This Flower Friday brought to you from the awesome Ferry Building in San Francisco. An outdoor farmers market in front of the building greeted us as we hopped out of the taxi. The Ferry Building is a ‘must see’ when in the city. The shops & the eateries stellar, the entire place just feels good. It is a visual feast. We had breakfast there and then got on a ferry to Larkspur in Marin to shop for a few hours. The gorgeous day dictating our schedule, the idea of being out on the water for a bit was just perfect. Oh, and these heavenly tulips, oh my! Dreamy in their variation of color and their poetic dance.
Funny how a recurring theme can start to happen in the matter of a day. Dining in San Francisco has always been one of favorite things in this divine city. The humble but glorious egg yolk the recurring theme on my culinary adventures. Above on pasta at Zuni Cafe and below on prime beef tartare at Wayfare Tavern. Breaking open magically creating this most amazing sauce. Natural beauty.
Always an amazing sensory & culinary experience, the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco never fails to delight. From some of the largest food vendors in the world to the artisan maker, similar to when I walk a gift show, I am in search of the gems in a sea of much & many. Here is a bit of what caught my eye on Day 1 of my buying.
A classic to me is something that stands the test of time. When I walk around the shops there are certain goods that we have stocked since we first opened in 1998. Many of those things had been around for quite a few years at that point. Close to 20 years added to that and ‘classic’ status is achieved. Agraria, once a little shop in San Francisco creating exquisite bath & home products, was the initial maker of their bitter orange. The product line was later sold and then moved to Los Angeles where they continue to make the beloved Agraria bitter orange. Candles, room spray, bath salts, bar soap, lotion, bath gel and liquid hand soap–we stock it all. The scent unmistakable. A classic.
Wine & Dine Wednesday is about a place I most certainly would deem a classic in every sense, Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I have written in the past of my love for this place where the memorable meals are indelibly marked in my memory. The taxi dropping me off last week and the moment I stepped out of the car, the unmistakable scent of firewood burning in their wood oven wafted over me like a warm embrace from an old friend. The service always impeccable and always incredibly friendly, which seems rarer & rarer these days. You feel like you are sitting in someone’s comfortable home. Comfort both in environment as well as food is where Zuni excels. Quite possibly one of the finest roast chickens on the planet, cooked to perfection to order, that has been imitated the globe over by other restaurants. A burger so perfectly done you could shed a tear. What is in season reigns supreme, so you are assured the vegetables are going to be sublime. A hearty bowl of polenta, which seems so basic and simple, is quite possibly the most perfect comfort food. Until the heaping, overflowing bowl of shoestring potatoes is delivered to your table. Fish so fresh and cooked with fresh herbs you will dream about it later, I promise. All housed in a setting on Market Street where the large glass windows allows a bit of San Francisco to pass you by. If you find yourself in the Bay Area, a Zuni lunch or dinner on the agenda will be a highlight of your trip.
It can be a tad bit challenging explaining how massive this show is, but let me give it a try. It occupies both sides of the Moscone Center, food vendors from around the globe exhibit, and the aisles are so deep with buyers you can barely move. There, I think I did it. Of course, I am in pure heaven. So many choices. It makes finding a winner a bit exhilarating, as you have looked at tooooons of stuff to get to that point. I found lots of winners yesterday. More today, for sure. Here are a few of the treats coming to our shelves.
My trip to San Francisco the other week produced a new find for Watson Kennedy. I was served this stellar jam when my friend and host Betsy served it at breakfast on the Saturday morning of my visit. I was hooked! Plus I adore the packaging. Win/win in my book. These are going to make the BEST holiday gifts. The shop order arrived yesterday and they have found a very happy home on our shelves.
INNA jam makes fresh, seasonal jams from organic fruit sourced within 150 miles of their Emeryville, California kitchen. By sourcing produce directly from local organic farmers they are able to get the best possible fruit–fruit that’s picked ripe and is absolutely fresh. Their single-varietal jams are crafted so that each fruit varietal’s unique essence and natural subtleties shine through in bright flavors. A jar of jam contains fruit from a single source. They don’t mix fruit, they don’t add herbs, spices or flavorings. INNA jam tastes like the freshly picked fruit from which it was made, each jar a time capsule of flavor. I am so excited to offer this amazing jam at WK.
Happy Thursday all. We are up and out early to catch a flight. Hawthorne, here we come!
I had such a refreshing salad when I was in San Francisco week-end before last, I thought I would try and recreate a bit of it and put my own spin on it too. Small world, the beyond yummy place (Piccino) where I enjoyed this tasty concoction is in the Dog Patch neighborhood. It is owned by one of Heather’s (from WK) best friends from college. I was taken there without the host knowing this. There it was with a mixture of melons and the vinaigrette was every so light and perfect for the dish, with the mint mixed about. Here is my quick version. This salad can be made throughout the year, and I look forward to making it on a cold day when we want to think of sunshine. This is one seriously refreshing dish.
The vinaigrette was first up, as I really wanted the oils in the torn up mint leaves to have time to release into the dressing. Zest a lemon into a bowl. Then get the juice out of that one lemon into that same bowl. Add a splash of champagne vinegar too. Then finely tear up a few mint leaves and mix about. Add a pinch of salt. Then add a bunch of fresh cracked pepper. Then add some more. You want lots of pepper in this. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil to all. Let the whole thing sit a bit after you have whisked it. This is when I prepare the salad.
The honeydew was super ripe, so I just stayed with that and did not use the cantaloupe. Either or both are fine. Truly, whatever melons you like. Cut that up into large bite sized pieces. Cut up cucumber to about the same sized pieces, taking out the seeds. I was lucky and found lemon cucumbers which my buddy Max in the Market continues to carry and I buy them every chance I can. I also mixed in a regular cucumber too. Then cut up fresh mozzarella to pieces the same size. Assemble all on a platter. Then drizzle with that sublime minty vinaigrette. You will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor combinations. Enjoy.
A happy start of October to all! Where did September go?
I wanted to make the most of my 36 hours in San Francisco this visit. Aside from my 2 book signings, there were a few places I have been really wanting to check out. My friend Betsy picked me up at the airport and we were off and running! SF is such an amazing city that you really can squeeze in a ton to see & do in an afternoon.
Then off to dinner and then a very swell party hosted by Vanessa Getty and Ken Fulk, of which I was a guest of my friend Tolan Florence. It was an action packed day. Needless to say, I slept very well. The Bell’occhio signing is today at 1:30. If you are in the area, please stop in. I think it is going to be a real treat.
What a Summer indeed. As it draws to a close, it is so lovely to look back and reflect on all the good this past season brought. It is also a time to look ahead and enjoy all the bounty that the next season has in store for us. The below Hudson River Valley apples just caught my eye as I was looking through images I had shot when I was thinking about what to write before I fell asleep last night. The incredible colors a reminder of all the beauty that is ahead in the coming months.
I am up and out early for a flight to San Francisco. If you are in the area please stop by the new glassybaby shop on Sacramento Street this eve from 5 to 7 for my Style & Simplicity book signing. Would love to see you!