Somehow I got lucky: I live in Houston, but my office is in San Francisco. So I work from home almost exclusively, but return to SF about once a quarter to put in some face time at the office. I’m not gonna lie… It rawks. I spent last week out there on that crazy left coast, catching up on all my favorite things—and trying some decidedly new things with some of my favorite people. Here’s a summary.
Now that Blue Bottle has a storefront in the Ferry Building, I can skip over for my workday morning coffee. Hooray! Sure, craploads of places in SF now use Blue Bottle beans—but it’s not the same as having one of those skillful baristas work up your chosen buzz agent. Here is my gorgeous (and mega delicious) Blue Bottle latte.
When my friend Julie told me about the bacon-wrapped mochi at Chotto, I couldn’t wrap my head around what it’d be like—but the dish was so creatively amazing, we had to order a second. The meaty and crisp bacon paired beautifully with the chewy consistency and basic taste of the mochi. I wanted each bite to last forever. And with the mochi’s crazy texture, they almost did.
After Japanese on night one, I had Italian four dinners in a row. This is odd, as I rarely go out for Italian in Houston. When I tweeted about our extraordinary meal at Flour + Water, @tasty_bitz responded, capturing my swirling sentiments perfectly: “Does it make you a little sad about the state of Italian food in Houston?” Yep, a little bit. After all, this pasta dish—tiny dumplings filled with game hen and pancetta—is made of awesome.
It was @tetsujustin that told me about Una Pizza Napoletana, a small place serving some of the best pizza in the country. The menu contains five pizzas, all very similar, and an arrogantly strict warning: “All pizzas are 12” round, no slices. No substitutions or alterations. Pizzas come as listed below only. No condiments available.” They do it their way, or not at all. It’s a good thing their way is spectacular.
This banana and dulce de leche empanada could have used more filling, but the pastry was outta this world. The fragile outer layers gradually attained purchase as they circled closer to the center. It wasn’t dry or bready; just lightly firm, a perfect afternoon snack. When will we have an empanada stand in Houston?
Farm egg raviolo at Cotogna: the image below is basically a gargantuan ravioli with a poached egg inside. Break it open, and the yolk spills out, masking the plated brown butter sauce below. The thing was beautiful, rich, and gloriously decadent. We split it among three of us, which was both utterly perfect and horribly wrong.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is, perhaps, my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning. I capped my week in San Francisco with my friend Jamie, gnoshing on flavorful pork buns, delicate oysters, and a sinfully good burger from the 4505 Meat Company (below). Doesn't it just look like a place that sells happy?
And after six days away, no matter how fun, I’m always happy to come back home.
Hello again, Houston!