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Comfort Food - Issue #4: Three weeks of last San Francisco meals. . .

Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy
Sometimes you just gotta spend $140 on s'mores…

The s'mores "experience"
The s'mores "experience"
I am writing this during a little lull in the “Everyone come to Palm Springs!!!” storm. My brother left earlier this week. My sister left just now. And my kids went to their dad’s house a bit before that.
It’s now uncomfortably quiet for about three days (except for Paul singing in one of the cats voices right now…which is also uncomfortable TBH…).
The entire Chairman Mom team is coming in town for an all-hands planning retreat. We have never met two members of the team IRL so it’s pretty exciting to all be able to get together FINALLY! We are hiring four new marketing people, so we’ll never be this small again. It’s a moment I want to SAVOR.
Then they leave, the kids come back, and then we head back to San Francisco for the rest of the summer.
I’m looking to my weekend of productivity, of all the make up work I haven’t gotten to the last two weeks, and wondering…. Do I eat healthy for a few days in this lull? Or is this when I have a totally different kind of comfort food NEED?
I also need to start a list of places I want to eat in San Francisco during my final last weeks.
We have a reservation at Mister Jiu, which I’m really excited about. Also just booked one for Al’s Place, one of my favorite meals in the last six months. And one for Flour + Water because, why not?
I’ve been trying to get to Palm City in the Sunset for weeks. I want a Boichik Bagel before I move, lines (and this bro) be damned! Maybe another afternoon with the kids at Urban Putt, where the food isn’t great but the froze sure is…
Paul wants Burma Love at least one more time. We NEED to do another Vegan Little Lao Set from Farmhouse Thai, or as Andrea calls it “Thai trough”. (Have you had it??? It comes in a large rectangular aluminum catering tray. It’s like $60 and is enough various Thai food to feed four, easily. The vegan version is more delicious…I don’t know what they use for their faux chicken and duck, but it’s better than meat. And I don’t usually feel that way about beyond and impossible, so it ain’t that…I was thinking about ordering a few Thai troughs and a bunch of Goat Hill Pizza for our big going away party…)
We need to go sit on the patio at Universal Cafe, something we used to do at least twice a week at lunch time pre-Covid. I need to go to Zuni at least once.
I was just reading about Hing Lung Co in the Chronicle, a BBQ shop in Chinatown that with “the ideal mahogany-colored skin” on its roasted duck. There’s a rice plate with the duck and garlicky wok’d greens for $20 that is calling my name.
A biscuit sandwich from Kahnfections, eaten lazily in my sunny backyard while I read and sip a mimosa. I’m not a big Souvla fan, but Paul is and I do love their Greek frozen yogurt with honey or olive oil and salt.
I’m sad Mission Cheese closed during the pandemic. I’d love another “grilled cheese” that isn’t actually a grilled cheese, and their consistently awkward explanation of it even though I order it every time and know it’s halloumi and not a sandwich. I miss their patio where the tables and chairs were slightly too big for the space; the Tetris game of babies and dogs people always brought there. Elite Cafe brunch would be on the list if it hadn’t closed. I used to assemble my own brunch there with sides: Biscuit, scrambled eggs, bacon and some Zapp’s chips mashed on top. (It should have been on the menu.)
I want another ham sandwich on dutch crunch from the deli at 19th and Guerrero. OH! And I want to try Turner’s Kitchen, which I only recently learned existed. (Right by Dolores Park, and they have a Frito pie to go!!! Believe it or not, I actually dreamt last night that I got the Frito Pie and I was like “Yes! It was worth it!”)
I need another burrito or two obv.
Probably another brunch at Foreign Cinema. Beausoleil oysters, homemade pop tarts and the slowest scrambled scramble possible with those pecorino breadcrumbs. I made an offer on my house after one of those brunches, with Andy and Andrea and too many bloody marys. “Let’s just look!”
