Saturday, February 10, 2007
Stormy Sausalito. For lunch yesterday I paid a visit to the ever-popular Fish. Away from the tourist district, and a little hard to find, this gem is always swarmed by locals, rain or shine. And on Friday, it was rain.
But even so, at 12:36, there was a line up waiting to order, and all the seats except at the counter, were filled. Fish has a simple menu, and simple prices. Cash only and tax included so all is even and easy.
I started with the White Clam Chowder, thick and full of good tasting tender clams!
I then moved on to the Fish Taco Plate. It was great with three different toppings, including a fresh mango chutney! And fresh cilantro. I'll bet my cilantro-loving friend Kalyn is drooling!
In the evening, my Dad and I met my Aunt Darla who is visiting for a conference in San Jose to take her out to dinner. It was her first visit to 'sunny' California. My challenge: to think of something a true mid-westerner, meat and potatoes, corn & green beans only kinda gal would love. Oh, and some Italian. So we started over to Santana Row for a safe bet, Maggiano's. Well, a lot of others had a taste for Italian since when we arrived at 6:20ish, there was already over an hour's wait. Plan B fast! Left Bank I knew would have some meat and potato combinations with a French twist, so we went there an enjoyed a long meal catching up on family. My taste surprise was that the potatoes that came in my dish were in croquette style, with white truffle cream in the middle. After falling in love with it at the Fancy Foods Show, it was my first finding of it in the 'wild'.
I found out that my two cousins, Jeff & Sean have opened a bar and grill called the Double Down and are having a good time with it. Cousin Darin has a bar near Minden, NE, but my brain didn't retain the name. Their father, my Uncle Pat, used to write a food column for the local newspaper that was quite a kick - "Man in the Kitchen", sporting a photo of said uncle with a bag over his head for anonymity. He used to send us some of the columns. Even though Minden has a population of about 3,000, it sounds like there is never a dull moment.
We also spoke of home arts, like canning and I heard that they are alive and well. Which reminds me, I tried a little experiment myself today, making my own laundry soap. I was amazed at how simple it is! Grated bar soap, borax, super washing soda, essential oil and water put together in a certain way and voila! Two gallons of amazingly good and grapefruit-fresh smelling laundry soap resembling lemon sorbet. Enough to clean the clothes of an entire army!
I also queried Aunt Darla about local produce, farmer's markets, and what is grown in Nebraska. It seems like eating local would be a bit tough there. Among other things I learned is that there was an expensive attempt to grow hydroponic tomatoes in big greenhouses in Minden, but alas, they found there is no greenhouse glass strong enough to withstand the hail. Apparently the entire investment was lost when the first big hailstorm came through, crashing through the glass, and shooting shards through the tomatoes such that nothing was salvageable. Nebraska grows a lot of corn, not for humans but for animal feed and ethanol. Some potatoes and soy is also grown. Not an appetizing array of choices to try eating only local, unless one had a garden and canned/froze as the gowning season is short. I learned a lot about the independent Nebraskans, and their standing up to the Federal government's long reach as well.