Comfort in Bones

Vertebrate Street

After a rather tough month-long contract job, it was nice to be back in the city with an old friend for “Bones – 20th Street Corridor Crawl,” sponsored by Meatpaper magazine in the Mission a few weeks ago.

Wendy and I would often catch up during these events put together by the magazine, which were held in SFMOMA until last year.  Organizers decided to find other venues and, judging from this event, more creative ways to promote its mission as an art and meat culture journal.  The crawl deftly accomplished this goal, seamlessly weaving themes into an interactive performance art with its participants.  The 20th Street corridor south of Mission is rather industrial, dotted with small art galleries and restaurants, not the least of which include Flour + water.  So it made perfect sense.  Personally it gave me an opportunity to re-discover the Mission as an eating destination and to witness the “hipster” trend developing in the predominantly Latino enclave.

Nouvelle Art: A Dessert

Wendy and I started on Alabama Street at the soon-to-open Salumeria for the oxtail bone marrow and rabe arancini, delicate and lovely deep-fried risotto balls with a horseradish fonduta.   We worked our way up to Kadist Foundation on Folsom for Leah Rosenberg’s twist on dessert, gelatin layers of parsnips, carrots, beet and celery with a potent ginger root-beer cocktail.  It was a tight squeeze into Meatpaper/Rebar on Shotwell for Danish sandwiches from Bar Tartine.  As soon as Wendy and I had our nibble of pig’s ear, we headed toward Mission for David Wilson’s garage where a hot aluminum cauldron of soothing broth from 50 pounds of bones channeled the most basic form of cooking from a communal pot under a more-than-toasty fire.

After we had our fill of tastings, Wendy and I cooled our heels in a Japanese restaurant on Mission between 20th and 21st called Nombe, where I had grilled whole squid and eggplant and Wendy ordered egg custard with umi, a delightful savory dessert or palate cleanser to end our night out.  Despite our unique culinary excursion, Latin America is still the heart of the Mission, where, even on a late rainy evening, one could still grab a quick and tasty grub of dogs or sausages with sautéed peppers and onions from the makeshift flat-top of an undeterred street vendor.