Magazine article The Spectator

It's a Beautiful Way

Magazine article The Spectator

It's a Beautiful Way

Article excerpt

Ihave just returned from San Francisco. I loved everything about it. I loved Castro, the men in leather vests and sex shops called everything from Does Your Father Know to Rock Hard. I loved Haight-Ashbury, with its Furry-Freak vibe and smell of pot. I loved the magnificent new De Young museum, with its cracked pavement leading from the road to the main entrance, to symbolise the area's tectonic topography. I loved the red Golden Gate Bridge swooping across the water, with the lighthouse on Alcatraz a blinking eye in the bay. I loved driving north into the hills of Marin County with the windows down and smelling the eucalyptus.

But most of all, I loved the food. In San Francisco, they don't just cook -- they kook. So hi there, I'm Rachel. I am your server today. Come with me on my crazy Californian culinary journey and, like, enjoy?

On arrival I was starving, as I had missed breakfast in LA. So my escort, Amy (a lovely hippie-chick whose adjectives ranged from 'beautiful' to 'just beautiful'), took me straight from the airport to One Ferry Building, where Clinton eats when he's in town. A gastro-emporium where the farmers' market is sited on Thursdays, here you can buy a tomato for $4, and choose from a million cheeses, handmade chocolates, artisanal breads, handroasted coffees, cupcakes and so on. But the farmers' market was shut. So we went to Boulettes Larder.

As soon as we sat down a waiter came and poured us water. Inside the jug there were black things floating.

'What are the black things floating?' I asked Amy.

'It's charcoal. It helps purify the water, and restore the acid-alkali balance in your system, ' she said.

I looked at the menu. 'The ingredients we source are grown with principles that are respectful of taste, the environment and social justice, ' it said. Despite that, I ordered the brodo, which sounded hearty enough on the menu (which detailed not just every ingredient in every dish, but the producer, so I know that the fava beans and peas came from Mariquita Farm, and the egg was an Heirloom Organic). Before it arrived I ate a whole basket of bread (Acme bread) and butter (Clover Organic dairy). After it arrived -- it was a beautiful thing, a richly reduced golden broth, with a few peas and whatnot, and a poached duck egg -- I ate another. …

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