Sunday, September 12, 2004

Opera in the Park with a Picnic from Tartine

31st Annual Free Open Air Opera Performance
Sunday, September 12, 2004 in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Tartine Bakery, 600 Guerrero Street @ 18th San Francisco, CA 94110, 415 487 2600
Visit Tartine's Website Here

On our way to Golden Gate Park to watch the free annual opera event we decided to stop at Tartine and pick up a picnic. The wait for the delicious-sounding 'Hot Sandwiches' was 15 minutes so we chose from items that were ready to go immediately.

Croque Monsieur, $7.
Wonderful country bread with a crunchy crust, blackened in places exactly how I love it forms the base for this large, open-faced Croque Monsieur topped with a bechamel sauce, tomatoes, Niman Ranch Ham and a browned and bubbled top of Gruyere Cheese. Very tasty, very rich and still quite delicious as a slightly cooler take out item. I can only imagine it would be really superb straight out of the oven. I loved the unusual pickled carrot accompaniment. A not too crunchy, not too soggy, not too carrot-tasting, incredibly hot and spicy pickled carrot. Yum - I need someone to tell me how to make those!

Meringues and Macaroons, 40 cents each.
At 40 cents a piece, these little sweet treats are difficult to resist. The chocolate meringues, however, have a woody, fibrous texture and the chocolate is too bitter. I would give them a miss in future despite their apparent value for money. The coconut macaroons are far more delicious,little sugary balls of the dessicated nut.

Tartine make fresh bread daily. But it is only available after 4pm. We pre-paid for a loaf to pick up on our way back later. The delicious smelling, piping hot, country loaf lent a very pleasing aroma to the remainder of our journey home. That evening, because we were going to a pre-opening party at "La Suite", we forgot, completely, about our special purchase. The next morning I had some of the country loaf for my breakfast. The crust was still a good balance of crispy with a slight hint of chewy, the bread inside was still soft and fresh. I took some to work for my lunch (where I toasted and topped it with Amora Dijon, melted Gruyere and French Ham), and then bagged up the rest and put it in the freezer where it would better keep its freshness. Because it is hands down the best bread I have ever tasted in San Francisco, or the US for that matter, freezer or not, I don't think this particular loaf is going to last us very long... Uh oh - I think I've found a new addiction.

A beautiful sunny day to lay down on a picnic blanket in the sun, sip champagne, eat good food and listen to a variety of opera.

Food News from Opera in the Park:

-The Chronicle are opening a Cooking School in the SF Ferry Building Shortly.
-If you are interested in competitive cooking, note that there is a "Best Picnic Competition" with great prizes, every year at this event.

The Chronicle Cooking School information can be found here.

Opera in the Park with a Picnic from Tartine


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