I love Valentine’s Day. I always have, whether I was single or coupled. I just really love LOVE, and people are more open about it on Valentine’s Day than other days. As my friends and family know, I’m big on expressing love and gratitude and appreciation for the folks in my life.
I just feel like more often than not, people don’t get told how awesome they are and how they are contributing to people’s lives. Usually, we’re worrying about that one thing we messed up or maybe that whole boatload of things that we messed up, but really, even if we’re messing everything up, we’re still lovable. And still loved. So I like telling people how much they mean to me throughout the year. But everyone else gets more open about it on Valentine’s Day (and sometimes when they’ve had a few drinks.)
To start the day, I sent some love into the community by volunteering at the San Francisco Food Bank. A group of volunteers portioned out 2000 pounds of oats into 1 pound bags to be distributed to families all over San Francisco and Marin. 2000 pounds of oats is as overwhelming as it sounds. That’s a lotta oats. We had the music blasting and it was great to come together with folks to share the love of good food and health.
As far as romance, Alex and I didn’t intend to do anything this year. Alex’s feelings about Valentine’s Day are on the opposite end of the spectrum from mine so we were going to keep it low key.
Until I found out about these “Wild Kitchen Dinners” from forageSF. The Wild Kitchen is a supper club that changes locations monthly with each course highlighting a local sustainably foraged ingredient. You sit around big communal tables and share the experience with new new friends. Underground supper club using locally foraged ingredients? That’s our kind of dinner. They happened to be having one for Valentine’s Day, so we jumped at the chance and got tickets.
The meal was in the back area of the Stable Café, which is worth checking out if you are ever in SF. As a café, the food and coffee are good, and as a venue space, the courtyard was beautiful and the perfect spot for dinner. The weather cooperated and I didn’t even need the coat I brought and the heat lamps were never turned on.
The dinners are BYOB so Alex brought some beer while I rocked a smoked pear kombucha. They also had a spiced pear cider that they were serving up as they got there. I got the non-boozy version but Alex got his with whiskey and it was much better than mine! Lesson learned – always spike your cider.
I was pleasantly surprised that there were many meat free options already on the menu, and they made vegetarian versions of whatever had meat in it. Here’s what was on the menu:
- Wild Nettle Soup with Tart House Made Crème Fraîche
- Savory Porcini Bread Budding with House Cured Wild Boar Prosciutto
- Seaside Charcuterie Plate: Pickled Wild Mussels, Halibut Brandad, Pickled Onions, Smoked Black Cod, and Pickled Mustard Seeds
- Intermezzo: Eucalyptus/Huckleberry/Campari Ice
- Grilled Endive with Truffled Root Vegetables and Quick Seared Crispy Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- Paella: Brandy Steamed Wild Mussels and Local halibut
- Salad of Wild Greens with Wild Fennel Dust
- Gleaned Kumquat White Chocolate Pudding with Salted Caramel, Rose Geranium Scented Wafers and Roasted Cacao Nibs
- Chili and Wild Fennel Infused Melted (hot) Chocolate
You had me at porcini bread pudding and wild nettle soup. The chili and wild fennel infused melted (hot) chocolate was just a bonus. Best bonus ever. Plus the most epic bread bakset of all time.
If I had to pick a favorite course, I’d probably choose the Salad of wild greens with wild fennel dust (which turned out to be fennel pollen) just because it was an interesting mix of flavors. The salad included pickled beets and those yellow flowers with sour stems that I used to pluck and eat all the time as a kid. But honestly, almost everything was good enough for me to close my eyes and take a moment to appreciate it.
The white chocolate pudding had the texture of rice pudding or tapioca, but it turned out it was simply the way the white chocolate was cooked that gave it the texture. So essentially, I ate an entire small mason jar of just white chocolate, followed by a cup of dark melted chocolate. And I could’ve had seconds of both!
We spent the evening eating great food with a great group of new friends from all over the Bay Area (and the world!) and supporting an organization that is on the cutting edge in the SF food world. And I got to spend it with the guy who proposed to me almost one year ago today, so I really couldn’t have been happier.
For those folks out there who read my blog, I’m sending you lots of love too. I know the blog world can be incredibly overwhelming, and the fact that you spend a few minutes here to read my rambling means a lot.
On that note, have a great weekend everyone and I’ll see you next week!