Stonesteps sunset

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greetings from the Golden Gate

It has been a nice trip so far. Lots of rain on the way up. I stopped off at my friends' Bill and Sue Phillips and spent the night at their home last night in Del Rey Oaks. Bill and I have been friends since 1975 when we met at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas to see Jerry Garcia. Bill has one of the greatest collections of recorded music and video performances I have ever seen, from Miles Davis to the Bee Gees. Last night we watched a Small Faces video and then Pete Townshend's Psychoderelict. Always great times at the Phillips.

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Drove up to the show this morning and set up most of my paintings. Had a decent sale. Checked into the hotel. Got the free chocolate chip cookie. The Padres beat the Giants today, 5 to 2, completing the three game sweep. The Padres have had the Giants number for years, beating them in like 11 of the last 14 games. The Giants and their fans have been cocky all season, practically expecting that the pennant be delivered without even playing the games, since they are so obviously superior. The Padres are running this year, executed a double steal today and the Giants obviously can't deal with their speed. They beat them yesterday with one hit. Their stoner pitcher Lincicum is great and all but I think that the division will be a toss up this year.

It's funny, the Dodgers and Giants and their respective fans hate each other, and it goes back to ancient history in New York. Lakers /Warriors shares a similar animus. San Diego gets treated like the dorky red headed stepchild, even though the Padres tend to mop up either team of late. We are the baseball equivalent of chopped liver. Native San Diegans like me hate the patronizing Dodgers far worse than we hate the Giants, I don't need to really get into it.


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I went out to dinner tonight with some of my hardcore food buddies. Melissa and Gary and her son Morgwn Jones and his wife, Roseanna. Melissa is a chef and her son is a line cook at the very good and trendy Wood Tavern. The family knows food. Morgwn's father Kimball is a noted chef and cookbook author. Uncle Chris owns Citron. Brother Taylor is a very talented chef and C.I.A. graduate who is currently playing in a touring rock band.

We went to Delfina, on 18th and Guerrero. A block from Mission Delores. Delfina is a 2008 James Beard Award winner. Owned by a noted chef, Craig Stoll. My friend Michael and his wife had gone there recently and had been less than thrilled and I was a bit hesitant about the place. My concerns were misplaced. It was an excellent meal.We decided to all share and basically ordered one of everything. The food came hot and fast and often. We started the meal off with a delicious white wine whose name unfortunately escapes me but smelled of pear and was soft and round. Then on to a 2005 Silver Oak, one of my favorite cabs.

Delfina is a restaurant with a decided emphasis on meat. We started the evening with Louisiana Dayboat shrimp wrapped in lard and porchetta. Superb. Then Jewish style artichokes in mint which were intriguing, a culinary concoction from the jewish quarter of Rome. Crispy and flash cooked. On to the grilled calamari with white beans.

The salad was little gem lettuce in an amazing gorgonzola vinaigrette. The lamb and beet green ravioli was one of the best items of the night but so many things were great it is hard to pick. Spaghetti in Nero with sepia and sea urchin. Papparedella with succulent pork sugo. Delicious tripe fiorentina, nicely finished off with bread crumbs, the smoky flavor of the tripe was out of this world. Polenta with fontina Val de Aosto. Wolfe Ranch Quail with ramp. Mixed grill of pancetta wrapped rabbit, wild and spicy fennel sausage and lamb sweetbread spiedino. Finally a Meyer Ranch Hangar steak with fries. If I was going to come back and have one entree it would be this dish. Sublimely flavorful beef in a perfect wine reduction. Morgwyn explained to us the proper amount of butter to use in such a reduction. Fries were outrageous too. The food just never stopped coming. Everyone at the table had a sophisticated palette and it was a lot fun to eat and share with people that lived and truly appreciated food. Good bread and nice salted butter. Service was excellent as well.

They changed the silver a little too much. I said something after they took away my fifth fork, somewhere in the middle of the meal. Hey, I could get by with just one, a little more environmentally conscious, too. The mixing of so many different meats sort of sent my gastric constitution slightly upside down, might have been the rabbit. I think I will approach the place a bit differently when I return, maybe not be quite such a glutton.

We decided to forego the extensive dessert menu and instead walk across the street to the vaunted Bi-rite Creamery, which I had heard was San Francisco's best ice cream. We shared a hot fudge sunday with caramel ice cream. All the ingredients at Bi-rite are top shelf. A long line of people snaked out the door onto the street, at close to 10:00 at night. Nice.

It was a great night for friends and food. I recommend the restaurant and the ice cream. Somrtimes my job is okay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gotta love that blog! Not crazy, however, about Delphina. When I went it was crowded, we were seated in the back garden which was wretched, didn't think much of what we ate, and thought it was entirely too noisy. Will have to try it again.