I've been silent for a while - not for any particular reason except I finished my masters, had a malfunctioning computer that even stumped the geeks at Apple, flew 6,000 miles for a quick trip home, had an amazing meal at flour + water, had many amazing home-cooked meals courtesy of mom, celebrated my husband's 30th birthday (OMG - I'm with a man in his 30s!), contemplated the 'what am I going to do with the rest of my life' question, hunted for the perfect job, and got the almost perfect job. Almost perfect, because at the end of the day, even if you love your job, work is still work. More about work will come in the following weeks.
So I said I went home for a trip. I was a little bit homesick - missing my family and friends, but in all honesty, mostly missing our dog. It was so nice to be back, the weather was perfectly hot, and I caught up with some old friends at my new favorite in San Francisco, flour + water. Chef Thomas McNaugton, the chef at flour + water, and I worked in the same kitchen many years ago - he was on the savory side, and I was sweet side (some things never change). It is really great to see his restaurant doing so well and getting rave reviews. So deserved. The guy has always worked his ass off and makes food so good that the tastes and textures need no explanation. Everything he makes just works and tastes amazing. Tom has done extensive travel to learn about the traditional ways many foods are prepared. The guy even went on a boar hunt with locals in the Pyrenees.
So here is how it went down. Tom comes to the table and says, "Do you want to order off the menu, or do you...". Tom is immediately interrupted and we say, "You send out whatever you want us to eat." Done. This is my favorite way to have dinner. It's like Christmas - all the anticipation and excitement - wondering what gift might come out from the kitchen next. Tom started us with some melon & lonza, some tuna & celery, some potato & lamb's tongue and crispy pig trotter & figs. Then came the pastas - the homemade sort that Tom makes. Let's just say that he has learned all the tricks, because Tom makes the best pasta this side, that side, and dare I say, even inside Italy. We had a little orecchiette with braised goat, and a duck ravioli that was so good that nobody offered the last piece to another, we each wanted it for ourselves. Pasta was followed by pork leg and then halibut. Tom knows that there can be too much of a good thing, and we were stuffed, so a pizza was never served. Which means, I'm going to have to fly another 6,000 miles in the near future for a flour + water pizza. The meal ended with a chocolate budino with sea salt. Hmmm, wonder where he got that idea?
Tom doesn't cut any corners. I already said he makes all of his pasta. But as you can see he cures his own meat. And yes, that is a black, furry, foot and leg, waiting to be transformed into something amazing.
flour + water is at 2401 Harrison in San Francisco