jeudi 8 septembre 2005

Our own version of the Olympics.

Tweedle's parents just bought a house in Montclair, which has beautiful views of the bay. It was like being in the wilderness. Tons of deer and racoons around.

It also gets very foggy. Rather looks all Myst-like, mm?

Saturday, we decided to skip the whole getting-on-a-bus-at-7am-to-go-river-rafting deal because we had bigger and better plans! Better than sitting on a bus for 2 hours and drinking to drink and river raft and get drunker? But of course. I'd been dying to go to the Ferry Building Marketplace for ages. Ages. And so we went.

But first, breakfast. In our pajamas and slightly hungover (did I mention that somehow, between the two of us, we managed to tuck away 3/4 of a bottle of vodka the previous night? We left at midnight exhausted, but the boys were still going strong), we padded over to Arizmendi (the Oakland location doesn't have a webpage, unfortunately) for some morning baked goods. Mmmm. I can't even tell you how good the chocolate things and the cheese things (those are their names, too) were.

Still foggy.

Then it was over to San Francisco. We were going to take the ferry, but it was cold! And guess who didn't look at the weather for the Bay Area before she packed, just assuming that hey, all of California is warm. Right. Not to mention that there was no way we could stick to any sort of schedule. There was no ferry riding for us.

Inside the Ferry Building.

Inside the actual building are higher-end frou frou stores.

I went a little crazy with the mushroom pictures, but mushrooms make great photography subjects.

If I opened a bakery - or more accurately, a patisserie - it would surely look like this store. Tweedle and I were so excited to see that they had macarons - unfortunately, they weren't what we wanted, which were macarons in the style of Ladurée and Fauchon. This rendition was too doughy for our tastes.

On Saturdays (and other days as well), there is also a farmer's market at the Ferry Building, so we bought food for dinner that night. And we made angry faces at people who brought their dogs because while I love dogs (nothing new there), ew, so unsanitary and inconsiderate! I also bought some orange blossom and lavendar honey for later. Later what, I don't know, because I rarely use honey, but it tasted so good.

After all of that, boy, were we tired. And hungry. I mean, after all, it had been a whole 3.5 hours since we last ate (not counting all the samples we had at the farmer's market). So we headed over to Zuni Cafe, which I had been dying to go to for their roast chicken. Mmm, roast chicken.

However, when you order the roast chicken (for two, which is served with a Tuscan bread salad), they tell you to expect a 50 minute wait. FIFTY MINUTES. That is a LONG time to wait for food. So what other recourse did we have but to drink? (And have a salad. The lighting was beautiful, making even something so mundane as a Caesar salad look lovely.)

The view out our window was interesting. There was this red door with an infiniti sign over it. People - usually people on bicycles, and usually guys - would go in, sometimes while still on their bikes, and exit like 20 minutes later. It reminded me of a sketchy scene you'd find in SVU, you know, where illegal orgies are being had or freakish genetic tests are being conducted. We were fascinated, especially when they guy who looked sort of like a pimp came out. DEFINITELY AN ORGY. We later found out to our dismay that it was an art gallery, and their current exhibition was on messenger bags. Hence all the people on bikes (with messenger bags strapped across their chest). It was more interesting when we thought it was an orgy.

Really, the roast chicken was worth the wait. The recipe in the cookbook (which I desperately need now - it is my birthday tomorrow. Hint hint.) claims that they don't use butter. I don't know how. It's too good. There has got to be some hidden butter there.

Even though we were stuffed, we had to get dessert, especially after this great mention of their tarts. Ours was a nectarine and raspberry one. Definitely lots of butter in the crust. Mm, butter. No stupid pastry cream which I hate in fruit tarts because if you have perfect fruit, don't go messing it up with pastry cream.

Those things in the leftmost picture were apparently inspiration for George Lucas's thingies in the Star Wars movies. I wish I knew what those thingies were called, but I hear "Star Wars" and I immediately zone out.

Slightly tipsy, we headed back across the bay to Rosenblum Cellars for a wine tasting. (Like I said, this was our version of the Olympics). But then we got sidetracked. "HANGAR ONE VODKAS!!!" I yelled (while I was on the phone, to the great dismay of FB who said he didn't want to go deaf at 25). So Tweedle followed the signs because gosh, you know us and vodka, and in another SVU moment of the day, we ended up at the old naval base in front of an old warehouse. The type of place where you enter for some cockamamie reason and find a dead body under a tarp.

Luckily, there were no dead bodies. But there was vodka. And eaux de vie. And other assorted alcohols, all for the tasting. The eaux de vie was esophagus-burning hell (as usual), but ah, the vodkas. The vodkas were great. The mandarin blossom, we were told, undergoes two flavour-adding processes - one where the mandarin blossoms soak in the vodka for two days, and one where the mandarin rinds soak for 2 weeks. The blossoms added a very nice floral touch that you generally don't find in orange-flavoured vodkas. The raspberry vodka, which I had first read about here, was simply amazing. And so pretty and pink! I ended up getting a raspberry liqueur, which is supposed to be just divine drizzled over ice cream, because the vodkas I have seen in other stores (although not the raspberry one. But then that's another excuse to return, right?)

Unfortunately, Rosenblum was closed by the time we left, and so we headed over to a friend's house for mojitos. En route, we stopped for tacos. Mmmm. Tacos. We got three tacos - carne asada, al pastor (always my favourite), and carnitas. And horchata. Scrumptious.

After that, we returned to Tweedle's house for dinner (and more wine). Yum! Her mom made us halibut poached in orange juice with currants and raspberries, she steamed the green beans we brought home, and also made some flavourful herbed couscous.

We also had strawberries and delicious Charentais melon (both from the farmer's market), along with truffles we'd purchased the day before, for dessert. Yes, the plate is really teeny tiny. Apparently, Tweedle's parents had 260 boxes shipped to them, but none of them contained normal-sized plates.

After all of that food and drinking, we passed out. Out like logs. It didn't even bother me when a friend from undergrad called at midnight (which would've been 3am his time) yelling, "I'm hanging out with girls from your sorority!!", and then he named the wrong sorority. There were only two sororites at my school. So I hung up on him. Doofus.