Once in a while I feel the need for a cultural bath and that’s why last Thursday morning I drove to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco to immerse myself in an exhibition called Impressionists on the Water.
We are talking of course about that old gang: Monet, Caillebotte, Renoir, Pissarro, etc.
Most of the people are familiar with these artists but far fewer know about Gustave Caillebotte, and he just happens to be one of my favorite Impressionists.
His lesser fame might due to the fact that besides painting, Caillebote had another consuming passion: sailing.
He ceased painting in his mid-thirties and devoted himself almost exclusively to gardening, building and racing yachts.
He unfortunately died at 45 of a pulmonary congestion and that might explain his relative obscurity.
Nevertheless, I love his paintings and I particularly like “Paris Street, Rainy Day” that renders especially well the gloomy atmosphere of the French capital on a wet winter day.
After our cultural interlude we felt the need for a more down to earth kind of pleasure and we drove to the Baker Street Bistro for a little nourishment.
I had not been there since it was sold a few years ago and I didn’t know what to expect.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, we managed to secure a table outside in front of the establishment, and on this sunny autumn day it felt particularly pleasant.
The food proved to be above expectations.
Since I am fond of « cochonnaille » I started with a « Assiette Charcutière » (pâté de campagne, dry saucisson, smoked duck breast, garlic sausage, cornichons & onions) and it proved an excellent choice. I particularly appreciated the “pâté de champagne”.
Next, I went for the Moules Provençale (mussels, white wine, shallots, parsley, tomato and pesto).
The mussels were plump and juicy but what made this classic dish particularly tasty was the addition of some pesto.
Next time you prepare some “moules” at home, try to add a little pesto to the broth; you will be pleasantly surprised.
Tamara picked the Navarin d’Agneau Printanier (lamb stew with zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots) and by the way it disappeared from her plate I could tell that it was to her liking.
Our French-speaking waitress whose name was Chantal did an excellent job despite the fact that she was shorthanded.
Service could have been a little speedier, but this is the only hiccup to an otherwise perfect lunch.
I am pretty sure that if you go there for dinner you won’t have this problem.
If you are in San Francisco and you start feeling some hunger pangs, head for the Baker Street Bistro (2953 Baker Street) and give it a try.
You will like it.
Alain La Foudre