If you've met me in person, you'd know that I'm a very sociable person, sometimes to my own detriment. My husband worries that one day I'll befriend the wrong person and I'll get into a whole heap of trouble for talking with strangers. But I shrug it off, I've met so many kind-hearted people along the way, many who have enriched my life experiences, and some who have become as important as close family members.
This past weekend, in addition to seeing my friend Gloria, I caught up with a couple of other good friends. This is Maile, who used to be my next door neighbor.
Maile belongs to Ted and Helen, who graciously welcomed us back with cheese and wine, and other great food.
Before we left for New York, I left one of my orchids with Helen, and to my surprise it bloomed again! Helen must have magical powers, I'm convinced that if I had kept it, the cymbidium wouldn't have bloomed for me.
We also visited Bob and Sherry, who have an amazing garden that grows apples, figs, persimmons, limes and meyer lemons that they generously share with the neighborhood.
We had a chance to catch up with them at one of our favorite casual hang outs, Fish, a local and sustainable seafood restaurant located on the harbor of Sausalito.
We started with roasted pequillos, smoky green chili peppers that look hotter than they actually taste.
Bob had the tuna salad ($29), which was a thick fillet of fresh tuna grilled perfectly, over a bed of baby lettuce.
Stewart had the crab roll ($25), as you can see it is stuffed generously with crab meat on a crisped sourdough roll. We learned that this year's crab season is exceptional because of the sweetness of the flesh and the number of crabs that were harvested.
Sherry had the crab cioppino ($29), which had a wonderful rich herb tomato broth that was easy sopped up with the sourdough French baguette. If you don't mind the mess of breaking your own crab claws, this dish is excellent.
And because I like Sherry's taste so much, I ordered the same dish.
It's rather funny to think that there are some people that I see more often now because I no longer live in San Francisco. It's one of those odd situations where there was never any urgency to get together since we lived in the same town, so nothing ever got scheduled and we ended up not hanging out with each other ever. But because I'm coming from out of town, and am here for only a finite amount of time, I'm seeing a handful of people more often than when I lived here. Nuts isn't it?
The following day, we met with a former co-worker of my husband's at Dosa, for an exciting culinary adventure of South Indian Cuisine. The nutty part is that this guy also lives in New York City and this is the first time I'm meeting him. Why have we never met in New York? What is that all about? I don't know, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it was too close for us to meet. Perhaps we enjoy the excitement and concept of meeting at a place far away from home. Maybe we just like to make life harder.
Dosa is the name for an Indian crepe typically made from a combination of ground rice and lentils. Many of the dishes on the menu are dosa inspired with a broad sampling of additional South Indian dishes. We started with the dahi vada ($9), which are lentil dumplings topped with Straus organic yogurt, piped with tarmarind and mint sauce. It was almost too beautiful to eat, but we managed to dig in and it was probably the best dish we had all night.
Also almost too beautiful to eat was the persimmon and idiappam ($10) which is a salad made with lightly spiced rice noodles, pearl sago, a reduction of coconut milk and mint chutney. Those blooming rose bud shapes are made of shaved persimmons. It was good but probably nicer to look at.
We also had a masala uttapam ($11) which is a thicker pancake style variation of dosa made with peas, carrots, cabbage and onion, served with a coconut chutney and sambar. Everyone around the table enjoyed this dish for it's delicious hearty texture and combination of vegetable flavors.
The Tamil lamb curry ($16.50) was the only meat dish we ordered, and even though we shared the small bowl among four people, we didn't feel deprived at all, which is impressive given that everyone around the table loves to eat meat. I think it speaks to how satisfying and delicious these vegetarian entrees were. The lamb in the Tamil curry was succulent, tender and paired wonderfully in the spicy tomato caramelized onion sauce.
The channa bhatura ($14) is chick pea masala served with an oversized soft, puffy, wheat bread. We pricked the bread until it deflated, pulled off a piece and stuffed it with the chick pea masala, which was heavenly. The mixture of warm spices in the beans was simply delightful.
For dessert we all shared an order of gulab jamoon which are soft fried dough balls served in a warm, cardamon flavored syrup dusted with finely ground cashews. I would of probably skipped it because the syrup was excessively sweet and rather uni dimensional.
Next up will be a visit to the San Francisco farmer's market.