Monday, August 18, 2008

Dining Out SF: Brunch at Bar Tartine

Sometimes it takes a really inspiring meal to begin food blogging (and eating) again.

Not that I’ve stopped eating altogether of course, but sometimes you hit a slump in life where nothing tastes good, not even your favorite go-to comfort food (eggs, pasta, dark chocolate). So it’s been a lot of bland rice and veggie meals for me, which only my ex-roommate’s anorexic cat would ever consider eating (poor thing). You, my readers, have palates too good for that.

Leave it to Tartine (my favorite bakery in San Francisco and possibly America) to bring me back to gastronomic life.

When my husband proposed that we check out brunch at Bar Tartine in San Francisco’s Mission district, I was surprised and excited. Surprised because my husband has been in his frugal phase lately (which means $3 meals every day and rarely eating out) and excited because I was ready to be inspired by food again.

Bar Tartine is open for brunch on weekends from 11am-2:30pm. We were warned to arrive by 11am if we didn’t want to wait in line, so we nabbed a nearby parking spot at 10:45am and waited in the car. Sure enough, a small line started to form around 10:55am.

We were seated by a lovely hostess, and after perusing the intriguing selections (duck confit scramble anyone?), my husband opted for the open face pork belly sandwich with shoestring fries and I selected the poached egg over fresh tuna and greens (highly recommended by our waitress).

After ordering, our waitress placed down a plate of Tartine’s famous country bread.

Complimentary bread for brunch is definitely uncommon, and I wasn’t about to pass up Tartine’s country bread. In fact, if I hadn’t eaten it all I probably would have stuffed the leftovers into my purse when no one (including my husband) was looking.

The entrĂ©es came soon enough, and I was wowed by the fresh flavors of my dish. It felt like Spring was in my mouth, rejuvenating my spirit which had been as gray as San Francisco’s lousy summer.

I had been a little fearful that my tuna would be dry (or worse, canned) but it was flaky and tender, and worked well with the lemon oil drizzled on top. I ate my dish a little too quickly, and soon enough it was gone.

My husband raved over his dish, which suited his taste buds very well. Fatty pork belly lay atop a thick heirloom tomato slice and crunchy toast. I laughed as he made smacking sounds at every other bite.

The only complaint we could think of was that the fries weren't quite shoestring...they tasted more like skinny potato chips (and were inconvenient to eat, since you couldn't use a fork and picking them up one by one was tedious).

We had made plans for dessert (yes, they serve dessert for brunch!), but unfortunately were too belly-aching full for the indulgence. Someday though, I’ll be trying the meyer lemon trifle with caramel, almond cake and meyer lemon granita.


Bar Tartine

Brunch hours: Sat/Sun 11am-2:30pm

Rating: 4.5 smacking plums (highest is 5)