“Are you dining alone?”…
“Yes, it’s just me” (and my book).
Some may find this a little sad, but honestly, I relished the opportunity to dine alone during my four days travelling solo in San Francisco last month. It allowed me to slow right down, to appreciate every morsel and to really take everything in – the setting, the wine, the food, my fellow diners, everything. Plus, I had some Help keeping entertained.
And so I held my head high with not a scrape of hesitation as I answered their query, “Yes, it’s just me”. It was…and it was fabulous. I had many memorable meals during those gorgeous four days…just me…and San Francisco.
Zuni Cafe was at the top of my list when researching where to eat during my visit to this city that is known for it’s eats. In fact this restaurant, established in 1979, really personifies all that comes to mind when you think of food and San Francisco. It wholly represents the city’s famous and commendable food philosophy, emphasising local, seasonal produce cooked simply and well. Amen.
At my cozy table for one upstairs, I ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc. Super crisp, just how I like my white wine, and terribly restorative after a long day walking around the city.
Bread and butter. Basic and beautiful.
To start I had an argula salad with cucumbers, mint, scallions and sheeps milk feta. I was craving salad after delighting in cinnamon sugar beignets for lunch. The feta was sure, soft and incredibly welcoming.
For my main dish I ordered either the duck or the albacore (a type of tuna) from Oregon. True story: I couldn’t decide between these two dishes (much to my dismay, the famous roasted chicken and bread salad was only for two to share. Ok, here was a true moment when I missed a dining companion, and lamented my book for not having a mouth nor digestive system). Because I couldn’t decide, I left it up to my waiter to bring me his recommendation. As it turns out, he was in an albacore mood that evening. And I am so pleased he was.
Delightfully light yet full of flavour, this dish was summer on a plate. The crunch of beans was texturally wonderfully, the tomatoes were heavenly sweet, the basil divine and the fish, well, it was grilled rare to perfection. Zuni Cafe certainly wins the award for the restaurant that most lived up to my expectations. I imagined it to be fresh, clean, simple and delicious…and it was.
As I ate and sipped and read, I couldn’t help but smile. Only to myself, but that doesn’t make a smile any less true or significant, does it?