Continuing from last week…
Sweet flowers that J had delivered to the place we stayed.
On our first morning in San Francisco, J sweetly ran out to get breakfast while I stayed in bed and continued sleeping. Despite gaining a full 3 hours on the West coast, I was pooped. What he brought back was nothing short of genius – a buttery, crunchy toad-in-a-hole (anyone? J says Egg in the Basket) breakfast sandwich with rich braised kale and leeks. The egg was cooked to perfection and the Levain bread seemed to defy science by staying so crispy yet so buttery with a slice of Greyere cheese. It almost felt too decadent to eat so early. J was satisfied with his morning protein.
Before our trip I did some research on Best Breakfast Sandwiches in San Francisco and I found this place on a list from SF Weekly. When I am traveling, I tend to gravitate towards breakfast sandwiches or something that has eggs for protein. This typically gives me the energy to start my day properly and still enjoy a tiny delicious meal.
That afternoon we decided to rent bikes and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. We were never under the impression that this was a unique idea, but we were, at the same time, insulted by the mass of people trying to cross the 4’ wide sidewalk, going both ways and on one side of the bridge. For that reason, when we finally made it to Sausalito, J and I ventured as far away from the crowd as we could. This very act took us to a French gem quite a ways down the main street. I had a perfectly cooked tuna steak with homemade aioli and shoestring potatoes. There was nothing ritzy about the sandwich, but they did vanilla well – which is sometimes just as hard.
I got their signature 7 hour house made ham sandwich with Avocado, pears, and bacon butter with fries and aioli. I LOVE a good sandwich– just look at our post on Butcher and Bee in Charleston. When I take a lunch menu and see that the chef veered away from the Turkey Clubs and the Corned Beef on Rye I rejoice! Le Garage was such a beautiful, quality find in Sausalito, tucked away from the crowds along the water. The lunch proved the exact fuel we needed to weasel our way back to San Francisco without ferry tokens (note: When your bike owner tells you to make sure and get a ferry token right when you get to Sausalito you should most definitely follow their advice. Take it from someone who didn’t).
J and I have had some amazing experiences with James Beard award-winning chefs (see FIG). Our experience at the slanted door (winner of 2014 Best Restaurant in the US) was no exception, aside from the fact that neither of us had fully recovered from our lunch at 3pm. This was the only place J and I had secured a reservation at before the trip and it ended up being the largest of the restaurants we went to. It is unique in that chef Charles Phan creates dishes in the style of his native Vietnam, but is also dedicated to using local ingredients, which ends up creating a really interesting fusion of flavors. I started the night with an Old Fashioned and I have to say that they made a mean one. J and I shared rice cakes with shiitake mushrooms, shallots, and sweet chili soy sauce that I think I enjoyed more than he did. They had a unique, sticky texture that I just loved. Next we shared fried cellophane noodles made of mung beans with dungeonous crab. We both agreed that this was a fabulous version of a crab fried rice and the noodles were delightfully light and delicate. Although I enjoyed the eggplant curry that we ordered and thought they did a nice job maintaining some form to the eggplant through the cooking process, it was not my favorite dish.
I really enjoyed the spicy eggplant and thought it paired nicely with the cellophane noodles even though that wasn’t the intention. I don’t think we got dessert because we were so full and even had to take some home for leftovers that we later ate at the beach the next day.
I was surprised when we arrived at the Slanted Door and the space was just so open and large. I don’t think all restaurants have to be small to be good, but I suppose I had this idea that the bigger the restaurant means more mouths to feed which means more food to cook which means quality is sacrificed. Clearly it is not the case at the Slanted Door.
To be continued…