Have you ever had one of those days where everything is going your way? Close your eyes and think about it for a moment. Remember how peaceful you felt? Remember how even the weather way perfect? And the world seemed kind? Yeah, that's how Big Eat Day 6 was. It was sublime.
I had the best day at an off-site work meeting in Oakland which was capped off by being picked up by my friends Hiz and Justy. I know them both from high school and there is something about them that is so easy and comfortable. After you know people for a certain amount of time they enter a special kind of circle, the people who knew you "when". The sun was shining, the traffic hadn't hit yet and we were armed with GPS and Hiz's DSLR.
It was so on.
My goal for the day was to eat two things off the list. We ended up eating five.
I love those girls.
Note: I want to give credit to my friend Hizuru who took almost all the pics in the post. She's about to graduate from design school and even though she's not a photographer, I think her mad art skillz shine! Most of the places we ate were very, very dark and she managed to still take great pics. Thanks Hiz!
#16 - Coconut Bun at King's Bakery. Okay, do you see this? This is divine. It's buttery and coconutty and somehow light and fluffy and rich at the same time. And it was 50 cents. Why I didn't buy a box of these to take home is a monumental mystery.
You need to know about King's Bakery because it's got a great backstory. First off it's in the Mission which is a neighborhood that is mostly comprised of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans. I love the Mission, it's full of good food, beautiful murals and Spanish everywhere. It's totally my scene. King's Bakery is a Mexican bakery that mostly sells Pan Dulce except it's owned by Chinese people who bought it a long time ago. So there are coconut buns, which is a Cantonese pastry. Did you catch that? Let me recap:
Mexican neighborhood. Mexican Bakery. Chinese People. Cantonese Pastry. Friggin A, How I LOVE THE BAY!
Okay so that's the scene! If like me (unlikely but possible) you are Asian Spanish speaker you are both in your element and kind of confused. I went in there and although I could see that all the employees were Chinese I still addressed them in Spanish because I had to! It was the Mission. They don't speak Spanish-FYI.
Verdict: Go there, bring $20 cash-money and leave with a lifetime of Coconut Buns. They are so good. You will love them.
#17-Beer Sausage at Rosamunde-Next up we got lucky because next door (literally) to King's Bakery was another item. This happens a lot in the Mission, I would guess at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the foods are in the Mission. Naturally we took advantage of the situation.
I should mention that another big population in the mission are hipsters, which is unsurprising. A neighborhood as cool as the Mission could never go too long without starting to gentrify. Rosamunde is a total hipster outpost. It's full of young professionals coming home from work, lesbians with smart eye glasses and artists tapping away on macs. You know, hispters with money, but without kids, stopping off to meet their friends. Rosamunde is also full of delicious food, communal tables and condiments. I approve of all these things.
The sausage we got was bomb. It came in a perfectly toasted bun, smothered with grilled onions and sauerkraut. I personally love onions. If you gave me a bowl of grilled onions for dinner I would be happy as a clam. So obviously there is nothing not to like about grilled onions paired with toasty bred, fresh sauerkraut and a homemade sausage. I'd say more but I think this pics says it for me.
Verdict: Follow the hipsters to this home of happy sausages. Grab a beer and get comfy. Just make sure you save room to eat a coconut bun from King's Bakery for desert.
#18-A Loaf of Bread Straight from the Oven at Tartine-This is the third and last item on the list from Tartine and it was also the trickiest to achieve. The bread comes out of the oven at Tartine at 5 pm. Seeing as I live 1.5 to 2.5 hours away from SF depending on traffic it's not super-easy for me tobe at any particular place in the city at 5 pm. Day 6 though was the day. We coregraphed it perfectly. Justy dropped Hiz and I off, seeing as parking is heinous around that area in the Mission and while she circled the block we procured the bread. I think she only had to go around once.
We hopped back in the getaway car with our treasure in hand and oh, my God, it was just amazing. We originally had every intention of waiting and eating it while sitting in Union square, except, how could we?
So instead I stuck my hand in the bag and grabbed off a chunk.
I have never had bread like this before, it was what you imagine France tastes like.
First off, when I grabbed a piece the crust shattered in my hand when I applied pressure. It was almost like a creme brulee scenario. It was that crisp and thin. And after the crust gave way to my greedy little fingers they hit the inside which was so warm and chewy and perfect it almost felt indecent. It had a slightly sour taste, somewhat like sourdough which countered the toasty richness of the sesame coated crust.
This bread is seriously the gold standard.
Hizuru had the insight to ask for some bread to accompany the bread. She is so wise.
Let's just say at least 1/3 of that huge loaf was gone by the time we got downtown. So it's good that we got lost walking around in Union Square, because we needed to walk it off.
Verdict: It's Tartine. Of course you must.
#19-Basil Gimlet at Rye- Before I get to the gimlet, I want to talk a little bit about how we got there and my Big Eat buddy Justy. Justy grew up in the city, in Chinatown, so she gets really pissed about getting lost because she's NOT a tourist. She likes to talk about how she's NOT a tourist. Even though she's NOT a tourist, she is susceptible to the seductive lies of the GPS which is how we ended up wandering around for 45 minutes in a neighborhood she knows pretty damn well. I was in a state of altered bread-bliss and Hiz is laid-back so the two of us happily followed her around, and up and down in circles while we looked for Rye. As Justy became increasingly more irritated with her GPS I was mooning over the architecture "Look at the buildings Hizzy!" I cried "They are just beautiful! Isn't the weather perfect?"
Everybody probalby thought I was high. And I was. High on Bread.
Anyways, 45 minutes later as we almost got there Justy said "If it's not on this street, I'm gonna be really sad."
"It's okay, I'm not upset. We did our best." I said encouragingly.
She looked at my cross-eyed "I'm going to be sad for me" she said, "I need a cocktail".
We did however make it to Rye and it's a weird place, it's like 1/2 wine bar, 1/2 dungeon. The patio is caged in and all the smokers were huddled outside in this cage looking sad. That said, somehow the place is kind of upsacale? It's not at all a dive. It was kind of cool but not my scene, too loud. The gimlet however was totally my scene. It was limey and not too sweet and had just a trace of basil in the background. I loved it and so did my tired feet which recovered some magic pep after our walking "detour". They had a ton of specialty drinks that looked delicious, including a Hot Toddy made with Horchata.
Verdict: Drink it to recover from your shopping sprees downtown or if you are at downtown hotel for business.
#20-Cheeseburger at Fish and Farm - I feel really bad for this cheeseburger becuase it was delicious and my weak-a$$ stomach gave out. It said "You ate sausauge, coconut buns, BREAD and a gimlet. No MORE FOR YOU!" It was even more painful because the burger was good. I know this becuase I ate two bites. My assesment was confirmed by Justy and Hiz who were splitting an equally delicious order of fish and chips.
Oh, the memories. Just looking at this picture makes me sad. It's like unrequited love.
Can I tell you about Fish and Farm though? It's one of those locally sourced type restaurants that Northern California is so well-known for. Everything was fresh and delicious and (bonus!) they brought us an amuse bouche of a ridiculously yummy mushroom soup. And it is a hotel restaurant! What a nice suprise for business travelers who run out of time and have to order room service. Can you imagine?
Verdict: Don't be stupid like me. Save room for cheeseburger.
And that was it. After I nearly collapsed at Fish and Farm it was time to go home. There was about 1/2 hour when I thought I would never be able to eat again. But then I woke up the next morning and ate the following for breakfast:
So it seems I recovered.
I'm eating 100 Items off of 7 X 7's SF Big Eat LIst. You can see the rest of entries to this series here.