Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Art and Food, A Perfect Combination

Last night was the opening for a friend's art show, so we headed South of Market to find a place to nibble and grab a beverage.  We ended up in the new Milennium building at a restaurant called RN74 (  This seems to be its second location, the first being on Powell Street on the 13th floor.  Sounds intriguing.

My friend and I sat at a long common table....alone, just the two of us, while the after work crowd mingled nearby while sipping their martini drinks.  We started with mussels in a delicious broth with sausage and carmelized onions.  Next came three (why three for two of us?)  beautiful sardines that were so delicious we ate the bones and all.  The next nibble was my favorite.  A flatbread with late summer heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and topped with zucchini blossoms.  This was a perfect late summer blend of ingredients.   Our last taste was large Blue Shrimp atop a bed of wilted spinach and topped with matchstix of apples.  This was probably my least  favorite.  Although the shrimp tasted good, it was over cooked and the spinach wasn't interesting, nor did the apples add anything to the dish flavor wise.  It would have been better if there had been a tasty fresh spinach salad under the warm shrimp.  Adding a lemon vinagirette to pique the flavor of the shrimp.

We headed over to the gallery for the opening show and were transported to an atmosphere of artists and art admirers.  I wasn't excited by any of the art, however, it is always great to be in the presence of art and the artists who make it!  Touche!  The door of the building was a work in and of itself at about 15 feet tall.

Our later foray after the opening was strictly a dessert quest...ended over at TownHall on the corner of Howard and Fremont (  This restaurant has been around for many years and is still very good.  It has distinct dishes that align with the south and especially New Orleans.  With a twist of the arm, I abandoned all dessert thoughts and ordered a butter lettuce salad with thinly sliced honey crisp apples, radishes and candied walnuts dressed with a Pt. Reyes Blue dressing.  Very yummy and perfectly balanced with the sweetness and sharpness of the blue cheese.  I also discovered the side order section of the menu from which I found jambalaya.  A deliciously spicy rice dish that was probably one of the best that I have eaten in recent memory.  The best part of the side selections is that you can taste things without fully committing to a large portion of all of the same taste.  The side dishes are more than adequate and often are larger than an appetizer portion, and at $7 not more expensive.

The coup d'gras was the butterscotch and chocolate pot de creme with butter crunch.  It was enough for the four of us to share in its sweet richness.

As always, being with friends was the best part of the evening and the food just happened to be shared, oohed and ahhed over until we were satisfied and began the journey home.

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