This week's tablehopper: wheels on fire.
Candy cap mushroom ice cream sandwich at Americano. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Why hello there. As many of you have already heard, I am the new contributing food editor for 7x7 magazine. I’m thrilled to be working with executive editor Chloé Harris Frankeny, who has been doing a bang-up job refreshing the magazine. We will be making some changes to the Eat + Drink section, starting with the addition of a monthly culinary essay that I’ll be writing for the magazine; I’ll also be writing the restaurant reviews and more.
Many of you have asked what this means for tablehopper going forward. Yes, tablehopper will continue to appear in your inboxes each week, but in order to manage my already-intense workload, I will be making some changes to my column. As much as I’d like to continue writing full-length restaurant reviews, I find I have less and less time to write them. Moving forward, they’re going to be more like quick snapshots and overviews—which means you’ll be finding out about more places, with less to read. To use the words of Martha Stewart, I think it’s a good thing. I’m also going to be trimming the overall Tuesday column a bit, which will probably be better for all us. (Well, except for publicists, ha ha.)
Anyway, that’s the gist of things for now—I’ll keep you posted as things move forward. Thank you for all the nice emails and tweets and phone calls about my new position. It was pretty funny: the news was announced while I was leading a private culinary tour and I was totally offline—when I returned home five hours later, let’s just say things were a little kuh-razy. I’m fired up to be on a masthead (my parents are happy about it, too), while still maintaining my independence to run and write tablehopper.
So, let’s party. I’m happy to announce the wines we’ll be pouring at next Saturday’s tablehopper tasting of wines from the Languedoc—check it out, it’s a great lineup. We have just eight spots left for the class! I’m looking forward to eating that French dog at Café des Amis again—very woof.
Have a glorious weekend out in the sun. I’m already counting down the minutes to bubbles o’clock. Since it’s 4/20, I imagine some of you will be partaking in other, uh, relaxing activities.
New Restaurant Reviews (I'm looking for somewhere new to eat)
San Francisco has been severely lacking on the authentic crêpes front since Ti Couz closed in the Mission. Most crêpe places end up using the sweet batter of white flour, eggs, milk, and sugar for savory crêpes, which isn’t quite correct. In Brittany, France, a savory crêpe is called a galette, and is traditionally made with buckwheat flour—the sweet version is called a crêpe. And on a tiny dead-end lane in the Financial District, you’ll find a place that understands the difference.
GALETTE 88 is on Hardie Place, just off Kearny Street in between Bush and Sutter, so you’ll see a bunch of downtown workers chowing down during the week (they move fast here, so you can get in and out quickly). As soon as you walk in, the place wafts with butter and cheese—it’s one of the best smelling places in town, seriously. Galette 88 has a rustic-chic look, designed by owners Céline Guillou (formerly of Yield Wine Bar) and Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine). Since it’s only open for lunch during the week 11am-3pm, you can rent it out for private events the remainder of the time.
The menu has 10 different kinds of open-faced galettes, from la basique ($6) with Emmentaler cheese and caramelized onion, to the hefty lumberjack ($10) with Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, potatoes, crème fraîche, and ham for $10. Yeah, you know which one I got, and it was deeeelicious. Other toppings include mushrooms, or smoked salmon, or sausage, plus gourmet combos like goat cheese with housemade fig jam and caramelized onions—the ingredients are all choice, and they come with a small salad on the side. The galettes are made with organic buckwheat flour (the owners have Giusto’s in South San Francisco mill the flour specially for them), water, and sea salt, so they actually don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients (buckwheat is a berry, FYI). I personally love the flavor of buckwheat, so I was way into my galette here.
Be sure to order a glass (or in this case, a Mason jar) of sparkling French cider to go with your galette, like the Clos Normand Cidre Brut ($6). There’s also Four Barrel coffee and housemade aguas frescas, along with a couple salads, and just in case you saved room for dessert, there are sweet crêpes as well ($5-$6.50), like one with Nutella, or another with roasted apples and salted caramel.
Galette 88 - 88 Hardie Pl. San Francisco - 415-989-2222
Book Reviews (another place for your nose)
Taste What You're Missing: by Pete Mulvihill
Don’t forget: the book mentioned below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.
Taste What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good Barb Stuckey (Free Press)
You’ve probably read a book on tasting wine, but not on tasting food. Correct that with Taste What You’re Missing by Barb Stuckey. It’s fascinating.
The subtitle sums up the book well enough: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good. It’s the science of taste, more or less, and Stuckey delivers the goods in an easy-to-read style with anecdotes, DIY experiments, recipes, and experience gleaned from her years as a professional food developer.
Fun stuff herein includes activities like: • dying your tongue blue to count taste buds • a sensory evaluation of chocolate bars • an experiment on how color can change taste • 15 ways to get more from every bite.
Don’t trust me? How about David Chang of Momofuku and Lucky Peach fame? “Barb Stuckey’s book makes the complicated science of food and taste accessible to anyone. It is as enjoyable to read as it is a thorough summary of why ‘good’ tastes ‘good.’”
Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings, so begin this new book (and your renewed appreciation of food) today. Want to begin right away? Here’s the eBook version.
Thanks for reading.