Forever and a day

Hello, friends. It’s been a while.

Don’t you hate those mea culpa posts, where a blogger apologizes for being totally lame and going weeks—nay, months—without writing?

Me, too.

It’s not that I haven’t been eating. I had a reasonably interesting meal up at Blue Hour in Portland, Oregon. Their bread was ridiculously good. And I give them huge props for offering a vegetarian entrée, right there on the menu proper. The only sad bit was how underwhelming the entrée turned out to be. In all honesty, I can’t quite remember what it was. I just recall feeling disappointed. I caught them on a bad night, perhaps? Everything else, including my appetizer (some sort of Beet Terrine) was fantastic.

Then there was my recent meal at Range.

Oh, Range. On again, off again, our love affair. The evening’s veggie offering (and again, I was glad to see they had one) was a Spring Vegetable Cassoulet with Portobello Mushrooms and Butter Beans. It turned out to be…confusing, for lack of a better word. A big, gooey mess on the plate, with an incongruously placed Dolma smack in the middle, like somebody dropped a half-smoked cigar in the pot. It all tasted fine, but fine in a footie-pajamas, mama made me comfort food sort of way. I suppose one could place the blame squarely on me for ordering a Cassoulet in the first place. But since it was the only veg option, that’s a bit like employing the “she was wearing a short skirt” defense, no?

I guess it comes down to this. This spring has been crap thus far, and I haven’t felt inspired to write. Everybody I know has had a rough start to the year, and I’m no exception. Are all our collective Saturns in return or something?

Fear not. I will survive, Gloria Gaynor style. Just gotta get out of this slump.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mid-range Meals

I’m a real blogger!

Well, friends. The day has arrived. They say you’re not truly a blogger until you receive an oddly personal attack post from a total stranger. I guess I’m all grown up now, because “Kristin Adams” has taken me to school.

Since Kristin’s carefully constructed comments were recently attached to an old post, I thought I’d just serve them up to you here. I know she’d be thankful that I’ve increased her readership.

“In case you weren’t aware, readers don’t give a shit about how privileged you feel in your personal life, or any of your self-entitled drivel. Consider yourself boring. If you want to write a self-adoration blog, call it something else so you don’t waste people’s time with this dreck. That way, serious foodies can read actual reviews, and your acolytes/disciples/minions/subjects can taste your day-to-day jackoffs. I’m sure you’re so important they clamor to lick it up. You’re sure that people are fascinated with you just because you are you, whoever you are, and can’t wait to know the minutiae of your life and how taken with yourself you are. I’m sure you’re spellbinding. But tell us all in a forum not disguised as a blog about food. You’re transparent. And if you’re taken with yourself and your life, tell your friends. Maybe they care. I don’t know if you know this, but you’re not interesting. Pathetically, you probably think people applaud your every utterance. Jackass.”

Kristin, love, I’ve got a few handy pointers to make your food/web reading experience more pleasurable. First, if you’re on a site you don’t like, try clicking elsewhere. I swear, it works like a charm, every time.

Second, I implore you, never EVER read anything by Ruth Reichl. Her endearingly personal style includes all kinds of self-absorbed references to her husband, her kid, and her friends. (Who knows how she made it at the New York Times, or why a magazine like Gourmet would hire her as an editor?) Seriously, Kristin. You’ll find her work deeply offensive. May I suggest something written by robots instead? Our shiny metal friends are far more objective. They never get the funny notion that food, love, and life are all tied up in one big, tangled, beautiful knot

And third, if you’re going to go to such lengths to lambast me (on a Saturday night, no less), just come out and admit it: You’ve got a crush on me. It’s okay. I won’t tell your boyfriend.

p.s. Acolytes? Really? Kudos on the 50 cent word. I actually had to look that one up.

11 Comments

Filed under Rants, Uncategorized

Orson

I think I love Orson.

Perhaps this love of mine is truer than most. Because I’ve still got a lot of criticism. It’s a lot like loving a family member, really. One feels compelled to put in a good word for family, fuck-ups and all.

Orson’s space is awesome, if noisy. Very cool, very stylish, simultaneously spare and ornate, as swirling design motifs decorate a loft-like, concrete cathedral of cuisine. In a few years, it’s going to look tres 2008—just like all of our be-doodled hoodies and distress-printed Ts—but for the moment, it’s just what SOMA needs.

With such hipness abounding, you’d think the staff would be too cool for school. But our waitress, our bussers, and our wine steward were all as sweet as punch. Helpful, welcoming, and genuinely interested in our feedback. Elizabeth Falkner worked the room, checking on each table. And even though she’s a friend of a friend and all that jazz, I couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit star struck in such a glammed-out atmosphere. I mean, here’s a women who might actually know what Padma Lakshmi smells like. That makes her a bonafide star in my book.

But on to the food.
Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Mid-range Meals, Reviews

AOC

LA is not my city. I could never live with the traffic. But I’m learning to love it when the subject is food.

