You thought I died, huh?
Nope. Sorry. But I have been thinking about you, my lovely readers, and I know I've totally been neglecting you. So, I'm gonna try to sum up the summer in a post:
We'll start on Felix and my six-year anniversary, because that's the last time I posted. Above, we're at the Elk Reserve in Point Reyes. It's an amazing hike if you ever get the chance- water on both sides, cool breeze, dry air. There are elk (camouflaged) behind me, and that is me impersonating an elk hiding from a predator. I know, you can just give me the Oscar now.
For the most part, we took the hike because we wanted to work up our appetites to eat here:
I had been flirting with reservations at Daniel Patterson's Coi for quite some time. We almost went there for my birthday last year, but I was hesitant with its mixed reviews. That, and the fact that Coi is like a block from the strip clubs of North Beach. Yeah, classy. Well, both of these hesitations were assuaged: there was valet parking (so we didn't have to walk through nar nar North Beach), and we found the restaurant quite good, if not great. The inside is slightly reminiscent of Gary Danko in the way that they both totally control their internal environment; there are no windows in the main dining room.
The tasting menu is around ten courses, and I was particularly impressed with their interesting preparation and presentation of vegetables. That, above, is some very thinly sliced and well dressed zucchini.
And that would be a bad picture of my favorite dish of the night: Strawberry Soup with Black Pepper Ice Cream. Btw- San Francisco has become obsessed with that duo. At a staff night out at Bourbon and Branch, arranged and introduced to us by my friend Jessie, there was a yummy drink with the same combo. Anyway, usually, I'm not a big fan of savory flavors in my desserts, so I become immensely impressed when a restaurant can pull it off.
San Francisco, CA
Yep. More weddings this year. Well, y'all keep getting married! we had two this summer and three in the next month.
Ok, in other big news, that's my new boss, Todd. Which means, yes, I changed jobs. It was incredibly hard to leave Palo Alto High School, I miss my students, but it was time to slow down a bit. I still teach high school drama, but I've moved to a different school, and gone down to part-time. Do you see that angelic halo over Todd? That's because he's already come to observe my class twice! I feel so loved. Todd's moving an umbrella to give our group shade for dinner before the Rufus Wainwright concert at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
That's his partner, Scott, creating a delicious scallop dish. I would recommend this recipe for those who have been hesitant about seafood in the past. Rather than the scallops being fishy, they're pretty meaty because of the grilling and the the acidic vinaigrette. Though Scott was modest when I bugged him for the recipe-- he admitted he found it in the June 2007 Gourmet.
Grilled Scallop "Cerviche" - Serves 6
The cerviche is in quotes because the scallops are actually cooked in this dish, where as in a classic cerviche, only the acid from the vinaigrette would slightly cook the raw seafood.
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops (about 20), tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper- Scott used a bit more pepper
1 navel orange
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh jalapeño chile, including seeds -Scott excluded the seeds, but used a bit more of the jalapeno
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Toss scallops with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then thread 4 scallops onto each skewer.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over high heat.
Oil grill rack, then grill scallops, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool slightly.
While scallops cool, cut peel, including white pith, from orange with a sharp paring knife, then cut segments free from membranes. Coarsely chop enough segments to measure 1/4 cup and transfer to a large bowl (reserve remaining orange for another use). Stir in lime juice, cucumber, shallot, jalapeño (to taste), and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
When scallops are cool enough to handle, halve each crosswise (quarter if large), then add to cucumber mixture, tossing to combine. Marinate, covered and chilled, until cold, at least 1 hour. Just before serving, stir in cilantro.
Oh, and not to plagiarize, I just ripped that whole recipe off of epicurious.com. No Kristen words. Just Epicurious words.
And the Rufus concert was amazing, btw. Somehow, I got un-scalped third row tickets. If you aren't familiar with his music, check it out. And here's my favorite clip of him on youtube with Ben Folds covering Careless Whisper. I know it's fuzzy, but just listen.
