Friday, October 24, 2008

Eating Out in the Peninsula

Eat Local Challenge Day 24
(Read What & Why I am Doing This Here)

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Being a San Franciscan where the eating out options are varied and wonderful, dining out in the Peninsula, the area stretching South of the City, down to Silicon Valley where I spend my every working day, is not something I am usually in a hurry to do. I always bring packed lunches from home and seldom venture out. However, a girl can't hide in her cube for ever and there are people down there whom I like to hang out with and socialize. Day 24 was one of those days. In fact, it was the first time I have found myself both lunching and dining in the vicinity of my office. I had no control over the first meal, a large group lunch at the beautifully appointed Mistral overlooking the lake in Redwood Shores. In terms of eating locally Mistral's website claims the restaurant "focuses on serving the best local ingredients available". This may amount to little more than lip service, however, when you consider that the menu tells a different story: "Mistral is committed to sustainable sources of seafood, organic produce & Midwestern corn-fed hormone-free beef." At least they have put the issue of where their food comes from on the table which is a good start. The service at Mistral is totally wonderful as displayed by our waitress who packed up three take out boxes of chocolate ganache as an apology for delivering main courses to three in the group a little behind the rest. It was a very sweet touch, particularly since we hadn't complained, or even felt like it was necessary to complain, so minimal was the delay in the grand scheme of things.
In the evening I headed to downtown San Carlos to meet my English friend Penny for dinner. She suggested Refuge, a spot I am rather fond of, but one that didn't really meet any of the "Eat Local" requirements I am aiming for this month, so I managed to persuade her to try the close by Rumi, whose "ingredient-driven seasonal menu features local and sustainable food and wine from Northern and Central California" instead. Having eaten from their lunch menu several times, I was confident that Rumi's dinner would be just as good - which it was. I chose a dish of 5 vegetarian tastes which was superb, really wonderful, especially the mix of sweetcorn, quinoa, chanterelles and cranberry beans from Iacopi Farm with a 'schmear' of butternut squash that lay at its heart. How do I know where the beans came from? I talked to the chef. And by doing so it became obvious that Rumi is genuinely vested in supporting local producers and not just jumping on any eat local band wagon.

Breakfast Day 24
Bread made with home ground whole wheat flour [source: Eatwell], Butter [source: Straus]

Lunch Day 24
Shared appetizers and Mahi Mahi Fish & Chips at Mistral, Redwood Shores

Dinner Day 24
Flat breads with dip, Vegetarian Plate and apple walnut cake at Rumi San Carlos.

Drinks Day 24
Tap Water, local wines at Rumi Tea (1 Cup) Half a glass of non-local wine, an after dinner drink at Refuge, and half a glass of wine of unknown origin that was poured for me at lunch time

100% Local ingredient
Local Artisan using mostly local ingredients
Local Artisan using non-local ingredients
Totally Un-local or Unclear
Pre-declared exempt
Restaurants which focus on local produce

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?Do You Have Any Eat Local Favourites on the Peninsula?

© 2008 Sam Breach
Eating Out in the Peninsula


  • At 25/10/08 15:28, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Very nice.
    Did you know that Cranky and I met -- and married -- on the Peninsula?
    Our wedding reception was at Cafe Borrone, in Redwood City at the time (now in Menlo Park). I wonder if Roy Borrone is doing local. He sure did us a nice feast.

  • At 17/11/08 13:12, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The first restaurant at which I remember seeing local sources listed on the menu was Flea Street Cafe. I'd just moved to the Bay Area to live with my sweetheart in Menlo Park, and it quickly became a favorite. We had our rehearsal dinner there.

    Cafe Borrone was a favorite, too... a great place for a quick bite after buying a few (too many) books at Keplers.


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