On the hottest day of the year so far, pal Sari and I had a date to have brunch at the Murray Circle restaurant at Cavallo Point on the site of the old Army base, Fort Baker, at the base of the Golden Gate bridge. Luckily, we had elected to arrive early and to be seated on the terrace.
We wound our way down the twisty roads, skirting carefully around the hikers and bicyclists, parked her car in the shade of a big tree and turned to look across the wide, grassy parade ground to see a light wisp of fog rolling in over the deck of the bright red bridge - picture perfect San Francisco. Mounting the steps to the terrace, we were greeted and seated in the shade with that head-on view of our local icon while we settled comfortably into the softly padded sofas around our little table. Dogs are allowed on the veranda and I was kicking myself for leaving Cora at home.
The wait staff was attentive, helpful and warm without being in any way obtrusive. They serve rolls hot and fresh from the oven, not the usual French rolls but cousins of the famous old Parker House rolls - soft, yeasty and smelling like puffed heaven. They need no butter as they are rich in themselves and they were offered whenever we had greedily polished off the previous ones.
When I eat out, it rarely takes me more than a minute or two to decide which option I'm favoring; this time, however, I had a lengthy internal debate between the two-inch thick hamburger, the pork ragu on homemade pasta, and the fresh pea ravioli with smoked burrata cheese and gingered carrot strips. Guess you can tell which I chose.
Artfully presented on their ends in a white, egg-shaped bowl with pea tendrils, bright orange carrot strips, a sprinkling of fresh peas and my first-ever foam that I've read so much about - ginger flavored in this case - they were the essence of fresh, intensely sweet spring, even this late in pea season. The cheese was a chaste kiss of smoke in the dish, more of a promise than a reality, and that was just right in this case. More might have weighed down the sprightly dish.
If you like strong flavors, Murray Circle might not be your choice - my friend's quiche was mild even though made with goat cheese and my ravioli were subtle rather than pronounced. Since I don't need "in your face" flavors, I enjoyed it very much.
We feasted our eyes on the view between bites, sitting in short sleeves on our cushy sofas, catching up on each others' doings and wondering if life gets any better than that. It would have to work awfully hard.
Labels: Murray Circle, pea ravioli