It was also the scene of a great lunch with Linda Hylen, Director of Events of the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the top of the Merchants Exchange in SF's Fidi (Financial District). Linda had invited my friend Carl Mindling and I to lunch to catch up, something we appreciate immensely because she's always fun to talk to, is very supportive of the wedding and event industry, and she's a very busy person.
Lunch began with some nice ciabatta bread. I love ciabatta but used all of my restraint not to eat it because I didn't want to be so full of bread I couldn't eat my lunch when it arrived. It was a good call because there were so many things to try!
Roasted Carrots with hazelnut brown butter, sage, and lemon ($8.00)
As it turned out the Roasted Heirloom Carrots were my favorite side dish that day. Who knew carrots could ever taste so good? I think Linda took two for herself then split the rest of the order between Carl and I. At first I protested it was too much but one bite in and I was thinking I could have eaten the entire plate. The sweetness of the carrots and the hazelnut brown butter were perfectly balanced. I really want to learn how to make slow roasted vegetables like this.
Castelvetrano, Leccino and Cerignola olives ($6.00)
Named after a town in Italy, when it comes to bright green Cerignola olives I'm not sure which I like better: The way they taste or the way they look. There's something so appealing about food so pretty just looking at it makes your mouth water. They are large, tasty, colorful olives that help to dress up any antipasto whether served alone or on a tray filled with charcuterie and cheeses.
Tuna Conserva Salad with Calabrian chilies, cannellini beans, endive and upland greens ($14.00)
For my lunch entree I ordered the Tuna Conserva Salad. I don't normally eat tuna but this was unlike any tuna I've ever had before. It doesn't come from a can. Tuna conserva is fresh fish that is carefully poached leaving it cooked but very tender and flavorful. With a sublime dressing mixed with a small amount of greens and plenty of tender and tasty cannellini beans it was a large but not too heavy meal. I would definitely order this salad again.
Rainbow Chard with pine nuts and currants ($7.00)
We also had the sauteed rainbow chard. While tasty I'll confess well cooked greens are not my favorite presentation. Lightly sauteed or even raw allows so much more flavor and texture to shine through, but that's just me. If you enjoy cooked greens you'll probably really enjoy this dish.
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Cake with vanilla crema ($8.00)
There were three desserts on the menu that day and we had two of them. My favorite was the Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Cake. If you love milk chocolate (I'm not really a fan but this was very good) I think you'll love this petite cake. It tasted like a Toblerone bar baked into a very light cake. It had a molten center and I'm pretty certain I ate more than half of it but Linda and Carl were too polite to stop me :D
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Huckleberries ($8.00)
We also had the Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with huckleberries. Had the warm chocolate cake not been sitting beside it I would have loved it. But, in my world panna cotta is up against some tough competition when it's competing against chocolate for my affection. The texture was silky smooth and the flavors sweet and natural. It came in a very close second place.
Thank you so much for your time and lunch Linda! The pleasure was definitely ours.
Credo - website
360 Pine Street (at Montgomery)
San Francisco, CA 94104
Parking: We parked just two blocks away in the (valet serviced) St. Mary's Square Garage at 433 Kearny Street.