Saturday, April 16, 2011

unbecoming incongruity


frankly, i have to warn you. this is going to be an incongruous posting.

you'll see what i mean in a bit.

i'm currently home ....trying to wind down before meeting up with the best friend for the wild kitchen dinner from foragesf tonight. this morning, i woke up later that usual and rather hungry, so i stopped into il cane rosso for some broken farro porridge and blue bottle coffee....

thinking about the things i'd like to pick up from the market for the week as well as a wine for tonight's dinner. after i made my rounds at tierra (dried peppers), dirty girl (kale + strawberries), star route (carrots + romaine hearts), marin roots (kale flowers + bergamont mint), june taylor (candied yuzu peel), 4505 meats (chicharrones), etc.etc....i stopped into a wine store. i won't say what wine store i ended up going to, but lets just say i didn't have the most pleasant of experiences. i've been to this store at least 10 times over the past couple of years and i knew that i shouldn't have been receptive when the staff asked if i needed help picking something out. this is the kind of store that one should probably already know what they want and just go in and get it. the staff are really inconsistent. i really should have known better. not all wine stores are like this, there are a couple of my faves in east bay where i have been dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times over the years and have never had a bad experience with the staff or recommendations.

so when this person made two flippant recommendations
and then walked away. as i looked at her recommendations i thought "are you trying to unload bottles on me that you can't move? is that what this is about? did you really just recommend what i think you recommended?" i was like...wow....this is how you act when i'm willing to put down $60 on a bottle of wine? how the hell are you going to act when someone comes in to ask for recs for a $20 or less? i think her behavior said an awful lot about her lack of knowledge about the product and insecurity in general. it is also quite short sighted.

i suppose this annoyed me on a few levels....probably because i wanted to get the wine right then in there and wasn't in the mood to leave (despite the fact that they pissed me off so much) and go out of the way to try a new wine store (new to me) like arlequin wine merchant in hayes valley, or K&L on 4th, or something similar that is more than a wee bit of the way for me.

so now, as i am listening to NWA piping quite loudly on my pandora, i think i just realized that i'm actually more pissed off at myself than anything or anyone else. because i still bought a bottle of wine from that place....

which is a very respectable pinot from anderson valley, appropriate for the dinner event this evening, and obviously not what she recommended. i should have just walked out and taken my business elsewhere....i've definitely done that before at other places where the service really pissed me off. next time, i'll just have to be more organized and take the time out to visit one of the other places in the city for any event or dinner. i don't think i'll be visiting that place again....ever.

i suppose i can also feel my anger deflating as i'm nibbling my way through some absolutely delicious homemade treats that CK made for me. it is difficult to remain angry when i'm tasting such wonderful flavors that seemed tailored for my palatte....probably because they were tailored for me. CK made me these lovely chewy blue bottle coffee caramels.......


so good. oh so good.



and she also made me this wonderful spicy nutty brittle (made with dried paper lantern chilies from tierra!) that make me sigh......


over and over.....


as i feel the spice prickle and tickle my tongue....in such a good way. CK gave them to me last night when we met up for dinner at coi.
it was great to have a chance to catch up with her last night.....and both of us had been definitely looking forward to this dinner for quite some time. coi provides an 11 course tasting menu that features the best quality ingredients with very thoughtful and well executed technique. it is also the kind of place where taking pics is very inappropriate....so i didn't take any. my not taking pics didn't detract from the experience at all....i'll be remembering this amazing meal from coi for quite some time. in fact, i can feel my face take on an almost dreamy quality as i'm remembering some of the tastes from last night.

some stand out food moments from last night include......

the geoduck clam dish....there were almost braided ribbons of seaweed and a savory deep green thin gelatin studded with the geoduck and meticulously placed wild fennel. it was beautifully presented and almost whimsical. as i stuck my nose into my dish (i did this for almost all of the courses that night....yes, i'm a total food nerd).....it smelled of the ocean and was plated in such a way that it reminded me of kelp moving within the sea.

the "beet rose" with the house made yogurt and rose ice (almost like a granita but drier...lighter...and the granules reminded me the consistency of maldon sea salt). the rose ice was slightly savory which seemed to really allow the beets, a citrius-like back note, and the rose flavors really bloom together.

the soup of succulent spring onions, a mound of goat cheese (that was whipped or aerated into a souffle-like consistency) with chives and chive oil....deceptively simple ingredients....was probably among my top faves of the evening. it smelled heavenly....and honestly, i was not expecting such an incredibly sexy dish to appear at coi. yet, i was delighted at the surprise....and the example of how it is possible to have a classy, intellectual, and sexy dish. i'm not certain which mind was behind this specific dish ....but DAMN....and thank you.

another stand out for me was the sorrel, roasted strawberries, buttermilk foam, and tiny meringues lightly infused with pepper. the combination of the flavors were absolutely lovely. just truly lovely.

sigh. i think the combination of recalling last night's dinner and the amazing treats from CK has transformed my mood completely. maybe i can look at that bottle of pinot now without getting angry...which would be a good thing....since i'll be sipping on it later tonight and want to be fully angry-free, open, and present for the wild kitchen dinner tonight.

thanks for "listening" to my random incongruous thoughts....until later.

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