This Labor Day weekend, we were too late to plan a fancy getaway to another city, so we decided to take advantage of the city’s mass exodus of locals to go to Burning Man, and spend some time in San Francisco – something we surprisingly do very infrequently. The new MoMa in San Francisco has been open for four months and we still hadn’t gone. I have a giant list of restaurants I want to try but are too hard to get reservations for. So this weekend, that’s what we did.
It was a weekend full of art and food and friends. We finally went to Zuni Cafe! This place has been on my bucket list ever since I learned to roast a chicken, and ever since I bought The Flavor Bible, my favorite cookbook, which references the amazing dishes that have been prepared at this restaurant.
My experience with the roast chicken and bread salad met my extremely high expectations. The bread was warm and somehow soft and buttery without being soggy – like what stuffing should be. The chicken had crispy skin and was soft and flavorful. Everything was amazing. I even tried a French 75 cocktail for the first time – definitely a new favorite.
We had dinner with friends the next evening and I volunteered to bring a side dish mainly to experiment with a delicious bread salad. This time, though, I added tomatoes – not present in Zuni bread salad, but more typical of panzanella, or Italian bread salad (basically, bruschetta in salad form).
Our local farmers market has a stand that has been selling the end of the season’s Early Girl tomatoes the last two weeks. These tomatoes are small, deliciously crunchy, sweet, and somehow a little bit naturally salty (don’t quote me on that though, maybe it’s because I naturally associate the taste of tomatoes with salt?). I bought 3 pounds of these beauties 1) to eat plain, apple-style 2) to use the very best tomatoes to make a world class panzanella. Our farmers market is also extremely fortunate to have a bakery stand from our closest 3-Michelin-starred Manresa – which I take full advantage of in the form of flaky, crispy croissants or Kouign Amanns every Sunday morning. I picked up a loaf of whole wheat levain for my panzanella.After splurging on all these delicious fresh ingredients, my panzanella was extremely tasty! Our friends thought it was delicious, we were happy, and though it wasn’t really like the Zuni bread salad, which has cranberries and pine nuts, it was a perfect side dish to acknowledge the closing of the summer over the Labor Day weekend.