Recently, I ventured into the city to have lunch with a friend of mine, Lisa Blatt, a talented young photographer who was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute when I worked there. We have kept in touch over the years and I have admired her work forever but we haven't seen each other much in the past little while.
Emerging from the BART station, I walked across the Embarcadero to find that the Tuesday farmer's market was in full swing despite spitting rain. As I was surveying the booths, an elderly gentleman trundling a milk crate on wheels tipped his crate over, spilling the contents all over the sidewalk so, of course, I stooped down to help him collect his stuff. Surprise! It was actually a ruse - Dockers were doing a "Chivalry is not dead" promotion and people who stopped to help were rewarded with a free pair of Dockers pants. Now My Beloved has a nice pair of gray pants coming in 7-10 days and the detour didn't even make me late for lunch. Cool!
My friend and I ate at Boulette's Larder on the recommendation of another friend of mine who works inside the Ferry Building at a small shop where I stopped to say hello on my way in. Boulette's Larder is a quirky little place with a communal table inside next to the open kitchen and a growing line of tables outside in the hall as a testament to its popularity. They use local, organic ingredients in all they make and can you ever tell the difference!
We sat down at the farthest table and caught up over lunch. Lisa had a smooth-as-silk parsnip and butternut squash soup with a squiggle of crême fraîche and a hint of curry that she let me sample. Delicious! I had poached eggs on black beans with chorizo, also good, but the bingo in this meal was a darkly flavorful slice of ginger cake sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a puff of whipped cream, a few candied pecans and the most amazing sweet-tart slices of sugar-preserved kumquats I have ever tasted. That swirl of honey-colored citrus goozle on the plate must have been what the kumquats were steeped in - it tasted like clear, liquid kumquats. The cake was fairly dense and clearly made with fresh ginger - no powdered nonsense at Boulette's!
I've been dreaming of ginger cake ever since - I'm mightily tempted to ride BART back into the city just to sit down and savor another slice of that amazing cake - and those killer kumquats.