The moderate Peruvian food obsession continues. I was in San Francisco last week and had lunch at La Fina Stampa (1407 Bush Street), which to be strictly accurate styles itself as Peruvian and Spanish. It looks as though the menu gets a lot more ambitious at dinner, but I was very happy with the Saltado de Mariscos. Hard not to love a cuisine that considers French fries an essential ingredient in a stir fry:
And equally hard not to love a front door that looks like this, which is where the feller at the top of this post comes from:
Later that same day I sat alone at the bar of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel and drink a solitary martini. The barman mixed it in a chemistry lab beaker like this:
which definitely added to the ritual if not to the taste, though it was a perfectly good example of the beast.
As I was sitting there sipping my drink, a woman came to the bar and said to the barman. “Give me the sweetest drink you serve.
The barman took it in his stride.
“What kind of liquor do you like?” he asked. “Vodka?”
“Yeah vodka,” the woman said.
She and I watched as the barman juggled various anonymous bottles, shook them up, and gave her a pale drink in a martini glass. She went away to a table, apparently very happy.
“What was in that?” I asked the barman.
He said, “Vodka, lemoncello, lemon juice, cheery liqueur and bar syrup.”
“Yep,” I said, “that’s a sweet drink you’ve got there.”
Though it now occurs to me that however sweet your drink is, you can always make it sweeter by adding some more bar syrup. But why would you?
And then later in La Café de la Presse (352 Grant Avenue), a very reliable French restaurant, I was eating my steak tartar and on the adjacent table were two men and their female partners, but the women weren’t saying much as the men pontificated loudly about the state of American politics, which was not very interesting, and then they talked about the judges they knew, which might have been very interesting if you’d known the judges in question, but of course I didn’t.
At that point I began to assume they must be lawyers, but then one of them said to the other, “I do what I call geo-financial engineering.” I wasn’t sure that was a “thing,” but in fact a little light Googling reveals that geo-financial engineering is not only a thing but a registered service mark (as opposed to trademark). You can look it up if you like, but again, why would you?