Glorious food days in San Francisco
I’m just back from a trip to San Francisco where my friend Kathleen and I had some glorious meals: Italian at Jackson Fillmore Trattoria in Pacific Heights; crab cocktail at Tadich Grill; and linguine with steamed clams at Angelino’s in Sausalito.
I haven’t tried to replicate any of those dishes yet, but last night I made a summer salad inspired by lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building Marketplace. When I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area, the Ferry Building was just that: headquarters for the Port of San Francisco and terminal to ferry lines. The building was tired and falling into disuse, compared to its 1930s heyday of 50,000 passengers a day. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake changed all that. With the collapse of the Embarcadero Freeway, San Francisco approved a public-private partnership that restored the 1898 structure.
Now locals and visitors enjoy wandering through 65,000 square feet of first-floor market space where cheese, olive oil, ice cream, wine, restaurants and other delights line the sides of the magnificent nave. Upstairs the port and other companies conduct business from their post at the foot of Market Street. The 245-foot clock tower was modeled after the 12th-century bell tower in the Seville, Spain, cathedral. There’s a farmers market outside on some days.
For lunch one day, we split a dozen oysters (some from Washington) and this cucumber-melon salad. It was divine. Here’s my adaptation of the cucumber-melon salad:
Cucumber-melon salad (serves 2)
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
1/3 of a small orange-honeydew melon, rind removed, sliced thin and cut into 1-inch pieces (Note from Janet: I chose this melon because of its sweetness and the color it would add to the salad)
1/3 red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
juice fro 1/2 lemon
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mozzarella cheese (Note from Janet: The restaurant used feta, but the Intrepid One isn’t so fond of it)
Toss in a bowl. The salad at the restaurant was salted at the last moment so all the ingredients were fresh. If you salt the cukes early, they’ll give up juice, but they won’t be as crisp. We added Oregon shrimp alongside, perfect for a warm summer evening.