Food Travels: San Francisco

I got out to San Francisco a few months ago to visit Stevie and Josiah in their new abode. We celebrated the end of spring’s bounty with some fabulous meals. Here’s a quick round up of some of my favorites:

Dinner at Bar Agricole with Stevie and Alli. 
Beautiful, refurbished industrial restaurant space with 
spot-on seasonal menu and a funky wine list.
Stevie and me on the tram through downtown SF,
one of the oddest public transit experiences of my life.
Ogling the goodies at the Ferry Building’s Farmers’ Market.
We picked up a few treats to make dinner. 
Mexican food at the market. Spicy and delicious,
with refreshing strawberry and ginger-peach aguafrescas.
Rabbit stew, made with broccolini, asparagus, potatoes, favas, peas, and more.
Topped with watercress and served with a California Fume Blanc.
This time, we left the pits in for the famed bitter-almond notes they provide.
We also used half of a vanilla bean instead of extract 
Last morning at Tartine, the famous bakery in the Mission. 
Those pains au chocolat are as big and as tasty as they look…

Eating Local: Hot Bread Kitchen

Amazing farmers’ market find at the Union Square Greenmarket this weekend!

Since I have almost finished reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, I am finding myself being ever more conscious about the way I look at the labels on food. Not for calorie intake, but for what ingredients are listed. As Pollan suggests, I look for “real food,” names I can recognize and place…what a concept! This bit of deliciousness has exactly 11 ingredients, all of which are things  I have tasted individually: 100% whole grain rolled oats, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, unsulphered raisins, sesame seeds, wheat germ, New York State honey, vegetable oil, and kosher salt. Believe it or not, most of the ‘food’ that is in the marketplace is processed to the point that all nutritional value is removed (if it was there to begin with), and we are left with page-long lists of manufactured ‘ingredients’ that look more like chemical compounds from a lab experiment. No thank you.

Additionally, Hot Bread Kitchen is a bakery with a cause that I am happy to support. To quote the mission from their site:

Hot Bread Kitchen is a non-profit social enterprise that creates better lives for low-income women and their families.  We do this by paying women while they learn the skills necessary to launch food businesses and achieve management track positions in food manufacturing. To help offset the cost of our training and to build esteem in the contribution of immigrants, we sell delicious multi-ethnic breads that are inspired by our bakers and the many countries that they come from.  We make it a priority to use local and organic ingredients. As our staff of trainees grows, so does our product line.  As part of our mission, we preserve valuable baking and culinary traditions and “br-educate” New Yorkers about the tasty and important contributions of immigrant communities.
This granola cost me $5 — that’s more or less what I spend in the grocery store on a plastic package the source of which I am unaware. Instead, I bought My Mom’s Nutty Granola from one of the staff of Hot Bread Kitchen and know that I am eating the produce of the state in which I am living. I think that’s pretty cool. And it’s delicious with Chobani Greek Yogurt, also local (I am not quite at the stage of making my own).