If you tire of detail, intricate narrative, or fascinating anecdotes easily, I recommend against eating amongst the anthropologists. However I find them to be the best of company, and hearken back to the cultural universality of manioc root on a weekly basis. This past week saw the divine summit of all things anthropological in San Francisco at the AAA conference, and your humble Mozzadrella was fortunate enough to attend.
I actually hadn’t been to the Bay Area—brace yourself for the geek quotient here—since high school, when I went to a Model United Nations conference in Berkeley, and THEN summer economics camp in Palo Alto. It’s a miracle I manage to dress myself, even though my style these days screams “professional kickball player.” At least that’s what the burlesque “ladies” at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge told me.
Though I really didn’t stray from the “Tenderloin” area where the conference was being held, the food impressed so much I will no longer vow to set all of California alight. I had been dreaming of Salt House, an industrial/rustic-chic haunt, and its braised short rib for three days. Though the cavernous interior amplified sound—we could barely converse with the people next to us—I had the most delicious cocktail I’d ever sampled. The “New London” features cold Hendrick’s Gin with a kaffir lime-ginger syrup, and a chili-cardamom salted rim. I swooned. I exalted. I had two.
I admired the sweet delicate quality of the roast beet salad, but the braised short rib with mustard crust sent me reeling. As you raised your fork to it, the meat fell apart like a warm savory bloom. As it was served atop brussels sprouts and fennel, my appetite waived away all sense of reason or discretion. In that moment I began to see the reasoning behind elastic pants.
After I recruited Tiny and Mark, I insisted upon Vietnamese food whilst in Pacific time. We went to Mangosteen, also in the Tenderloin area, where the quail was served table-side, flambé-style, the skin snapping with searing crispness. All of our fresh rolls were delicious, and will the Pho was a tad waxy, and the décor a little 7-Eleven, I’ll be thinking about that quail in the months to come.
I still find San Francisco strange—the constant smiling from strangers made me wonder if I was suffering from early-onset dementia—I did take squealing happiness in the Ice Cream Parlor/Laundromat down the way from our hotel. Genius!