I am doomed. Seriously doomed. I think about food All The Time. I wake, debating my breakfast options. I anticipate dinner. I menu-plan what my family will eat days in advance. Today is Thursday and there are errands to be run in the city; get my husband’s car washed, pick up prescriptions, buy some new bras. And in between those errands, I map out the city and where I want to eat. And what to eat.
First stop: Car wash. Darling husband asked if I would have time to have the carpets washed. Hmmmm, I pondered, that would give me extra time for eggs at Arlequin Café plus a little pastry and coffee at 20th Century Café, a little golden nugget of Budapest in the heart of Hayes Valley. I am sitting here now. Waiting for my coffee and watching two bakers roll out doughnut-shaped cookies – probably bagels. The owner, Michelle Polzine, stands behind the counter; thinner than Lucille Ball, but with the same sense of style and joie de vivre. Her magenta red hair is braided and twisted upon her head like Heidi’s. Her voice, squeaky and high, a bit like Betty Boop’s. The entire atmosphere is inviting me in.
Walking here, thinking about my morning pastry, I was behind the ubiquitous San Francisco hipster; size 0 or 00 in her tight gym pants, a fluorescent Mountain Dew-green yoga mat methodically hitting her rock-hard butt in rhythm with my own jaunt – she to the spa and me towards pastry. I looked at the yoga matt the way I look at everything, as food. Rolled up, despite the unnatural color, all I saw was a holiday chocolate roll, a Bûche de Noel. I looked down at the sidewalk in shame. But the squares in the concrete became cut squares of brownies on a plate.
I couldn’t decide what to order. The Eshtherzy pastry? The dobostorte? I decide upon the ten-layer Russian honey cake – Krasinski torte –, apparently a favorite. Coffee is served with wafer-thin, delicate China teacup, a gold handle, seductively reaching out to me (see? “wafer-thin” – a food adjective.) I love this café. There is a hammered tin, marble-topped counter behind which sits a monolith jet black bakery oven, three stories tall, emblazoned on each door in red: “Blodgett.” Striped canvas awning flutters in the cold San Francisco off-shore fog as 1920s and ‘30s scratchy Blues and Jazz is heard overhead.
And I am still thinking of food. What to have for dinner? I have a date with my husband this evening for many museums are open late on Thursdays and we will dine after viewing the Kubrick exhibit at The Jewish Museum. Husband asked if the restaurant in the newly-renovated SFMoma was open for dinner. Oh, yes… Molecular. And I began describing the menu to him. Yep, I am doomed.