Popular Posts

Sunday, July 14, 2013


San Francisco, CA

The West Coast (San Francisco)

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the west coast and more specifically to San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.  I’m always researching all things food related including areas where the culinary scene is starting to take charge.

New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
 Anyone that knows anything about being a foodie is that there is such a thing as a culinary triangle and the three cities that are comprised of this phenomenon are New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  I was particularly excited about this trip because I wanted to experience an original triangle city and compare it to what I think will be future triangle cities in Portland and Seattle.

How fun would it be to undertake such a Sisyphean task as traveling the world in search of cities coming into their own culinary-wise.  I think someone by the name of Bourdain has already beaten me to the punch ….. I curse his name every morning I rise from my slumber!

Chinatown in San Francisco
I’ll begin in San Francisco where the trip started as we first stumbled upon Chinatown (okay, it was a planned stumbling).  I wanted to start here because I lived a fair amount of time in China back in the 90’s and yearned for authentic Mandarin, Szechuan and Cantonese fare.  I wasn't disappointed as my friend Toni and I noshed on oodles of noodles awash in umami-laden flavorings with a tinge of spiciness that took me back to a small town (Nanchang) in the heart of China.  It’s not often we get these moments in life that transcends us back to another time filled with positive emotion.  I guess I’m lucky that way as I’ve never really had a “normal” job in my life.

My first real job was as a lifeguard then it was as director of security at an outdoor amphitheater in Detroit called Pine Knob and then of course my engineering gig with DuPont that took me around the world about 9 times fixing various paint/automotive related glitches, snags and complications.  I’ve lived a charmed life indeed.

Detroit, MI (my hometown)
Now I tell folks that I’m an economic refugee from Detroit fleeing my old life in search of chef-dom!  Will I find it in San Francisco?  Probably not as this city is drenched in grace, eloquence  and mercurial charm; I find it to be a bit dense people-wise and will keep this fair burg in my heart to treasure as well as draw upon for inspiration.  I’m looking for a city that fits more of what I’m all about and feeds my ambition, creativity and casts a spell over me that is intoxicating yet keeps me restrained to the task at hand …. more on this later in another blog.

Yes San Francisco is a dreamy faraway place that floats on wistful clouds and fog that has the power to distract us from reality.  I will always love this great place as there are fantastical shrines to the gastronomes like “Tartine Bakery”, “Flower and Water”, “State Bird Provisions”, “Meadowood” and so on and so-forth as the list is endless and varied. 

The Grand Dame of the West Coast
A traveler must caution themselves to be abstemious to the enchantment and charisma of this urban wonder by the sea.  San Francisco makes you feel as though you’re floating from one place to another just hovering like a surreal and bizarre dream eating and drinking your way down a street.  At least that’s how I felt while I was totally satisfied with each restaurant, bar and pub we crawled to in search of the next best thing. 

North Beach or Little Italy

The legendary Cable Cars 

San Francisco Bay

Under Golden-Gate Bridge

A stones throw from the Performing Arts Center and Presidio
They were all “THE NEXT BEST THING”!!   That’s why this place is in the original culinary triangle because each eating experience (albeit different in its own right) is consistent with greatness.  I had a fantastic cioppino that made me giddy with delight …. I chomped on a Korean kimchee, egg and sausage burrito for breakfast one morning that blew my mind …. And of course we sampled all the sugary confections found at Ghirardelli Square.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

The eating experience here coupled with the ridiculous beauty and grandeur of San Francisco can somewhat give one a sensory overload.  It’s like going to a movie and seeing it in 3D for the first time while eating the best thing you’ve ever tasted all the while glugging a perfect wine.  How can you NOT love this?  I’m smitten by this large yet cozy hamlet of gastronomic wonder and find myself yearning to get back as soon as possible.

Yes, I’m quite pleased and sated that my appetite has been quenched in the city by the bay.  I urge anyone who loves to eat and eat well to visit here and more than just once!  Travel is the great paradox that allows us to scatter all prejudice from thought and action.  I strongly urge you to travel as much as possible.

The famous "Cliff House"

Goodbye old girl - I shall return!
Have a great day and never give up!

Mark (Sparky)

No comments:

Post a Comment