Tuesday, December 27, 2011

18th Street is a Food Street - Delfina & Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco

Here I am, back onto my USA/Copenhagen/Amsterdam trip posts. Looking back, I didn't eat enough. (The blogger side of me disagrees - way too much blog material to type up). Throughout my time in San Francisco, I was utterly, horribly jetlagged like I'd never been before. I managed to get to Delfina - famed for their pizza but we went for the restaurant option next door. Fatigue got the better of me (trying to drive on the wrong side of the road didn't help) so I didn't check beforehand whether we could have pizza and normal mains (no, you cannot). I even forgot to charge my electronic devices - like my camera. Hence the blurry iPhone photos and the small meal. Bad, bad blogger.

Truly delightful bread. Super moist crumb, crisp, dense crust with that baked flavour that's almost burnt. (Incidentally, as I found out later from @garysoup, Fuchsia Dunlop and I were there at the same time, unbeknownst to each other - I saw her tweet later that she liked the bread too, haha!)

Tajarin al ragu bianco
I love a good ragu - the veal, pork and sweetbreads with little globules of tomato were excellent - super hearty and thus perfect for this uncharacteristically chilly day in SF. The pasta was al dente - to be honest, we talk about al dente-ness so much I'm surprised I still have to comment and that some places still get it terribly wrong. Anyway, lovely, easy, just perfect for a casual no-foam-no-faff kind of dinner. If I weren't so sleepy I would have ordered a nice glass of red to go with it.

Our view from the bar
We were seated at a small bar table on the bar side of the restaurant. The place was so unbelievably busy, I'm surprised we got in at all. (By the way, while we were waiting we drifted into Bi-Rite Market next door to look at the foodie equivalent of sex toys, but I soon found that - shock horror - there was no T-Mobile reception in the shop so Delfina couldn't call us back! We had so many mobile phone issues in the US it's not even funny. Don't get me started on our iPhone plan that only allowed us to used something called EDGE. 2.5G. And you call yourselves a superpower. Pfft!)

Roasted Fulton Valley Chicken
I digress - I always seem to. So back to Delfina. For a person who grew up on the Cantonese style of chicken to say that a chicken is good is a huge deal. You see, we never ate those fleshy, cut up things in dodgy plastic packaging from the frozen aisle of the supermarket. When my mother moved to Australia, before the days of Lilydale Chicken and the like, she had to make her slow-boiled tonic soups with two (whole, albeit frozen, sigh) chickens instead of one, and had to reduce the volume to make it taste like the chicken soup we'd get in Hong Kong. But this chicken wasn't like the gwailo ("foreigner's") chicken we're so used to mocking. It was juicy, not scarily fleshy and most of all, tasted like chicken - in all its chicken oil glory. A quick Google search reveals that Fulton Valley Farms is in California - so I guess that thanks to that west-coast sensibility of eating local, they get better tasting chickens that don't have to be frozen and flown across the country to get to the diner. The only other gwailo chicken I had that tasted better was the Bresse chicken I had earlier this year at Caprice, but of course, nothing trumps the steamed chicken at Chicken Village in Panyu.

Salted caramel soft serve at Bi-Rite Creamery
Completely stuffed (what wimps we were with that stupid jetlag!) but unable to resist the Bi-Rite Creamery sign across the street from Delfina, I went up to the counter with the least people for a peek. It turned out to be the soft serve & bakery counter, not ice-cream (that was the one with a huge line), but my weary eyes spotted the two golden words "salted caramel" and I was sold. $3.50 later (the most expensive soft serve I've ever had) I was licking the thing like a hyperactive pup, lapping up what seemed like burned sugar in creamy form, or, frozen but rich, creamy burnt toffee. I slept better that night.

3621 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States of America
+1 415 552 4055

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States of America
+1 415 626 5600

View e_ting in San Francisco in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. as a san franciscan and current student/foodie in hong kong, i must let you know you missed tartine, best bakery in sf as well. also, thanks for you review on Fu Kee Congee. missed congee but beef flat noodles and runny eggs with beef over rice was fantastic.