Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part IV: Magnolia Gastro Pub & Brewery



I loved the glasses they served their beer in and the refurbished wood bar.

Since this was JJ's first time visiting San Francisco, we had to make sure to hit the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. We spent an entire day just walking in and out of shops and people watching in this historic area known best for its hippie culture that began in the 60s. Many people still feel connected to this American counterculture and it is evident by the amount of people that flock there on a daily basis.

After walking around for a couple of hours, it began to rain and we were looking to a place to grab something to eat and few drinks. We came upon Magnolia Gastro Pub and Brewery and we loved the look and feel of the place. We grabbed two seats at the bar and ordered some craft beers. We were feeling a bit daring while we were looking at the menu and decided to try the smelt appetizer. We thought they would pair well with the beer for a mid-afternoon nosh. The flash fried fish
came to the table and once we both got past the fact that we were about to eat whole fish, we were able to enjoy them. Smelts have very thin bones so you can eat the whole fish; bones, head, and all. There were a few in the basket that looked scary with their mouths open, almost like they were surprised after being thrown in the hot fryer. Needless to say, those remained on the plate. The malt vinegar added a great zing to the salty, crispy fish. It was a great plate to share over a couple of beers, but I am not sure next time I would feel so daring. Thinking about it now, gives me the willies!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part III

The Grove Fillmore

JJ and I decided to wake up early one morning while in San Francisco and stroll around Pacific Heights to find a place for brunch. We weren't exactly sure what we were in the mood for, but happened upon The Grove Fillmore. From the moment we walked in, we felt right at home because of the earthy, warm vibe. We knew we had made a good choice. The restaurant was packed with cowboy memorabilia, antique books, cushions, and anything & everything that would make you feel like you were in a cozy mountain house in the middle of winter. The worn wooden tables, benches and even a little tree house dining section added to the casual ambience. We sat at a bar that faced the center of the restaurant that was filled with rustic tables and lots of people. The seat was perfect for people watching. I truly cannot remember what exactly I ate here, but I remember it was delicious, organic, and healthy. The food was a little on the pricey side for brunch, but then again we were in San Fran and everything seems more expensive there, so it didn't phase us. Also, when I am on vacation I tend to splurge on everything anyway. This was such a great way to begin our day in the City by the Bay!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trip to San Fran Part II

pretty funny sign at the San Fran farmers market

4505 Meats where Bacon is the new black

Trip to San Fran Part I

sipping on fresh juice- wheatgrass, apple, cucumber, and basil

Back in April, JJ and I took a trip to San Francisco to see my sister and her family. I expressed interest in seeing the local farmers market while we were there and so we did.
That is one of my favorite things to do when I visit a city to see all of their local vegetation ripe for the picking and eating! It reminded me of our trip to Santa Monica where we experienced their local market. California always produces the best crops because of their mild weather. There was so much to see and sample. It was hard not to buy everything, but I stuck to only things that I could consume on the spot (like the yummy juice in the picture above) or items that wouldn't perish on the trip back home.

harvested mushrooms

more mushrooms!

flowers for sale

jumbo asparagus

We ended up purchasing a glass jar of organic apple wood smoked salt. The vendor had an assortment of flavored salts, but this one was our fave! I still have not opened the jar yet... If anyone has any ideas, please send them my way. I am a little intimidated by this complex ingredient. We also bought a small bag of dried mild chilies; Poblano, New Mexico, and Anaheim chilies. This mixture can be used to make salsa or as seasoning for poultry or fish. I used some of the dried chili mixture to make tacos a few weeks back. They were delicious. I couldn't pass up the dried fruit vendor where I bought a bag each of Lubanah dates and dried persimmons. I bought both of them because they were the most peculiar, yet delicious.

I envy all of the Californians that have such quality organic produce at their finger tips. Don't get me wrong... I love our local Kansas City market, but it just doesn't compare to the size, quality or variety of the west coast markets. I guess I'll just sit here in the disgustingly, muggy Midwestern heat, eat my sweet corn and watermelon, and be glad that I have food to put on the table.