FRESH LOCAL & BEST in SAN FRANCISCO Day 1



I landed on the other side of the coast very late Friday night and it feels like I've been running nonstop to meet up with friends and family before their busy work week. The last time I visited was in late August, so not long ago. Can you tell I'm a bit homesick? This is a picture of the Alcatraz from my friend Gloria's house Saturday morning, December 5th. Notice how crisp and clear it is on the bay.





This is the same shot I took in late August with fog looming in the background of Alcatraz. I don't have any evidence but I think the summers in San Francisco are foggier than ithe winters. In fact I think that it was only ten degrees warmer in late August than today.



A big storm is coming through San Francisco, we're expecting to be rained in the next couple of days. This is a picture of the San Francisco skyline from our friend's house in Sausalito, a charming town 15 minutes north.



There will be loads of adventures that I will be sharing this week including a trip to Napa with Sherry Page from Culinary Getaways - that is if I wake up early enough to make the trip. Hehehe, if enough people chime in to tell me they want to see pictures of Napa Valley, I'll set my alarm on Wednesday, if not I may sleep in. Just kidding Sherry! This is a picture of a fruit platter Sherry made over the summer when I visited her gorgeous home in Northern California.



Saturday was a rather busy day for us. My husband and I met my parents for lunch at Henry's Hunan, a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco on Sansome and Broadway. We started lunch with homemade chicken dumplings in a soy and chili oil sauce.



We also ordered four entrees to share family-style, because that's how we roll. The chicken with black bean sauce was wonderfully smoky and spicy. The chicken was sauteed with onions and cabbage with chili oil, which imparted a subtle charred flavor while the black bean sauce rounded out the spicy flavors.



Mongolian beef this was my mom's favorite dish. Tender slices of meat sauteed with shredded carrots and green onions in what I believe to be oyster sauce. Again, I felt this dish was a bit too salty.



Rock cod fried fillets in sweet and slightly tangy hot sauce, which I would describe as similar to orange chicken only with fish. It's a similar concept, fish breaded, deep fried and sauteed in a thick sauce. This was my dad's favorite dish, but he's easy to please, give him any fish and he'll generally enjoy it. 



Dry-pan fried sauteed green beans was perhaps the only dish that we could all agree on as a favorite. It was an interesting texture of tender and crispy. As you can see there was a generous peppering of red chili sauce.



After this late lunch, oh wait! Did I mention that we visited our wine storage facility before the lunch to take inventory of the wines we left in California? It was at once fun and frustrating to watch my husband go through his collection. Fun because it was like seeing a kid be reunited with his old pals, or perhaps another analogy is like watching someone unexpectedly find $20 stashed away long ago in his coat pocket. Frustrating because he was rifling through every box without acknowledging how much work I put into organizing these wines by region, vintage and varietal. Did I tell you that there are gazillion bottles in heavy wooden boxes and all of this work is being done in the cold and dark? He later told me that he appreciated the system that I set into place. That's good enough for me, all I need to know is that this work is being appreciated.



After the late lunch, my husband and I returned to my friend Gloria's house to make dinner for her family. As any parent with teenagers would agree, Gloria and her husband Chris need a break. They have two sons, who keep them busy running around to school, sports activities and music lessons. I made, and I say "I" because my husband also took a break too. Somehow he disappeared when I started cooking only to reappear right before dinner was being served. Convenient, isn't it? That's okay, he had a very rough week of travel and meetings, so the nap was well deserved. I roasted lemon and thyme chicken, which is a delicious and quick recipe that Sherry Page gave me.



On the menu was also butternut squash fries, which is easy and healthy, oven roasted potatoes with truffle oil, unfortunately did not a snap of, and another side dish of grilled asparagus.




It was neat to be able to gather in Gloria's dining room, which has an incredible view of the bay and Alcatraz.

 

After such a long day, all I could think was that I could use a glass of wine. We brought a magnum of a 2006 L'Angevin Sonoma Stage Pinot Noir for the adults to share, it's friendly fruit and elegant balance hit the spot and the larger bottle format didn't hurt either. It should be drinking great in two years.



I was so tired at the end of the day that I set a sheet of cookies in the oven and forgot that I left them there. Fortunately, my well-rested husband detected that sweet vanilla aroma of freshly made cookies, and took them out before they became toast. Perhaps this was the perfect way to end the day.



