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Pink Pearl Apples Steal the Show at Contigo

Half apple, half tart. Image from Contigo

I remember the day a publicist popped by my desk a few years back with an exotic species in his hand: a pink pearl apple that was being used by a chef in town. I marveled at this little apple's girlish beauty and at its crisp, tart taste. And as it's the beginning of September, pink pearls are showing up around town again.

Like so many San Franciscans, I can feel the seasons waning by the changing of the fruit guard. It's happening right now. While all the stone fruit is still there tempting me, farmers are showing up with grapes and apples too. It always makes me a little sad because it means we're hitting the time of year when summer becomes fall, which hence going forward shall be called faller. Or maybe sumall.

Pink pearls are at Bi-Rite right now (as Apartment Therapy breathily announced a couple days ago). Pick some up and make a gorgeous tart. Last year, The Bonjon Gourmet, a local SF blogger, presented this beautiful apple-custard tart recipe. If you're not into cooking, Three Babes Bakeshop has been toying around with the apples in their pies (though what's the point if you can't see the pink?).

And then there's my dinner last night. My husband and I stopped in for an impromptu dinner at Contigo. Everything was fantastic—meticulous, delicious. Just a perfect neighborhood night out.

And then came dessert, which I ordered on a whim, not the usual. While Joe was swooning over the intense Sightglass Coffee chocolate flan, I was getting breathy about the thin, crisp, sugar-crusted pink-pearl apple-and-blackberry tart served with a smooth as brown-butter ice cream. You can see how gorgeous it is in the picture above that I stole from Contigo's Facebook page (sorry, guys, I had to do it). When I raved, chef Brett Emerson said Contigo has a new pastry chef who hails from Bar Tartine and Delfina. It shows.

Emerson was also glowing (an exhausted kind of glow) about another sweet addition to his life—his and his wife Elan's three week old daughter Tilden. Yes, named after the park. How cute is that?