San Francisco Magazine held an amazing event that I was lucky enough to attend. Located on the Embarcadero with the Blue Angels zooming overhead, we got to enjoy lots of amazing food and wine courtesy of a ton of local restaurants! Walking in I was handed a plate and a Reidel wine glass, one I got to keep, and free reign of the place. Below are photos of the food I tasted.First off was RNM: a bite of Grimaud Farms Duck with Knoll Farms Black Mission Figs. This was delicious,a bit rich, but tasty. It's funny because last time I went to RNM I really enjoyed my meal but ended up with a belly ache. Maybe the food is just too heavy for my sensitive gullet.
Rose Pistola offered Curli Endive from County Line Harvest with Ahi Tuna, fresh horseradish and caper berries.
Asia de Cuba also had an ahi tartare of sorts. This one was covered with coconut and I recall it being quite tasty! Not the best photo I have ever taken but I was trying to juggle a plate, the wine glass and take photos!
Above is Kuleto's, a local favorite, and it didn't disappoint with Sonoma Duck Liver with California Mission Figs and Arugula. It's funny, duck liver, foie gras, whatever you want to call it, doesn't really bother me. I know it should considering what I a bleeding heart I typically am for animals, but for some reason I have shoved foie gras into the "isn't really an animal product" category. Vegans everywhere are gathering their pitch forks to come roast me (hey, I'm an animal too guys!). The funniest thing is John didn't taste this one because he has self declared "issues" with it. He never ceases to surprise me!
Sam's Chowder House, which is located in Half Moon Bay (I think, don't hold me to it) offered and interesting little bowl of Sweet Shrimp and Chickpea salad with Daylight Farms Mint, Smoked Paprika, creme fraiche, and picholine olives. A tasty bite I must say.
Foreign Cinema offered up a small crostini that I came back to a number of times. It was local Ling Cod with creme fraiche, chile and lime and Steven Singer olive oil. The tiny sweet one hundreds on the top added just the right amount of sweetness. Those are tomatoes in case you are unfamiliar.
Have you ever had venison? Especially jerkied or dried or whatever treatment Ducca gave it?? Neither had I. But this was served on a chocolate tortilla and had the most interesting combo of sweet and savory. It was fascinating, and I have to have two to make sure I got all the flavors!
At the Betelnut stand I had this small bite of pork with some kind of sweet reduction over it. I forgot to photograph the description but this was tasty. It was cooked right and reinitiated me into the land of pork. Hmmm, not sure how long I'll stay, we'll see.
Bocadillos, one of my favorite restaurants from the people who do another one of my faves, Piperade, disappointed me with this bite of Monterey Sardines and California Quince. I love sardines, I really do, but this was way too much flavor for the quince. It just didn't really go together and I almost wanted to spit it out, not a good thing.
Paragon had Bay Shrimp, Piquillo peppers, tarragon and olive oil. It was ok, but hard to compete with all the other tasty things that were going into my mouth that day.
Prawns and shrimp were a very popular choice on this sunny fall day. I am not sure why, perhaps because they can be served at many temperatures, I cannot fathom how difficult it is to cook for an event like this. All you have is a tent and some hot plates, so anything that needs a perfect temperature or cannot sit for a while is out. But that said, shrimp, in my opinion, just isn't all that exciting. Sent Sovi offered a Arbequina olive oil poached prawn with celery root salad. I recall that this didn't taste like much. It's pretty, but the taste was missing.
Level III, a restaurant I had never even hear of fed me my second favorite of the day! Harris Ranch braised shirt rib with Coke Farms organic cauliflower risotto and Brussel Sprouts. Mmmmmm. Really, mmmm. I yelled at the boys to come take these, actually I think I asked the chef for 2 more so I could bring this little dish of heaven over to them. We all loved it. Mmmmm, again, for lack of imagination. One Market gave a Dungeness crab cake with Saffron aioli. It was perfect. I mean, perfect if you like basic crab cakes. It wasn't inventive, it wasn't something I had never tasted before, but it was simply a delicious, satisfying crab cake. I had multiple!
Namu, another unfamiliar restaurant to me, served a very savory bite of line caught Bodega Bay Black Cod with grilled scallions and avocado wrapped in Konbu. It was served in what reminded me of a ponzu sauce. I actually liked it a lot.
There were many other bites I had throughout the day, I couldn't take pictures of everything. The most disappointing picture I missed was a photo of my favorite of the day! It was from Ryan Scott's, of Top Chef infamy one might say, new restaurant Mission Bay Cafe. It was a crostini with roasted pork, white bean puree, and some kind of roasted red pepper. It was absolutely delicious. I mean, wow. Incredible. I think I ate 5. And he was nice and I didn't ask if he finally learned what a chicken scallopini or whatever dish he totally screwed up and denied doing so on Top Chef, but he was a way more pleasant figure than he gave off on tv. (Which actually totally sucks, because who cares if a few dozen people have a really good impression of you when the majority of the country thinks you're a huge douche! I mean, this guy got roasted on the message boards, absolutely skewered. Poor guy, really.) But look how happy I am with all the eating!!
FallFest was a total success. I think I probably tasted about 80% of the main courses, there were oysters that you didn't see amongst other things, but I didn't have any of the desserts. And there were a lot of other products around too. Something called Rabbit Bars, I think, oh and some amazing cheese which I loitered around for a while! There were some good wines as well. And I love my glass. So, whew, FallFest '08, conquered and now finally blogged about!