Case in point: AOC. Consider it modern, California tapas. I knew I’d love place from the moment they set down the menu—the first page is nothing but cheese and olives.

AOC is not necessarily a vegetarian Shangri-La, but there are certainly plenty of options to keep a girl happy. Far more than most restaurants, I’m happy to say.

We started with the Root Vegetable Salad with Burrata, Ginger and Mint. The burrata/mint combo was inspired—subtlety defined as a salad dressing. It had that kind of effortless balance that actually takes a shitload of work. We also had the Marinated Beets, Olives, Fried Chickpeas and Feta Salad. Fried chickpeas, dude. Who knew? So crispy. So light. And the feta was as mild as a day in May. (That is to say a day in May if you live somewhere other than San Francisco. May here is apt to be colder than January.)

Next, from the wood-burning oven, came Cauliflower with Curry and Red Vinegar. And you know what a whore I am for roasted cauliflower. They nailed it, too. Just like my lovers at Pizzeria Delfina. It was cooked to a creamy surrender.

And finally, a Farro and Black Rice dish with Pinenuts and Currants. This was a reco from our waitress, and I’m so glad she steered us toward it. I might have overlooked the dish otherwise, and headed for the Crushed Fingerlings with Crème Fraiche. (I had the potatoes on a previous visit, and have dreamed of them ever since.) The farro and rice was a hit, though, with the currents adding a flirtatious hint of sweetness.

So, yeah. AOC. It kind of makes up for the boob jobs and chin implants in LA. But not really.

2 Comments

Filed under Mid-range Meals, Reviews

Goin’ South

Remember that CD “Goin’ South” from the ads on TV? You know, the one that featured all those trashy country-rock anthems like “Hold On Loosely” and “Bad to the Bone”?

Yeah, that was cool.

South Food and Wine Bar, though…not so cool. Not bad, per se, but certainly nowhere near as entertaining as an evening spent with a sixer of PBR and your boom box cranked with Georgia Satellites.

Perhaps I’m getting old, but the noise level at South verged on deafening. (Maybe too much Skynyrd in my past.) I’d suggest they invest in noise dampening tiles, but they already had them on the ceiling. Oh well.

They started us off with bread bits (think Fondue-sized chunks) served with Duka. Or is it Dooka? Or Ducca? Or Dookuh? Mac nuts, peanuts, cumin, coriander and sea salt, chopped up in a tiny condiment bowl, along with house-made olive oil. I guess I just didn’t get it. I mean, individually, all those ingredients are wonderful. In combination, however, South managed to create a flavor-free poultice that didn’t stick to the bread. (Read: Hard to get in mouth.)

My Haloumi Salad was tasty enough, with Apple, Fennel, Walnuts, Beetroot and Wild Rocket, but nothing about it wowed me.

I was psyched to see a vegetarian entrée on the menu—a Wild Mushroom, Sunchoke and Pecorino Pie—but again, it didn’t knock my socks off. It was good in that way that anything salty and bubbly and baked is good. So I suppose I ought not complain.

I dunno. Maybe I’m being overly harsh after my brush with heaven at Cyrus . But riddle me this, Batman—must every dish be served with a garnish of chives sprinkled atop it? Like, my partner’s Lamb, my friend’s Beef, and my Pie, all festooned with chives. It reminded me of the omnipresent sprigs of parsley at Denny’s. (Parsley with my pancakes? Sure. Makes perfect sense.)

I guess we could have been left with a more positive impression had we not ordered dessert. The Coconut Rice Pudding was a glutinous bore. I mean for chrissake, people, it’s RICE and COCONUT! Two of the most delicious things known to humanity. And yet.

So, in summary, points for having a veggie option—especially when the delicacies from Down Under tend to be so meaty—but the joint ain’t up to the hype. Unlike Pure Prairie League. They deserve the kudos, for sure. (Amie, what are you gonna do?)

Leave a comment

Filed under Mid-range Meals, Reviews

Cyrus

I cried.

That’s my two-word review. I think it just about says it all.

But being the long-winded rambler that I am, I’ll give you the full-meal deal.

Dinner at Cyrus was nothing short of transcendent. There were moments during my meal when I literally shook my head in disbelief. Where did these flavors come from? How did something so wonderful wind up on my fork? If I took smaller bites, could I make each course last just a little bit longer? It was like reading a book you wished would never end.

People, one dish included a flavor I had never tasted before. I think my partner said it best: “It’s like seeing a color you never knew existed.” At that point, the only thing I could manage to write in my little notebook was “WTF?! OMG.” I was reduced to text messaging-isms, for chrissake.

But let me back up. Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Major Coin, Reviews

Countdown to Cyrus

Saturday night, people. It’s ON. Finally, dinner at Cyrus.

I just called the restaurant to let them know they’ll have a veggie in the house. They were sweet as punch about it.

I. Can’t. Wait.

1 Comment

Filed under Me