I’m a California girl, born and bred. My parents raised us in San Francisco’s Bay Area and later in Sacramento, and I still have a soft spot in my heart for both cities. With friends and family spread throughout the region, I hardly need an excuse to visit two of my favorite cities. Throw in the fourth of July, complete with a neighborhood parade, and I’m there.
After all the sun, swimming and grilling on the fourth, we headed to the Bay Area for a day and night of eating well and visiting family.
Zaré at Fly Trap attracted my attention thanks to a feature in Food & Wine magazine; chef Hoss Zaré described his cuisine as “French, Italian, Californian—with Persian flavors.” Finding that our hotel, the W, was close to Fly Trap was thanks to a serendipitous spin of the Yelp wheel on my iPhone.
I had this light yet flavorful chicken wrap, which included mint, dill and a dab of plain yogurt laced with saffron (I believe). To have this wrap again would be heaven; if only I had the recipe. Oh, I almost forgot about the side salad, which was a simple dressing that added layers of flavor to the spring mix – I detected olive oil, lemon and something savory sweet, which the bartender said was pureed shallots.
The view from our room at the W.
We met my cousin and his wife for a beer before heading out to dinner at Zuni Café. Our table was a food blogger’s dream: front and center with a direct view into the kitchen (table number 16 if you’re curious).
Here we could watch the cooks prepare Zuni’s signature roast chicken served over salad and bread. The salad guy was active, too, working with focused determination as he tasted Romaine lettuce leaves for crunch, whisked Caesar dressing with a delicate touch and then combined the two in a huge silver bowl using only his hands for tools.
The next morning, before heading to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market to meet my parents and little GG, I met my other cousin and his wife at Plow. After the previous day’s food fest, it was all I could manage to eat a few scrambled eggs and levain toast served with fresh preserves. I liked the light airy space that served as the dining room and can imagine it must be packed on weekends.
A glimpse inside the hall of the Ferry Building Marketplace, packed with vendors selling everything from cookies so light you can see through them, to rich, creamy cheeses, to cookbooks and this, a pie iron similar to the one my mom used to make round grilled cheese sandwiches for us when we were kids.
Little GG had fun looking at all the fresh fruits and veggies but was interested only in the chocolate gelato at Ciao Bella Gelato (can you blame her?). Next time I’m in Sacramento I might take Amtrak down to San Francisco for the day; there’s a bus that drops you right at the Ferry Building.
On our last day in Sacramento we drove up to Auburn, a mid-way point on childhood ski trips when we lived in the Bay Area. Anyone who has driven through Auburn in the 80s will remember the McDonald’s with all the stained glass windows celebrating the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics. We had lunch at a Bay Area favorite turned Auburn transplant, Max’s. I had the #10, the Dennis and Janice, which is a towering BLTA with avocado served on toasted sourdough with a side of their awe-inspiring red potato salad. (Another recipe I would love to have, hint hint Max’s!)
Thanks to my family and friends for such a fun week, we’ll be back soon!