I almost cried when I saw the yellow canopy thingies. Almost.
Ever since I got the book two years ago, I’ve been DREAMING about going to the Zuni Cafe. Incessant begging and whining finally paid off, and for my birthday this year, Husband took me out to lunch at the San Franciscan institution.
Everything about Zuni Cafe is effortless and hip. It doesn’t scream “I have money!” like Los Angeles or Orange County establishments, and it oozes confidence that only an almost-30-year-old restaurant can exude. It’s so San Francisco.
A birthday lunch is not a birthday lunch without some libations. For the Husband: Zuni’s house Balsamic Bloody Mary with Spicy Pepper-Onion Relish (11.50). For me: Prosecco and Elderflower Cocktail (12.25). Both quite awesome.
We already knew that we were going to order Zuni’s famous roast chicken for two, which, by the way, takes an hour to cook. So we ordered a Pizza with “Wagon Wheel” cheese, aged Tuscan pecorino, Sungold tomatoes, red onions, and wild arugula (12.75). So pretty. And tasty. Tangy cheese x sweet tomatoes x spicy onions = beautiful.
Then the Roasted chicken for two with warm Tuscan-style bread salad (48) came. And oh my, the chicken.
Zuni Cafe Chicken, did you know that you’re a legend? Everybody on the interwebs wants your recipe (which is in the book). I’ve made you countless times at home, and although your skin is just as crispy (from three days of salt curing) and the flesh, just as herby (with herbs stuffed under the breast skin), you just can’t beat the smokey aroma from that the beautiful wood fired brick oven just softly envelopes you in. You just can’t. I’m so glad that I got to finally meet you in person, Zuni Cafe Chicken.
We were stuffed, but we just couldn’t leave without dessert. So we had some Kashiwase Farm pluot sorbet (7.5). So pretty, so sweet, so happy.
I’ll be back someday Zuni Cafe, perhaps in the colder season so that I can try some of Judy Rodger’s braises. But until then, I have these photos to remember you by.
Since lunch took an hour and half, we decided to ditch our plans to go the Academy of Sciences, and visited the Conservatory of Flowers instead.
It’s an old Victorian green house that was under renovation until 2003. Sooooo pretty and elegant! Reminds me of this scene from Howl’s Moving Castle.
For 11 bucks, you go through 5 exhibits that display all sorts of rare and exotic flowers.
But my favorite was the aquatic plants exhibit.
Tell me that that’s not awesome. I dare you.
There was a special exhibit on toxic and invasive plants called Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins. Pretty cool! It displayed all these household plants that could possibly kill you. AND they had a live tobacco plant on display. Gnarly.
But wait! There’s more! Outside the conservatory is a ginormous dahlia garden.
If you have to kill an hour or two, if you just like plants and flowers, or if you’re just looking to immerse yourself in some positive green energy… You know where to go now.
1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
100 John F. Kennedy Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118