Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fantastic Foodie Day - Part Two

Food is almost a religion in the Bay Area, so after my morning worship at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market (where I picked up these vibrant flowers) it was time to pay homage to the site where the Book of Locavore from the Foodie Bible was written. We celebrated my twenty-something birthday at Chez Panisse (a lady never reveals her age!).

The food is undeniably amazing, but the building that houses the restaurant is one of the most charming parts of the experience. It is an amazing example of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This movement was an artistic response against the rise of Industrialism and championed a return to craftsmanship. The connection between these architectural and culinary ideals are central to the full experience; Chez Panisse and Alice Water's relevance comes not only from a strong stance on eating locally and sustainably but also as a long-time advocate for homemade, family meals, standing in opposition to the rise of fast food.

The menu was an absolute bounty of late-spring and early-summer produce from start to finish. This post is not meant to be a restaurant review, so I won't get into each dish. Just know that there are not enough superlatives to describe the Wild Alaskan king salmon, and the term "onion ring" is not acceptable as a label for the grilled duck breast's garnish (perfectly crisp, salty exterior and tender, sweet interior). The pictures don't do the food justice as the low lighting prevented anything of higher quality, but I hope this gives you an idea of the loveliness of the meal.
Asparagus vinaigrette with chopped egg and pancetta

Wild Alaskan king salmon a l'unilateral with nasturtiums

Grilled Sonoma Liberty duck breast with new garlic and fava bean puree, green beans, and onion rings

Bittersweet chocolate fondant with Bing cherry ice cream

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