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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Births, Anniversaries, and a whole New Year of experiences

I think that this week, the streets seemed unusually empty.  I still managed to find celebrations and discover new places to eat and drink.  Monday was the 1 year Anniversary of Humphrey Slocombe.  I can't believe it's only been 1 year with the amount of times I have visited.  I got to talk to Jake the owner, as he offered me and Jennifer a piece of birthday cake. I mentioned the Duck Fat Pecan Pie I had eaten at Four Barrel only a day earlier.  Jake has branched out from just ice cream to brittle, nuts, marshmellows and other wonderful confections.  The pecan pie had to be one of the most heavenly pastries I have had in a while.  This week, I also tried their coffee cake, their brownie and a lard caramel.  I also tried a few ice cream flavors like Far West Candy Cap made with mushrooms and Guinness Ginger Bread. It was in Humphrey Slocombe that I heard about Farm Table.  So, the next day, I dragged Rita, my admin and hopped 2 buses over to Post between Jones and Leavenworth and tried it out.  I recognized Kate from Blue Bottle.  I had also heard of Cambria from my friend Karri.  Cambria worked alongside my friends Carlo and Antonio when they were at Piccino.  Kate and Cambria looked at ease in this comfy tiny cafe.  They serve Verve Coffee from Santa Cruz.  That was also the first time I had their espresso but certainly not the last because of how the week unfolded.  Rita and I shared the Butternut Squash and Apple Cider soup to start.  We both warmed up nicely, as it was another gloomy overcast day.  We also were delighted by the mixed greens that had shaved parmessan and pomegranites.  The sandwich of the day was prosciutto, butter and scallion oil on baguette.  Again, we split and loved every morsel.  The mochas were delish and we even shared a chocolate chip cookie that I had a hard time not dipping into my coffee drink. On our walk back to the office, we had the chance to stop at Harput's new location and said hello to Gus.  Lots of Y3 for sale and great women's and men's designer clothes about, the star of the show though, was Lulu the dog.  She is the sweetest and tiniest french bulldog. But I was psyched to see Harputs in Union Square and I know Gus will be very successful.

It was the next morning at Cento, 2 Centos deep, that I learned of another spot that was serving Verve Coffee Roasteries.  Sight Glass is a new spot on 7th between Folsom and Howard run by 2 brothers who have worked previously at both Blue Bottle and Four Barrel.  Sight Glass as brother Justin describes it in terms of  their roaster, there are 2 windows on the face of the drum, they are the only visual indicator of whats going on inside the drum while you are roasting coffee.  Justin  says,"it has to do with, stylisiticlly, how we roast coffee. It is all sensory based, sight, sound and smell.  The sight glass is the visual aspect of us roasting coffee.  The concept of transparancey throughout, so the way that  the lay out of our space.  Exposure and transparanecy of the roasting process from it's raw form of green coffee to being roasted, all the way to being prepared and served."  They have gutted the hell out of the 7000 + square feet if you count the 2 floors. Upfront is where all the roasting and production will happen and as you walkthrough all that to the back, that is where the main coffee bar will be. So you have to walk through the process to get served. I came up with that tag line.  Pretty friggin' cool. So cool that I visited again New Years Eve and New Years Day.  I also bought Verve beans for my Hawaiian adventure this weekend. I'm hooked.

Wednesday night I hosted Karri, Nico, Erin and Laura for cocktails before dinner.  Karri graciously provided some great cheese and bread, I supplied the Basil Hayden.  It was then off to Contigo on Castro near 24th Street. Chris was in the kitchen and brought out several dishes amongst the many we also ordered to share amongst the 7 of us after Erin's boyfriend Erin joined. Erin and Erin, go figure.  We started the evening with a sparkling rose.  Moved on to a bottle of red after many tastings and ended with a great dessert wine. One of the major highlights on the menu for me was their  Dungeness Crab Salad with Little Gems, Citrus, Marinated Beets and Saffron Vinagreta.  The Albondigas, which are the Pork and Jamon Meatballs in Tomato Sherry Sauce were screaming. And the Butter Beans done "Meson de Candido" style had all right amount of pig a reform Jew won't mind eating. I mean, we are talking, Pork Belly, Chorizo and Trotters. Woo-Wee!  Since we shared everything amongst so many folks, we had no problem sharing 3 different desserts. The chocolate caliente con churros was fried to order and once the churros were gone, I still went after the cup of thick, rich Barcelona-Style Chocolate. I also did not runaway from the Turron Mousse with Moscatel Gelee and Vanilla Meringue. In fact, I loved it so much, I spent some time with it, as it made the rounds. I say they all tied with Burnt Caramel Flan with Mantequilla Cookie, in terms of favorites.  I loved them all.

I had a float day and so I used it and took the day off on New Years Eve. Went to the gym for the last Troy ab class of the year and worked out my chest and biceps one last time in 2009.  I then met up with Jennifer for Four Barrel and that lard caramel I mentioned earlier. As if that weren't enough, we decided to go grab lunch and beer at Monk's Kettle.  Located on 16th Street at Albion cross street, this brew pub has major munchies like the mac and cheese cooked in a skillet with applewood bacon and a flank steak sando with blue cheese aioli.  We had several drafts like ...I was so knockered that I had to skip boxing and head back to Sight Glass for a mocha to try and even out a bit.  Let's just say that I was finally tired, all the goings out in 2009 made me unmotivated to go ring in the New Year and save the celebration for the following morning.

Speaking of New Years Day. I had both a  mocha and baby latte at Sight Glass before heading to the IMAX for a morning 3-D show of Avatar. I don't get to the movies enough, but this what movie making is all about. I was completely engaged from the second it started. I felt the story was so relevant to today and visuals were tremendous.  I still feel drawn to the world Cameron brilliantly created on screen.  After the film let out, I walked over to Blue Bottle to find them closed for the holiday.  That was fine 'cause I just went back to Sight Glass and my new friend RJ who I had gotten to know in the past 3 days.  I met up with my friend Josh visiting from El Paso, Texas.  He loved the coffee.

We continued our reunion and I took him to Piccino in the DogPatch on 20th by 3rd Street. The New Year's Pizza had shaved foie gras, mozzarella & radicchio. And I ate the whole thing and loved every minute of it.  We also had french press Blue Bottle which is always satisfying.

After a few beers in the Castro with friends, I walked myself back to my neighborhood and stopped at The Front Porch for their annual Crab Pot and Fried Chicken New Year's soiree.  I got a 2 piece fried chicken which came with greens and black eyed peas.  Yummy in my tummy! Crab was gone but the shrimp was still a' boiling.  Kev, owner and friend, kept handing over his large portion for me to eat.  And then I got some mac' cheese and some fried pickles.  I was drinking Big Daddy IPA's so you know I was a very happy camper. 

And so begins 2010 as I write this descending into Honolulu and connecting over to the Big Island.  Goody I get to recharge the batteries and visit Hilo and see all the volcanic activity.  Look out for updates and pictures and ALOHA!

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