Friday, June 26, 2009

Holy Focaccia

In the past few years I have gotten pretty jaded about eating and drinking. I am extremely fortunate to have lived in fantastic big cities with talked about restaurants. I am even luckier to get to go to these restaurants, not just read the reviews or longingly stand outside looking into fogged up restaurant windows. Because of this is is becoming increasingly rare that I have a "food moment."

What is a food moment? By my definition it is when you taste something so good you are dumbfounded. There aren't words to describe it. You go to bed thinking about it, you wake up wondering, "was it really that good?"

These are the meals or dishes that years later you still think about: the duck and fig salad at Chez Panisse, the summer farro salad at Higgins, the pork belly at Gotham Tavern... These are food moments. Yum.

And guess what? I had three food moments in nearly as many weeks in San Francisco. And all from the same food! This is almost unheard of -- how often do you get to go back somewhere and have it be just as good as it was before? Rarely.

And this is why I am so excited about our newest discovery: a restaurant in the mission called Farina.

The first time we went we ordered a green salad, the focaccia, and the handkerchief pasta with pesto. The second time we went we ordered the green salad, the focaccia, and the handkerchief pasta. The third time we went we ordered the green salad, the focaccia, and the handkerchief pasta. Are you sensing a pattern?

I have not been to Italy anytime recently but these dishes are to die for. The focaccia is unlike anything I've ever eaten: extremely thin and crackling hot, the light layers are filled with a slippery cream sauce and lots of rich melted cheese. Piled on top is a bit of arugula and prosciutto. You can cut it or rip it or tear it but eat it fast. This won't be hard.

It is a rich dish. If the dreamy pasta were not on the menu I would probably stop there. But the dreamy pasta is so amazing: layers of squares of pasta loosely piled on a plate and topped with the thinnest, creamiest, pesto sauce. It is out of this world, wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it good.

It is a trip to Italy, but much cheaper, and you still get to sleep in your own bed. A staycation, if you will, for the economy ravaged West Coast set. Bon appetito!!

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