Father’s Day is a few weeks away and we put together few sampler boxes of stuff you could give your dad. This actually came from a project that I gave Paul last year. You’ll need to find a few wooden boxes to fill with goodies (Michael’s has some great options.) Then, pick up a few sampler items. We went around town and got our favorite chocolate chip cookies for one, and for the others picked up our favorite charcuterie and a ton of different kinds of fruit – but anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated will work. Then, just print out a few labels explaining what everything is, attach them to the boxes, and voila! The perfect surprise for your awesome dad. ps: My Super Hero Box from a few years ago.
My first job out of college was working on the third floor of the San Francisco Ferry Building. On the bottom floor of the Ferry Building there is an amazing food market with specialty stores of every kind. Really, its like a foodie mecca. (See my explicit instructions on visiting the FB right here) That’s the first time I was introduced to Miette bakery. I loved everything about it. The packaging, the vintage cake platters and serving dishes, the beautiful custom cakeplates from local vendors. It’s also the place I first tried a Parisian Macaron. Since then they have grown in the Bay Area and even opened up candy stores. I was so happy when Chronicle Books sent me a copy of the Miette Cookbook. First off it is a beautiful book, right down to the adorable scalloped pages. But it is a fantastic resource of not only recipes but advice on how to frost your cake and cupcakes just so. I can’t think of another bakery that does presentation as well as Miette. This cookbook is definitely a classic. You can purchase the Miette Cookbook right here.
photos of the book by Oh Happy Day
I received the Miette cookbook from Chronicle Books but was not required by them to post about it.
I’ve been cooking a lot this week in our tiny galley kitchen and I actually LOVE it. It is so cozy and I have everything I need. We’ve made homemade pasta twice this week. It was my first time and it was so easy. I just used some random internet recipe I found and then flattened it on my pasta machine.
On a related note: The best part about a small kitchen is there isn’t much to clean I always thought I was a terrible housekeeper but as it turns out all I need is a small house, a dishwasher, sparse furnishings, and my house stays clean really easily.
Have you ever tried fresh pasta? Anyone have any good pasta recipes I should try?
My French neighbor Evelyne (my “greeter” while I’m staying at Haven in Paris) knew I would be in this neighborhood for a while and offered to take me to the market to teach me how to shop. It seems a little silly that she would need to teach an adult how to grocery shop but its done so differently here. I gratefully accepted the offer. Evelyne has lived here for decades so she knows all the shop keepers and was the perfect guide. I went out the next day with Paul and gave him the same tour and he took a few photos.
Some of the highlights were:
-The spice store. I’ve never seen anything like it. The entire store was big baskets and vats of hundreds of different kinds of raw spices. Most I didn’t even recognize because I’ve only seen them crushed and packaged. I asked the shoplady if I could take photos and she said “yes but only one.” Unforunately I’m not sure this photo captured the essence of the place. Imagine all these spices times six, it really is incredible and makes me want to experiment with all of them.
-The Produce Market. The produce is really fantastic. We got the Sicilian oranges that are in season and so flavorful. I’ve never tasted anything so orange-y. Evelyne was clear to point out what was in season and turned her nose up at anything out of season. I love that.
-The Cheese Store. It is where you buy your cheese, eggs, and cream. Those bowls in the picture are different kinds of fresh creme and they fill up the container for you right there.
-The Butcher. I don’t have any pictures of the Butcher but they have every kind of meat you can imagine and its all beautifully laid out.
-The Flower Shop. There is a floral shop on every street. And they seem to be much cheaper than in the States. It’s so easy to have fresh flowers all the time because they are so accessible.
All of these places are within 2-3 blocks of each other. (And 2 blocks from our apartment.) People in France grocery shop every day. It is so easy I can see why. You just pop in, get your food and get out. We’ve been shopping like this the last week and sort of feel like we’ve discovered the secret to happiness. It is a luxury to have such fresh food every day. We eat a warm baguette every night with our dinner that we bought five minutes before. We are just cooking simple recipes but the ingredients are such good quality that every night feels like a special meal. The other thing is that our children are eating so much better here. Moses is usually my picky kid but he has been so into choosing the vegetables (since we go everyday) that he has been eating them in large amounts.
