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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sausalito's fun French restaurant: Fast Food Francais

This was a night of fun and food I'll never forget. Upon my arrival back to CA, following my soon to be blogged four week cross country road trip in my micro-camper The Glampette, I was invited by PR company Wagstaff Worldwide to attend a media dinner at "Fast Food Francais" also known as F3 for short.

Located just a hop up to San Francisco, a skip over the Golden Gate Bridge, and a jump to Sausalito. The ambiance was chic casual, the food (a fusion of classic American dishes interpreted using impeccable ingredients and a fun French flair) was PHENOMENAL, and the company simply couldn't have been better.


The "fast" in their name refers to how long it took me to fall in love with F3. It happened almost immediately. I am now a huge fan of F3. The staff was extremely professional and our server very knowledgable. She was able to answer all of our questions about the food and libations. And believe me, we had plenty of questions!

No sooner did we arrive, what became a three hour, two cocktail, 18 dish extravaganza began!

Cocktails $10
Left: F3 - Grey Goose/Lillet/Aperol/Fresh Squeezed Orange/Agave
Right: La Vie En Rose - Pomgranate/Junipero Gin/Cointreau/Champagne/ Mint

As we perused the menu an F3 cocktail appeared before me. I'd never had Grey Goose vodka before. The drink was very light, not sweet at all, with just a hint of a bitter flavor that made it refreshing. Others at the table did find it to be sweet but you know me and my love of super sweet dessert wines. Comparatively speaking, the F3 wasn't sweet to me but I could only compare it to the ice wines, moscatos, botrytis, and late harvest wines that taste like sunshine, honey, and happiness in a bottle.

The La Vie En Rose was also not sweet (to me) but it had a slightly sour flavor, which I loved. Anything with a little sour bite to it, vinegar, pickles, and citrus fruits I usually enjoy immensely.

The food began arriving before we even had a chance to think about what we wanted to order. I photographed everything including a few dishes I didn't try. Photographing in any restaurant at night is challenging, but I was fortunate to have arrived early enough to choose a seat with good lighting on the table right in front of me. The food, while presented casually, was so beautiful and photogenic I was filled with glee at the shots I was able to capture to share with you.

POTATO SKINS
Yukon Gold Potatoes/ Steelhead Caviar/ Crème Fraîche/ Treviso Relish $10

This was one of my favorite dishes the entire night. I love caviar and had never tried steelhead caviar before. There's something so bright about the flavor of caviar that always makes me feel like I'm tasting a very pure reflection of the water the fish lived in.

PORK & BEANS
Spare Ribs/ Mustard BBQ/ Emergo Beans $10

Though I don't normally eat pork anymore, I have made exceptions this summer. Motivated mostly by my time on the road and not wanting to put a host or hostess out to make special dietary accommodations for the way I choose to eat. So, I think I'd had pork three times this year, and that night I had it a fourth time. And it was delicious. The meat was literally the most tender I'd ever had. It was the epitome of falling off the bone. The mustard BBQ sauce was wonderful, not a super sweet, or heavy, spice laden glaze. F3's mustard BBQ sauce is sweet, but delicate with the spices and flavors you expect but nuances that give it more depth than a typical BBQ sauce.

CHEESE & CRACKERS
Marinated House-Made Chèvre/ Grilled Batard $10

Simple and classic components made for one of the most delightful dishes we were served that evening. A small jar filled with brilliant green olive oil surrounding a round of house-made goat cheese.


And a close up because it was so beautiful.

CA “FOIE GRAS”
House-Made Chicken Liver Mousse/ Cornichon/ Golden Raisins $10

Years ago, decades, I'd tried pate at a friend's house one evening. And loved it. I hadn't had it since. I did try it at F3. A little bit of everything onto a bit of grilled bread and though it may have been a little gauche, I even snuck some of the chevre from the cheese plate on as well. It was fantastic!

FRIED ZUCCHINI
Fried Sucrene De Berry Squash/Pomegranate/ Saba/ Chervil/Pecorino $10

I can't say I've had fried squash blossoms often. In fact, this was only the second time I'd tried them. This time they were completely unlike the typical way they're usually presented. Those around the table much more knowledgable than I also commented they'd never seen them prepared this way. Instead of a large, recognizable blossom, they were more like squash blossom chips. Very tasty.

POPCORN SHRIMP
Wild Rock Shrimp/ Lemon Chips/ Harissa Aioli $12

This was one dish I had to pass on because I'm allergic to shellfish and mollusks. But it looked very good and those who sampled it near me enjoyed the popcorn shrimp. I should have asked someone to describe it so I could write something more astute than that I'm allergic. But honestly, my mind was so blissed out it was hard to think straight.

