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Food is about so much more than just eating…

September 25, 2010

This was a week of staring into my wife’s beautiful green eyes while enjoying every note of her beautiful laughter. It was a week of sitting at a table together with the kids and hearing things that just don’t come out in the normal chaotic pace of the week. It was a week of enjoying great friends. All of it was wrapped up in food experiences but the food was not the star. The people were. My daughter said let’s have fish tonight. I know my wife loves a thin, delicate white fish so we bought Dover sole. I sautéed it quickly just until golden and flakey. I pulled the fish out and into the same pan went a handful of crushed Marcona almonds, a finely chopped shallot and a pat of butter. The nuts got toasted and the shallots sweetened as the butter sizzled.  It only took a couple minutes for the perfume of the nuts and the tarragon to rise from the pan. I added some white wine and reduced to half. I poured that over the fish for our version of “sole almandine”. Everyone loved the fish but it was about the family dinner. It is the one time of day when we are all at the same table and I love it.Off to breakfast with my friend Ken for a Chinese dim sum reunion. We went to a hole in the wall spot on Clement St. in San Francisco. It immediately felt like being back in China. The food was just mediocre but sitting there for an hour and laughing with my friend Ken as we rehashed our travel stories made it a great breakfast. To totally forget about everything else but the person in front of you is to be so fully present and is so enjoyable.

Isabella and I made an unbelievable 30-layer crepe cake!! More to come on that one after we dress it and eat it at our dinner party tonight!

My wife Nadia and I spent two separate days cruising around the city on the Vespa. We stopped for our favorite croissant and cannele (Small dark golden brown pastry from heaven. Crisp and chewy on the outside from the beeswax-lined custom copper pans and creamy like a crème brulee on the inside!). We had an incredible burger at bar Jules and then sat in the park while savoring my Blue Bottle addiction. I truly fall deeper in love with my wife every day. She has been such a source of strength, great advice and support throughout this incredible year of brilliant change.

Last night was the crowning moment of the week. The four of us went to an old favorite Thai restaurant called Manora. My wife and I used to go there when we were dating. Now that we are back in SF we are re-discovering our old favorites. The Pad Thai had the perfect combination of lime juice, fish sauce and finely ground peanuts. The sauce stuck perfectly to the thin, ever so slightly chewy noodles. The eggplant was roasted to the edge of being able to still hold its shape. Napped with a rich Thai Basil/garlic sauce and garnished with just a few strips of bell pepper. It was just enough bell pepper to provide the necessary sharpness to cut through the creamy richness of the eggplant. The sauce was simple but so balanced. You know it is good when you pick up a spoon to savor the sauce over and over again by itself.

The kids have learned to appreciate so many different cultures and cuisines. Listening to them talk about the food, the people and the atmosphere was incredible. Something happens when you sit at a table together in a restaurant. There are none of the normal distractions and you really enjoy each other. We talked about what is happening at school; how the kids are adjusting to the move and most importantly we laughed and laughed. We then crossed the city for an ice cream in North Beach. I watched my son fade away with his empty ice cream cup in hand. The car was quiet and we were all happy and peaceful. Food is my life but the life I experience via food is what it is all about.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2010 9:07 am

    Nice thought in regards to the social and cultural aspects of food. Lately, I’m finding a different dimension in it as I explore a vegan whole foods diet. Elimination of refined sugar and processed foods has seemed to reawakened my palette and I find myself craving different flavors, and finding more flavor in things I’d previously passed over. So pretty amazing that something so simple as fueling the body can take on so much more on so many levels.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink*
      September 26, 2010 11:01 am

      well said dg. take care and thank you for reading. Best, J

  2. September 26, 2010 12:06 pm

    Hi, Jeffrey,
    My husband and I have a favorite dim sum restaurant in SF and never miss going there when in the city. It’s called the “Hang Ah Tea Room.” It’s on a tiny little cul-de-sac called “Hang Ah” street (?), next to the Chinese playground which is off Sacramento just downhill from Stockton (right where Sacramento comes out of that tunnel that leads to Union Square). It really is a hole-in-the-wall, but the food is good, the prices reasonable, and most of the clientele is Chinese, so that says something about the authenticity of the food.

    We live in LA, and our favorite dim sum place there, if you’re ever in LA, is the Empress Pavilion, in Chinatown, which is not far from the high-rise business district of downtown L.A. It’s very busy, and we always try to get there between 10 am and 11 am on weekends, because if you get there after 11 am, you will wait a long time for a table. The place is enormous. but the service is good and the food wonderful.

    Just my two cents on dim sum.

    Cheers,

    Martha

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink*
      September 26, 2010 4:31 pm

      Hello Martha, thanks for the heads-up. I will check it out and report back! Much thanks. Have a great week. Warmly, Jeffrey

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