I've got three cures for the winter blues on this rainy day.
Strauss Free Raised dropped off some veal samples for me to try recently and I finally pulled some of them out of the freezer. I'll admit that rather hypocritically, I generally steer clear of veal, but will happily dig into a cute, little roast suckling pig. Maybe it's a pork thing. Give me pig or give me death.
Strauss (which sells its products at Whole Foods) is clearly trying to rid veal of its old stigma. You know that terrible poster child of a doe-eyed calf that's been chained and raised in a box? It's emblazened into my brain.
So, envisioning the happy, frolicking calves on the Strauss site, and armed with veal demi glace and ground veal, I made Escarole and Little Meatball Soup. (For it, my son Moss made 77 tiny meatballs. We counted.) I love Pizzeria Delfina's rustic Italian soups and I deem this soup PD worthy. The kids lapped it as much as I did.
This morning, my husband and I drove back from Napa where he'd very sweetly surprised me by reserving the Lux Tub Suite at the Avia hotel. We have a terribly small tub at our house that I'm forever bitching about it. But this room had a massive tub—the kind of a girl's dreams. After I had a melting, fully submersed soak, we walked over to Oenotri for dinner, which we loved last time we were there. Except, this time, the dinner disappointed a bit. A bottle of light (only 12.5 percent alcohol), Il Frappato Occhipinti red was perfect (made by a cool Sicilian female winemaker—I wish I could read her blog). The rich, chewy spaghetti-long tubes of bucatini alla carbonara were also perfect, but the salads were lackluster and the radiatore was just fine (the broccoli rabe it advertised was broccoli from what I could gather). Living in San Francisco where the standards of dining are so high has made me into an intolerable snob. I should be exiled to North Dakota.
I have your plan for tomorrow. Have linner (this is neither lunch nor dinner) at Castro classic Anchor Oyster Bar at about 4 pm, a complete off hour when there's no wait. This is what I did with my parents, who were visiting last weekend. We waltzed right in and sat down to a dozen oysters, an oyster shooter—think Bloody Mary without the vodka, add an oyster—a cup of rich, creamy chowder and a Caesar salad. (Keep on the West Coast. The East Coast oysters were tasteless.) Add a bottle of chilled rosé and you're set. If you ask me, there is no better way to spend a leisurely, chilly day. It almost begs for rain.
Dish of the week: Kumamoto oysters at Anchor Oyster Bar