FISH STICKS
Smoked Haddock Croquettes/ Frisée Salade/ Fennel/ Cara Cara Oranges $12

When I saw smoked haddock croquettes on the menu I was intrigued. When they appeared at the table my mouth started watering. By then I realized it was best to sample each bite with everything else on the plate so a little orange, a little endive and a bite of croquette and wow, was I happy. Immediately I tasted the fennel sprinkled atop the orange slice. The smokey flavor in the haddock reminded me of the smoked fish my mom used to make but completely different as I don't think I've ever tried haddock before. I will definitely order this again on a future visit.

Bac-Os
Bloomsdale Spinach/ Fuyu Persimmons/ Brillat-Savarin/ Crispy House Cured Duck Ham/ Toasted Almonds/ Sherry Dressing $11

The only dish besides the popcorn shrimp I didn't try. I wish I had but I was just getting altogether too full. The thing is, I love spinach and even more I love Brillat-Savarin cheese. I've even blogged about it once before.

LES BURGERS

Top: Quack - Duck Confit/ Black Pepper Chèvre/ Red Onion Marmalade/ Butter Lettuce $13

Left: Luxe - Diestel Turkey/ Brie/ Fried Egg/ Truffle Aioli/ Butter Lettuce $12

Right: Filet-O-Fish - Wild Salmon/ House Cured Salmon/ Fried Capers/ Tomato/ Celery Remoulade $15

The entrees at F3 are all burgers and sandwiches. A few I photographed are pictured above. There are also four beef burgers and a lamb burger.

Herbivore
French Lentils/ Jasmine Rice/ Ras el Hanout/ Yogurt/ Apple Compote/ Frisée $9

The one I'd order again would be the vegetarian Herbivore. It was fantastic! I'm thinking in the future I might need to make lentil sloppy joes to enjoy the flavor profile until I make it back up to Sausalito. It had that salty-sweet thing going on with the sweetness of the apple compote and the savoriness of the lentils. Definitely a winner.

A COTE

Top: Fries/ Cantal -CHEESE FRIES - $6

Left: Pommes Dauphines -TATER TOTS- $6

Right: F3 - Brussels Sprout Chips

Along with our burgers and sandwiches we were treated to cheese fries, fried Brussels sprout chips, and tater tots. The tater tots were a surprise. They reminded me of the decadent, twice baked, mascarpone cream mashed potatoes I make each year for Thanksgiving, but rolled into egg shapes, and deep fried.

F3
Pommes Dauphines/ Kennebeck House-Cut Fries/ Brussels Sprout Chips $8

There's also a trio you can order so you can sample more than one choice with your burger.

By then I was so full I was done. I couldn't even finish my burger. I was so happy and full of delicious food it didn't even dawn on me there could possibly be more to come. But there was. We were served the entire dessert menu!

Dessert

Top: Apple CrumbleBourbon Glazed Pippin Apples/ Dried Cranberries/ Steel Cut Oat Crumble/ Fleur de Sel $7

Left: Pumpkin PieSugar Pie Pumpkin/ Cara Cara Orange/ Citrus Whipped Cream/ Toasted Walnuts $6

Right: JELL-O PuddingValhrona Chocolate Mousse/ Crème Fraîche $4

Everything was delicious. The moment I tasted the pumpkin pie I knew it was a Sugar Pie Pumpkin. I baked a pie from scratch one year using one. The flavor is so light and fresh I could tell immediately the pumpkin filling was from scratch. But of course.

Ice Cream Sandwich 
Sable Bretons/ Caramel au Beurre Salée/ Three Twins Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream $6

As good as the other desserts were this is the one that stole my heart. That puddle of caramel? That is a puddle of pure heaven. I must confess, I didn't even try to be polite and let other people enjoy the caramel. I ate half the ice cream and as much caramel sauce as I could the moment others hesitated. LOL. This dessert was so good when I return I will order it as my appetizer because you know I believe in having dessert first when I'm not too full from my meal and can truly savor and enjoy every bite.

415-887-9741 - Delivery

When I visited Paris back in 2000 I still recall the huge grin the waiter at the first restaurant I dined at had when he saw I'd cleaned my plate. As the week went on I realized that this must be a sincere compliment because restaurant after restaurant the waiters would smile and looked so pleased that I would finish every course of the three course, prix fixed menus.

In the tradition of my love affair with French food the same could be said about my experience at F3. When, not if, I go back I already know there won't be a morsel or crumb left on my plate.

Here's all you need to know to enjoy a meal at F3:

F3 | Fast Food Français - website and on Fast Food Francias - F3 on Urbanspoon
39 Caledonia Street
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-887-9047


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