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Comfort Food - Issue #10: Not all bacon is good bacon. . .

Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy
Mozzarella sticks… but make ‘em fancy

Radish and his Colombo-ne momentarily back in SF
Radish and his Colombo-ne momentarily back in SF
We headed back to San Francisco for a few days for a Chairman Mom board meeting. I break out into hives at the idea of board meetings, going back to my Pando days when they were always incredible stressful. But I keep reminding myself that was a company ago. Life is different now. I’m better at my job. I am no longer building a journalism company. And we had a bunch of good news to report.
This pavlovian response of dread was nicely countered by giving me an excuse to go home to San Francisco just for a few days!
Andrea and I went to Flour and Water Pizzeria. It’s not as fancy as the other F+W but I was super excited about the beginning and the end of the meal.
Fancy mozzarella sticks and fancy soft serve for dessert.
Paul and I went there with the Horniks a few months ago and got three orders of mozzarella sticks. They honestly don’t taste that elevated, they are just a good version of the classic. Andrea and I just had one order, and we had to get our soft serve to go because they needed the table. It was a nice melty treat walking home. We shared a burrata salad and an heirloom tomato pie. What can I say? As delicious as you’d expect.
I love that San Francisco has the fewest kids per capita of any major US city, so the chefs just elevate kid food for all of us, I guess. It’s appropriate for the Peter Pan-esque nature of SF. I’ve also had fancy chicken nuggets in the Mission (Trick Dog’s are so good!) and for a long time everyone’s been doing fancy mac n cheese.
Oooooh! You know what I’d like? A fancy corn dog! When I was pregnant I used to go to the mall in Stonestown for cheese on a stick. I know that sounds like a mozzarella stick, but it’s a whole different kind of fried cheese.
That reminds me of a third kind of delicious fried cheese in SF! Hotel Utah used to have a sandwich with fried provolone. As in: The cheese is fried and then put on the sandwich, not a regular grilled cheese.
Delicious. Maybe I’ll make that for dinner.
Anyway, fancy soft serve has been sweeping the city, and I’m here for it…at least when I have a meeting that lets me fly up to SF to actually be there for it. In Palm Springs, our margarita machine also can make soft serve, and I’m excited for some inspiration as well.
Did I tell you the first batch of drinks we made in the machine was awesome?
I made the girls’ strawberry daiquiris with loads of fresh strawberries and lime juice and sprite. I poured in a ton of water, because I figured normally you blend things with ice. But the dual chamber commercial grade marg’ machine, just freezes and mixes on its own no ice required.
I made margaritas for me and the neighbors in the other chamber. It was decidedly less custom: The Tres Agave mix with tequila.
Both delicious. They were so frozen that they were hard to pour, but that meant they held up beautifully, even in the Palm Springs summer heat. They didn’t do that annoying thing where the mix breaks down and separates as it thaws. Leftovers kept in the freezer well too. (Which is good because even I can’t drink a whole chamber of margaritas in one night.)
Since I’m the only one in the house who drinks, next time I’m going to make it all without alcohol and pour in a shot, or not!
Eli wants me to make a non-alcoholic Froze for her next. How would I even do that? Strawberry Fanta? Fruit? If you’ve got ideas lmk. Sort of line a blended sangria without the wine?
Meantime, what I’ve been eating …
1501 Uptown Gastropub
I see this place on Open Table a lot in Palm Springs and it looks nice enough, but I’ve been burned by a lot of places that look nice enough on Open Table in Palm Springs and wind up being a waste of money and calories. Not terrible, but not great either.
(And what do you actually call it casually in conversation? 1501 Uptown Gastropub is both nondescript and too specific at the same time.)
Paul and I were on a long walk last weekend (before it got back up over 110 degrees…) and we wanted to stop somewhere to eat, about the time we reached 1501 Uptown Gastropub. The patio looked inviting, so we decided to give it a shot.
It was surprisingly great! It was brunch time, and Paul got some sort of benedict that he said quality-wise was every bit as good as the Ace, which is our fav breakfast place here. (I’m dubious but didn’t try it!)
I wasn’t super into the eggy options. I’d already gone on a long run and then a long walk, and it was hot. It seemed like I’d done too much already to have eggs. So I settled on a bagel and cream cheese and some bacon and a Bloody Mary.
