BakeSpite: Spring has sprung

Someday — maybe later this year, maybe sometime after that — Cat and I plan to move to New York City, since that’s where she’s from, and 1UP could use a presence on the east coast. I’m pretty excited about the prospect, but I will definitely miss many things about San Francisco. The image below encapsulates several of them all at once:

I didn’t really appreciate the amazing quality of California fruit until last summer when I began eating healthier, lighter dinners like this (which fed both of us). The fruit on this plate was fresh, sweet, flavorful, and perfectly textured. It was also crazy cheap now that it’s spring and the fruit is in season: the Asian pear cost fifty cents, the grapes were probably about 75 cents, and the strawberries were one dollar per pound. A dollar for a pound of fresh, bright, delicious strawberries! That is ridiculous. And the bread (from Semifreddi’s, a local bakery) was really good, too.

And then there’s the cheese. Cat’s cousin was in town last weekend and wanted us to take her to Cowgirl Creamery, a local gourmet cheese shop. By way of thanks, she bought us a couple of cheeses. This particular variety is called Mezzo Seco, which is a hard, smoked, Spanish, sheep’s milk cheese. It is kind of awesome and tastes wonderful.

And, oh yeah, the wine. I will especially miss the fact that it’s practically impossible to find bad wine here. I mean, sure, if you go someplace where the house wine is Sutter Home you’ll regret it. But just about any decent restaurant in this area will have an expansive selection of high-quality wines, and even the cheap stuff will almost certainly be good. NYC restaurants offer no such guarantees, which is fine if you like quaffing vinegar but otherwise requires caution.

The only way this meal could have been better is if figs and mangos were in season! But that will come to pass, and hopefully before we depart for faraway lands. NYC has plenty of charms, but the ability to cobble together a European-style meal like this, brimming with amazing fruit and delicious Napa wine and fresh-baked bread, all for a few bucks, while strolling through the local Asian markets… that’s something I’ll miss.

14 thoughts on “BakeSpite: Spring has sprung

  1. dude, go to the ferry building, get a mt. tam from cowgirl, and a loaf of walnut levain from acme next door, and then a pear, and you’ll be set.

  2. I’m jealous, Asian pears are something ridiculous like $4+ a piece here. At least I’ve got a pretty sizable strawberry patch in front of my house to make up for the otherwise lackluster freshness of midwestern fruits.

  3. really? That spread will feed 2 for dinner? Do you end up hungry again before bed? I’m a huge cheese/bread/fruit/wine fan… but that looks too small to keep two bellies satisfied for long. Though I’ve never tried Mezzo Seco so maybe that’s a more filling cheese than I’m imagining.

    • We ended up cutting a little more bread, but yeah, that did the trick. I prefer a larger lunch and a lighter dinner. Plus, wine, bread, and cheese is a pretty filling combo.

  4. If you do end up moving to NYC, or just happen to head back there on a business excursion, there’s a laundry list of restaurants I could give you in Brooklyn that might not necessarily make the “must see” lists crowded with Manhattan favorites.

    I won’t bog you down here, but if I was allowed one suggestion for you, or your readers: there’s a place called Henry Public, which purports to be a gastropub (ugh), is all olde tyme-y (ehhh), but manages not to be too cool for school about it (hooray!) It helps that they serve the best turkey leg sandwich in the universe.

    • I’ve been to a place that sounds almost exactly like Henry Public, actually — Fort Defiance in Red Hook. I’m not much for turkey legs, though.

      • Disappointing! They’re also famed for their cocktails, as I’m sure most of these places are, and make their own bitters and blah blah blah. But if turkey isn’t your thing (but they put french onions on the sandwich!) There’s a sushi place next door that’s the best I’ve had in NYC. Very fresh, and they had me when I ordered a spicy tuna roll and they put the mayo in a little dollop on top instead of mixing it in with the fish in a disgusting mess. So classy! (also homemade tofu pudding).

        …and there’s a Montreal-style smoked meat place like five blocks away…

        And I’m talking to much~

  5. I lived for a year in Syracuse, NY, and I hated not only the city but all of NY. It was cold and everyone was an a-hole. But the food was good.

  6. Living so far from California, it’s hard to associate Californian fruit with anything other than under-ripe and overly big. But that’s just because it has to be shipped so far, I suppose. That spread does indeed look delicious.

  7. Did Cat take that photograph? It looks like something from a magazine that I could only afford to buy if I got bumped up to another tax bracket.

    • Thanks, but actually I took it. Lighting, I’ve learned, is the secret to everything. In this case, the light bouncing off the ceiling is reflecting obliquely from the glass tabletop to make it look all fancy.

  8. I’d like to move to New York, but I don’t think I could afford to live there. I wish the north wasn’t so expensive.

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