Ever since I’ve read about Alice Waters, I knew that her philosophy about using local, sustainable and organic foods was something that I wanted to incorporate into my own style. Chez Panisse has been around since 1971 and the Café since 1980. Since I was going to be staying in the Oakland/Berkeley area, I was determined to eat at one of these marvelous establishments. As luck would have it I reserved a table for 1 at 11:45 in the Café. Not a bad way to start day 2 of my San Francisco odyssey!
As I approached the entrance I had butterflies in my stomach, I don’t know why but I did. It felt like I was going on a job interview, I did however inquire with the hostess about externship opportunities!
I was seated upstairs in an area of the restaurant over looking, what seemed to be an enclosed terrace nestled in the tree branches. I named that area the “treehouse”. I was not fortunate enough to be seated there, but if I am ever to return (fingers crossed) I will request to lunch in that magical nook. The only down side to my seating arrangement was the annoying middle-aged women to my left and right flank. If I had not been so pumped with adrenaline for the forth coming meal, I would have slipped into a partial comma from boredom from listening to their equally loud, mundane conversations. This is the downside of eating alone, not having sufficient distractions from your neighbors.
When the menu was placed before me, I was determined to step outside of my comfort zone and that zone rarely includes offal. When I saw that they had a liver starter, I was determined to try it. I would like to think that if you are going to make such a bold leap, do it at one of the best American restaurants!
The Romano Bean Salad with Roasted Figs and Chicken Liver Toasts was truly an eye opening experience for me, I had absolutely no apprehension about the taste of the liver, I sat back and enjoyed the taste sensation in my mouth. The creamy texture of the liver blended harmoniously with the fleshy sweet figs, crisp yet tender beans and peppery rocket leaves. I couldn’t have imagined a better introduction to offal. I slowly devoured the dish carefully chewing each bit to let the flavors dissipate. I would like to say to my surprise that the liver was amazing, but I knew it would be delicious, it was just my own mental psychosis that has kept me from offal all this time.
For my main, I again went out on a limb and ordered the quail. The idea of this delicate, yet flavorful game meat, partially deboned sounded perfect. The Wolfe Ranch Quail with Fried Green Tomatoes and Spicy Cabbage Slaw not only met my expectations it exceeded them. I have never know such tender, juicy and flavorful meat. Normally I have to salt my food generously, but I touch the seasoning shakers nought once.
To date this was the best meal I have ever eaten hands down. The only only downside is that I didn’t have a chance to enjoy it with my Angel. I doubt he would have been ranting and raving about it like I am but his presence would have rounded out the perfection.
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