We had another busy week with house guests and LOTS of food.
Flowers from last week’s grateful guests. (Psst – the Apple Crumb Crostata recipe is in that post for those of you who wanted it.)
Last Tuesday, Julie and I hit the Mission district on our way to take her to the airport. She actually scheduled her flight so we would have time to visit some bakeries. I love that about her. As we were looking for parking she shouted, “Craftsman and Wolves! I have been dying to try that place!” So that was our first stop. In an cool industrial-style place, magical baking is happening. The top photo is of some of the incredible offerings. There were twice as many not pictured. We settled on a gougère with sharp cheddar and spicy peppers. It was huge, about the size of a softball, and perfect. Crisp outside, soft interior, not too eggy. The spice was perfect too. We loved it and I resolved to perfect my gougère making skills. We also tasted an olive fougasse, a caramel cake studded with chocolate pearls, and something else that is escaping me at the moment.
Then we headed to Tartine. A moment of silence, please. With my love of baking, it seems unconscionable that, until last week, I had never visited this tiny spot. I should say that, in the time we have been living in Oakland, I haven’t ventured into San Francisco hardly at all. There is a lot to keep me busy in the Easy Bay, food-wise and life in general, and I am a bit intimidated by the public transportation and also by parking if I chose to drive. All of that hesitating vanished after this couple of hours with Julie. Oakland and Berkeley are amazing food centers and I have barely scratched the surface. But San Francisco – San Francisco! – is just across the Bay and it became clear that I need to make a Tartine pilgrimage on a regular basis. It is also a good jumping off spot to visit other amazing food places in the area.
The croissant, oh the croissant. I have a deep love for croissants. And I never eat them. To me, there is no point when almost all of them are terrible. Even during our month in France, I didn’t eat them, preferring to focus my gluten attention on the simple baguette or two that we bought every day. I could tell just by looking at that gorgeous specimen that this was the place to trust the croissants. I was completely right. A shattery exterior and supremely soft and layered interior with amazing butter flavor and no grease. My friend Cheryl says their recipe in the Tartine book is her go-to and I am going! to! try! it! once! and! for! all! We also shared a veg version of a Croque Monsieur (bottom photo). A slab of their perfect bread (only available in loaf form after 5pm Wed-Sat – boo hoo!) coated with béchamel sauce, perfect roasted shiitake mushrooms, and a couple of roasted tomatoes for a hit of acidity. Some nutty cheese over top and popped in the oven. Why oh why has it never occurred to me to make this at home?
I catered a party last week that required a birthday cake. I didn’t have any cake boxes to transport so I had a harrowing drive to the client’s house, up and down hills, while the cake slide up and down and side to side. Thankfully, it never fully slid off the plate.
Palm trees make me really happy. We pass this guy every morning on our walk to school.
The ongoing reality of a remodel.
Sunny lunch on the deck and revisiting my copy of Jerusalem.
Two of our beloved Seattle babysitters came to visit us this weekend. One of them is an extreme cheese lover. So much so that she and her soon-to-be husband are going to serve cheese instead of cake at their wedding. I had to bring her to the Cheeseboard Collective and just as we walked in, she showed me her arm. Full on goosebumps. We got to taste some terrific cheeses, bought three of them as well as some baguettes and amazing oil-cured olives. But the highlight of that trip was one of the women who worked there telling me she reads my blog and welcome to the area. (Hi Stephanie!)
Story time with the BB’s. (Beloved Babysitters.)
We spent some time in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. There are some very famous restaurants there and a couple of little alleys that have tiny and super cool shops. So many discoveries to be made.
Brunch at Doña Tomás. A perfect Huevos Rancheros with poached eggs. I scooped up that extra sauce with a spoon.
We visited a donut shop where they custom fill each donut with your choice of a few fillings. The boys got the “naughty sauce” which was kind of like a vanilla pastry cream and Randy got the strawberry jam. If I was a donut person, which I am not, I would have gotten the chocolate pastry cream.
“Hey honey, can you go out and pick me some lemons – I need a bunch of them.” That will never get old.
Neither will this.
I crush hard on salads. This is the current obsession. Recipe coming this week.
Quite a few of the lemons went into this lemon cornmeal cake. Yes, that is rosemary in the glaze – it’s in the cake too. This is the only decent photo I got of it and I would say that you kind of need to eat it the day you make it. Still want the recipe?