Happy New Year's!! It's me, Vicky, blogging again about the food I put into my mouth.
One of the biggest benefits to moving away from San Diego and into the Bay Area is the endless amount of food options up here. Granted we don't have a great taqueria where I can get my carne asada fix, or that I'm still finding something to rival Din Tai Fung's dumplings, but the food up here is pretty amazing. The biggest find up here is the amount of stars up here. Now I'm not talking about Catherine Zeta Jones or Brad Pitt... but something even more coveted. Michelin Stars. Yup! The Bay Area boasts of plenty of Michelin Stars... including the only 3 star restaurant in the US. French Laundry! I'm still awaiting the day where I can eat there again... with my D300 so I can capture my meal in its wonderful photographic glory!
Last year, for my 21st birthday (yes, I'm still celebrating my 21st birthday... I think we're up to a few anniversaries of my 21st birthday... but seriously, whose counting right?) Sam arranged for a lovely get together at the wonderful One Market in San Francisco. It touts a star so now overall my star count is up to 8... They were wonderful in keeping a large round table for our dinner party and the food there was delicate and well thought out.
I started out with the pea soup, accentuated with crisp pancetta and topped with a soft boiled organic egg. Now keep in mind, I've always hated egg yolks ever since I was a kid. It still baffles me to this day; this egg-yolk hating habit. Evolution has made it so that we crave high fat and rich foods (which explains my endless love affair with butter...) but to this day, I still have a hard time eating yolks. This soup... was perfect. This was the first time I understood why people call egg yolks creamy. We gently broke the egg and mixed it into the soup to create this amazing creamy rich finish. The pancetta broke up the smoothness and added a nice textural balance along with the briny saltiness. Emulsified peas never really appealed to me but the soup was this beautiful beautiful bright green color. Nothing was overlooked here; even the croutons were crisp and well seasoned!
I recall awhile ago when I was living in San Diego, there was quite a bit of controversy about foie gras. I'm not sure if it is still served down there, but it was offered on the menu up here. (Along with at the menus at the Google cafeteria... their Kobe burger with foie gras with a side of Maine lobster tail is amazing!!) In any case, we ordered a side of the foie gras to whet our palate. Oh Mr. Goose... you did not die in vain. The foie gras was seared perfectly; I normally hate liver in any shape, way, form or preparation but I didn't turn my nose down on this one. The foie gras had a perfect creamy consistency, paired with the carmelized hazelnuts and apricot compote, it was one fab dish!
In my family, we grew up eating a lot of fish. Having Taiwanese roots, fresh whole fish is super important to my family. When we have family dinners, there's alway a whole steamed fish which then the chopstick battles ensue to claim the fish cheeks. Yes... fish cheeks. Since fish spend their whole lives bug eyed and gulping, these two highly priced muscles are extremely tender yet firm at the same time. When I saw that they had Halibut Cheeks on the menu... I squealed. I ordered the Halibut Cheeks with Root Vegetables and Fennel Foam. I didn't really quite understand the foam component but the cheeks were amazing! Tender... chewy... and very "Q!"
Sam ordered the Seared Steak on Polenta with Bok Choy and Brussel Sprouts. Again... seared perfectly, but I couldn't really tear myself away from my fish cheeks to eye his dish. When I finally sampled it, it was utter steak heaven. The meat was amazingly tender, flavorful and seared perfectly. The centers were warm and moist and the edges were still slightly crusty from the hard sear. The sauce was a wonderful reduction and the bok choy was cooked perfectly.
All in all, it really showed on how well the restaurant was run. The dishes were very well presented and thought out. The pairings were great and our server suggested great wine pairings. I was pleasantly surprised at how great the service was since they were charging a standard service charge for how large our party was. If you ever find yourself up here in SF, check out One Market.
1 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105