I was not expecting much.
Side note: I almost always pull together sides when I want breakfast out. The menu never has the right collection of things. Or it’s too many things. My kids do the same thing.
I used to be like “Oh buying sides is wasteful! I can just get this ginormous breakfast for the same amount.” But then I eat a bunch of breakfast potatoes I didn’t need to eat, or it all goes to waste or I wish I had the sausage instead of the bacon.
Now I just order sides. I don’t know why no one bundles the breakfast I want. (Just me?)
Anyway, the Bloody Mary was one of the first ones I’ve ever had that was as spicy as I require them. The bagel was tiny and delicious, a well-crafted bagel with the right chew, not a large pillowy bread mass that just tasted like bread. And it came with a delightful dill cream cheese.
The bacon? PERFECTLY cooked.
Have we talked about bacon? I’m extremely picky about it. I hate when there are raw, fatty spots. When I cook bacon, I render every single bit of fat. I don’t know why it’s so hard for others to do the same. And no, just asking for it crispy doesn’t do it. Then you get half burned, half still fatty unrendered bacon.
Here’s a tip I learned from my brother-in-law: You cook enough bacon that there’s plenty of grease in the pan, cut the strips in half and tilt the pan so the bacon grease all collects in a pool. Then the half strips can fry submerged in the grease, and curl as much as they want, all the fat is still getting rendered. This is why it’s important to always cook at least a pound at a time. You need enough fat to do it right.
I don’t know what the technique was at 1501 Uptown Gastropub but it was a rare breakfast out where I didn’t get fatty bacon.
So I know you are not booking a trip here, based on the description of a bagel, bacon and Bloody Mary, which you can get most anywhere. But if you are downtown Palm Springs and hungry, it’s a higher-than-usual quality of each.
A few months ago, some friends from SF were down here visiting and mentioned Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant by the airport. No frills, small place in a strip mall, not the center of downtown. A place I’d never just go, most likely.
I don’t remember how they ended up there, but they asked if I’d gone (I hadn’t) and declared it “legit.” Given the Mexican food in the Mission, I trust some fellow San Franciscans to declare Mexican food “legit.”
I have really been craving Mexican, which is funny because I did not eat it that much when I actually lived in the Mission. But I guess, I knew it was there. Sort of like BBQ. I didn’t eat it that much while I lived in Memphis, but became obsessed with eating it every time I went back home.
Paul didn’t want to join me for lunch, so I decided to try Felipe’s. I had a minor panic attack when the Internet told me it was temporarily closed, but I drove over there anyway and saw people sitting on the patio. I was thrilled.
I went in and Felipe himself waited on me. I had a margarita and a combo with an enchilada verde, Chile Relleno and rice and beans etc. It was delicious. And just the right amount of food. The vibe was chill, the AC was also chill, I worked while I ate and came away satisfied and happy.
The texture of the flattened relleno was incredible. It was almost like a fried green tomato.
(As I type this, I am mulling Felipe’s again for dinner…)
I gotta say, I don’t have a lot more to write home about this week… I didn’t cook much that was super inspiring, nor eat much else that was super inspiring. Our SF meals were as expected, but you don’t need me to tell you again how good Tartine’s brownies and ginger cookies are.
We wanted Sunset Squares for our second dinner there, but it was closed so we settled for Square Pie Guys, which was not quite as good IMHO, but still 10000% better than pizza I’ve found down here. I can quibble over vendors, but I am loving the Detroit-style, golden edged, large square pizza game in SF right now. It’s all pretty delicious.
I don’t know what next week will hold… once again our kitchen in Palm Springs has a leak, so I don’t know how in service our kitchen will be.
Stay tuned…
Note there's only half a Mozzarella stick left. . .How gorgeous is the tomato on this slice?
Note there's only half a Mozzarella stick left. . .How gorgeous is the tomato on this slice?
shockingly good bagel and bacon and bloody combo!
shockingly good bagel and bacon and bloody combo!
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Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy @sarahcuda

I'm the founder of Pando and Chairman Mom. I live half time between San Francisco and Palm Springs, ferretting out the best food between the two. Food is my love language.

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