Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Road Trip -- Northern California (I)

Part 1: San Francisco
My just-completed vacation is our first visit to the Golden State since 2008, and I can't believe it's been that long. California is one of my places, where I try to return every five years or even more frequently. I lived in SoCal for a few years as a kid, and still find it such a beautiful, varied and fun state to visit. (Living out there is another matter -- too different from what I've become used to, I suppose -- not to mention, too expensive, and how are they going to sustain all those people with dwindling water supplies?)
Sorry for the long lead-in to one of the most interesting things about California: THE FOOD!
We started with a couple of days in San Francisco, well known around the country if not the world for its varied cuisine.
First night in, we ate at the only restaurant of the entire vacation where I'd made an advance reservation -- the deservedly famous, creative and gourmet-ish vegetarian Greens. (From their menu: Greens was established by the San Francisco Zen Center in 1979.)
We had dined there once before, at least 12-15 years ago, and I really wanted to return. It was just as wonderful this time as back then.
The menu consisted of eight first course dishes (such as grilled asparagus with beets and goat cheese, wilted spinach salad, fresh spring rolls) and five entrees. Even though that's not a lot of options, it wasn't easy to decide because everything sounded so delicious.
But what I did choose turned out to be fantastic!
My first course is this Cauliflower and Quinoa Griddle Cake (with lemon, feta and scallions and served with romesco and herb salad). In the background of the photo is my husband's grilled asparagus with beets.
Appetizers at Greens
 For my main, I chose this marvelously good Wild Mushroom and Leek Gratin, and George had a Spring Pea Ravioli.
Greens Entrees
Then we split a refreshing dessert: Strawberry balsamic ice cream pavlova.......
Strawberry Pavlova
Our other notable meal in San Fran -- we were only there for two nights -- was at Kuleto's in the Union Square area near our hotel. (And by the way, we loved the drinks at the Urban Tavern adjacent to our Hilton Hotel -- here also is a photo of my Boulevardier cocktail -- not sure that's spelled correctly.) We had excellent wine at Kuleto's and my appetizer of goat cheese-stuffed squash blossoms was worthy of inclusion here.
Kuleto's Squash Blossoms
Otherwise, we enjoyed the Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Tavern near Fisherman's Wharf, lunch in North Beach at Osteria del Forno, and a couple of hours walking in the lovely Golden Gate Park.
Bottoms up!

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