Friday, April 27, 2007

If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake.

Well, I knew he was coming, but I didn't bake one. I bought one instead. Do you think I could make a cake as precious as the one below? Perhaps, but not under stress.

I thought about baking him a cake, but I've been known to impart too much meaning into such baked goods before. I thought about this one a little too much. So much so, that I ran out of time. So I bought one, which is nearly as good, meaning-wise, but less pressure, which is better.

I have a visitor arriving this week. A rather special one. He hasn't spent much time in San Francisco and so it is up to me to show it to him. I'll show him what I consider to be my San Francisco. The tricky part is figuring out just what that is.

I imagine there are those of you out there who have faced this problem before. A guest arrives. Their idea of San Francisco dining might consist of eating chowder from a sourdough bread bowl. Or Rice-a-roni. Perhaps you're fortunate enough to have a guest who's heard about dim sum and is game for it. That's one meal out of the way. My guest will be spending nine days with me. That's twenty-seven meals together. Hopefully together, anyway. What about the other twenty-six?

The pressure has been building. Inside my own head, I mean. I know it's absolutely silly. I just want to show him, food-wise and other-wise, what it is I love about this city and what it has to offer. I will take him to a few of my favorite places, places that have meaning to me. I will offer him local foods that I love. The rest, I imagine will take care of itself. I will not be rigid. I will go with the flow.

To start things off, I've got a few of my favorite things already laid out for him when he arrives. Enter one Miette Sharfenberger chocolate cake, as pictured above. Also enter a selection of Michael Recchiuti chocolates as somewhat fuzzily pictured above. Nothing says "nice to see you" like a good sugar buzz.

We'll have our first dinner at Frascati. The constant clackity-clack of the Hyde Street Cable Car line just outside the front door will send a rather rhythmic, not too terribly subtle message that, well, he's not in Vancouver anymore (Such a world-class city!).

There are lots of other restaurants I want him to try, but time and budget won't allow us to visit them all. Three more we'll definitely be going to are:

House of Nanking, becuase I want him to get bullied by a waiter into eating great Chinese food.

Florio, because that's my favorite little neighborhood haunt and the chef is a man who made me like tripe.

Kokkari. My guest's family is Greek, so this visit is unavoidable. Besides, I want to eat smelt and lamb's tongue again.

The rest will play itself out. Cowgirl Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee, breakfast at Tartine, studiously avoiding Delfina, all that stuff will likely follow.

I would like to hear some suggestions from you, dear reading audience (sound of crickets chirping). Hellooooooo?


What smacks of this city to you? What is your San Francisco Treat? I'd like to know. I've got a few more meal slots to fill.


Tricia Creason-Valencia said...

I always love the corn cherry scones at Arizmendi for an afternoon treat. Actually, anything they bake there would say "I'm sweet on you".

Anonymous said...

Where ever you take Your Visitor, for GOSH'S sake be NICE because we need him back in his city of origin or he will MISS OUR SHOW.

Vancouver has FABOO eats of all variation except perhaps Klingon so your lovely Visitor may be predisposed to a high standard ;-)

It's been 25 yrs since I've been in 'Frisco so I just have no clue where you would take him to impress him but iirc it is just a short hopskipjump to the wine country of Marin Co. and that might just be a lovely afternoon with a picnic & wine ( as long as it's not raining ) (it SURE is here! )
Give T a huge hug from the old fart Circus Anonymous coach with the invisible cat & I hope you two have a scintillating time together.


Anonymous said...

While buttering the wheels of intimacy with rich delicacies is all very well, you're stopping a stick short of sure success. I daresay your Mysterious Secret Visitor will be pate brise in your hands after a quick dive snout-first into that ludicrously fat-to-bursting chocolate cake (seriously, I want to take a pin to it to see how far the blast radius would reach, and how deep a crater it would carve in the kitchen countertop), but you won't have won the war. Now is the time to surveil the final frontier--the Best Friend's Seal of Approval. Without that, you have nothing (except, admittedly, the most pornographically decadent chocolate cake I've ever seen, which is a staggering consolation prize). Yes, nothing.

Fortunately, Approval can generally be bought in the same way Intimacy can--with lashings of rich, delicious bribery.

I am picturing Mysterious Secret Visitor wedged into an economy airplane seat on his journey home. His only carry-on luggage is a tall, pristine cake box, carefully balanced on his considerably plumper knees. A rich scent of chocolate perfumes the otherwise stale, recycled air of the cabin, driving MSV's fellow passengers madder than a pack of five-year-olds drumming the backs of their seats with wee, petulant hooves. There's a notecard tucked neatly under the cake-box ribbon--my powers of imaginative vision are such that I can almost make out what it says... ah yes, it says, "To The Best Friend. Much love, Michael."

Anonymous said...

I am not as clever as the best friend but I too like cake. Please send some home with the your MSV.

Michael Procopio said...


Arizmendi...(sigh)... I know what you're talking about. I love them, too.

MSV Fan Club-- I know who you all are. Chocolate cake doesn't travel well, you know.

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