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I ate my way thru San Francisco

Back in SF for a short weekend. My first time back since moving to Chicago.  It felt like when I was on tour with the SF Symphony in Italy for just one day.  Hadn’t been there in years and had no plans to go back, so I ate my way thru Torino.  I did the same in SF this weekend.

After rehearsal it was all about the usual Blue Bottle Coffee, burger at Absinthe, and the normal Hayes St. stuff.  Also tired Heaven’s Dog which is Slanted Door food with a great bar.

But two things were especially memorable.

Alembic was off the hook: eating a pork belly slider and sipping a Corpse Revival No. 2, I felt like I was in the world’s most delicious zombie movie.  And shishito peppers are the best bar food ever.

Then it was Delfina, which I never went to because I thought it was too hard to get a table.  Big mistake.

Escarole salad with nuts and first persimmons of the year, house cured salmon and then two revelations.

The spaghetti was perfect and the tomato sauce was so fresh but was all umami as well.  I asked them what kind of bacon they flavored the sauce with, but it was vegan(?!).  They just stewed the early girl tomatoes in some sort of magic way (tomatoes are still good in Cali).  How?  Please tell me!

Also there was this ahi tuna on the white beans, but was there grated cheese on top?  Impossible in a serious Italian restaurant, and I was right: it was exquisitely grated hard-boiled egg whites.  They really helped to activate the fish and bean energy.

I just love the Cali cooking and how it’s all about the ingredients.  Why inject chef-ego into nature’s wonderful creations?  Usually, it doesn’t make them better.