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A Night at Gary Danko

I got to go to Gary Danko last week with my cousin who was up here for a conference.

Although we were both planning on getting the three-course option, the menu was so extensive with mouth-wateringly descriptive dishes that narrowing the choices down to three (including dessert) seemed entirely too taxing. So we took the easy way out and each splurged for the four course.

Apriums Arrive!

First of the season: apriums from
Blossom Bluff Orchards.

Sometimes it feels like things here in California happen overnight. One weekend, you’re enjoying the first tender spring greens, the first sweet strawberries, a handful of early season cherries. Then whammo! The ship comes in. Have you been to the farmers’ market lately? Now the cherries are mounded up into huge piles, vying for space among the apricots, first of the season white peaches and plums.

The Food Bank

Known as a bit of a space-case among friends, the one thing I can confidently say is that I have a sharp mind for food—which is good for this job and bad for bills, dates, cool indie music trivia, star sightings and most else. I can recall the most obscure things I’ve eaten with an exactitude that isn’t necessarily as impressive as it is a bit weird. I suppose though, the result is that my mind if full of delicious food. Things could be worse.

Added to the food memory bank, as of last week, are two dishes that I’ve had nothing quite like before and want to have a lot more of right now:

Dessert Week

Much to my dismay, I had to turn down an invitation to a dessert and dessert wine pairing event at Lark Creek Steak last week. I’m not sure if that’s the culprit (because I need something other than my sweet tooth to blame) but as it turns out I ended up “dedicating” my entire week to dessert.

Here’s how it broke down:

Little Liguria

Bushi-tei's Blossoms

Growing up in the D.C. area, I didn’t realize how special cherry blossom season was until I left. Even fall foliage in New England (where I went to college) doesn’t compare. So when I found out that bushi-tei restaurant in Japantown had a four-course prix fixe meal in honor of cherry blossoms, I took action. Unfortunately for me, I’m not the only one who pounced on this unique offering of cherry blossoms mingled with wild shrimp, a brined cherry leaf stuffed with tuna tartare, veal loin stuffed with dried cherries and a cherry mousse with cherry compote.

Cherry blossoms in D.C.

Gordo Gorditas

New kid on the block.

Back when I lived on the East coast, far from the pupuserias and taco trucks that now signal I’m almost to my block, I made a few attempts at home-cooked Mexican food. I propped my Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless cookbooks open, making haphazard substitutions and best attempts. I’d like to tell you that every meal was a slam-dunk, dear reader, but truth is we ate a lot of bland pinto beans and lame versions of “carnitas.”

Eels on Wheels

I've always liked school, but I especially enjoyed last Tuesday's Sushi School at Hime. The intent of these monthly food-and-sake classes is to push our palates beyond the ho-hum salmon and tuna rolls that can be found anywhere. This month's lesson was on anago, also known as conger eel. Eel is one of my faves so I was pleased that we were in for a four-course meal that featured anago baked, deep-fried, steamed and sushi-style.

Sips in SoMa

District is proof that there's still room in San Francisco for another wine bar (and believe me, I've had my doubts). Last week I went there for a wine-and-food-pairing event showcasing the undeniable talents of wine director Caterina Mirabelli and executive chef Jen Solomon. If you want to learn more about them and District, read The South Beach Diet in this month's Best Bite.

photography by Rick Camargo

Cracking Up

The reason for the season: Dungeness Crab

I feel like I’m two-timing on my East coast roots by admitting what I’m about to admit, but here goes: I think I might like Dungeness crab more than lobster. There. I’ve said it. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll always have a special place in my heart for a Maine lobster roll (see our May issue for more details on the closest approximation I’ve found within the city limits)—but I am head over heels for our local crab.
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