Another month goes by and San Francisco is finally warming up - in both temperature and in my heart.
It happened on a trip to Spain once. I spent the entire trip ooh and ahhing my way around museums, doing my best to soak up and revel in their joie de vivre - well, the Spanish version. With only three days left on our trip I had a meltdown. I had had it with the heat, the ham and holiness. I needed a break from change. A small taste of home and familiarity. And it came in the form of a gigantic plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Horrible spaghetti and meatballs at that, as I had no patience to look for a good Italian restaurant. I'm actually embarrassed to say that I spent the entire dinner in silence, proudly slurping my Progresso y pasta, but repairing my courage bite by bite. And as pouty, childish and uncouth it sounds, it worked. The rest of the trip was a blur of discovery and enjoyment. And guess who had tears in her eyes come boarding time? I'm not proud of it, but I have come to learn I am the ultimate boil-over-er - a highly technical term. It happened in London too.
Well, the pot hast boil-eth over here in San Francisco, but fortunately it was well timed with a bit of home coming to visit. I spent the past month searching for the perfect apartment, the perfect job, a sliver of sunshine. I was cold, lost, unemployed and homeless - well, not in the literal sense - lets keep things in perspective. But I was frustrated and exhausted, and ready to throw in the towel. But just in the nick of time, my weekend presented a melting pot of East coast family and friends in town. And they brought with them a little taste of home, in the form of Frankie Spuntino's Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. After a long day of hiking and biking, my brother and sister-in-law turned our kitchen into one of my favorite NYC restaurants. They recreated my favorite dish, Cavatelli with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter (though it's a real tossup between that and their famous meatballs). On the side we had Sweet and Sour Eggplant with Ricotta Salata and Mint - a distinctly different take on traditional eggplant parm - and a 'NYC meets Cali' salad of Avocado, Red Onion and Tomato. We topped it all off with many a bottle of wine from our trip up to Napa. And so I ate, drank and laughed my way back to being myself again, surrounded by the people and food I hold dear to my heart.
And that's when happened. While I was playing tour guide extraordinaire (and finally enjoying some beautiful weather), I started to discover the true beauty of San Francisco. My findings so far:
1. It's stunning.
Our new backyard - Dolores Park:
Hiking Dipsea Trail:
3. It's quirky.
The infamous fog, rolling on in:
My local manicurist:
My 'East Coast Meets West Coast' Salad: (serves 4)
(otherwise known as Frankie Spuntino's Tomato, Avocado and Red Onion Salad)
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2T. red wine vinegar
- 2 Hass avocados
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Core the tomatoes and slice into wedges. Combine in a large bowl with the sliced onion, large pinch of sea salt, oil and vinegar.
- Gently toss and divide among four bowls.
- Halve, pit, peel and slice the avocados and divide among the four bowls.
- Sprinkle the avocado with a small pinch of salt and drizzle each bowl with a little olive oil.
- Finish with a few grinds of black pepper just before the salad goes to the table.
- The Heat