Don’t worry, everything we do is about food…
Turns out we will experience ‘Nawlins food.
Here we are on January 29, the Sunday between the last NFL Playoff game and the Super Bowl. The sun is shining and the temperature on my thermometer in the shade is 55°F at 10am. Gotta get out of the house. What to do?
Oh, yes… back last summer, we bought a brick commemorating the Giants 2010 World Series Championship. I know from recent morning walks that such bricks have been installed in the plazas around ATT park. On such a day, we need to go find our brick.
First off, it is just real nice to be out around ATT Park. There are thousands of bricks to look at. In order to move as quickly as possible, Carol devised a scanning method… just concentrate on finding a “C” in the first line, “Celebrate SF 1st.” We started in the sunny Willie Mays Plaza. Not there. On to the Lefty O’Doul Plaza between the Dugout Store and the Portwalk. Nope.
We walked the length of the Portwalk to Seals Plaza. There are more than a few people out enjoying the sunny day by the bay. Parents and kids and bikes abound. Seals Plaza has a handsome statue of a Seal, but not our brick. The walk by the players and VIP parking lots is not the beautiful part of the park… and the 2nd and King Plaza is in the shade. Nonetheless, it does not hold our brick. Bummer. I guess we’ll be in that unfinished circle in Willie Mays Plaza. But its too nice to dwell on “bummer,” we have food in a lovely environment to find, and Marlowe’s is nearby… but closed.
The first rule is stay away from Chinatown on Chinese New Year. We’ll go to Hayes Valley. There’s a restaurant there I’ve been wanting to try, I think on Grove, but I don’t know its name. If that doesn’t work, we’ll go to the Marlowe clone in North Beach.
“Those are only the two busiest, most congested places in town,” said Carol. “Yeah, but, it’s Sunday afternoon, we’ll do OK… better than Friday or Saturday night.” Be patient, a space will open up… people come and go… Grove… Octavia… Hayes… Laguna… BINGO, a woman pulls out of a space on the corner of Laguna and Grove. By then I had remembered the restaurant should be at Grove and Gough.
We walked there and found a glassy building with people inside dining, but no sign… around the corner, “The Boxing Room.” That’s it! As we were seated, I said to the hostess, “This is our lucky day, we found a parking space AND a table for two.”
The room is very nice, high ceilings are populated by interesting lights and chandeliers and the room is filled with light and air.
One can intuit the quality of the dining experience, from the design of the table setting, the menu, napkin, even the water bottle etched with THE BOXING ROOM. House made crackers and a pimento cheese butter mixture are in the basket. Yum. I believe we might be in for a treat.
Sweet potatoes, white potatoes were hashed up with a little green pepper and onion with just a glaze of a spicy cajun roux on the bottom of the skillet. Oh yes, and the fried eggs on top were smaller than large, a nice touch.
I ordered the small Smoked Chicken and Andouille Gumbo with Brown Rice; Red Beans and Sausage on the side. Just reading the menu made me hungry with anticipation and the food didn’t disappoint. Spice was abundant, and very agreeable the way a ‘Nawlins dish should be seasoned. The Andouille was fine-grained and seemingly sliced from a large sausage. I polished off the gumbo, but the red beans added too much for me to finish. I’m about to have them for lunch in a few minutes.
We always look at dessert menus, but seldom order dessert, especially at lunch. Well… how could I pass up a share of pecan pie with ice cream? Could not. The best thing; it was not sweet and not gooey, just pecan goodness with enough filling to hold it together over a dense and succulent crust.
It turned chilly in the afternoon, but we were all over the Chronicle and NY Times, with the Pro Bowl on the TV just because it was on.
Leftover cabbage rolls with Carol’s gussied up sauce put a fine cap on the day.
Great vicarious trip, Marcus. We so miss the city. It is terminally BORING here. If you aren’t into country music, NASCAR, or rednecks, it ain’t happening here. Its actually gotten much worse over the last few years. Oh well. Thanks for sharing!
I’m more concerned about your commemorative brick than the food you ate. Why don’t they give you a map showing where your brick will be placed? Or at least the general location since there seems to be many plazas.
I digress, back to the restaurant. Why is this place called The Boxing Room? Is it because everything looks square? Was it formerly a boxing gym? Needless to say, the food sounded and looked wonderful — especially the pecan pie. I’m so glad you weren’t disappointed.
Enjoyed this piece very much. You two surely know how to live the good life! Thought you should know that it will be in the low 50s here in little Rhody at the end of January….mmmmm.
Our Saturday was so nice that we decided to go to Wickford’s Winter Coastal Farmers’ Market, and what a find!! It was a bit like the being back in the 70s when we used to participate in a food co-op in St. Louis. The people even looked the same!! We bought some fresh (caught that morning) Narragansett monk (!) fish from a vendor I’ve been reading about who sells 12 week shares. You pick up your share every Friday at Narragansett and I think Newport docks, too. I didn’t want to commit to the entire 12 weeks of winter, so I was thrilled to see that he participated in this Coastal Market. I also bought some lovely, organic arugula for a salad we brought to a dinner party Sunday. There was an 8 piece blue grass ensemble playing and singing, a lovely pastry shop (which we avoided) and bread – oh, my gosh, such wonderful loaves at several different tables. RI Granola, jams, honey and Vermont maple syrup and much more filled the cozy space in this sunlit antique mill. There were picnic tables one could sit at and listen to the music.
Outside we bought 2 slices of Bravo Wood Fired Pizza where it was made on the spot in its portable wood-fired brick oven. The crust was nice and thin and veggies were delish. I forgot to mention that they were also selling goat cheeses and there were two grass-fed meat vendors and, of course, the usual winter root veggies. It’s not a huge place, but just right for a little adventure on a Saturday afternoon. I know it’s not the SF outdoor market, but it beats the supermarket.
Looking for a monkfish recipe, I came across a discussion of one of Julia Child’s early tv episodes in which she arrives on the set with a whole monkfish! I’m still searching for the full episode, but I did find a photo taken during the show. I even think I remember seeing it myself, as she was the one who really stirred my love for cooking (though maybe not that particular episode). Thought you and Carol would get a kick out of it.
Great Eats entry. Bobbi
Thanks for your story, a totally different but equally fabulous experience. Nice to be reminded that foodies flair all over the world, not just in our sometimes insular seeming SF.
I called the Giants and they said the bricks will all be installed by Opening Day and they will send us a locator map. WooHoo