First we hit Zuni , for their stupendous burger, as I mentioned earlier. (It was fun to try the red onion pickles that I had made for our party a few weeks ago!) I also had a couple of oysters and some champagne - gotta live it up on vacation, ya know. Dinner was some entirely forgettable appetizers and a couple of pizzas in the bar at Postrio - where we met up with Tommy. I was looking for something interesting but relatively casual and inexpensive in the Union Square zone - we probably should have just done starters in the regular restaurant. The one highlight was spotting Gavin at the bar. He looks a little bit like Christian Bale in person. It was my second mayoral sighting at a venerable San Francisco eatery. The first was Willie Brown, who gave me the old up and down at Boulevard a few years ago.
The next morning we hit the Ferry Building for the Farmers' Market - I bought my usual assortment of cookies from Boulette's, and we munched Acme pastries. I also bought some Frog Hollow Farms Jams and Chutneys which I've been enjoying with my Acme toast for the last couple of mornings.
We checked out Tony Bourdain doing a signing at Book Passage - though the books were sold out. We met up with my friend Moira down at the Ferry Building, and when we were done there we went to Delfina Pizzeria for lunch.
Delfina is the kind of place where they can take something you wouldn't necessarily expect to taste good, and make it absolutely delicious. We ordered a cauliflower dish that turned out to be one of the best things we ate all weekend - along with the baked ricotta (with arugula and those little peppers and some levain toast) and a Margherita pizza. A glass of crisp and fruity white wine and I was all set. We then traveled over to Bi Rite Creamery , where Moira and Susan enjoyed some Roasted Banana ice cream and I had my fave salted caramel/mint chip combo again - why mess with a good thing?
In between the eating occasions we did some tooling around the City - we walked around Union Square and enjoyed the lights and decorations, hiked up to Coit Tower, and did a little boutique-ing on Fillmore Street. It was cold and foggy, so we stopped in at the Bittersweet Cafe for some frothy hot chocolate. I'd ask for it extra hot next time, but it was very good and rich. They have nice thick whipped cream that they dollop on out of a container, and homemade vanilla bean flecked marshmallows.
Dinner that night found us back in the Mission at Foreign Cinema. I had heard about this place before, but had a different impression - I thought it was more casual and cafe-like, with an outdoor movie venue. It's a really lovely space - sort of industrial chic with lots of candles, a huge fireplace, windows, etc. They play movies on the large wall in the courtyard, with subtitles. Our experience with the food was mixed - I ordered a tuna tartare starter, and a dish advertised as a curried mussel stew for my main course. The tartare was so oversalted it was inedible, and the curry sauce with the mussels was bitter and unpleasant. The other starter we ordered, the foie gras torchon, was delicious - and came with a nice cranberry chutney, mizuna and toast. (We actually sent the tartare back and asked for a second torchon.) Susan ordered a ribeye steak, which was perfectly cooked with good minerally flavor, and came with some rich, cheesy potatoes. Luckily, she had plenty to share. I think the lesson here is stick to the basics. It's no Delfina, that's for sure.
On our way out of town in the morning, I took Susan by Cafe Fanny, Alice Waters' casual cafe on San Pablo in Berkeley (named for her daughter.) It was a really easy detour on the way to the Oakland airport - only about ten minutes out of the way. This was one of my favorite spots when I lived up there, and it hasn't changed a bit. We had some mochas, made with organic Dagoba chocolate, and some beignets, and I had a couple of poached eggs on toast. I also picked up a big bag of bread at the next door bakery to take home - which we've been enjoying. I also took some by Jora and Brian's on my way home from the airport. Little Juliet is absolutely gorgeous.
I'm going to go ahead and post this - but I'll be back to add some more links, and photos later. I will also be posting one of my new favorite Thanksgiving recipes (thanks to my friend Isabel), so check back for that if you like sweet potatoes! As you can see, I've now had a chance to update this post with the photos and links, and the sweet potatoes are posted here. Enjoy!