DO IT YOURSELF: Lovely V-Day “Taste of SF” Meal (Feb 2014)


So the point of the previous SF post was to tee up this excellent Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s a tradition that Sam cooks up a wonderful meal with a surprise menu for V-Day, and this year I knew he had something major up his sleeve because for a WEEK ahead of the meal he retired to his next-door apartment almost every night to do secret cookings.

It turned out that the meal was “A Taste of SF,” celebrating the culinary highlights of our November trip. One of the secret cookings involved making a sourdough bread starter. And another was pre-making custard for the ice cream, which I will elaborate on in a bit.

FIRST COURSE: Sourdough, infused oils (home-infused!), and store-bought soft cheese.

This, of course, invoked our lovely time at the Ferry Building, tasting oils, and our little picnic. Because the bread was young it wasn’t super sour — I actually think it tasted a lot like the bread at Morton’s Steakhouse, which Sam has never had but he should take my word for it. Fancy bread.

The oils were tasty but kept turning solid when we tried to store them, which kinda freaked me out. I have botulism fears.

SECOND COURSE: Salad. Not pictured. Sorry, salad.

THIRD COURSE: Cioppino, aka seafood stew, invented in SF. (And pictured twice. Take that, salad!)

DESSERT: Tartine apple crisp, homemade vanilla bean ice cream, garnished with dark chocolate Ghirardelli square.

Tartine was a restaurant we didn’t have time to try in SF, so Sam used their recipe for dessert. You guys, this was easily one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, counting restaurants and homemade. I’m not always the biggest fan of apple desserts, but this one came out just right — I like my apples very mushy, in pie-like situations, and the crust was… I think all butter. It was fantastic.

And the ice cream had like a hundred egg yolks and real vanilla bean, and was also incredible. I know you weren’t there to taste it, but you just have to take my word for it.

I’m glad this all happened before my vegan eating days… once again, I think I know how my cholesterol went up. Worth it.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t always believe in typical presents — I think a card and a good meal or experience can be better than a tangible gift. And this was one of those meals that 100% endorses my theory. It’s a wonderful memory… of a wonderful memory. It’s an ouroboros. Or something.

Sam has stipulated that Valentine’s Day must continue to be a cheat day (“cheat” = eating a bit of dairy and fish), and I’m okay with that.

Next up: Probably some vegan cooking anecdotes. Hold onto your butts!


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