My husband and I just got back from San Francisco, a city known as a mecca for foodies and culture vultures. Some people live for the Rocky Mountain high. I always thought they were on drugs.
My beloved girlfriend since ancient times is one of these hearty sorts. She is nature girl, and likes nothing more than to be roughing it in the wild with her hubby and the bears. Not for me. I am a confirmed urbanite who prefers that a hike end in a café that serves up Illy espresso; where temples of fashion and art are all within walking distance, and the ‘wildlife’ wears green hair and Doc Martens, not fur attached to mile-long fangs. I prefer mints on my pillow to ants in my pants.
And if I want to see the top of Mt. Whitney, I’ll watch the Discovery Channel.
San Francisco is a city I love for many reasons; their love of art, design, and architecture is expressed in multiplicity. Relative to the creation and enjoyment of food, in San Francisco the bar is held higher than almost anywhere else in the country. It is the city’s religion, discussed in depth by people of all ages and genders.
Food, how it is grown (locally and sustainably), how it is prepared, and then by whom are subjects of common discussion and a great way to break the ice with the locals, talking about one of their defining passions. I found it amusing how passionately they try to distance themselves as far apart from their Southern California cousins as possible. Truth be told, San Francisco is closer to my native city of Washington, D.C. in temperament than to Los Angeles.
In LA we have movie, television, and music stars. In SF they have celebrity chefs, whose names were murmured to us in hushed tones like this should set off flashes of immediate recognition and culinary orgasms of anticipation. In this age of information overload, we just politely nodded and gasped, as names flew over our heads.
Our culinary journey began with a resounding bump in the LA airport. This is a no-man’s land where caught unprepared with a delayed flight you will have to - gasp! - forage for something to eat. We settled on some sandwiches and cappuccino from a faux-Euro café which we will call ‘Café Bastille’, because its victuals conjured images of what one might have been fed whilst waiting for one’s appointment with the guillotine. The rats are just for ambiance. (I jest.)