And a lot of Thursday afternoons in the Mission wandering the farmer’s market with Andrea and Adimika and the girls and a walking-around margarita from the Beauty Bar.
I am for sure OK with missing out on House of Prime Rib. (What the actual… reservations INCREASED after that scandal!????!!!)
What am I forgetting Bay Area folks? What would be your last meal, or if you already left SF what would you want if you came back? I have been happy to hear from some readers that this newsletter is making them appreciate San Francisco again, or miss it a-new if they left.
Meanwhile, I am starting to uncover some desert foodies thanks to this newsletter, who are plying me with suggestions of spots to try when I return.
This is a well-trod path … I am so excited to feature some of their suggestions for you and tell you a bit about their stories in future issues. (Also a good time to ask you to share this newsletter with a friend who loves food? Trying to get to 250 subscribers by the end of the summer)
Meantime, here’s what I ate this past week…
$140 s'mores “experience”
I’ve become a fan of Resort Pass. There are so many incredible spots we want to explore in Southern California, and this gives us a way to enjoy resort-after-resort without actually staying in them. We can Cinderella back to our house at midnight and pretend we had an opulent vacation for less than the price of a room.
Before my sister left, we took the girls to the Omni in Carlsbad which has two 100 foot water slides. We got there for lunch by the pool which was, well, “just fine.”
We reserved a cabana from 2 pm to 7 pm and it was incredible. I love that the resort separates kids areas from adult areas to align everyone’s expectations. The resort also had an incredible team of life guards, something I’ve only experienced at Disney hotels. So we really could just sit back and chill.
I mean, when we weren’t also doing the waterslides with the kids. Waterslides are like Just Dance. It’s impossible not to smile and laugh while doing them. My sister and I had Pina coladas by the pool and had our last, long final hang before she goes back to Memphis.
It was a good thirty degrees cooler than Palm Springs and just a 90 minute drive, so I definitely want to return. LMK the best So Cal resorts if you know them. We are dying to try the Omni in Rancho Mirage which has a LAZY RIVER but the day passes are always sold out :(
At 7 pm, I booked a “S'mores experience” for us at the resort. It was $140 for s'mores, but you know, it’s summer. And it’s the first time my sister has hung with me and my girls out here. We were just gonna do it and not stress.
At least they really delivered the goods. We had a private fire pit for almost two hours, and the s'mores tray was pretty decked out (see above). We had so much fun chilling, roasting marshmallows, taking pictures with that Polaroid camera Eli and I bought on her last day at her old school, and just pretending calories were not a thing. I’ll remember that two hours forever. (Note: We left a photo behind and the resort tracked me down and called to make sure we didn’t need it mailed to us. They insisted it was really cute. That’s pretty amazing service.)
And, shockingly, this is not the most money our family has spent on s'mores, but that’s another story for a future issue…
Saturday: Persimmon Bistro
Persimmon Bistro is one of those few reliable Palm Springs favs that pre-date us living here. It’s in the sculpture garden of the Palm Springs Art Museum, and we got to be friends with Amber, the Disney-tattoo’d server who also now works for our plumber.
We called the plumber with an emergency, and she recognized Paul’s accent and texted me. This town is microscopic in the best ways.
We love the vibe there because it is never that crowded, the sangria is a work of art, the kids LOVE the wood fired pizzas and custom hot chocolate Amber throws together, and they have the best charcuterie plate in PS in our opinion. Paul usually gets the grilled cheese with prosciutto, and I love the tuna melt. (Very different vibe than the also amazing Sherman’s Tuna Melt, which is more classic East Coast deli mwwwaaa!) I am picky about tuna melts, but when I like them I wear them out.
Anyway, we decided to go to Persimmon Bistro. It was a bit of a lift to get Paul to break from his self-imposed Jenny Craig regime. But I was feeling the brunch vibes. We finally had everyone out of our house! He asked if I felt like walking. I reminded him it was INCREDIBLY HOT, but suggested we ride bikes as a compromise.
