat and warm rice wrapped in nori. So yummy and comforting. It really is the perfect snack when you kind of crave sushi but it's cold out so you also want something warm. It's also much bigger than a sushi roll, so it would be a really satisfying snack for one person. A new first fave. The rest of the menu here looked good too.

Café Colucci – once again, by the end of the day I was exhausted. We were supposed to go to Chez Panisse Cafe at 9:45, but there was no way I was going to make it. We tried Pizzaiola, but the wait was an hour and a half, so we headed to Cafe Colucci for Ethiopian. We shared the vegetable combo and mushroom tibs with spicy sauce. I had an Ethiopian dry honey wine and Daniel had an Ethiopian beer.

The verdict: This really was the best Ethiopian I've had other than Cafe Adulis in New Haven (and that's Eritrean anyway.) Each of the dishes in the veggie combo was delicious. I especially loved the collards and the split peas. The mushroom tibs were fantastic. Sauteed mushrooms with onions and garlic and spicy sauce. Scooped up with pieces on injera, it was a very satisfying meal. The Ethopian "dry" wine on the other hand was undrinkably sweet.

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