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That 7×7 list

April 12, 2010

April 13th- *Additional dish added at the bottom*

April 7th

“I’m down at the Ferry Building.” I texted my friend, “crossing a few more things off the list and I’m bringing you something back.”

“The list?” my friend texted back.

“You know the list“, I replied ..”the 7×7 list.”

“Oh, my God. that list” replied he.

I found myself in the Financial District. It was a lovely day and I was enjoying it. I was immediately struck with the idea that I might wander over to the Ferry Building as the list naturally looms in my thoughts morning, noon and night. You know the list, I wrote about it before. I am beginning to loathe that list. My dining companion is no longer a fan, of said list. And I too am having mixed feelings for this varied compilation of the 100 things you allegedly must eat in SF before you die. Really? Must we?

I did need coffee though. And I knew Bluebottle was housed within the Ferry Building. I also remembered what coffee drink I needed to order as I had forgotten it earlier in the week while inadvertently crossing paths with this Bluebottle coffee roaster. I was grazing the wares at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmer’s Market and I saw a line. Who isn’t intrigued by a line. I heard grinding, I smelled coffee, I decided to join the movement and stand in the line. People were patiently standing in the sun and chatting while waiting for this well-regarded cup of coffee. It is fascinating what people will stand in line for.

Go ahead and associate line with Bluebottle coffee. I stood in another one at the Ferry Building for almost five minutes and then waited for the actual coffee for at least another 6. movement.

#28 The Gibraltar

When it was my turn to order, I walked up to the counter, leaned across it and whispered in the young man’s ear , “I want something called the Gibraltar.” He nodded and gave me a knowing look. It is after all, off the menu and ordering off the menu equates a feeling of having the secret password, or even feeling prestige of being on a list. Of some sort (lists, meh). I then waited and waited and waited for what seemed like the longest  gestation period for a coffee drink. Had I missed my name? What is going on? I had no idea even what mysterious coffee drink I was waiting for. And as it turns out, I’m not the only one who doesn’t know about the Gibraltar. Isn’t that a welcome relief.

My name was finally called and the Gibraltar was placed in front of me. Isn’t it pretty? It is a work of art, and the woman who created it looked very proud to send it off into the world in my capable hands. I casually disrupted the foam art and added some sugar. I had a feeling I was going to need it. The drink is strong. It is good, it is really good. Did I mention it is strong? It’s like 3 shots of espresso  strong with a bit of foam on top. Just a bit. At 3 in the afternoon this is a fully loaded drink to order. Did it WOW me? Well….no, not entirely. I thought it was decent, perfectly good. I prefer their New Orleans style Ice Coffee, now that is good, to me. Though days later I found myself still thinking about that drink, and wishing I had one…a shot of kahlua would have been great in it.  After my slow consumption and descent into caffeination I walked over to Miette  to pick up some of their ginger snaps.

#49 Ginger snaps

Crispy, uniformed, slightly sugared and well gingered, these cookies are good, but how good is good? And are they worthy enough to be apart of 99 other things you must eat in SF before you die? Well… my opinion no. At least not for me. Someone at 7×7 thinks they are worthy enough to be on a list and I think that is great for them (the ginger snaps that is). I prefer the Bergamot caramel at Miette. Again, just a matter of taste and opinion.

April 9th

Back to the Mission in search of another “secret” and ice cream by way of Mr.Humphry Slocombe. Hyped up to no end, I’ve been a fan of this boutique ice cream store long before I’d been there or even tried the ice cream. Like many, I am intrigued by the changing daily flavors such as: Jesus Juice sorbet, salt and pepper, and of course Prosciutto. According to 7×7 there is one flavor that you must try (before dying, before moving and while visiting SF) and that is Secret Breakfast.

#45 Secret Breakfast

I told the nice man at the counter why I was there (the list) and asked him if in his opinion he felt like that was the flavor you must try. He agreed that it was and kindly served me up a scoop on a cone. My partner opted for the Bluebottle Vietnamese Coffee. It is hard to avoid Bluebottle, and frankly I don’t want to avoid Bluebottle, but I also don’t want to stand in line again for it. But I probably will and will probably buy a bag of ground coffee to take with me. Secret Breakfast is: cereal, milk and a splash of bourbon. It was sweet but very good. Their ice cream tends to fall more on the icy side than creamy side and I didn’t expect that. At all. I want to like this place, I really do. After all they peddle lard caramel and bacon brittle and have some of the most interesting flavors I’ve ever seen,heard of or personally made. How can I not like that. They are wildly popular in SF and I certainly see why..I would like to return though for one of their special sundaes and to try the Prosciutto flavor. For  local ice cream though I prefer  Ici in Berkeley. It isn’t on the 7×7 list, but it is on mine. I hear Mitchell’s (also in the Mission) is supposed to be very good.