He pumped up the tires and then was like “Whoa, I think it’s too hot…”
I was like “It’s a fifteen minute bike ride, how bad can it be?”
Do not ride bikes in 120 degree heat.
I did ok until the last few blocks and then my heart was racing and I felt really shaky and wobbly. I’d also not eaten. I learned from running in the desert last summer that I can deal with the heat, but not heat and an empty stomach for some reason. Also no one should deal with THAT much heat ever.
Fortunately we brought a lot of water. We made it, but I dropped my bike without chaining it and dragged into Persimmon Bistro where blissfully you could seat yourself for the day. I collapsed to a table, chugged water, and as my body started to recover I poured out more sweat than I do in a Soul Cycle class.
Amber came over and was like “You seem… grumpy?”
“We biked here.”
Another server told us more extreme stories they’ve seen. Yesterday, she said she saw a woman HIKING in the mountains with a seven year old and a three year old strapped to her. I had a panic attack thinking about it.
She also saw a guy hiking WITH A ROOSTER recently. She came back to show us a picture. Sure enough: Totally normal looking dude, carrying a rooster casually up the mountain behind the museum.
Please write to tell me your suggested backstory. I am thinking the rooster kept waking him up and he was taking it up a mountain. Paul thought it was an emotional support rooster.
It took a good twenty minutes but I recovered, AC, rose, charcuterie plate and a grilled cheese. (Paul is right, they are delicious!)
We did the Robert Longo exhibit at the museum, because I’d seen it but Paul hadn’t. It blew me away again. One of the best things I’ve seen in years. Very large form social justice-oriented works of charcoal that look exactly like photos. One room is devoted to massive treatments on the three branches of government. The idea is that images and photography are not objective. So much so that his are created and aren’t photographs at all. I’d love to own the one where Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue is getting pulled down in Memphis when I’m incredibly rich one day.
I love the Palm Springs Art Museum. I always see something mind-blowing and it’s so small, you can just casually breeze through it after lunch. Their permanent collection is bonkers.
I went back downstairs and had another glass of wine while Paul over-protectively cycled home to get the car. Or maybe not over-protectively. He said the ride home was far worse, and he had to stop at a gas station for more water and to put an ice cream sandwich on his head! He dove in the pool before coming back to get me.
I didn’t mind. I feel very at home at PB and just drank my wine, sipped more water, played Plants v Zombies which my kids made me re-download last week and enjoyed the AC and not having to entertain anyone for those 20 minutes.
Adimika and I are swinging through Indianapolis and Chicago for two days at the end of July. We are doing two sisterhood meetups and GETTING MY PUPPY!! Will give you the full puppy story that week… but any must eat/drink things???? Write me at sarahlacy@gmail <3 I’ll shout you out to my 50 BFFs who read this. (Thank you!)
Also of note for my new desert life…
I am such a mark for Instagram ads!!! They have me so dialed in and play me like a fiddle. I impulse bought this on the justification that we are downsizing to one car, Palm Springs is beautiful all year round, and Evie and our new dog Radish and I are gonna ride around in it looking cool and solving desert crimes.
Yet another splurge brought to you by AFFIRM. So thanks Max Levchin, and expect another $120 a month from me…This was my last “brought to you by Affirm” splurge. I’ll be reviewing it once it arrives and posting awesome mom-Evie-Radish gang photos when the bike gets here. <3
Good ol' Mr. Lyons. Had the hamachi as my main instead of a steak. Highly recommended.
Good ol' Mr. Lyons. Had the hamachi as my main instead of a steak. Highly recommended.
Robert Longo's divided Supreme Court
Robert Longo's divided Supreme Court
My sister, the kids and hot Dino summer en route to the Omni La Costa
My sister, the kids and hot Dino summer en route to the Omni La Costa
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Sarah Lacy
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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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