Can you believe it’s already March? And how’s that New Year’s resolution going for you? After our extended break from blogging, we’re refreshed and committed to our resolution of continuing to find spectacular restaurants and amazing events to bring to life so that you may vicariously enjoy them. A common resolution is to be bold and try new things, so while you, dear reader, are trying new things by proxy through our blog, Eventbrite is helping share new experiences with people throughout San Francisco. The Yes Address by Eventbrite is a series of 15 events spanning 10 days from February 28 to March 8, with a variety of options like workout classes, a skeeball tournament, and of course, plenty of dining. The Yes Address collaborated with SOMA StrEat Food Park for a memorable March 1 evening called “Beat the (Sunday) Blues!” featuring breakfast for dinner as one of the ultimate comfort foods to “chase away the #SundayScaries”. Normally the collection of food trucks is closed for dinner on Sundays, but when we found out that this was going on, we got on our way across the Bay Bridge – with about eleventy bazillion other cars and an extra 45 minutes of traffic. So although we didn’t get there quickly enough to enjoy games and 80’s movies as advertised, we still had a great time sampling some inventive dinnfast.
Ultra Crepes is a family-operated business based on Sebastapol with a storefront, not just a food truck (lucky local Sebastapolians!). Serving an assortment of sweet and savory crepes, we could not not try one of each. The Monte Cristo sandwich is a hot contender for August’s favorite breakfast sandwich, and Ultra Crepes’ version further helps to secure its seat. With ham, Swiss cheese, raspberry jam, and powdered sugar, it was everything a traditional Monte Cristo would be, but with an edge on texture because, while August likes French toast, she likes crepes more. The naturally tangy sweetness of the raspberries contrasted well against the smoky cheese and salty ham, so even with the jam and sprinkling of powdered sugar, this was definitely on the savory side in comparison to our second crepe, the Palachinka. Palachinka is the Eastern European version of a crepe, and this one was treated to taste like s’mores. Just the right amount of Nutella to keep it from being overly gooey, crumbled Plazma Biscuits (Serbian graham cracker-like cookies), marshmallows, and whipped cream combined to make this our favorite Nutella-filled crepe we have tried so far. Had it had any more fillings or toppings, it would have been simply too rich but as it was, it was just right.
Before getting too deep into dessert-type breakfast items, we needed something else savory and substantial so we walked not far at all to temporarily neighboring Savourie Streets. To keep with the theme of the evening, they added a fried egg to their “famous BLT” with pork belly on lightly toasted sourdough. The bread would have been cutting our gums had it not been for the thick, juicy tomato slice. The fresh produce was a nice backdrop for the perfectly cooked egg and hearty amount of pork belly. To be frank, we were a little nervous to order this because we have had some unfavorable experiences recently with gelatinous, undercooked pork belly, but Savourie Streets restored our faith. We found no fat strips, only tastiness.
It’s not like we arrived in the last minutes of the event, but about half of the trucks were already closed half way through the evening so our options for savory breakfast items were slim. Sweet ones were plentiful, on the other hand. In spite of the cool weather, we couldn’t pass up Frozen Kuhsterd, one of our all-time favorite frozen dessert trucks. This evening, they brought a treat crafted by their landlord specially for this event: liège waffle bites made with sugar cane. Sugar cane is the secret ingredient that provides an extra bit of crispiness for this type of waffle, making it seem as if there are tiny caramelized nuggets of sugar within the waffle. Drizzled with thick burnt caramel and a touch of whipped cream, we were left to choose one scoop of smooth and creamy frozen custard among four flavor options. We stood by the breakfast theme and went with the maple butter, and it was encouraging that that was truck manager Frank’s recommendation as well. We really enjoyed our choice, down to the last drop of melted frozen custard in the bottom of the cup.
Johnny Doughnuts was our last stop, and good thing for it because they loaded us up with an assorted dozen. Whether for being towards the end of the night or that we got along well with the crew, we have to show our appreciation for the half-off deal we were offered because we got to sample plenty of deliciousness. We didn’t think a dozen doughnuts would make a box so heavy (Zach almost tipped the box when picking it up), but since we were ogling them for more than a few minutes observing shape, size, and glaze, the heft of the box shouldn’t have been a surprise.
We had two old fashioned doughnuts, one vanilla and the other chocolate salted caramel. They had an excellent cake-like texture with that little bit of exterior crunch expected in an old fashioned. The vanilla would pair perfectly with a coffee for breakfast, and the chocolate salted caramel was decadently different and delicious. Another four of our assortment were raised doughnuts made with fresh mashed russet potatoes, to make them tender, moist, and more hearty and filling compared to the standard from typical doughnut shops. The classic glazed raised is great for the no-frills doughnut eater, but when glazes and fillings are made with real fruit and chocolate and the flavors are natural and true to their names, they’re hard for even the minimalist to pass up. The chocolate-on-chocolate frosted and sprinkled “sprinkly guy” was deep and rich, and the two fruity raised doughnuts were a strawberry with chocolate drizzle and lime poppy seed, each delightful and refreshing in its own way.
