This past weekend, friend from Texas and prom date came to visit us. Prom Date is probably one of the most drama free and delightful people you will ever meet. Spending time with her is a joy because she’s up for anything and happy to stay in. As she was only in town for a brief two days, we wanted to give her the best of the Bay Area.
So as soon as we picked her up at the airport, we whisked her into San Francisco for a long leisurely lunch as Bar Bambino. Ok, I’ll have to admit we were showing off a bit because we knew the staff there. We called West Coast Rebecca to see if she would join us and found out that Bellisima would be coming in soon. It was great to feel like such an insider, being greeted by the Chef Christian (who gives great restaurant recs) and spending some quality time with the cheese person and his delightful girlfriend. Yes, our version of Cheers is an Italian gastropub. We are SOOO NorCal. And the food? Well it was spectacular. We got the cheese and salumi platter, the fried squash blossom (seriously ricotta filled goodness!!!!!), poplette di melazane (eggplant balls – DIRRRTY), and their bread plate. On top of that we all had glasses of sparkling rose wine. It was a two and a half hours of great food and great company.
Afterwards we went to a home décor store on Fillmore to buy a Marimekko shower curtain. You see, I have this thing for Marimekko. My grandmother had a Marimekko comforter that I loved (and my cousin has possession of). While normally I like soft earth tones, I have a particular affection for Marimekko’s bold colors and huge graphic statement. J gave me some Marimekko fabric for my birthday and we decided to get a Marimekko shower curtain. It was great to go to that part of SF because it was a neighborhood with great funky stores, many of which carried art from Prom Date’s favorite artist (an SF native). Following the excursion to Fillmore street, we went to the Presidio where I ran the Presidio 10K and had an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Driving the scenic 49 mile highway gave us awesome views of the rocky California coast. We then went into Oakland to show Prom Date our new house and commissioned her to do a painting for our fireplace mantle in the dining room. We made a deal that I would make a quilt for her to get a piece of art.
Ok. Dinner was beyond spectacular. We took Prom Date to B where we knew we would be taken care of and really shown care and love. It was great talking to all of the staff. We knew we wanted to get a print from Valerie, our waitress who is also a photographer, and we did another trade where I would finish a quilt that her grandmother started for her in exchange for a print. Score! While we ordered a large amount of food, we did get the “friend of the chef treatment” Saturday night. We started by sharing the pulled pork, cherry and goat cheese pizza with balsamic reduction. Seriously, it’s a classic, yet inventive combination of sweet, salty, and sour all on a great crust. And then we got an intermezzo from Chef Caleb (with some encouragement from Valerie) of a crab and leek tartlet. For entrees, I had the pork belly with pea puree ravioli and sautéed dandelion greens while both J and Prom Date had the chicken roulade. Because B’s menu is seasonal, you need to get the chicken roulade NOW. It’s SO good. The chicken is moist and tender and full of flavor. We ended the evening with J and Prom date sharing the flourless chocolate cake which is really some REALLY good fudge. Delish!
It was a great day and one where we realize we have this great community of food people. I will say that for dinner we already ordered a generous amount of food and then Chef Caleb added another course. Damn you chef Caleb and your awesome cooking! We were so full! We did have to apologize for the state of our apartment as we are a week away from moving. Woo!