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Results of Chowcrawl through SF (long)

SU | Jun 1, 2006 12:47 PM

Finally have a few moments to spare, so I'm posting a short summary (will flesh this out more later on in the week)...

We started off @ the SF Ferry Bldg on Saturday, grabbed our order from Fatted Calf: duck liver mousse, rabbit pate, and pork rillet. Weaved through the produce stands looking for fruit to include in our "picnic" but ultimately decided to skip it. Also decided to skip on cheese, as the Fatted Calf goodies were already quite a lot for a few people to consume. Made our way to Acme, and spent some time trying to pair the best bread with our goodies, and one of us decided to choose a simple sweet baguette. Excellent choice, as it allowed the flavors of the Fatted Calf masterpieces to really shine. After our little "picnic", the votes were in: we all loved to strong duck liver mousse, the rabbit pate was pretty good, and the pork rillet came in last and was a bit tricky to spread.

During our time there, we did sample quite a lot of stuff from the stands. Afterward, we made our way into the building to check out Tsar Nicoulai for our caviar tasting -- which I don't think needs a review. Along with the check came a quick survey, and if completed they also give a free sample of ... well we tried so many things that day it has slipped my mind -- but I do know it was some smoked fish with a single serving of caviar. Then we stopped at the bakery next door (Miette?) to try the Chocolate Cream Cake as well as the Sharffen Berger Chocolate Cake. The Chocolate Cream cake was delish... just right in terms of moistness and balance between cream and cake mixture. The other cake was another matter -- a mound of too-dry plain chocolate cake encased in a layer of Sharffen Berger Chocolate, just a hair less dry than a "cough-gag-milk!" experience. We made our way to Recchiuti Confections based on recs from my previous posing, which saved the ending to this lovely morning -- the gems we purchased are truly out of this world... Mom's fave is the Kona.

We hopped on Muni and made our way to lunch at Cinderella with baked meat piroshki, the Siberian Pie w/ salmon, meat pelmini, leg of lamb, and stuffed cabbage. The piroshki was fairly good, but then I'm partial to freshly deep fried ones. Siberian pie was interesting with glass noodles and salmon, I think it was seasoned with black pepper. Mom was quite impressed with the pelmini, as it was her 1st experience with Russian fare and she equated it with xiao long bao. Under normal circumstances, she hates sour creme, creme fresh, and any other type of sour/tart dairy in that category -- but for this meal she was happily dunking the pelmini in the accompanying cream. The leg of lamb and stuffed cabbage were alright, not amazing, but solid down-home dishes. Before we left, we checked out their bakery display and chose a rectangular slice of chocolate cake for dessert... Mom claims it looks like Chinese thousand year cake, except with chocolate: it was good, but again not amazing.

Then we hopped on Muni to check out European Foods. Since we were quite full, the items on display at the deli failed to entice. We browsed a bit before heading towards Gastronom on foot. Along the way we stopped at practically every Russian deli in sight… and we were thinking of buying some of the meats/cold cut items but since we are new to Russian food we mostly just browsed. That is until we got to New World Market, where they had many samples piled on platters along the counter. They ended up getting most of our business, as we sampled our way through the visit and chose several items. Unfortunately, the sample platter arrangement was not in order so it was hard to figure out names of the items we tasted – we just pointed and requested amount. This is a great place for folks who want to purchase Russian deli meats for the first time. At some point we got to Gastronom and got 2 baked piroshki to go, one meat and one mushroom & potato; we also tasted the homemade kvas. Since we were still full from lunch, the piroshki went into our bag untasted. Upon arriving at Moscow & Tbilisi, we realized this is the place from which we’ve been getting our piroshki and dessert (I forgot the name but its kinda like a pastry in the shape of a tube with cream and dipped in chocolate at both ends). Since we knew we loved those items and we were still full (this time because of the sampling at New World) we passed on buying food.

Our last stop for the day was Lahore Karahi, as I knew in planning this that we would have had enough of Russian fare. So many items have been suggested in posts on this board, it was hard to limit the choices to what we could handle in terms of amount of food. We ended up ordering lamb vindaloo, garlic naan, lamb seekh kabob, fish tandori, and one more chicken curry/stew item I’ve forgotten the name of. The lamb seekh kabob and the fish tandori were out of this world! These were definitely major hits with the entire group and if we hadn’t been snacking through the day there would have been a territorial food war to polish off these dishes.

Finally we emerged and waddled down to City Hall for the free showing of Madama Butterfly… a lovely non-edible end to our day of eating. If we ever do something like this again, I probably won’t pack so much eating into one day. As it is, we returned home with plenty of leftovers.


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