Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Foreign Cinema; Chez Panisse

Eastside Road, October 12, 2010—
YES, WE'RE A DAY late here; yesterday was busy. Lunch with the Bakers Dozen, Lindsey's professional organization, a group of enthusiastic and generous bakers, both professional and ardently amateur. A lecture-demonstration from two bread specialists, Michael Kalanty and Rohit Singh, preceded lunch at a favorite San Francisco restaurant, Foreign Cinema, where we had three courses:#alttext#tomato-corn soup with smoked trout crostini and a bite of lightly pickled carrot and onion; delicious sea scallops with bhaji
greens (a kind of kale), ummus, couscous, tiny lentils, and cucumber raita, and
#alttext#chocolate pot de crème with Armagnac whip, a buckwheat chocolate-nib cookie, and a strawberry. The main plate was full of intense flavors, almost too many; the chocolate and Armagnac finished lunch beautifully. I liked the way the two outside courses rhymed, visually; I liked that every item complemented every other and was in itself delicious and beautifully made.
DINNER, NOT FOUR HOURS later, was at Chez Panisse. It seemed to me exceptionally classic, opening with a tomato salad with house-made mozzarella — really a California-French caprese: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. With it, a pleasant dry Riesling from Austria. Then pan-fried rockfish with stewed sweet peppers and aïoli, which indicated a rosé; and then grilled quail with pancetta and sage, on the side corn, shell beans, rapini, and a soft polenta. Red wine, for sure. Dessert was pluot tart with raspberry ice cream, which brought me back to the days Lindsey was running the pastry kitchen…
Riesling, Kamptal (Austria), "Gobelsburger", 2009; Rosé, Bandol, Domaine Tempier, 2009; Sanvalentino, Paolo Bea (Umbria), 2006 — truly an outstanding, deep, serious, but immediately gratifying wine; read about it here.

  • Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco; tel. 415-648-7600
  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; tel. 510-548-5525
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