Live your life by a compass, not a clock!
Which is why I never plan too much in advance, but really just go wherever my heart, mind and stomach tell me to go. Amidst the dodgy streets of San Francisco, an otherwise quaint and culinary capital of America, Gastronomypix took me to a fairly hipster spot called State Bird Provisions. Notwithstanding the name, it supposedly served up decadent and seasonal bites, but I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the name, recalling the merry songs of Mary Poppins as she sang to pigeons. We perched ourselves at the open kitchen and bar, my favorite spot, as I surveyed the sepia ambiance and vibrant crowd, mostly dressed in casual fare, nibbling what was definitely not bird food, and certainly very pretty. Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski had started the spot as a recipe for serving quail, apparently the official state bird of California since 1931, known for its hardiness and adaptability. However, the place evolved into a restaurant, without, quote on quote “programmed elements”. And thus the contemporary food journey commenced.
It started with pancakes in petite portions: these were sourdough pecorino ricotta and fennel savory pancakes, which looked suspiciously like a South Indian delicacy idli. They however tasted of all the aforementioned flavors: a salty cheese, an aromatic and spicy fennel (a seeming favorite), and the sourness from the dough prominently striking through. A yummy, unpretentious and chewy bite.
Like a staple in all vegan and vegetarian menus, this spot had its dark red beet salad too, glistening with freshness and served over herbaceous sour cream. Neither overly complex nor overtly transformed, it was a simple, delicious, and juicy bite that left my tongue and lips ripe red from its freshness.
As the eternal superfood of all time, the cauliflower emerged in a delightfully cooked rendition, for it was deep fried and served with horseradish sauce. There is nothing close to orgasmic as the delectable crunch of a vegetable, and that is precisely what this cauliflower relayed. Drenching its golden self into a fibrous, sour horseradish sauce was a splendid idea, for it was neither too salty nor too sweet, and added a layer of balanced flavor that may just have made this my next best go to in the hangover meal or junk food category.
A more architecturally composed plate was a carrot radish salad with cashew cheese, a nod to vegan roots. The radishes and carrots were intermixed and bolstered upright in a bed of thick cashew cheese, reminding me of previous architectural adventures. The rawness of the vegetables and the dense creaminess of the well made cheese made this a gourmet version of a veggie dip rather than a salad, which was precisely what I had been salivating for. Food illusions are of course one of my favorite pastimes.
Given my penchant for eating my way through San Francisco all day, I moved to dessert fairly quickly.In between was a palette cleanser, likely to well prepare us for the California nightlife. The ginger raspberry shaved ice was exactly what the nutritional doctor had beckoned for, what with a saccharine berry fusing brilliantly with spicy ginger with a smack of cold!
The olive oil ice cream sandwiches were an homage to my love for this one peculiar oil that had made it into my desserts many times, and with victory each time. This time, it was served with pistachios and ripe plums, an unusual juxtaposition of flavors and textures. However it worked quite well, for the raw fruit scraped the layer of decadent olive oil that the creamy ice cream left on my tongue, crackled up by the crunch of pistachios, another favorite and popular nut. Overall, a salacious bite, that was enchantingly plated too. Truly a merry end to a vivacious and fun meal.
While my vegetarianism prevented me from trying the legacy quail itself, I can vouch for this spot never feeling like a spot to inhale bird food. Perfect.