Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eating Locally Elsewhere

What was I thinking? I won't be cooking that beautiful heirloom squash this week, because I will be eating locally in the San Francisco Bay Area while visiting my mom and my brother and his lovely family for a few days. I flew via Portland yesterday, with airport TV monitors and newspaper headlines all emblazoned with images of the horrendous storm and flooding that hit the Pacific Northwest -- but all that was evident from the plane windows once we descended through the clouds and fog were a few puddles on the ground.

It is cool and drizzly in Berkeley today, and it is still botanical autumn here. The view out of my brother's kitchen window shows clusters of red berries against golden leaves, a bright red Japanese maple, and expanses of burgundy foliage interspersed with gray-green eucalyptus and redwoods and oaks and palm trees, set against the mist-enshrouded backdrop of the Berkeley Hills.

The fragrant dampness and rich colors provide a very welcome respite from the snows and below-zero windchills of the past few days in Minnesota. I do, however, welcome the knowledge that we will have a white Christmas this year, something that we used to take for granted (when we moved to Northfield almost 18 years ago, a longtime resident told us there was usually snow on the ground from Thanksgiving until at least March) but increasingly uncertain in recent years.


Rob Hardy said...

Maybe you can come back from San Francisco and tell Mr. Haas what food most characterizes that city.

Penny said...

Oh boy, what a challenge. I don't think it can really be done, but I think fresh, crusty, chewy, dark sourdough bread has to be in the top three. My sister-in-law votes for San Francisco burritos, which are apparently not quite like anything else. Italian food (something sauteed at flash heat with lemon and capers, probably) from North Beach... Crab and other seafood... A phenomenal choice of Asian food... But I think I'll come back to voting for the bread.

Zoot said...

You were staying in Berkeley, not San Francisco, and Berkeley is the home of breads far more interesting than SF Sourdough! We prefer the denser, grainy varieties offered by the Cheeseboard, Acme, and others.

I agree, there are good burritos in the entire Bay Area. I'm a regular at Taqueria La Familia in Berkeley.

I further agree about the plethora of Asian restaurants. Our favorites in Berkeley include Taiwan Restaurant, Bangkok Thai, and Priya (Indian).

Penny said...

Zoot! (My, that takes me back.) Great to see you, both last Sunday and here on my blog.

I associate Berkeley now with Peet's coffee. I brought back some Holiday Blend and enjoyed a cup this morning.

I've never eaten at Chez Panisse, but Hugh and I did have breakfast at Alice Waters's Cafe Fanny on Monday -- beautifully poached eggs and a bowl of cafe au lait for Hugh and steel-cut oatmeal and fresh-squeezed orange juice for me, standing up at the counter in a way that felt very European.