Sorry for abandoning the blog! James and I went to San Francisco and I got sick as soon as we got back. =( But I’m feeling a bit better now – well enough to do a fun run tomorrow? Still undecided! But anyway, James had to meet with some people at the Amazon SF office and since his hotel room was already paid for I decided to tag along.
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and had brunch at Brenda’s, which was a 15 minute walk. Unfortunately it was right through the Tenderloin, which is probably the sketchiest area I’ve ever walked through. There was literal human shit on the footpath and the streets smelled like wee. Also on every stretch of street were people dealing crack, shooting up and begging for money. There isn’t anywhere in Melbourne or Seattle that even remotely compares, so that was a bit of a shock.
And then we turned the corner and saw Brenda’s, where people were clustered outside waiting for a seat.
“Man,” I thought. “This better be good.” We entered, put our names on the list and went outside to wait.
It was maybe a 10-15 minute wait, which wasn’t too bad. We ordered a flight of beignets: plain, chocolate, apple/cinnamon and crayfish ($9.50). James’ favourite was the apple/cinnamon and mine was the crayfish. They were excellent: crispy, light as air and super filling.
The rest of the meal suffered a little in comparison. James had the po’boy (it was a special of the day – I think around $11?):
He said the first few bites were really good but then it was a bit much for him.
The po’boy was more interesting than my Hometown Fry: fried oyster, bacon and scallion scramble with hash and biscuit ($11)
I think I keep trying to like fried oysters but I don’t. =( Plus I was already really full – I had to triage and abandon the hash and biscuit. If I come back I think I’d get the crawfish beignets and some fried chicken. With some more beignets to take home. =D
Even though I didn’t super love my meal I think quality-wise it blows away any breakfast I’ve had in Seattle. If Brenda’s were in Seattle there would be hour-long lines for it. Those freaking beignets still haunt my dreams …
But anyway afterwards we still had a lot of time to kill before our hotel room was ready so we took the bus to Presidio and visited the yoda statue. He’s life-sized and comes with a miniature-sized James head.
We randomly walked around the waterfront area which was beautiful on such a clear day, especially with this view of the Golden Gate bridge.
There were lots of people jogging and if we’d planned it in advance we could have brought our running gear. James tried to do some l-sits:
And that was enough exercise for the day. =P
We got back to the hotel just in time to check in and decompress before Bo and Christine took us to Sausalito, which isn’t too far from San Francisco but is this affluent, touristy seaside area. It seriously could not have been more picturebook charming if it tried: there was even a guy at the waterfront making these zen rock sculptures:
He didn’t use any adhesives – it took him ages to stack a single rock (you can see him behind that last sculpture on the right).
Then we headed to the Mission, where we wandered around, visited Dolores Park (which was the best park ever, though the lack of pot-smell made me Seattle-wistful) and basically bummed around until our reservation at Lazy Bear.
OMG Lazy Bear.
Seriously, if you live in SF you need to enter the lottery for their dinner because it is incredible – one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Lazy Bear is an underground restaurant that only seats like 50 people a night (for a 3.5 hour dinner! Oh my!), and instead of allocating seats on a first come first served basis, they hold a lottery. I was sooo stoked that I got in on my first try!
The dinner is held at a constantly-changing location. This was ours:
Pretty much everyone would arrive at the door, poke their head in, look confused and ask their party “is this the place?”, then tentatively step in. Which is exactly what we did too. =P
The dining set up was two long banquet tables. We got there early, so chose prime positions at the end of the table:
And each table setting came with a menu:
Snacks (there were 3 or 4 large snacks but they weren’t listed on the menu – one was scrambled eggs made with bacon fat that was whipped into this light-as-air foam, another was a kind of tomato jelly with basil, another was a cronut – croissant/donut – I have a feeling there was another one but it’s not coming to mind)
Cauliflower smoked char roe, shin li pear, chrysanthemum
Matsutake abalone, pine nut agnolotti, matsutake broth
Octopus saffron, mussels, chorizo, mint
Hot Chicken pickles, little gems, potato salad
Veal Short Loin butter beans, kale, apple mostarda
Concord Grape creme fraiche, cucumber, dill, celery
Treats (a beard papa-like custard pastry, a little square of strawberry jelly and sous vide cookie dough)
I’m so sorry I don’t have photos but the lighting was no good. I was hoping they’d upload photos to the website but they haven’t – if I’d known I would have taken my crappy photos anyway. =( Because look at the other photos of their food! God, it’s like food art.
Everything was so interesting, and obviously so much thought had been put into every part of the meal. It was just light-years away from what you could make yourself at home. Honestly for $95 + tip it was a screaming good deal.
Each bite was like a party in my mouth that I never wanted to end – it was like “oh! This is what beans are supposed to taste like!” and there were flavour combos that I would never have thought of but were so amazing (grapes and pickles? Who would have thought!). Everyone brought their own booze and there was no corkage fee. Outstanding.
You could also go into the kitchen and ask questions.
Before every dish the head chef would come out and tell us about what inspired him, which made it into much more of an experience than a meal. Which I know sounds super wanky, but normally James doesn’t go in for this kind of thing and even he thought it was incredible.
It was also funny cos the chef was clearly getting progressively drunker as the night went on. =D But before we left he still came over and chatted with us, asking what our favourite and least favourite dishes were. It was hard not to gush. I gushed. =(
We had some amazing meals this trip but Lazy Bear was by far the highlight. If you live in San Francisco and love food there is NO EXCUSE for not trying this amazing restaurant. Do it. DO IT NOW.
I’m so jealous of you. =(