I was very pleased that it was what I call "icecream weather" around my birthday. My grandmother Alice, may her memory be eternal, was quite the traditionalist about birthdays and would get annoyed if there wasn't cake and icecream. I don't think I had any cake, but I had a lot of other goodies, and my parents gave me a cupcake cookbook for my birthday.
It was a festive foodie week. The fabulous cat_herder took me out for a very nice dinner at Eccolo on Fourth Street. I recommend it to locals for your special occasion dining, because everything I had there (E and I swapped bites) was not only good, but OH MY GOD THIS IS GOOD. I had eaten in that space many times when it was Ginger Island (RIP), but hadn't known the glass roof actually retracts! I still miss GI's Spicy Ginger Bloody Mary (a very revivifying cocktail) but can report that Eccolo's specialty cocktails are very, very good. I had a Negroni, even though I don't normally care much for gin; it *was* gin weather*, and I do enjoy Campari.
* at least 80 F
We went to Ici for dessert, making it the second time in two days I was there. E had one of the specialty ice cream sandwiches, and I had a creme fraiche with pralines. Had a sample spoon first and got that "Oh my GOD this is good" face, no doubt. It was much better than the icecream I had there the day before (a boysenberry-peach double cone - the peach was "meh", the boysenberry was better but not spectacular, although it would have tasted better with vanilla).
The lovely and charming cat_herder also gifted me with her TOTALLY AMAZING PARKING KARMA (seriously, for those of you who don't know her, it's one of her superpowers - we had parked as close as legally possible at both dinner and dessert). On Friday morning, I toodled off to the Mission District in search of, you guessed it, more icecream. I had debated "BART or drive?" and came down in favor of the car, the better to transport perishables home in. And I got a parking spot right across the street from Mission Dolores. RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. Non-metered. And shaded. TRIPLE WIN.
I walked around the Mission (with an embarrassingly flapping shoe ... I finally took it off inside), then headed off to Tartine, which I had never been to despite hearing much about it. The line was long, which gave me time to study the menu. I ordered my items, and since there was a table available outside (some inside, too, which I am told is rare!), I flopped myself down and ate the eclair I had just bought. It was truly wonderful. I thought of my grandmother Ruth, whose 95th birthday would have been on Friday, and who liked doing fancy pastries for holidays. Including eclairs. I'm tearing up thinking about it now, seriously.
After I was able to scrape myself off the chair (seriously, I was glad I was sitting down to eat that), I walked the half-block up to Bi-Rite Creamery. I had heard from about three people in a week (elissaann, my pal Sam who blogs at becksposhnosh, and our fellow foodblogger Joy) about the amazingness of their salted caramel icecream. Now I am a big, big, big fan of anything caramel, but I will have to admit that I have tried the famous Michael Recchuti caramels with fleur de sel and was not duly impressed. They were ok, but they didn't blow my hair back. So I was a skeptic. But at good icecream joints like this ... you can try before you buy. I had one bite and, once again, my jaw dropped with the goodness. I then asked for a sample of the honey lavendar. Again, amazing. (Ici was out on Thursday, or I would have tried theirs.) I was chatting with the counter guy because I was, for a while, the only person in the shop; eventually I decided on a single caramel cone, and pints to go of the caramel and lavendar. He comped me an extra scoop for the birthday thing, which was nice.
So I walked back to the Mission in sweet-and-salty bliss. I harshed my mellow somewhat by driving down Market Street to 1st (during lunch - ergh), but had some protein, and a nice nap, when I got home.
I spent most of Saturday feeding other people, and most of Sunday resting my tired feet up, but I'm working on getting back into the routine thing. ;)