When Not Filming, Feast
When I was a kid, my Mom equated the abundance of food as having riches. We were not poor but eating out was a real treat and I was the kid that actually used coupons at McDONALDS. I would try to slip it discreetly to the cashier, but they would always hold it up in front of everybody and check the expiration date! ARGH. Not cool. My Mom’s motto to eating out was as follows. “You go out, spend 5 dollar, 5 dollar, ten dollar…pretty soon fifty dolla!” So…we would stay home and she’d say… “Save fifty dollar!”
(It’s because of my Mom I’ve been a good investor. Love you Mom!)
The way Mom showed her love was to over buy, over cook and over stuff us with food. So as an adult, it took me a while to 1) not feel guilty for eating out and 2) stop overeating and slim down my portions. I have a huge appetite. I once ate a 24 oz. porterhouse steak without blinking. So I have to restrain myself from ordering everything on the menu at new restaurants I visit. It’s HARD.
After filming KNIFE FIGHT and a couple nights of unimpressive hotel food, I eagerly rewarded myself with San Franciscan gastronomic lovin’. I met up with bay area based musician Goh Nakamura for lunch. We took the referral of Actor’s Diet foodie, friend and ex on screen lesbian love of my life Lynn Chen and headed to Tartine Bakery. Thanks Lynn.
The line was already out the door.
I always ask the locals what they like. (Great display of curiosity Goh.)
In addition to its pressed sandwiches, Tartine is also known for its yummy desserts and pastries but I wasn’t feeling it for some reason. My sweet tooth is a recent phenomenon, so this display of decadence didn’t actually entice me. In fact, everything looked a little too rich and heavy to me. I’m intimidated by these chocolate cakes.
I was told their bread pudding is amazing. Their baked breads and the smell of the cafe was divine.
Goh and I were relieved to discover that we were both meat lovers so we decided to split the pressed Soppressata, Fontina, Broccoli Rabe Pesto sandwich and a side caesar salad. Anything with salami cannot go wrong.
The sandwich was really tasty and a had good spicy punch to it but after a few bites, the bread was too buttery and overwhelming for me. I feel like if you put butter on anything, of course, it’s gonna taste good but I feel like you’re kinda cheating. I was happy I tried it but the rabe pesto was powerful and maybe not for my personal palette. Next time, I would try the open faced sandwich and reduce the bread portion in half. I would come back to Tartine but I’d need to be in the mood for this style of sandwich.
After lunch Goh gave me a great tour of San Francisco. I’m writing a project set in the Mission so we did some location scouting. More on that to come. After Goh dropped me off at my hotel, I actually…had an early dinner with my incredibly talented web mistress Duong Nguyen. I call Duong my mistress because I iChat her in the wee hours of the night, “hey…you there?” DING!
Duong has been a fan, friend and loyal tech master of my domain. I wanted to thank her for all the work she does for me with a nice dinner. So we made reservations at DOSA one of her favorite restaurants. Dosa specializes in dishes from Kerala, a state in India, which coincidentally…I traveled to on the TV show I co-hosted called Travelers. The Kerala/India trip happens to be one of my favorite episodes on the series. This was the episode where we were invited into someone’s home for this wonderful home cooked meal served on giant banana leaves and in mid-bite a producer whispered in my ear, “everything may have been washed in the river outside where everyone pees and washes their clothes.” I was like WHAAA?!!! I have an iron stomach, but I picked up a worm on the New Zealand episode and I was like, no peepee on my food. Anyhow, nobody got sick and the food was so DELICIOUS that I’ve thought about Kerala many many times since. It was funny too because I had turned to my co-host Foster Solomon who was stuffing his face when I informed him about the food – water ingredient and he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t give a sh!t. Tastes pretty damn good to me.” Good ol’ Foster. (This was years ago so I’m sure…the river is fine now.)
My Dosa experience.
We both decided to have the 4 course prixe fixe. Are you surprised, really? I wasn’t even hungry either. We started with Mung Sprouts and Crispy fish Pakora appetizers.
The Dosa is their signature dish, hence the name…so smaht. This was AWESOME. It’s a crepe with potato and various ingredients mashed inside. It has great texture, consistency and flavors. I couldn’t put mine down. I kept encouraging Duong to talk so I could eat. It came with three chutney dipping sauces. All of them were fantastic, but my favorite was the coconut chutney because it was working in opposition of the potato filling and the combination was divine.
Dinner was relatively long which was great but by the time our main entrees came there was little natural light left, so these pictures look like they belong in an American Apparel ad, i.e. seedy. Also, don’t use a Blackberry for photographing. I’m in the midst of figuring out my camera situation. Thanks for bearing with me.
The fish was fresh but I got hosed on the portion. The curry was yummy in flavor but (again) I thought it was a little too rich.
Duong ordered the mango prawns. I only tasted the sauce which was quite sweet.
I wasn’t too hungry for dessert but these Gulab Jahmoon can gulab jahmoon me anytime they want. This is a definite return!
Duong didn’t want her photo taken but I was able to snap this shot of her when she first picked me up in her mini cooper, apparently, the go-to car of San Francisco. Duong’s been one hella of a supporter and advisor, she’s traveled to see MIT like 3-4 times now and has built all of my websites. Thanks Duong for everything you’ve shared with me.