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24 hour visit to Bay Area (not too long)

ataway | Mar 30, 200608:12 PM

First time in the Bay Area for a year or so, thought I would hit some favorites.

Arrived in the City around 2:30 in the afternoon. Blue Bottle Coffee – Hayes Valley, Stopped of for not one but two delicious cappuccinos at Blue Bottle's coffee outpost in Hayes Valley. I love their coffee, so I also picked up a bag of their Chiapas blend, which was the special of the day. Apparently they mix about a 50-50 ratio of light and dark roasted Chiapas beans to make what they call the perfect coffee from that region. Their cappuccinos are great. I blue bottle espresso second in my book behind only La Columbe in Philadelphia. These are the only two places in the US where I prefer not to use any sugar in the drink.

4:30 pm – Swan’s – Polk, Knowing I wasn’t eating dinner until late I stopped off at Swan’s Oyster Depot for a bowl of clam chowder and a beer. It hit the spot that rainy afternoon. I was surprised to see how crowded it was considering the weather and it was almost closing time. I always liked Swan’s chowder, they don’t use any flour and it is very light (if that is possible for a cream based soup). Since it was close to the end of the day I got the last of the soup which meant that there weren’t many pieces of clam in the bowl, but I got over it pretty quickly.

9:00 pm Town Hall - SOMA. My friend and I ended up being not too hungry so we put off a trip to Shalimar in the Tenderloin and instead made a 180 and headed to Town Hall for a few cocktails and some appetizers. We ordered a couple rounds of their house special Sazeracs (18 year old barrel aged whiskey, a little sugar and two kinds of bitters, served up with a twist) and loaded up on their delicious bread. We had to have the biscuits with the ham and we also had the rabbit and sweet potato enchiladas. The biscuit appetizer was a hit as usual and the enchiladas were a success as well. The rabbit, by itself was wonderfully tender and the green chile sauce had a nice heat kick to it that contrasted well with the sweet potato. Just enough food for the two of us. About $65 before tip.

12:00 am Hemlock Tavern – Tenderloin, We capped off the night with a few more drinks and a bag of the great warm peanuts at Hemlock on Polk Street. The $1 bag of warmed peanuts is one of the best deals in the city and goes perfect with a beer.

10:00 am Breakfast at a friend’s house.

12:30 pm Evvia – Palo Alto. Probably my favorite high end restaurant on the Peninsula, (Manresa is more San Jose than the Peninsula) Started off with their calamari, which is an excellent version of this omnipresent appetizer and a bowl of Gigantes (basically giant white beans) served from their wood oven baked in a tomato sauce with leeks and herbed feta. For our entrees, two of us had the rib-cut, mesquite-grilled lamb chops with olive oil roasted potatoes. Three decent sized lamb chops for and the potatoes for only $22. A great deal. They were delicious, perfectly cooked to medium rare. Great flavor from the herb crust and the mesquite wood. All around a great dish. I also got to taste their wonderfully light and flavorful ravioli. The dish included feta & ricotta ravioli with baby red chard, braised artichokes, & egg lemon sauce. All in all a nice dish, but it didn’t compare to the lamb chops. With the meal we had a great McKinley Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. I have been looking for it in stores over the past few days to try it again. I went perfectly with the lamb. We finished off the meal with an order of the baklava and the pastry chef was kind enough to use us as guinea pigs for a new dessert that may appear on the menu sometime soon. It was sort of a gussied up version of the traditional Greek dessert Loukoumades. It was delicious. I love Evvia every time I eat there and this was no exception. A wonderful meal (which ended just before 2:30 pm to make it officially 24 hours of eating) for about $180 before tip.

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