MIREILLE’S MUSINGS: Sensory Delights in San Francisco
Favorite Shops and RestaurantsWhile in town for my fall book tour for The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook and Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire, I made the most of a few extra moments for some sensory diversions. First up was Gump’s, a terrific San Francisco store that’s a favorite of mine. They’ve got lots of gorgeous things to look at and wonderful staff and service. Gump’s is the store where I first discovered R. Nichols’ brilliant drawings (a piece of luck for me – his illustrations are something special and communicate the French Women philosophy perfectly; he’s collaborated with me on all of my books). You can see his note cards are still going strong:
Around other parts of the store, Chinese table setting themes abound. Vibrant colors and design.
We are what we eat...time and place and season influence our choices, too, I was reminded during my September visit where I left sunny, hot NYC for windy and chilly San Fran. Soups came to mind...and a nostalgia for spicy dishes (Spanish, Catalan) and heart-warming concoctions.
Here are the restaurants I visited…mostly for soup and dessert, not bad when you eat alone or if you are a tester or a sharer...
Lentil soup at Zuni Cafe...and a chocolate pot de crème...the hamburger ain't bad either
Seafood and shellfish soup at Piperade (basque food)...and orange blossom beignets
Sweet yellow corn soup at Absinthe...and croque monsieur
Leek, goat cheese and bacon tart at Lulu
Anchoas del cantabrico and roasted sardines with avocado toasts at Contigo (Spanish/Catalan food)
...All washed down with a small glass of red wine
Two other good choices in the area are Tartine and Arlequin, a casual restaurant with garden in the Hayes Valley neighborhood
Some new shops I found in the foggy city:
Miette at 449 Octavia St...for chocolate wafers ($7.00), a perfect gift to serve with espresso. Other brands they carry that I like: Dolfin, Tcho and Maison bouche, though I wish they didn't do all those sugary candies...
I also loved....
The shoes at Paolo, 524 Hayes St.
The blouses at Jean Link, 346 Hayes St.
The European lines at Uko, 2070 Union St.
The dresses at Vivo, 2124 Union St.