Save Me, San Francisco

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Word is that it snowed at Tahoe this Sunday. Maybe so. But it sure rained in the city. We hit the finish line at Bay to Breakers — I was dressed as a bumblebee and hooked into a centipede with twelve other runners — and the sprinkles started. Sprinkles turned into downpour the next day and now the sidewalks are sheathed in water in the middle of May. A predictable “only in San Francisco” ending to a quintessentially San Francisco weekend.

We started it off with a pizza tasting at Coffee Bar. Four street pizza crews — Pizza Politana, Fist of Flour, Copper Top Ovens and Casey’s Pizza — descended on the light, airy, working café on an unexpected corner of the Mission-Potrero Hill merge to engage each other in a street-side, pizza throw down for charity. Twelve dollars got you four slices of pizza and a glass of wine or beer. We warmed up by the barbeque-housing-pizza-stone ovens at Casey’s Pizza while waiting for our margarita and lusting over their white spring onion pie. Another favorite was the Xtra-Xtra pie from Pizza Politana with chilies and spicy olives.

The eating continued the next day, this time with me on the other side of the table. The food blogging world came together for a spectacular bake sale Saturday morning, complete with gold-sparkled chocolate hazelnut macarons, red velvet cupcakes, vanilla bean salted caramels, tri-colored mochi, various vegan and gluten-free quick breads and pear-almond tarts. I made Italian plum-walnut frangipane tarts and black and white checkerboard cookies (more on these later), packaged with colorful, curled ribbons. And then I sat behind the table for an hour so, coaxing 5-year-olds out of snatching up the chocolate chip cookies without doing a complete tour of the room first.

And then it was off to the New Taste Marketplace, where many up-and-coming food entrepreneurs in the city showcase their creations. I finally met Kai of NoshThis, the genius behind bacon crack. Don’t know what that is? Crunchy, pralined bacon bits covered in dark chocolate. Look him up, consider yourself warned. He was also selling salt and black pepper caramels and Irish coffee on a stick, which I was convinced into adding to my bag. I also bombarded the girls at A Humble Plate, who were making Lao sausage sliders. I’m not normally a sausage fan and I recently went back to being vegetarian so I couldn’t order any but my memories of Lao sausage as not likely to be wiped from my mind anytime soon, so I enthusiastically forced a slider on our obliging weekend guest.

Sunday evening saw us at a wine tasting benefit for the Italian Institute. Hidden on a small alleyway at the foot of North Beach, the Institute holds daytime and nighttime Italian classes of all levels. I ran into my Italian teacher at the door, sampled several white wines and ate plenty of tuna tartare toasts before we snagged a quick dinner at the bar at Bix next door.

And more on a random note but also things that made me very happy this weekend. I succumbed to Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets at a local bookstore this weekend so there will be lots of pastries in the future. And the weekend was that much sweeter with the discovery Saturday evening that local corn on the cob is finally in season.

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