Day 3 in the Bay: The Mission – a night at Bar Tartine

This has nothing to do with the Mission, but how cool is it that San Francisco collects composting?

One of my oldest friends in the world owns a law firm in San Francisco that specializes in maximizing marital bliss was game to have dinner on my third night.  He is mighty picky and wasn’t into the several recs I put forward from reputable sources (like Mr. Quient, Mr. Cadelago, and my wife). So after much deliberation we met up in the Mission near 16th and Valencia. A word about The Mission.  It’s funky and diverse and a little edgy, all in good ways. It’s also a hipster haven, remarkably dirty, and out of the way if you are in for a downtown conference–not in good ways. But whatever, as Bernard Tyson-the President & COO of Kaiser- would say the following day, the glass is half full AND half empty.  I prefer to focus on the positives, though if im gonna paint a full picture I ought to include the sidewalk cracks with the sunshine, right?

Moving right along.  Since I was early I went trolling for a spot with legit craft beer. First stop had a speakeasy sign in the window and looked divy enough to have something good. The very pleasant bartender came over and hit me with “Blue Moon, Stella, Bud, Bud Li–” I get it, wrong stop for me. I was nice about it, but left quick. I wont begrudge a spot for selling the stuff, but I will take every chance to support small brewers.  Then I did a quick taphunter check, but my phone (an HTC EVO, in case you are wondering) stinks and wouldn’t load, so I just asked the tattoo parlor people who were closing up. “Monks Kettle around the corner is the place for you.” And with that I was off.

Happily at The Monk’s Kettle I was subjected to many consumers of San Diego craft beer, a very knowledgeable bartender and a few new options.   One Maiden the Hand and a Dogfish Punkin Ale later we were on the move again. This time to an Eastern European place called Bar Tartine. Started with some pickled cabbage and smoked salmon with fennel. Followed by a lamb stew, which I’d love to describe in greater detail but I haven’t figured out how to upload the photo I took of the menu that details all the fresh, local ingredients used to pull off this little bit of delicious. The description doesn’t really do the dish justice anyway, but this photo does.

It really was an amazing lamb stew

Imagine that I was a really good food photographer like my friend Bryan (or my Bay area friend’s girlfrind whose website I don’t know), and you’d really see how perfect this dish looked.  It tasted even better.  t was the best food item I had on my trip. Lots of different flavors that were both distinct and complementary. A nice, if somewhat pricey dish.  I don’t know if Eater San Francisco has featured this place, but if not, it should really get in on the action.  The food was great and somehow despite being crowded when we arrived it wasn’t so loud we had to scream over eachother.

Spending a nice bit of time with my oldest friend and his new girlfriend, I was thrilled to combine a new restaurant with great conversation. Shouldn’t every restaurant be a combination of food enjoyment and a backdrop for sharing life with people you care about? After Bar Tartine it was time to head back to the hotel and get a bit of work done. San Francisco delivered tonight.

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