Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pork at the Academy

San Francisco, December 28, 2010—
THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, that is, in Golden Gate Park. We were there for the exhibits, of course, not the cuisine, and I have to admit the aquarium and the rainforests were extremely interesting; and I was particularly happy to see the venerable African Hall of taxidermy, exhibited in beautifully prepared dioramas, was virtually unchanged from what had so impressed me as a child, sixty years and more ago.

I also have to admit that lunch in The Moss Room, a quiet little oasis downstairs, was quite good. I began with clean, sweet, marinated local sardines with arugula, salsa verde, and sea salt — it seemed appropriate after a couple of hours in the aquarium. Afterward, slow-braised pork "sugo", just as it might have been at Bizou al those years ago — Loretta Keller closed that restaurant, at Fourth and Brannan, five years ago; she's been busy since with other ventures, but this Moss Room is the first of them I've been to, and I'm glad to find her hand so evident.

The pork was delicious, deep, tender, and flavorful, served with nicely cooked pappardelle on a bed of good spinach, with a couple of shavings of grana padana melting in on top. A Meyer lemon panna cotta and a coffee vacherin — meringue, coffee ice crem, candied almonds, chocolate sauce, crème anglaise — were spot-on.
Côtes de Rhone, 2009
The Moss Room, The Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; tel. 415 876 6121, ext. 3

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