So the last 10 days before we moved from San Francisco we tried to eat at our favorite haunts. The food is one of the best things about that city. I get emails all the time from visitors asking where they should eat and it’s high time I did a post about it. Here is my San Francisco Food Bucket List. The starred ones are my absolute favorites.
1. The Sentinel. This place is such a gem. For $8 you can get a gourmet meal. Go for the Corned Beef Sandwich even if you aren’t a huge fan, it’s life changing. It’s in the financial district so its only open Monday-Friday for lunch.
2. Tartine. Go for breakfast. Get the morning buns and something hot to drink make the person you are with try something else like bread pudding. Avoid the sandwiches, the bread hurts your mouth.
(photo by Nicole Gerulat and styled by Jordan Ferney)
3. Pizzeria Delfina*. This is my favorite pizza in the world. Don’t get fancy, just get the Margherita. And get the brussel sprouts if they have them. Heaven. There are two locations. No reservations, just go and wait.
4. Pena Pacha Mama. The food here is great but you go to Pena Pacha Mama for the music. When you call ask what time the music starts and make reservations 30 minutes before. It is a pretty small place and everyone gets up to dance at some point. Super fun, go with friends.
5. Red Door Cafe. There are 6 small tables in this whole quirky place. The owner/waiter is probably the most charming dude you’ve ever met. The food is art and comes like sculptures. It’s a real San Francisco experience. No reservations, just go and wait. Open for Lunch and Brunch.
(photo by me from my phone)
6. Frances*. Oh I love this restaurant. Small. Cozy. Amazing food. Impossible to get in. Show up 15 minutes before it opens and sometimes you can get a seat at the bar. I wish I was friends with the hostess here.
7. Zazie*. Go for brunch, don’t let the line deter you (on the weekends). And flirt with the host–he will hook you up. Also order the Challa French Toast with fruit, or the Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Curd and fruit, or the BLT.
8. Boulette’s Larder*. My favorite breakfast place of all time. Everything here is special. It doesn’t get better than this place.
(photo by Tasty Type)
9. Bi Rite Ice Cream. There are other specialty ice cream stores but BiRite is still my favorite. Even if there is a line ask to try a couple kinds. Then buy some. Salted Caramel rules all.
10. Nopa*. Some of the best meals of my life have been eaten here. Impossible to get in at the last minute. You have to get reservations way in advance or show up ten minutes before it opens and sit at the bar.
11. The Ferry Building*. Where do I start with this wonderful place? This topic needs a whole post of its own on how to do it right. I worked on the third floor of the building so I consider myself a mini expert. Go Hungry, bring money, don’t be cheap, ask questions and be in an adventurous and experimental mood. If it is a day the farmers market is running (Tue, Thu, Sat) take some time to go around the booths. Try every sample that is offered to you. Ask the farmers questions. Buy small bags of the things you like. If it’s Thursday try the Tacos from the Tacolicious booth. Then go inside and try the following:
-Salted Caramels from Recchiuti (ask the employee to recommend 1 or 2 other kinds to purchase.)
-Boulette’s Larder ask the shopgirl to recommend some of their custom spice mixes. I love the African salt for Pizza. Do not leave the Ferry Building without buying at least one.
-Stonehouse Olive Oil + McEvoy Olive Oil Don’t be shy and try every single kind. If you love it buy a bottle. I had never tasted real olive oil before these guys.
-Boccalone Ask for recommendations for “Tasty Salted Pig Parts”
-Sidekick Go to the milk bar and try the steamed caramel milk. So good you’ll die.
-Cowgirl Creamery Ask the shop keeper to recommend a few kinds. Try taste tests of several. Then buy some.
-Acme Bread Ask the employee to recommend a few kinds. Buy some. (these guys only accept cash.)
-Miette I like their macarons the best. Buy one for each person in your party.
-Blue Bottle Coffee Best coffee in SF (though I’m not a coffee drinker.) But I have it on all kinds of authority.
(photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day)
Then go out back and have a picnic with all your treasures in front of the Bay Bridge. If it’s crowded walk a block over to Pier 7. Find a bench and eat some really good food.
What are your favorites and what am I missing?