Monday, August 22, 2011

Bay Area Weekend

My mom is leaving for the Peace Corps today. The how and why are extensive, but you can read more about it here. The last few months have been a whirlwind of packing, getting affairs in order, and preparing to live in Namibia for the next two years. Last weekend I got to spend a few precious days with her in the Bay Area before she left town to say goodbye to friends and family on the other side of the country. I was not quite prepared to eat as much as we did:

With a few hours to kill and a desire to not have to deal with the traffic getting to the Outside Lands Festival, my sister and I decided to explore the "charming" town of South San Francisco. There really isn't much besides the main drag. On it there are various pizza places, grocery stores, and more nail salons than probably people that live there. We decided to stop for appetizers at Ben Tre. We both ordered the Cha Gio (Crispy Imperial Egg Rolls) that were stuffed with ground pork, carrot, taro, onion, and mushrooms. It was just enough food to power us until the party.

Cha Gio (Crispy Imperial Egg Rolls) at Ben Tre

We danced the night away on Saturday night. In order to make up for calories lost, we had a decadent breakfast at an unassuming little spot in Protero Hill called Axis Cafe. Honestly, you would not be able to tell it was a restaurant if you were standing outside since it looks like an industrial warehouse, but the backyard garden was the perfect place to eat and converse. My housemade biscuits with corn gravy, calabrese sausage, fava beans, and scrambled eggs was beyond decadent. I couldn't finish it.

Biscuits and Gravy at Axis Cafe

However, I was able to get a bite of my mom's egg-in-a-hole with fennel sausage, hen of the wood mushrooms, and heirloom tomatoes.

Egg-In-The-Hole at Axis Cafe

My sister also let me sneak a bite of her steak, caramelized onion, spinach and cheddar scramble. I hope to go back the next time I'm in town.

Steak, Cheddar, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Scramble at Axis Cafe

After such a big brunch, I thought I would be full for the rest of the day. But there was more eating to be done. My mom's good friends took us out for an early dinner that ended up last over three hours. Despite living in the area for years, I only ever visited Blackhawk Grille once during high school. I was excited to check out the longstanding restaurant.

We started with crab cakes for everyone.  Perfectly crisp on the outside and full of sweet crab on the inside. I'm glad we didn't have to share.

Crabcake at Blackhawk Grille

Boursin cheese fondue with seared beef tips, mushrooms, and brocolini. Hello lover! The beef was so tender and the brocolini helped keep the decadent dish feeling fresh.

Boursin Cheese Fondue

My penne with chicken, bacon, and arugula wasn't everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, but by this point, I was so full, I couldn't eat much anyway. Everyone else at the table ordered the paella.

Penne with Chicken, Bacon, and Arugula

But we still had dessert. Frozen chocolate mousse was a little too frozen and really seemed more like chocolate ice cream with crust, but the crust was fantastic. My mom had the strawberry shortcake.

Frozen Chocolate Mousse at Blackhawk Grille

Strawberry Shortcake at Blackhawk Grille

With all the food and two bottles of Franciscan 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, it was a good thing that we were staying so close. I practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant. It was a wonderful weekend that went by too quickly. I'm going to miss my mom, but perhaps in five months you'll be reading about my adventures after a Namibian vacation.

Ben Tre
219 Grand Ave.
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 952-2243

Axis Cafe
1201 8th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 437-2929

Blackhawk Grille
3540 Blackhawk Plaza Circle
Danville, CA 94506
(925) 736-4295

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Erica said...

Wow! How awesome is your mom? Glad you got to spend time with her before her departure. So many yummy dishes! Want the eggs in the hole and the crab cake

Joanne said...

Your mom is super cool! It's awesome that she's doing such a crazy exciting thing! And it sounds like you sent her off with a well-fed belly! Everything looks delicious.

vanillasugarblog said...

so so so jealous of all these eats you get to go too.
i know i say it all the time, but i miss cali.
i'm trying to save up for a trip out there this winter. i want to stay with you LOL we can go eat and i'll take your surfing.

Memória said...

Wow. I'm so happy for your mom!!! I should tell my mom about joining the Peace Corps. I read the article about your mom; that is fantastic! I'm so proud of her, and I'm sure you are too. The food, as always, looks delicious!

Banana Wonder said...

Mmm what goods times in SF. That is exciting that your mom is going off to the Peace Corp. IMy mom was supposed to go to the Peace Corp in Africa but then she got engaged to her Astronomy TA at UC Santa Cruz so canceled, then he dumped her and then she met and got with my dad on a rebound so I'm glad she didn;t end up going. I'm sure you will miss her though.

I m going to Sf in a few weeks for a girls weekend... mmm i will come hungry for sure!

The Duo Dishes said...

Agreed that your mom is embarking on a cool and wonderful adventure! Now you have another reason to hop on a plane and visit a new country. :)

Olga said...

would SO choose egg in a hole. Everything looks great though. Wishing your mom an unbelievably amazing adventure. said...

Wow! Your Mom is so cool! I want to visit too!

Esi said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words about my mom. She is an amazing lady :)

susan said...

what a great way to send your mom off on a wonderful journey.