The Bismark doughnuts, also known as Berliners, are hole-less and filled like the traditional Berliner Pfannkuchen of the north of Germany. We sampled four: lime marscapone, strawberry apple, chocolate vanilla creme, and wild berry. What we loved most about the Bismarks is that it was clear the fillings were scratch-made and not spooned out of giant plastic tubs. Fresh fruit, quality marscapone cheese, and real chocolate made the centers sing. Not the shape we typically think of when it comes to doughnuts but a doughnut nonetheless (and tasty yet), we got a cinnamon twist with great texture. And to round out our dozen, we tried the wheat-free “That Fritter Thang!” with blueberries. Its texture was almost like that of an old fashioned with some crunch to the outside, just with more of an all-around chew to it.
Being that this event was unique and supported by the partnership of SOMA StrEat and The Yes Address by Eventbrite, the latter was on site to promote the awesome activities lined up through March 8 as part of spreading awareness about the features of Eventbrite. To spark conversation, Eventbrite set up a mobile unit with amiable spokespeople facilitating a prize wheel. Zach won a flask and August was bestowed an outdoorsy blanket with fleece on one side and tent material on the other. Had it not been for the prize wheel we wouldn’t have learned about how Eventbrite can be used to find new, unusual, and sometimes one-time events in our extended backyard of the Bay Area. Thank you, Eventbrite, for the schwag and the super fun and yummy evening at SOMA StrEat!
Lamb is a delicious entree, but every meal should be balanced. Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak, this salad is in the same league as the flavors of pistachio crusted lamb. Spring mix lettuce can seem a little extra pungent to some, so adding fruits and nuts helps to mellow out the greens. August’s birthday dinner yesterday, and subsequent dessert, were very flavorful and therefore very memorable. Some of her coworkers got to snag a few cupcakes today, but there were no leftovers of the lamb or this bright salad.
4 cups of spring mix lettuce
8 thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 of one Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
1/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup of chopped and toasted walnuts
3 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. of fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tbs. of blackberry balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely minced shallots (optional)
To make the vinaigrette dressing, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Toss all ingredients in the dressing, and serve.
For as long as it takes to make, this dessert can disappear just as quickly. Meringue has a texture that is at first crispy, then melts in your mouth like eating a candy cloud. Layered with chocolate and berries, the flavors cover a spectrum of sweet, from the dark to the bright. Like a ballerina dancer who brings the audience through a range of emotions, it’s only appropriate that it would be named after one – Anna Pavlova of Russia, one of the world’s most famous ballerinas from the turn of the 20th century.
Makes 10 servings
1 pint of blackberries
1 pint of raspberries
1 pint of strawberries
1 1/3 cup of superfine vanilla’d sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the chantilly
8 oz. of heavy whipping cream
6 egg whites
2 oz. of local honey
3 tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbs. of Grand Marnier (or more to taste)
3 tsp. of vanilla extract, divided in 2 for the meringue and 1 for the chantilly
2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. of corn starch
• For the chocolate chantilly:
Sift together the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of superfine sugar. Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Add the cocoa/sugar mixture and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract to the cream and with a hand mixer, whisk on low (speed 2) until evenly incorporated. Increase the speed to 4 or 5 to whip the cream into stiff peaks. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator.
• For the pavlova:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Puts the 6 egg whites to a KitchenAid mixing bowl. Add the remaining vanilla extract and vinegar. With a whisk attachment, beat the eggs on speed 6 until the mix looks thick and glossy. Add 1 cup of the sugar, then sift together the remaining sugar with corn starch (save this last bit of sugar with corn starch to be added a moment later).
Mix the 1 cup of sugar into the eggs until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed to 2 or 3 so that you can add the sugar/corn starch without it poofing. Turn the speed up to the highest, and whip until you achieve firm peaks. You’ve just made a meringue.
Put a Silpat or a large piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Fit a piping bag with an open star tip, and fill it with the meringue. Using a 9″ springform as a guide placed on the mat or the paper, pipe a base filling the circle, then remove the springform. Decorate the top however you like: rosettes, ribbons, basketweave, pearls, stars, etc.
Bake for 5 hours. Remove the pavlova from the oven and let cool.
Mix the berries, honey, and Grand Marnier. Fit a piping bag with a round tip and fill it with the chocolate chantilly. Pipe the chantilly onto the pavlova, and spoon the mixed berries atop the chantilly.
If you have any leftover meringue, be creative. Chef Zach added some Renaissance Roaster coffee grounds to these little clouds; bake at 200 degrees F for 3 hours.