Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Berry time

Berry time.jpg
Eastside Road, June 29, 2015—
BERRIES — FRUIT in general — have been a recurring theme the last few weeks. What a fine lunch they make! Here, strawberries from Preston of Dry Creek, mulberries from our tree, apricots ditto. It's the first time our apricot tree has fruited, though we set it out a good three years ago. And you see most of the crop here. But how delicate and floral they are, how fresh.

The mulberry tree went in much longer ago, and has taken on good size in spite of lack of water and fertilizer. It's now too tall to harvest completely, even from my tallest orchard ladder, so we just leave lots of berries at the top for the birds, who then — so runs theory — leave the lower fruit, more hidden within the foliage, to us. Of course these birds are messy eaters, and I suppose contribute fertilizer of their own production to the tree.

We discovered, by chance, the one important rule about buying a young mulberry tree: buy one with fruit on it, so you can verify the quality. This is (as you see) a purple Persian mulberry tree, and the fruit is indescribably good, perfumed, rich, deep, suggestive.
Duck breast at Zuni
Zuni's Wedding Cake
SUPPER QUITE LATE at Zuni, after hearing Terry Riley's long and eventful string quartet Salome Dances for Peace played by Kronos. I had a duck breast salad, a fine confection of perfectly cooked duck sliced and served cold with roasted apricots, mustard greens, mustard-seed gremolata, and bee pollen; and, afterward, this little individual "wedding cake," a white cake with buttercream and raspberries, surprisingly filled, beautifully prepared in honor of marriage finally available to all. (Well, all but the already married.)

My companion had another marvelous plate: warm purple tomatoes with green beans, spring onions, bagna cauda, orange zest, and fried bread. The bread turned out to be more like sopaipillas, bringing Zuni closer to Zuni than I've known it to be since its very early days…
Merlot-Tannat, Domaine Chiroulet "Grande Reserve" (Gascony), 2010: deeply flavored but long in the tooth
• Zuni Café, 1658 Market Street, San Francisco; 415.552.2522
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's RestaurantsIMG_1455.jpg

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