(L)Funghi Pizza with Prosciutto (R) Mixed Bruschetta plate: Sardines, Rabbit livers, Spring Onion, Pork and Beans

April 4th

In the mood for traveling without having to find your passport and leave the city, we ventured to A16 one recent Sunday night for a taste of Italy. A16 overall is very good and I like it alot.The service is wonderful, the room is bustling, loud, but yet still cozy and romantic ( get lost gazing into the eyes..). I definitely would put this restaurant on my fantasy restaurant row along with: Aziza, Sushi Ran, Uchi, Bruno’s, La Tapatia, Bouchon,Torchy’s Tacos, Sinh Sinh, Madame Mam’s, Napoleon House…oh please just stop me. Back to A16.

#51 Maccaronara with ricotta salata

Everything is made in house. The pasta noodles are incredible. The sauce is a simple tomato ragu. I couldn’t really taste the ricotta salata but I know it was there. I don’t understand why this needs to be on the list.. but again I didn’t create the list I have just been following it. Don’t get me wrong it’s good, but I’d much rather have a Puttanesca with a cracked egg over the top or even go to another favorite restaurant George to have the Spaghetti Bolognese. Now that, needs to be on a list. Someone’s list. It is on mine. I’d love to return to A16 as the pizzas are very good (in the super thin crust charred type of way), the room is lovely as are several other starters.Dessert was also pleasant. And if anything the daily Bruschetta plate should be on the 7×7 list. Just my opinion.

(L)asparagus and wild blue crab meat with white pepper and sesame oil (R) barbecued willis ranch pork spareribs  with honey-hoisin sauce

March 28

I can’t exactly remember what I had heard about the Slanted Door, I just know I have heard the name  many times and I associated it with one of the Top and Amazing restaurants you must eat when in SF (such as, before you die). Slanted Door markets its self as a sensual and sultry mix of cuisines from different parts of Asia (VietThaiChi) and has been drawing a crowd (Tourist and Financial District) for years. The website indicates the food is Modern Vietnamese using local produce and ecologically farmed local meat. That is true and they are laughing all the way to the bank.  And this is why in my opinion, you are paying marked up prices for simple and good Vietnamese food. The restaurant space is vastly open, very loud, and feels like you could be in any other large metropolitan city dining out on a Friday night. The spring rolls, I’ve had a million times, and made myself at least 5. The rest of the food we found good, but just average. The food presentations are incredibly simple. I hate to use this as a comparison but it’s as if I picked up take out food at one of my local Vietnamese restaurants and then took it home and literally dumped it out on a very pretty platter and seved it. My boyfriend is calling the Slanted Door “The Emperor’s New Vietnamese Clothes”.

#7 Crab with cellophane noodles

I mistakenly thought this dish was 25$ for simple noodles with crab (though Dungeness). It is actually 18$. Is this worthy to be one of the 100 things to try in SF before you die?? In my opinion it is not. I can name at least 5 other Vietnamese/Thai /Chinese restaurants in Houston that are just as good if not better. I’m sure most people can also name a few in their own city respectively.

True not all authentic Vietnamese restaurants are using sustainable local ingredients, so I understand the mark up. I also realize what you are paying for, or rather what you want to believe you are paying for: an experience, a nightclub atmosphere that serves food, the high rent in The Ferry Building and the cost of the sustainable items being cooked for you and served to you. I’d rather take the “Pho challenge” at Pho Garden on Clement.

Not sure at this point if I will complete the entire 7×7 list…. So far I haven’t been too impressed with the items on it. Again, my opinion. I do still want to try the Coconut Buns at King’s Bakery as well Chicken & Waffles from Little Skillet. These have to be good, or so I am hoping.

And why isn’t Bruno’s on the list?!!!??

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