Written by Rosemary, with assistance from Bourbon in describing our al pastor experience.
Our second day in SF started with the intention of running eight miles down Market Street and into Golden Gate Park. However we were so smitten with the park that we ended up going further than we had intended. After our run we were famished so we broke out the salami, bread, cheese and wine we’d bought the day before, hey we were on vacation so why not end our run with such delicious treats?
After showering and watching a bit of the Irene coverage we ventured out to check out SOMA, the Mission, and Hayes Valley. First up was a very much necessary caffeine stop so we walked over to Blue Bottle in SOMA to try their coffee made via halogen lights.
Then it was onward to the Mission to check out all the inexpensive ethnic food eateries we’d read about. It didn’t take long for Bourbon to steer himself into a tacqueria for a sampling. It just so happened that the place he chose was listed by the Travel Channel as one of the 100 best places to pig out. If you didn’t know already he has quite a fascination with al pastor tacos so he got two of those and a chicken taco for good fun, and of course he had to pay homage to our trip to Nicaragua last Fall by ordering a Victoria beer. Sadly after a few attempts to find good al pastor tacos Bourbon learned that the real deal was hard to find. The key is to find a place that cooks theirs on a trompo and all the places we found just described their al pastor as ‘marinated pork’ and the cuts of meat did not have the characteristic nearly-shreaded look to them. Also, there was not a trompo to be found. Upon asking where we might find what we were looking for, we were told that we might try San Diego… alas, our time was limited.
After the tacqueria I veered us to Pizzeria Delfina. We were seated at the bar which to our delight looked directly into the small kitchen so while we waited we happily watched the kitchen staff work and plotted the makings of our own pizzeria. There we shared their Proscuitto Pie which came with proscuitto di parma, cacioccavallo, mozzarella, panna, and arugula. Thankfully the proscuitto was added after the pie came out of the oven and it was DELICIOUS! We continued our beer sampling with a Stone Brewing Co.’s Stone IPA and North Coast Brewing Co.’s Blue Star Wheat Beer (if I lived on the West coast, that wheat would probably become one of my staples).
Satisfied, we headed across the street to wait in the line for Bi-Rite Creamery where I got a scoop of olive oil and another of crème fraiche and Bourbon went for a scoop of peach ginger and roasted banana. After sampling the four flavors, the winner was roasted banana by far. The olive oil ice cream was also good but Bourbon didn’t like the oil it left lingering on his tongue. I think it would work well if paired with the right fruit or cookie post dinner during the winter. We shall see.
Bi-Rite completed our stops in the Mission. Next we headed back along Market and up to Hayes Valley where we stumbled across Miette’s storefront (the place were we had bought the macaroons and panna cotta the day before). I couldn’t help myself and walked in to admire the dainty and very much girly arrangements. We left with a dark chocolate salted caramel and a chocolate sardine in hand. At this point Bourbon had been quite patient with checking out places of interest to me so we moved on to a place he wanted to try: Absinthe Brasserie. First off he tried, the Swiss-made Kubler Absinthe while I ordered the Agent cocktail. My cocktail was made with Below honey vodka, basil, lemon and lime juice and has left me scouting for Below in liquor stores. Then Bourbon sampled Leopold’s Verte Absinthe, which was much better in my opinion because the anise flavor wasn’t as strong. He chose that absinthe because Leopolds used to be located in AA but left a number of years ago to relocate in Colorado. Funny enough, the bottle he was poured from was from when they were still in AA.
After that we walked back to the hotel to ponder where to head for dinner. We ended up choosing Slanted Door but we chose it hesitantly as we knew it’d probably be hard for it to match all the hype we’d been hearing about it. There we tried two new beers: an erdinger pikantus (a dark bavarian wheat) and a strubbe flemish ale (a sour red ale). Food-wise we shared the following: barbecued pork spareribs with honey-hoisin sauce, chicken wings with toasted garlic, roasted jalapenos and spicy sea salt-chili-lime dipping sauce, corn soup with crab, pan-seared day boat scallops with spinach and spicy pineapple-coconut sauce and finished on a sweet note with raspberry-rose shaved ice with condensed milk and aloe. The food was good but as we expected it didn’t live up to its hype or price. My favorite for the night were the wing because I really enjoyed dipping them in the chili lime sauce.