Sunday, August 7, 2011

It Must Be New Year's Somewhere

This week, I shook the dust of the small town from my feet and headed for the big city. San Francisco! The Golden Gate! The shops! The restaurants! The museums! Things that were once a daily experience have become an exciting adventure now that I'm retired.

The BART train was familiar, although now I was carrying my iPad and feeling very high techie as I scrolled through a downloaded book instead of my erstwhile paperbacks. The streets of the city haven't changed - most people still wear black, a conceit I have never understood when there is all that other rainbow of colors to choose from. I guess the people of San Francisco are rainbow enough.

And they certainly are. Living in a small town, one forgets the true meaning of "diversity," but I was joyfully reminded of it as I jaywalked my way toward the SFMOMA to see the Stein family exhibit. I have missed my city by the bay, I was just so content that I didn't realize it until I was there.

It was an interesting art show - if you live locally or are coming for a visit soon, you should go. It's so worth it, for the Matisses alone. That guy knew color with a capital C. Marvelous. The Picassos were interesting, too, but in my view he was a better sculptor than a painter and I think he was just kidding but no one got the joke, so he kept making more and more outlandish art and selling it for increasingly outlandish prices.

After the show, I met my pal Sari for a birthday lunch (hers) at the café in Nordstroms. When I was working, this was a favorite spot for me and My Beloved - very convenient after work, always a pleasantly restful atmosphere and really good food, reasonably priced. I showed Sari the pictures I took at Katie's wedding, she filled me in about her swoony boyfriend and we had lovely lunches. Mine was Hoppin' John, a surprise to me at this time of year, but I figure it's New Year's in some culture around the world, right?

Anyway, New Year's or midsummer, it was really good. You'll laugh, but this is the first honest-to-goodness Hoppin' John I've ever eaten. I have heard about it on the blogs and from my Southern friends. I have made a version myself, but it wasn't like this. This version was similar to risotto - the rice was a little gooey and flavored with Parmesan cheese - and the black-eyed peas studded it like sassy little winks throughout. A few fresh herbs were mixed in and it was topped with a sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest. Topped with crisp, salty lardons that added texture and a hint of richness to the dish. I scooped up every last grain and pea, boosting my good luck for the second half of the year.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

I'm jealous! I love the city and this year we have not gone that much :( I also love the Nordstrom cafe. It makes you feel like you are overlooking street activity from high above. Surprised to see that dish on the menu. Beans and rice are a go to world round to chefs watching their food costs.

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger namastenancy said...

The Matisse work at SFMOMA is a revelation but then I've always felt he was under appreciated compared to Picasso go got all the press for so many years. Now, the cafe may call that dish "Hoppin John" and I'm sure it was delicious but it sure wasn't authentic!

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

What Nancy said! Not Hoppin' John, however delightful it sounds.
I must get to the museum. I've never been to the "new" MOMA. I appreciate your art appreciation, Zumi. You have such a great collection at home. (And I have a favorite. Can you guess?)

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger kudzu said...

Well, I could call that dish Hoppin' Giovanni. But perhaps it will bring you good luck, after all!

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

I only got as far as "and now I am retired". January Baby

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, there's still a lot of summer left for you two to get to the city. There are free museum days and the ferry trip is always fun.

Nancy, interesting - what makes this different from authentic Hoppin' John? The same basic ingredients are there, except for the Parmesan cheese, right?

Cookiecrumb, not only is the SFMOMA a good space, the park across the street is a marvelous place, too. I always stop by there to admire the MLKing fountain. I'm glad you like my unrelated art "collection," but I have no idea which one you like best, unless it My Beloved. :-D

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kudzu, I'm counting on it. I figure a little extra Italian luck is a bonus.

Chilebrown, I'm sure you are counting the days. Does Ms Goofy have the same timeline? We'll have to have a celebration - maybe a food bloggers party here to celebrate?

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

I'm going to have to give this hoppin Joe thing a go. I'm not waiting until new year either :)

Sunday, August 07, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Yes, it's the painting of you two, taken so artily from a photo. It's great.

Monday, August 08, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Ms Mouse, I'll enjoy reading about it when you do.

Monday, August 08, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, yes, that's a wonderful one. Very close to our hearts as it was taken from the only surviving picture of the two of us from the '60s when we were first in love.

Monday, August 08, 2011  

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