My friend Julie is a walking, talking lucky charm. Like pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, green clovers and blue diamonds lucky. Every time we dine together, we have a good meal.
Last night, we chose The Blue Plate, out where Mission hits Valencia. It’s a quintessential neighborhood place, far from the crowds of the Inner Mission, or anywhere downtown. Drive by fast and you’re likely to miss it.
The focaccia was a good early omen. I’ve practically given up on focaccia as of late. Nobody seems to get it right. It’s either too spongy or too twiggy with rosemary, but The Blue Plate nailed it. Julie aptly described it as “crunchewy”. Soft but not too giving, lightly crisp on the outside, with the perfect amount of sea salt.
I moved on to the Roast Eggplant, Brandywine Tomato and Gypsy Pepper Soup, which turned out to be vegan, but creamy as all get out. Such a nice surprise. Julie went for the Star Route Farms Spinach with Brown Turkey Figs, Ricotta Salata and Spiced Hazelnuts. I stole off her plate like the dirty, rotten thief that I truly am, and she was kind enough to let me get away with it. Happy days for me: It was simple and delicious. Sometimes figs ick me out, to be honest. But last night, they hit the right note.
On to the Fried Green Tomatoes. (Oh, Mary Stewart Masterson, how you rocked my world…You’re just an old bee charmer, Idgie Thredgood. That’s what you are.) Whoddathunkit as an entrée, but it worked. The fried bit gave the dish some hearty substance, while the addition of summer squash and pesto kept it light and springy.
We also opted to split an order of the Taco Truck Style Corn on the Cob with Queso Fresco, Lime and Paprika, which is a perennial favorite of mine. Seriously. I knowingly risk all kinds of intestinal nastiness to eat corn like this from street vendors in Mexico, such is the depth of my love. And Blue Plate didn’t disappoint. It’s not a hard dish to pull of, mind you, but it’s just nice to see it on the menu.
The only (ever so slight) misstep of the meal came with Julie’s Gnocci with Braised Chicken. It wasn’t that it was bad—I tasted a chicken-free bite—rather, it felt out of place. The flavors were decidedly wintry. I kept thinking of a hearty French stew or something, which came out of nowhere on a summertime menu. But really, folks, if that’s all I can bitch about, we’re in pretty good shape.
So Jules, if you’re reading this, here’s my open invitation to dine with me any time. You’re three for three, babe.