Thanks to Gloria and Chris for allowing us to stay at their home for the weekend. Thanks to everyone who gave a guess to where I was headed in the last post. Andrea from High/low, Dolce from Confessions of a Chocoholic, and Mardi of Eat, Live Travel Write guessed San Francisco correctly, although I'm pretty sure I told at least one them I was headed here a month ago. Hehe.

57 comments:

Joanne said...

It looks like you had such a great homecoming! I loved SF while I was there and can't wait to go back. Such delicious food! Your lunch looked amazing and you KNOW how I feel about butternut squash fries!

It's a good thing your husband has a good nose, it would have been a shame to let those cookies go to waste.

KennyT said...

Christine, are you Chinese American?

Fresh Local and Best said...

Joanne - Thanks! We'll have to meet up one of these days in NY.

KennyT - I am Asian American, Chinese and something else. I like keeping it a mystery, hehehe!

Nina said...

What a fantastic homecoming! Thank goodness your husband saved those cookies! They look amazingly delicious!

Pam said...

What a fun trip. I love that first shot of the bridge.

Chow and Chatter said...

so happy your having fun you so deserve it oh and San Fran has a great China Town as well!
beautiful pictures and amazing city love ya Rebecca

Ravenous Couple said...

can't wait to see your napa photos..we went in the spring..harvest season probably passed but it would be interesting to see what it looks like now.

Sook said...

I love San Francisco! I live close to Sacramento and it snowed here today! Crazy! I'm glad you're enjoying SF and all the food. Everything looks amazing!

Nanny'76 said...

San Francisco is beautiful,
dishes are ancge ....^^

Nanny'76 said...

San Francisco is beautiful,
dishes are ancge ....^^

3 hungry tummies said...

wow a very busy day with lots of good food and companies! Love to visit SF again soon!

A Year on the Grill said...

Everything looks soo beautiful...

I really love these peeks into someone elses' life!

A Year on the Grill said...

Everything looks soo beautiful...

I really love these peeks into someone elses' life!

Juliana said...

Oh! Nice home coming...and the food look so yummie, all of them. By the way, love the pictures of SF :-)

Sarah said...

I love the photos, it is so much fun to spend time with family and friends!
Yes, it is very windy, very rainy and cold here in San Diego also!!

♥peachkins♥ said...

what an amazing weekend! I wish I could try that stir-fried chicken dish!

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds like an amazing time in San Francisco so far! Your meal looks great there! Looking forward to reading about your adventures in Napa!

Joy said...

Wow you have been one busy lady!! I have not been back to San Francisco in quite some time, after reading this post I suddenly have the urge to go back. Love the photos as always and it sounds like you had an amazing time :)

El said...

I'm so glad you're having a good time. It must be great to be back in the fresh air. Your friend Sherry puts together quite a platter - it's really beautiful. Looking forward to reading more from your adventures. Enjoy!

PATRICIA ROY said...

Beautiful pictures. The Chinese food looks so delicious. I'm intrigued by the squash fries -- may have to try that!

Danielle said...

here I am...sitting at home, stomach growling cuz Im starved. I forgot to defrost anything for dinner so I'm waiting for my chicken to thaw so I can at least make a quick, if not very late dinner and you have THIS on your site? I'm drooling!! and my stomach is growling louder now...thank you very much! LOL

Janice said...

Welcome back to the Bay! It looked like you caught the storm, hopefully it'll pass and the sky will be blue again for your Napa trip, please take tons of wonderful pictures. Looking forward to reading all your tasty adventures throughout the Bay.

theUngourmet said...

I have been all over Cali, in fact, I was born in Santa Rosa. For some reason or another I've never been to SF. Your photos are wonderful. I'd love to see it sometime. It looks like you enjoyed some nice dishes. The dumplings look especially yummy. I'd take them for a late night snack!

Amanda said...

Welcome back!

It's sooooo cold, hope you brought your sweaters...

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous pictures and it looks like you are eating quite well! Enjoy yourself!

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Ah! I had figured you were headed home. Wonderful photographs. San Francisco (and the whole Bay area, really) has such a magical sense.
Whenever I visit, I never feel like I've had enough--always more I want to explore.
I feel certain that you will thoroughly enjoy your time there.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Such a great trip, good friends, and great food!

