Breakfast on day two was a morning bun at the legendary Tartine bakery in San Francisco’s Mission. It is out of my scope to describe the deliciousness of the morning pastries at Tartine. The infamous queue – always there, all times of the day – speaks for itself. It’s worth it though. Everything, absolutely everything, is wonderfully buttery and sweet and soothing.
I also happened to stumble across so some wonderful graffiti on Clarion, a few blocks away from Tartine.
Having used the term legendary once here, how can I describe the next stop at Berkley’s Chez Panisse? I guess that in the case of Alice Waters, whom I have had the honour to meet briefly, no fancy adjectives are really needed. The visit was inspiring on all fronts, including a brief meeting with another hero, David Tanis.
My lunch at the cafe with the team from Chronicle was just fantastic. As expected, the ingredients did most of the talking. We had, among other things, pizza with figs, pancetta and rocket, a Tunisian spicy chickpea soup, a superb fattoush and chicken with plum sauce and fried whole spring onions. The best thing, though, was bowl of Santa Rosa plums. I have never tasted such plums before.
Later I was taken to Chez Panisse’s Edible Schoolyard, an organic garden and kitchen where young students from the local school learn how to grow fruit and veg, how to cook and how to engage with the world and with each other with food at the centre.
The whole day seemed so be about abundance and generosity. After Chez Panisse David from Cronichle took me to Berkeley Bowl West supermarket, probably the place with largest variety of carrots and radishes on the planet. I was beet-red with envy for the quantity and choice. Yes, I know, we are fortunate enough in England to have great local and European produce all year round but this is something else.
To top it all the day ended with the warmest and most welcoming dinner at Camino in Oakland, where Russ and Allison hosted a Plenty inspired dinner for 120 guests that were spoilt rotten by their hearty food and hospitality. The place looked stunning, the food astounding and I believe I was slightly intoxicated by all the love.