After we nap, we get dressed for dinner. I am hoping that people get dressed up for dinner in San Francisco. I have always said that where I live in Boulder,Colorado, is the most dressed down city in the country. We are getting dressed up, because that’s just how we roll.
We take a taxi to the restaurant. The traffic in San Fran is just awful. We don’t know it, but this is the last taxi we will take. Who knew there was such a better way?
We get out of the taxi when we arrive, but are not quite sure where the door is. There is not a big sign, or at least not one we saw. Nick Rubbo, the general manager is at the check-in podium and sees us peering in questionably. He waves us in. We give our name and he knows who we are instantly. He tells us that Nicholas is not there yet and our table is not quite ready, as we have arrived a bit before our 9 pm reservation. There is a bar and he takes us to it so we can get a glass of wine while we wait for Nicholas and our table. He asks where we are from and when we say Colorado he asks if we know of a restaurant called Frasca Food and Wine. We tell him it is our very favorite restaurant in the world. He says the owners are good friends. Bobby Stuckey, one of the owners, was the one who told Nicholas about Quince and suggested he apply for a job here.
We look at the wine list to order a couple of glasses of wine. They are not cheap. This is not going to be an inexpensive evening, even with the discount we will get eating with Nicholas.
There are some people eating at the bar. As time goes by in the evening I keep seeing this tower of sweet treats going by and I can’t wait until it is our turn to get that.
Quince is owned by Michael Tusk and at the time we ate there, it had one Michelin star. Right afterwards they were awarded their second Michelin star. It is the first time I have eaten anywhere that had any Michelin stars.
Nicholas calls to find out if we are there. He is outside and I tell him we are at the bar. He comes in and shortly afterwards we are seated in a round booth in a corner. It is a small restaurant and looks old, in a historic way. As it should, being in a historically landmarked building.
Everyone that works there looks very serious. All the servers are dressed in suits and the women all have their hair pulled back in buns. Watching the front of house staff work is like watching an orchestra. It feels almost choreographed. Everyone that works there is very good looking as well. Well, the front of house and at least Nicholas from the back of house. I didn’t get to see any of the other back of house staff. One of our servers is named Anna and we chatted a lot with her. She was very personable.
They have tasting menus that are Italian and French inspired. There is an Autumn tasting menu, a Garden tasting menu and a Quince tasting menu. I ask Nicholas which one we should have and he wants the full experience and chooses the Quince tasting menu. We order the wine pairings to accompany it. The menu shows 9 courses, but there are a few extras in addition.
Nicholas told them it was my birthday, so they personalized the menu. At the end of your meal, they put it in an envelope so you can take it home as a keepsake.
There are a couple Chef’s notes at the bottom.
On the back page there is a place where you can write your own notes about the meal.
First they bring beet and horseradish chips. That sounds so simple, but it is quite the process making them. This is one of the things Nicholas makes. He says he has dreamed about making it.
It is nice to have something to munch on while we look at the menu.
Nicholas looked really good with his new haircut and wearing a suit. All his coworkers commented that he cleaned up nicely.
We were poured glasses of white wine to go with the things we were served before the official menu started. next we were brought the canapés. This is what Nicholas makes.
This is (from left to right) a parsnip bavois and cranberry gel on an oatmeal crisp with a pickled cranberry and parsnip chip on top, a nori (seaweed) crisp with umeboshi puree and micro shiso, a black olive financier with rosemary mascarpone cream and orange confit, a faro and pumpkinseed cracker with red curry squash purée pickled and diced apple and brown butter solids (the descriptions are courtesy of Nicholas – I don’t even know what some of that stuff is). Our server asks Nicholas if he wants to describe the food or if he wants him to and Nicholas says he wants him to, but he makes Nicholas describe the chips and canapés, since he makes those.
The chips are a cabbage chip with espelette pepper and a delicate squash chip with cinnamon and the tart is a ricotta cream with lemon purée and pickled fennel dice and a fennel frond.
This is an amuse bouche that is a panna cotta with elderflower cordial, grapes and a ver juice granita and tarragon.
My taste buds were so excited!
Our first official wine pairing was poured in a black glass so we couldn’t see what it was. It accompanied the caviar, which was served with créme fraiche and edible flowers on a piece of toasted brioche and hollandaise.
The wine was a sparkling wine. We were given the option of having the rest of the wines in a blind glass but we chose to have them in traditional glasses. I like to see the color, especially of the reds.
For the following courses I will just include the name and you can refer to the menu above for the full description.
Carpinteria abalone (this was the only thing I really didn’t like much and Nicholas said he was most excited about eating, so I let him eat mine after I took a couple bites and realized I didn’t like it).
Trofie. I love lobster and this was superb.
Dt Canut Farms Suckling Pig.
Liberty Farm Duck. Duck is another favorite of mine.
Nicholas got the cheese supplement. It was a choice of three cheeses served with cranberry walnut bread. They sent you home with a mini load of the bread. There had been so much food and wine already, I don’t know how Nicholas had room for this. It was a meal in itself. They bring a cart with all the cheeses and they describe them for you as they slice them.
Then the desserts started.
Full Belly Farm Pomegranate.
There was a dessert not on the menu and I can’t remember what it is. I’d had a lot of wine by this point. The pours were generous and at first Zung and I were trying to drink it all. About halfway through we realized that was not going to be possible. Remember, we’d had a full glass of wine at the bar too.
Can you say wasted?
This wasn’t even all of the wines. When we finished a glass, they removed it.
This is the mystery dessert.
French Butter Pear.
In honor of my birthday, they brought an extra dessert. This was a piece of absolutely chocolate heaven deliciousness. It was my favorite of all the desserts.
Oh yea. Remember the tower of sweet treats I had been coveting all night? Ours was finally brought. But I was so full, I just couldn’t eat any more. They happily wrapped them up for us to take back to the hotel.
As we were at the later part of our dinner, Nicholas started telling us about a car service called Uber. You download an app and register your credit card and when you want a car you open the app. It figures out the general area where you are and you show it where you are exactly. It tells you when a car will arrive and you say if you want it to come get you. You can get a black Town car or for a little more, an SUV. The driver doesn’t handle any cash and it’s all charged to your credit card, including the tip. The cars are nice and new. When you request a car you receive a text telling you the name of your driver, with a picture. It is only slightly more than a taxi and during busy times they increase the rates and they let you know how much and ask if you agree to the higher charge. It was awesome and that’s how we traveled around San Fran the rest of the time we were there. I downloaded the app right there and ordered a car. Nicholas came with us and they dropped him at his place first.
We had a really wonderful meal and it was so nice to share it with Nicholas. We are so proud of him, being a part of such a wonderful enterprise. We made a good memory tonight.
I just hoped I’d remember it all in the morning and the memory would not be accompanied by a hangover. Hey, a girl can hope, can’t she?