Rosy and I got there a little late. First, the train was super-crowded with people going to Fleet Week and Stanford freshman going to do some scavenger hunt thing, so it arrived in San Francisco sixteen minutes late. Then there were no cabs (and a long line of people waiting from them). When we finally got a cab, the traffic on the Embarcadero was ridiculous because of (again) Fleet Week.
But we did make it, albeit a half hour after it started. Thankfully, no one had run out of food yet. YET. I think the exhibitors hadn’t really planned how much the event had grown, because they were running out of food and wine much earlier than last year.
What were my favorite things?
Pickled grapes with home-cured boar salumi. (from… ?)
Roasted peaches with chevre on crostini. (from Solstice)
Both of these things were AWESOME and are totally recreatable! Eddie, are you listening? (Well, no, he’s in Italy right now, but hopefully he’ll read this when he gets back.) The pickled grape/salumi thing was… wow, just incredible. Wish I could remember where it was from!
Another good appetizer-recreation was a fig and (I think) brie on nut bread. Really tasty, but I can’t remember the specifics of the dish. ): This is why I should have taken notes at the event.
A dessert/wine combination that I very much enjoyed was a brandy winecake with a delicious orange moscato.
My favorite from last year, Wili’s Wine Bar, came back with risotto? topped with oxtail. It wasn’t actually risotto, but it was some sort of goopy rice thing. I happen to like oxtail, but one of my friends found the texture bizarre. It was a little disappointing after last year’s triumph, in my opinion.
What was the big trend this year? Gazpacho. And you know what? I didn’t think any of them were great. Last year, I remember one restaurant offering four different gazpachos, each with a different heirloom tomato as its centerpiece. Those were simple, clean, and wonderful. This year, the gazpachos offered were just… trying too hard.
The weirdest thing I tried was from the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. It was a cylinder of Dungeness crab salad, topped with a spoonful of CELERY ICE CREAM and a potato chip fried in olive oil. It was bizarre. From there, Rosy and I went to One Market and got Dungeness crab cakes with saffron aioli. Rosy’s comment was, “This tastes more like food and less like an experiment.”
I didn’t try many wines this year. A Sauvignon-Blanc from somewhere fairly forgettable, the orange moscato, a merlot fom Irony Vineyards, and champagne from Gloria Ferrer. POM was serving “POM-tinis” which had a ton of vodka in them. I got one even though I hate the “-tini” naming convention. I did not finish it.
The cheddar from the Spring Hill Jersey Cheese Company was WONDERFUL. I also enjoyed all the very feet-y cheese from the Marin French Cheese Company. My favorite (if I recall correctly) was the Schloss, which the website describes as “replete with delicate naughtiness.”
Will I go again next year? Hell yes.