Friday night.  It’s gray and rainy.  I’ve had two consecutive hellish work weeks, with a possible third looming on the horizon.  I’ve actually even been dreaming about the briefs I’m writing, and I literally cannot think straight anymore.  Solution?  Small plates and good wine at A.O.C to celebrate a friend’s Match Day success.

Cheese plate.  The one in the middle is a triple cream.  Triple creams and I were introduced a couple of years ago and it was love at first bite sight.  Though to be honest, I think I put more into the relationship than the triple cream does.

Speck with apples and arugula.  My friend thought the apples were going to be in the speck.  In her defense, she’d been working for two weeks straight without a day off.  But actually…that would have been awesome.

Arugula, blood orange, manchego, almonds.  One day, I’m going to finally master how to segment citrus fruit so that I can make salads like this.

Ricotta tartine with wild mushrooms and hazelnuts.  I have an unhealthy love for wild mushrooms.  I may be cheating on the triple cream with them.

Grilled chicken, soft polenta, pistachio aillade.  The only other time I’ve had chicken this tender and juicy was my first visit to Chez Panisse (where Suzanne Goin, the chef/owner of A.O.C, once worked) when I was a sophomore in college.  I wore a royal blue skirt that night.  It was swishy.

Hanger steak, horseradish creme fraiche.  I didn’t realize until I got home that all my pictures of the steak were terrible.  Sadness, because it was a fantastic steak.

Squash ravioli, shell beans, pecorino.  Like fancy butternut squash ravioli.

Frozen nougate with candied tangerines, dates, sesame, and pistachios.  The texture was like semifreddo but the dessert as a whole felt like something I should be eating in Greece, staring out at the ocean and getting sunburned.  (Basically, the life I wish I had right now.  Though I did get sunburned last weekend walking around the Third Street Promenade, which is just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean.)

The A.O.C. s’mores.  Housemade graham crackers with chocolate sorbet, bruleed marshmallow (heaven!), and caramel popcorn.

Next Suzanne Goin restaurant to conquer: Lucques.  My tummy is already squirming in anticipation.


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