Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beautiful San Francisco

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.

Dang it.

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.


  1. A nice post with good info. Likely to visit SFO during November this year. Tks for sharing the info. Viji

  2. NOOOO!!! Stay! I just started a blog! AWWW...I will miss you dearly

  3. PE, you're leaving us? It will be hard to see you go -- I've enjoyed getting to know you (virtually speaking) over the past several months!

    Hopefully though, you will not stop being a passionate eater! I'm looking forward to seeing some mouth-watering pictures of po'boys and Cajun food here in the future :)

    Best of luck to you in "N'Aulins" as you go down a new and hopefully exciting path!

  4. Wow! A big move for you. I'm sure we'll see all sorts of new declicasies on your Cajun food blog :)
    Best of luck with all the little details that moving entails.

  5. Hi PE - Like I said earlier....I admire you for taking on your new challenges! In the meanwhile, I'll look forward to more great posts!

  6. Amazing. How lucky that you're heading for another fun-and-food-filled city with loads of personality.
    I hope you will continue to blog. It would be great to see NOLA through your posts.

  7. You're leaving California??? :(
    Well, I hope you continue passionately eating in New Orleans, okie? *hugz*

  8. There are never really endings in life, just new beginnings! Sure the Atlantic has a different surf smell than the Pacific, but an ocean is an ocean, great people are great people and a city is just another adventure waiting for the taking. Can't wait to see Naulins through your taste-buds, it is an equisitely beautiful (albeit sometimes stinky) place. The cemetaries are a work of art and the food, oooo. If you can ever find Jack Imo's in the French Quarter, you shouldn't be disappointed... drool! Have a safe move!

  9. Wow, are you excited about New Orleans...that's a great move, from one food mecca to another...New Orleans is just great...I mean, you know I am a seafood lover, and that place is perfect for everything seafood. I look forward to your new food adventures in the Big Easy. :)

  10. Wow San Franciso to New Orleans! That's quite a move. :) Both cities are favorites of mine; I look forward to seeing what you post about once you've settled into your new diggs!

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  11. ohhhh, but think of all the amazing food adventures in new orleans! it's going to be insanely good. best of luck with the move!

  12. SF is going to lose one of its brightest and most ardent champions. On the other hand, New Orleans just got very lucky indeed!

  13. PE, I was sad to just read your post about you leaving. :( You're not just a passionate eater, but a passionate reader and poster of food blogs, and I will always be appreciative of your support of my food musings.

    But as they say (I'm not sure who said it, maybe I'm saying it now for the first time), food has no borders, so go forth and eat! (And keep blogging!)

  14. Good luck for your move to New Orleans. For heaven's sake (and mine) please continue to write about your food adventures. I have had such fun reading your food and fun in S.F. I am sure you will find lots of good food to share with us in New Orleans. Perhaps you will join a Dixieland jazz band or learn the secrets to Cajun gumbo...and there is Mardi Gras. I think you are going to have lots to write to us about!

  15. So far away? How will we meet up now? :(

    Good luck in Nawlins! I'm sure you'll enjoy coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, muffalettas at Central Market, po' boys and fried oysters at Mother's, and excellent blue crab corn chowder at Dante's Kitchen. Hmm, I'll let you know if I can think of anything else...And gosh, do they still exist after Katrina?

    So you so good-bye to SF, it's not like you're saying good-bye to blogging right?

  16. i left sf once too teary eyed, there's just something magic about that city. just think you'll get to return for visits which to this day is one of my favorite places to go for the weekend. lots of delicious foods in New Orleans too i hear, best of luck and i look forward to your postings! :):)

  17. That's quite the move! Good luck! I hope you continue your blog in New Orleans! *hug!*

  18. All the best to your new home in New Orleans and hope you will continue to write from there.

  19. best of luck to you PE!!! i hope we get to hear about your epicurean adventures in New Orleans once you get settled in...the food blogosphere just wouldn't be the same without you! take care! =)

  20. You know I'll be visiting you in New Orleans very soon... We'll take in a Harry Connick Jr show! :D

    Don't forget about us in Cali!!!


  21. Oh gosh, you all brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement! I will miss San Francisco, but am so excited about my new life in New Orleans. And perhaps you can come and visit me!

  22. Gurrrrrrlllll...

    I looooooove N'aaaaaawlins! Good luck to you...and expect a visit from us during the Jazz or Essence Fest.

    Beignets or bust!!!

  23. holy moly that is big news indeed! at least you are moving to another town with a reputation for good food! awwww... well i look forward to reading about what you are eating over there.

  24. Check out:
    I used to get excellent seafood and Vietnamese crepes, baguettes, pate a choud and such over on the West Bank (look for 9 Roses & Pho Tau Bay), tamales in Gretna, oysters, spicy crawfish, crab and shrimp by the pound in N.O. East...there's a ton of great stuff at absurd prices there.
    I'm lucky that the Vietnamese groceries here in San Diego all stock Cafe Du Monde coffee (with chicory!) for making slow-drip espresso. I miss getting their beignets with the powdered sugar on the side in a dish.
    If you see local mags called Gambit or Offbeat, grab a copy for event and restaurant listings. Also, listen to or stream WWOZ at 90.7 fm for what the locals listen to.
    Viet Market:

  25. Thanks again to everyone for your kind wishes! And Trent, THANK YOU! I am so excited about the Vietnamese enclaves (I myself am Vietnamese) and the seafood galore! I will follow your tips religiously. Thank you!

  26. just found your blog today- hope you are enjoying new orleans! I lived there pre-Katrina. Worked in the kitchen at Dante's on the river bend for awhile- some great eats for sure!


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