Since moving to the country late last year, one of my favorite things to do is to go down to the East Bay and San Francisco and visit my old haunts~ places that are my favorites, but that I don't get to on a regular basis. Last week I caught up on my favorite places and had some delicious food in the mix.
Monterey Market, (www.montereymarket.com/) in Berkeley, one of the best little markets in the bay area, is filled with a huge selection of produce specialties. Heirloom varieties abound here. They combine quality, locally grown produce and great prices! It is worth a visit!
When I got home, I immediately sliced up some of the Chantrelles and Crimini mushrooms into slivers. With some olive oil and salt and pepper I then chopped up some Chinese Long Beans adding them to the mushrooms. It wasn't complicated but it was a delicious side dish to our Bombay Curry Chicken dish....simple, but good.
The Italian variety of Golden and Red Chiogga Beets have been around forever, but these were so beautiful, I couldn't resist. Roast them in the oven or boil or steam them and then peel and slice with your favorite vinaigrette dressing. If the beets are yellow or orange, I use a white balsamic so as not to turn the beets a brown color from the balsamico.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 lemon, juice squeezed
orange or lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Chiogga beets and other heirloom seed varieties are available at Petaluma Seed Bank: bakercreekheirloomseed.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/new-seed-garden-store-opening-in-petaluma-ca/
Another favorite spot of mine is Slanted Door. Charles Phan started Slanted Door www.slanteddoor.com/ on Valencia Street, but quickly moved into the SF Ferry Building when renovations were complete. His Out The Door www.outthedoors.com/, which is right next door serves "to go" food like nothing before. It is fresh, delicious and always high quality. Two more Out the Doors followed, including the most recent on Bush Street near Fillmore. Since this is where my mom and I shop and eat, we tested it out for the first time.
My favorite buns (imagine pork bun without the sweet sticky meat and add refined and delicate) to order are the vegetarian buns which are filled with leeks and mushrooms. We also ordered the crispy sprimg rolls which are just divine! They include the traditional, lettuce leaves, mint, bean sprouts and cilantro to wrap up and dip in the sauce. They are so refreshing. After those two dishes arrived it became apparent that I was not going to be able to eat my Duck confit soup. So home it came with me for suppertime....it was excellent.
After lunch, Tartine (www.tartinebakery.com/) was on our minds and so we headed in that direction, to the mission. What we shared is probably illegal in 39 states, but what is a daughter to do when her mother wants something....just say yes! That is how we ended up with a coconut creme pie on our plates! Go with the flow and take a day out in Oakland, Berkeley or San Francisco! It is so sweet!