It’s been too long, so i want to catch up on my culinary adventures.
♦ Gaylord’s. Yep, Gaylord’s. I was reading reviews of new Indian restaurants even though i’m so happy with Aslam’s Rasoi that i don’t want to go anywhere else, and something made me think of Gaylord’s, which i had discovered in the late seventies when it was perched up in the northwest corner of Ghiradelli Square with spectacular views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. The decor was in restrained good taste, unusual in those days in an Indian restaurant, and it was a sumptuously comfortable place with soft, upholstered chairs that i could have sat in for hours. And the food? By far the best saag gohst i’d ever eaten. Hell, i’d never eaten any of the dishes better elsewhere. And then it moved to One Embarcadero and was still a comfortable place with great food. But somehow i got so busy discovering other cuisines, and cheap Indian restaurants, that it slipped off my Go-To list for thirty years.
But having thought of it again, i became curious, checked, and sure enough it was still in the Embarcadero Center. So i made reservations for Mark and me.
Well, you can’t go home again. It had moved to a much smaller location inside One Embarcadero and didn’t seem to be anywhere near as well appointed. And the food? Well, nothing was actually wrong with it, but there was nothing exciting about it, either.
Go to Aslam’s Rasoi instead. Have the saag gosht, the chicken korma, the tandoori lamb, the tandoori chicken. Then you may try something else.
♦ Pesce – I never got around to eating at Jake’s, the restaurant that succeeded 2223 at that address on Market Street, and clearly hardly anyone else went there because it died a quick death. And was rapidly followed by Pesce. Oh hell, i thought, does the Castro need another seafood place when we already have the justly legendary Anchor Oyster Bar and Woodhouse Fish Company and the good enough Catch all within two and a half blocks? Well, yes, we do. It’s a bustling, handsome, happy place with very good food. And yes, it bills itself as a sort of Venetian tapas venue, which means the portions are small and you can run up a very serious bill if you’re not careful. Go there with Jeff when it’s his turn to pay.
♦ Mission Beach Cafe – I love this place. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s one of the very best buys in the city – cuisine that rises to the Zuni level at prices that are affordable, even for pigs like Jeff and me. There’s always a crowd out front waiting to get into their legendary weekend brunch, so i mainly go for their weekday breakfast/lunch, which is almost a bargain, especially if i obey my internist and abstain from their utterly divine chocolate cream pie or their equally superb chocolate pecan pie. The real reason i’m plugging the place today is a new dish on the dinner menu, a rabbit gumbo that is not blistering with peppers like some gumbos can be although there’s a significant capsaicin count. I may have had gumbos as good, but i never had one better. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t order the truffle/parmesan fries – if they put a big enough pile of those in front of you, you could kill yourself since they’re so good you can’t stop.
♦ Anchor Oyster Bar. Go, but go early or there’ll be a long wait. Anything on the short menu is very good, but have the cioppino or the crab cakes. I have never heard anyone say they had a better version of these dishes anywhere. Certainly i haven’t. And hey, during crab season they routinely have a pot of cioppino base in the kitchen even when it’s not on the menuboard. Don’t tell ’em Matte told you since not everybody is supposed to know this.
♦ Woodhouse Fish Company. The best New England style clam chowder i ever ate outside the Ft. Devens Officers’ Open Mess in the early sixties although the cioppino is not as good as the Anchor’s. An absolute delight is the do-it-yourself lemonade which consists of a glass of crushed ice, a flagon of water, a carafe of lemon syrup, and a handful of lemon wedges. Mix it exactly the way you like it. Oh, and if you eat a cracked crab there, you’ll discover that every other crab you’ve ever eaten, including those you steamed yourself, was overcooked.
OK, the pic has gotta be something to eat, so here’s a shot of some baby kiwi fruit from back in October. When they’re an inch long like this, the fuzz hasn’t developed and you can eat them whole. They’re not very sweet when they’re this young, so you can have them for a tart treat…not to mention the bragging rights.