Our trip to SF was rather low key food-wise this month. We tended to stick with standbys rather than trying new things. Our focus was more on friends and conversation. So rather than give a list I'll just talk about the highlights.
Yuet Lee (Broadway and Powell) for a post midnight snack eradicated any lingering allowances I make for our local "Chinese" eatery. It's true the waiters at our local place are awesome but the food is not. Yuet Lee's Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, Ginger Noodles, and Salt & Pepper Spareribs were just what we needed. It's true Yuet Lee is known as being a seafood restaurant but neither of us were really in the mood. A friend said the last time we went there "I always thought this place was called Enjoy Coca-Cola" because of the huge green sign which reads exactly that. So, when you're stumbling around Chinatown or North Beach up until 3 am and need a bite, this is the place to go.
After my last experience at Citizen Cake with a remarkably snotty and unhelpful waiter I wasn't in a hurry to return. But after seeing Elizabeth Falkner's desserts in one of the food publications this month and having breakfast with Shuna at Tartine I thought we'd give it another go. We just did dessert, sat at the bar and had a much better experience. So much so in fact that we returned the next night, something we almost never do, and had 3 desserts (I had one for my dinner). The second night was a little bit of a letdown, I think we chose the most successful desserts the previous evening.
I had gone for the Madras Madness which featured pandan sauce, black bean gelato on rice crisps, a carrot concoction and saffron foam. The GM had Turkish Delight which had halva ice cream and a walnut-date strudel. She thought the strudel was a little stale. The next night I tried Purple Rain, purple corn polenta with avocado and purple corn ice creams and pieces of mango. Was good but would have been better if the polenta was warmer. We also had the Strawberry Pavlova, which was OK but the strawberries weren't quite there yet. Also the Bananas Foster Parfait which was a good-tasting, fun idea.
On the second night we had fun watching the hostess. I in particular getting a kick out of seeing her with a fake smile plastered on her face approach a table and as soon as she spun on her heel literally dropping her face. I understand dealing with customers can be difficult but how hard is it to just keep smiling when nothing unpleasant has happened? Between that and her muttering to herself as she stalked the dining room she was pretty entertaining. The woman who appeared to be the manager was friendly and engaging and we had a little conversation with her.
On a side note, they were quite busy, evidently because of a Lenny Kravitz concert down the block. Lenny Kravitz? Who the hell would go see Lenny Kravitz? Egad. It must be quite a pain to work in the restaurants near Civic Center/Opera etc. Besides the mad pre-show rush where do you park?
My stack of books to read has now grown into a veritable mountain. We picked up a carload of books from a friend who is moving. We also got the chance to meet some of her grandchildren. Both of them lovely but my heart went out to the teen aged girl who came down to meet us but since we were immediately dazzled by the very charming 4 year old she retreated to her upstairs lair. Both her parents are smart and successful and her little brother is the kind of kid you just want to take home even if you are completely lacking in the parental instinct department. Add that to a crop of adolescent pimples and braces and well, you get the picture. She reminds me of some of the girls who work for us. On that note, our busser who watched the house for us said she had a great time, and the place was clean and felt homey when we returned, which was not always the case when employees have watched our place for us.
Now to deal with a whiny vendor. A farmer we've dealt with for years who in the past has had great quality and service has over the years gotten a little lazy and snippy with us. Subbing items without calling, just plain not delivering things, telling us it will be at the local market which means we have to go pick it up, etc. I talked with him about it and he had some excuses involving building his house and also some of the fault could be laid at my sous' door so I dealt with that end of it.
With the GM going back and forth to Idaho and us going to SF she skipped a payment to him. So I hear from the sous that this guy had been complaining to him, telling him he hadn't been paid and it didn't seem like we were ordering as much from him as we used to. He also heard a radio ad another produce company was running on the radio and they were using a testimonial from me.
I understand his concern. But these people recently took over a poorly run business and are doing their best to turn it around and they asked me for a testimonial. I gave it to them. They also pick up meat and cheese for me, and possibly seafood soon. So I need to give them some business. Also the farmer is only coming over once a week and I don't want to hold produce that long.
At any rate, what I'm really mad about is the farmer's discussion of any of this with the sous. It's completely inappropriate and I'm tempted to tell him he gets no business from me. However, we'll see what happens after some conversation with him.
For our part I do regret skipping the payment. It's a slow time of year for all of us and cash flow is an issue. It's also a mistake, not a habit.