Sunday at The Slanted Door
Posted by eemilla on October 19, 2009
Our Sunday was a could’ve, should’ve day. First we slept in a bit later than we should’ve, second we could’ve gotten bagels for breakfast the night before. We strolled down to Union Square to catch a bus to the Fisherman’s Wharf where we going to rent bikes to ride through the Presidio and across the Golden Gate Bridge down into Sausalito to enjoy a mid afternoon lunch and catch the ferry back; however, it was my lack of food and general bitchiness that threw a wrench into our plans this time. I think I was worried about whether my out of shape body would be able to bike the few miles. So instead we walked down the Embarcadero in the blazing sun and against the flow of pedestrian traffic away from the gapping tourist trap of Fisherman’s Wharf. At the Ferry Building, things suddenly looked much brighter (figuratively as I don’t think it could’ve gotten much brighter literally).
The Slanted Door beckoned our empty bellies, but the thirty minute wait directed us to the bar. I began with a kir royale to quench my thirst, and my husband went with an unfamiliar wheat beer. Our seat at the bar was directly in front of the raw prep station so we both ordered a half dozen raw oysters; I opted for West Coast options which were all quite delicious, and my husband ordered the plate as is and also enjoyed it thoroughly. With our fortune at the raw bar, we decided to share a live scallop; it was absolutely heavenly with its fresh creamy saltiness. If I could regularly eat raw animal this tasty, I would never dream of giving up flesh. Following with the Bay Area obsession, my next drink was Summer on the Danube which consisted of sparkling wine and elderberry liqueur; I do now love elderberry liqueur. For my next dish I moved to the hot side and ordered the bánh xèo (Vietnamese egg crepe); the food runner was kind enough to tell me how it is normally eaten as I most likely would’ve skipped the leaf lettuce completely which would have greatly taken away from the dish. The crepe is sliced then wrapped in the leaf lettuce then dipped in the sauce then eaten. All of the flavors came together to make this dish my favorite from the trip, from the slight bitterness of the lettuce to the earthiness of the mung bean sprouts to the clean crispness of the mint and basil leaves to the sweet, spicy ginger of the dipping sauce to the greasiness of the cooked crispy egg. I have not stopped craving this, even after I attempted to make a vegan alternative that was less than awesome. The ginger pushed me into a dark and stormy, which is a drink that has sentimental value; I first enjoyed it the week before we married in Key West, and this trip to our friends’ wedding doubled as a big three (legal) years anniversary celebration for us (albeit a couple of weeks before the actual date). This version is the epitome of a dark and stormy. Their house made ginger syrup is the secret; it has such a powerful ginger punch that cuts through and combines with the sweetness of the dark rum and the soda to make bliss in a cup. After the dark and stormy and the egg crepe, my tofu entree was good, but I really only remember the exotic sweetness of the lemongrass. Our service was slow with many long moments of trying to get our bartender/server’s attention to order the next drink or dish or get the check; however, the food was wonderful.
We slowly strolled out of the Ferry Building into the bright sunshine and decided since we were in the Financial District we might as well hit the SFMoMA. Much like the MoMA, the SFMoMA was overwhelming at times. I enjoyed many of the pieces, but others annoyed me. One piece was a short Airstream style travel trailer; another was a colorful painting that I initially liked, so I read the placard for it to discover the protrusion was a piece of elephant dung. The photography exhibits were the highlight and made the admission (twenty dollars including the five dollar surcharge for the Richard Avedon exhibit) worth it. Unlike many museums, the SFMoMA allows non flash photography.
Exhausted from all the walking and alcohol, we walked through the Yerba Buena Gardens but decided to skip through it. We caught the F line back to the Embarcadero so I could check out the Diego Rivera murals in the Rincon Center (another example of us backtracking). We then rode the California car up to Nob Hill so we could see the Fountain of the Turtles and Grace Cathedral. The cathedral was amazing and humbling; I respect churches that spend all their money on doing good works, but I love and cherish the magnificent buildings that religious congregations build. I took photos of the doors called The Gates of Paradise, but I felt disrespectful taking photos of the interior.
After the cathedral, we returned to the apartment for a refreshing 7 and ginger and showers. For dinner we decided that nothing could possibly top our lunch plus we were reeling from the cost; Uncle Vito’s on Powell St seemed like a good place for cheap eats. Cheap they were, but even so the service and food left much to be desired. The service I can forgive, because it was cheap. The food, however, was bland, boring, and not even worth repeating. If ever in San Francisco, avoid Uncle Vito’s.