The day after the Rufus concert, we left for a family vacation to Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. It was kind of like City Slickers meets that family camp in Dirty Dancing (no, I'm not talking about dance teachers for Felix's little sister to date...nobody puts Baby in the corner...)- we rode horses, ate, hiked, slept, watched the kid's skit night. Can you guess where we are in that picture above? Yep- Yellowstone. We're all waiting around for some geyser to be faithful. It was. Good geyser.
There wasn't too much to talk about with food here- but here's a cute story:
See that little chipmunk? Of course you do. Well, he's one of the little critters at Yellowstone who has been desensitized to humans. In fact, he relies on them. And why is on his haunches begging up at me? Well, in one hand I have a camera, and in the other I'm crinkling a Frito's bag. When he heard that, he came out for dinner! Who says humans aren't good for the environment?
That's Diana (Felix's sister) reenacting The Sound of Music for us on an 8-mile hike we did one day. If you haven't been, Montana is a truly beautiful state. Check it out.
What is that?
Well, it's granite.
Why did you take a picture of it?
Well, I'm trying to match it because Felix and I bought a condo in Noe Valley and are expanding the kitchen by knocking down a wall so that we have more of a great-room rather than a separate kitchen and living room/dining room and so I end up taking a lot of pictures of cabinets, tile and granite and showing them to slightly annoyed sales people around the Bay Area.
Can you say that in one breath?
But I guess the point is, yes, Felix and I are finally home owners. Some surveyor (?) called our place the other day and asked if we rent or own. "Both!" I said. But, we are really excited to get this work done (ahem, started...and then done) so that we can move in.
So this brings us to Friday night. I was originally just going to post about Friday night's culinary adventure, but I thought you guys deserved some bonus material for sticking with me through my hiatus.
We had been meaning to go out with Dan and Jessica to Korea House in Lower Pac Heights for Bebembop (sp?), and then see each other's new condos. Jessica and Dan are a little bit more adventurous than we are, so they live in the Lower Haight/Dubose Park area. They also made (ok, made is too strong...encouraged?) us to walk to the restaurant, which means taking 10 blocks through the Western Addition. This turned out to be very good thing. I need to learn that not every man on the street is out to rob/murder/rape me. And the walk was nice and made me feel not quite as full after eating this:
I got the vegetarian version of Bebembop. That clay pot is hotter than hell. Just ask my right middle knuckle that grazed it. She's still not talking to me. Anyway, there is cooking rice under all of those vegetables, and a raw egg on top. You then stir it all up, and the egg gets mixed into the rice, the rice becomes this nice creamy consistency, and you have a wonderful dinner with many different textures and tastes. You can also add hot sauce:
And munch on the side dishes they bring out:
The one in the lower left corner is Kim Chee. Kim Chee and I have a very tumultuous relationship. I used to hate it, and people kept feeding it to me. But every time I eat it, I hate it a little less. It tastes a little less like rotting food. Now, I might even say I like it. Well, I added some to my Bebembop and it gave a nice little zip to the dish. Jessica said she tried to make Kim Chee one time. You basically put a whole bunch of stuff in a jar and let it sit on your kitchen counter for two weeks. Then, when the two weeks were up, it looked so foul, she was too scared to eat it!
Instead of then going to Karaoke (Jessica would have embarrassed us with her awesome voice, and Felix and I would of embarrassed ourselves by trying to sing Destiny Child's Bills Bills Bills) we went to Mitchell's Ice Cream instead:
If you haven't been to Mitchell's, not only is ordering the ice cream an experience, it's some of the best ice cream I've had. You get a number to order; we were one of the last numbers served! I had Grasshopper ice cream which was mint ice cream with Oreo cookies and fudge. It was delicious (and really rich). Can you guess what this flavor is:
Nope. It's not raspberry sorbet. It's Prickly Pear and Ginger. I didn't taste it, but Jessica didn't like it. Felix won the best-ordering prize for his Peach ice cream. We asked him how he knew that would be the best, and he said that he checked what the most popular bulk ice cream was. Smart guy. Anyway, I would go back for that right now- I have a feeling when we finally move to Noe Valley, I'll be visiting Mitchell's a lot.
Ok. So, now I owe you an apology. At first you had not enough givemesomefood, and now you have too much at once. This was like the Thanksgiving dinner of posts. Sorry. But, enjoy...