I have some big news that I want to share with everyone. In roughly a month, I will be leaving San Francisco and moving to New Orleans. That should explain my extreme lack of blogging activity for the last several months and the lack of comments on my favorite food blogs.
I thought long and hard about how to break the news to you, my friends, my readers. I ultimately decided to steal a line from an email I wrote to a collection of friends. Please do not be sad because "You say 'good-bye,' and I say 'hello.'"
I had many grandiose (but yet to be realized) expectations for Passionate Eater for this past month and the upcoming month. I have actually known that I would be moving for quite some time. Thus, I had originally planned on doing a detailed series on the eateries in the many neighborhoods of San Francisco and ending the series with my announcement. Do you remember the "Leaving My Heart in San Francisco" series? It was supposed to end with a post tearfully declaring that I would be moving away from San Francisco to New Orleans. But since there are only two posts in that series, I think that it is a safe bet to say that that plan has long since been abandoned.
But I will always find reasons to praise the magical City of San Francisco.
(Conveniently segue into a post that has been in the "to post" pile for several months.)
There is no hiding from fine art when you live in the City of San Francisco. For instance, within a few months upon arriving to San Francisco, I was astonished to discover local nightclubs and coffee shops that doubled as art galleries--I am referring to 111 Minna and Canvas, the fantastic coffee shop + art gallery that met its unfortunate demise only recently.
I also fell head-over-heels in love with art collections in San Francisco's museums. And I fell in love with more than the art in the museums (and Gavin Newsom). One unassuming place in a handsome setting that you might not think to look for amazing food is in an museum café. When you visit a museum, you naturally expect see artwork only in the hollowed, minimally-furnished, and dimly-lit rooms--the surroundings help you to focus your undivided attention on the art gracing the walls. The last place you would expect to find art is on the tables in the cafés adjacent to the gift shops.
One of my favorite places to eat in the City is the Asian Art Museum in the Civic Center. Another enjoyable museum eatery that I frequent is the café in the deYoung Museum. If you have the occasion to stop by the deYoung Museum, try the couscous salad. The salad is served with firm, grape-like clusters of rotund couscous pearls that gingerly cling together with sticky, al dente surface adhesion. The salad arrives to your table with the pungent, taste bud-piercing combination of tender arugula leaves, thinly sliced red onion, crumbles of feta, and delicate ribbons of mint chiffonade. It is a refreshing and rejuvenating salad that will pump up your art-observing eye muscles.
Another "regular," but must-try item on the museum menu is the open-faced Niman Ranch beef hamburger. The hamburger is made of a grilled, elongated beef patty that is enrobed in a blanket of melted cheddar cheese. Served with the regular hamburger trimmings, including a noteworthy "house pickle," it is the presentation of this burger that does it for me. The hamburger comes with attractive metal tins that contain delightful dollops of mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and ketchup, this "regular" item is enough to placate even the most demanding stomachs of San Francisco's art connoisseurs.
This post is bittersweet for me. I will miss the beautiful City of San Francisco when I leave. But I know its beauty will live on through its museums, through its timeless Victorian buildings, and through its open-minded and loving people. And, through its food! Before I move, I hope to feature more of my memorable meals and food experiences in the amazing City of San Francisco. I hope you will share your experiences with me too.