It was a peculiar moment in San Francisco when my online life met my real life.
Thanks to a visit with our friend Steve who works there, I was at Twitter headquarters, writing on Twitter about being at Twitter.
It cracked me up to see a giant sign at the cafeteria: #comfort.
(The bus tubs had signs too: #mugs, #tumblers, #plates. You know, like you do.)
As much as the ubiquity of hashtags on throw pillows and conference rooms cracked me up, I loved the food labeling signs at the Twitter cafeteria. Now this is specific. (I like the “well-being” label, food that matches that month’s featured nutrition topic.) And I have to say I appreciate the “Made Without Gluten” label as well. It’s not gluten-free. It’s made without gluten ingredients. That means take care and have a lot of conversations about the protocol in making the food. (Steve says he has eaten safely at that cafeteria, that the cooks have taken care of him well.)
We were back from Napa, on our way to Oakland for a potluck at Mariposa Baking Company. Back in 2007, Danny and I made an appearance at their bakery for my first book, Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too. How much has changed since we were there last? In our lives — a lot. And for the bakery? It has expanded into more spaciousness. And the bakery’s founder, Patti Furrey Crane, has figured out how to make good gluten-free ham and cheese croissants.
These disappeared fast.
It was a great gathering of happy people and several tables full of food. Kids ran around the room, chasing each other, then stopping for cupcakes. We met old friends and new friends from our time in Italy in September and people we had never met before. Best yet, we had the chance to ask people about food from the Bay Area. (I was pretty happy to see that asparagus and the roasted sweet potato salad with pomegranate seeds.) This was one happy celebration.
We were happy that the folks who run the company Fork in the Road brought some of their deli meats to the party. Sustainably raised beef, heirloom pork, and free-roaming chickens raised on small family make some truly tasty luncheon meats. (They’re also gluten-free, of course.) Look for these at a store near you.
It was a good night.
The next day, after spending the night and long morning with our friends in their sunny kitchen, we drove back into San Francisco. “Turn left at Castro,” the GPS told us. So we did.
We were on Castro to meet a clutch of friends at a private potluck at Contigo, our favorite restaurant in San Francisco. Brett and Elan, thank you for your hospitality. It was joy to be in your restaurant during prep for dinner service, talking and laughing with friends while we stood around this table of food.
After years of waiting, Lucy and Tilden finally had the chance to meet, on a red-checked blanket, in the sunlit room of Contigo.
Thank you to our friend, Sean Timberlake, who runs Punk Domestics, for bringing this spread of homemade pickles and relishes.
This was a representation of the food of the Bay Area —— a tremendous diversity of Asian-style ribs, Catalan cuisine, Vietnamese beef, lots of fresh vegetables, homemade barbecue sauce made with ingredients grown or made only in the Bay Area, broccolini with tahnini-tamari sauce, whole-grain cereals, homemade breads, and a fascinating array of kimchi, bread and butter pickles, and pickled tomatoes and cherries.
I could never grow bored eating in the Bay Area.
This piece is part of our ongoing American potluck road trip series, where we travel around the country, eating great food, meeting farmers and chefs, and meeting people where they live. We know that not everyone can afford to stay at inns in Napa or visit gluten-free bakeries in Oakland. Heck, we can’t do it very often either. But we’re sharing our adventures here so everyone reading can know: it can be a good life, gluten-free. We hope our adventures give you recommendations for places to stay and eat, should you travel here. And we hope we inspire you to explore your corner of the world too.
We’d like to send out a huge acknowledgment and thank you to Erewhon Organic for sponsoring this California tour. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to meet you and gather material for our next cookbook. Erewhon Organic makes some of our favorite foods in the world, including their new quinoa-chia cereal and their buckwheat-hemp cereal, which was our favorite breakfast on this tour. They do things right.