The April issue of Bon Appetit is, presumably, the last one put out by the LA staff. Interestingly, the new editor in New York, Adam Rapoport, has said he isn’t planning on a major overhaul. The impulse is probably a good one. The front matter is pretty strong. The “feature well,” which will change with a new staff, needs to pack more of a punch. I rarely read any of the articles, though I do like the current restrained page design. (The one exception being the busy covers. Subscriber copies should lose the teasers. Guess what? We already bought it!)
In this month’s “Navigator,” a feature that highlights places to eat and stay in a particular city, the editors look at San Francisco. With a handful of interesting newcomers, the city does seem to be reclaiming some of its former glory as a top food city (the top in the U.S., perhaps, before NYC began to dominate). Here are two newcomers that I’d give a few of my extra taste buds to have in D.C.:
Saison: Featuring an eight-course prix fixe in a casually elegant setting, Saison is tucked behind a café on San Francisco’s unlikely new “Avenue of the Great Restaurants”: deserted Folsom Street. The open wood fire allows chef Joshua Skenes to create a distinctive cuisine, conjuring deep, soothing umami from a bowl of bonito dashi with toasted grains and greens, followed by a big slab of roasted beet and bone marrow.
Sons & Daughters: New American Cuisine with a touch of molecular gastronomy is showcased here, with four courses going for a reasonable $54. Just up Nob Hill from Union Square shopping, the cozy room serves a fine squab breast with squab leg confit, squab pâté, pear, and hazelnuts.
So, now that you’ve eaten, on to my favorite topic: cocktails. As the quest to re-imagine thirst quenchers continues, there is a whiskey cocktail at a Portland bar that includes smoked and re-frozen ice. Then as you drink and the ice melts, the smells and tastes change over time. Now I think it’s nervy of the editors to give us the recipe, because, frankly, who has the time for it?
I’ll give you instead the recipe for the drink I created last night. A gin fizz kick is providing me with limitless options. Suggestions welcome for unusual additions for my bar.
The drink came at the end of the night and the dinner guests agreed that it conjured an image of a little girl gotten too enthusiastically into mother’s perfume and lipstick. Introducing Mom’s Vanity: equal parts gin and soda water, with cherry syrup, orange blossom water, and fresh lime juice. Really unusual and packs some zing with its punch.