In the effort to avoid parking disasters, I usually avoid Hayes Valley for dinner despite the many offerings they have. I have to admit that I like going home accessory shopping there (Plantation Home) more than eating there, as the lure of Fritjz is not quite enough for me. What can I say, I was raised on skinny fries. If that makes me a cavewoman, so be it.
However, in reuniting with a good friend and really, my part-time therapist, we decided to give Bar Jules a shot, since it’s a good in-between for me (north) and her (east).
I was so enticed by the poached egg in garlic broth and the anchovies on crostini (although really really big crostinis), but got stuck with the little gem salad in green goddess dressing. Not that it wasn’t good, it’s just that my palate and my pregnancy disagree with each other and it seems the pregnancy usually wins out. But you know, really, a salad is a salad. And while it was delicious, with a dressing so creamy it hung out on my tongue like it was waiting for the bus after every bite, I was bummed to have a salad and even more bummed that I had to cut up all the leaves myself (pregnancy also brings on small bouts of laziness, for those of you who didn’t know). We accompanied our appetizers with a serving of asparagus, in season, picked right off the…tree…vine…bush…ground…whatever, it was fresh and delicious (I did warn you guys I’m no expert, just a hungry mouth). It had a heap of toasted crumbs (truly, for lack of a better word), but wonderful little fried capers hiding in the midst that I tried not to greedily scoop up with my fork and knife.
Shockingly, because this is usually a no-no for me, we both got the same entree. Scallops. And crap, for the life of me, I can’t remember what else those scallops were served with — that is unbelievable, wow. Just stop being friends with me now. In any event, it was good. Hmmm…I must have been lost in our conversation, being there with a friend of over 15 years and having a lot to catch up on…I know, I’m a bad foodie, but at least I avoided ending this sentence with a dangling preposition by using the ellipses!
Ended the meal with a panna cotta that was delicious, but nothing that warrants me drooling here with praise. And yes, I had wine. Just one glass, but it was a Pinot from Willamette, and you know I couldn’t resist. Hey, hey, second trimester here folks! Back away with the pitchforks, a lot of the important development already occurred! Oh wait, the mint tea. I don’t usually go ga-ga over tea, but this tea was seriously stuffed to the brim with mint and was such a glorious ending to a good meal.
The neighborhood vibe here is laid back and cool, but not so hip that you feel like maybe you should have worn different shoes. You can eat at the bar, where the staff has incredible street cool (I liked our server in particular, with her cute plaid shirt and side-swooped hair that harked me back to the 80′s). The food is fresh, clean-tasting, and really, a shout-out to eating fresh ingredients in simple, but stunning ways.
On top of it, I got to recall the days of college, when my gal pal and I were both idealistic nuts, her wanting a career, man, and family, and me just wanting to graduate with honors and to be some bleeding heart lawyer. Life has a funny way of flipping you upside down, though, and while I got the honors, I am now up to my knees in children (literally, since the tallest one is still only 3′), and she is working through a new life, a new location, new career and, ahem, a new man as well. I’m just glad that San Francisco was her next life pit stop.
Bauer’s two cents here.