Beth said...

I want to see pictures of wine country! I need some photographic evidence to lure my east coast loving husband out to northern CA!

Dolce said...

Yay ! Enjoy your stay in the Bay Area :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I'm jealous - I LOVE that San Francisco skyline!

Katherine Aucoin said...

A fantastic homecoming! The pictures are gorgeous and the food is extraordinary!

food with style said...

i am jealous your freinds have such great views! you are having a ball, easy to see, and its so freaking cold this week it must feel like back east to you! have a great trip, love seeing your pics, keepem coming!

Cocina Savant said...

What an amazing trip. Great food and great friends always makes a great time. The butternut squash fries are a splendid idea. I have been making sweet potato fries forever but not butternut squash. Thanks for the idea.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Hey - do we get some treats from Miette for guessing correctly???? ;-)

Looks like you are having a great time! Enjoy!

The Blonde Duck said...

That was so nice of you to cook dinner for your friends!

www.dhaleb.com said...

I'm homesick too! I left LA last February and I haven't been back since. Glad to see you're enjoying your time there :)

Erica said...

I would love to visit SanFrancisco1 Sounds like a great city with fantastic food.

TKW said...

*Sob* I want a plate of those dumplings like nobody's business! So jealous!

Stacy said...

Thank you for highlighting my beautiful city! It looks like you had a wonderful time. Great post and pictures!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I love your pictures! They really show that you love the city! :)

Enjoy your stay, and I can't wait to see & read more about your SF adventures.

Simply Life said...

oh my gosh, I keep seeing pictures of SF from other bloggers and want to go there SO badly! All your pictures of the place and food look amazing!

The Duo Dishes said...

Yeah, SF! Such a beautiful city.

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

Such gorgeous pictures! And delicious eats. The dinner you cooked looks delicious! Enjoy!

Cristin said...

OH MY GOD YUM!!!

Belinda @zomppa said...

So glad you are enjoying SF! My goodness...that Mongolian Beef looks amazing. Keep these photos coming!

Sophie said...

I am so glad that you are having a marvellous time in SF. The food looks great!

MMMMMM,...

The Diva on a Diet said...

I'm envying both that lunch and your trip to SF. Have a wonderful time in that magical city!

HippieMom said...

Always enjoying your amazing posts! An award is waiting for you on my blog! Have fun!
XoLOVEXo.

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Marvelous place, excellent food and stunning pictures..What else I need?
A delicious post!

Cheers,

Gera

high low said...

Isn't it so nice to go home? I'm heading off to Toronto in 10 more days - can't wait! We love San Fran - every time Virgin sends a cheap flights email, we contemplate buying tix just to go back again!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

The fruit platter rules...with the figs and i love the asparagus!

Mimi said...

It's so nice to come home. Enjoy!
Your picture are fantastic.
Mimi

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Christine, what a lovely array of food you have in California. I especially love the asparagus platter.

I know you are enjoying being home. Have fun.
Sam

Heavenly Housewife said...

My hubby really wants to go to sanfrancisco. Looks like they got some good food :D!!! Enjoy your time back home.
*kisses* HH

Diana Bauman said...

Can't wait for your SF posts to come! Have a great time and fill us in! Also, I was reading that you said that wine would be great in 2 years. I'm not a wine afficionado at all, so do you normally buy wine and let it age at home? I would love to start learning more and doing this! Thanks Christine!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Diana, Thanks for your question. Most people do not age their wines, nor do they need to. Since we belong to a couple of wine clubs, we receive wines as soon as they are released, meaning that some of them are so young that they have not reached their potential. We also receive newsletters from the winemaker noting how they expect the wines to evolve and a time period when they think the wine will reach its peak. Most good wine shops will be able to tell you if a specific wine needs some time to age before reaching its optimum stage.

If you have a very special bottle of wine and you have questions about when to drink it, you should be able to call the winery and in most instances they will be able to give you a time period of when it should be drunk. Wines that are aged for to long can lose much of its wonderful fruit profile, complexity - i.e. it goes downhill, which would be quite a shame.

Flour said...

Love, love, love the black and white photo:)
The food looks fantastic! Can I have just one of those spicy green beans? Lol Oh, and a cookie too;)