Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Noe Valley Adventure


Sometimes you just have to venture beyond the beaten path. Well, beyond your beaten path and perhaps onto someone else's. The neighborhoods I frequent the most for grocery shopping are the Mission district, the Richmond and Sunset with many stops on Clement, Geary, and Irving. But reading Pim's blog I learned that Stonehouse Olive Oil had opened up a shop on 24th street in Noe Valley and that was just the push I needed to go exploring.

Noe Valley and 24th street in particular is a little neighborhood that has a terrific selection of shops and cafes. The weather is often sunny in that part of the City so it makes for a nice "city outing".

First stop was brunch, albeit a late one at Miss Millie's. While the prices are a bit high, this is the place for a gut-busting and delectable breakfast. The menu has very unique items like a Dungeness crab hash with roasted potatoes, cipollini onions, spinach, a trio of peppers and peas topped with poached eggs, a mellow pepper sauce, creme fraiche and sourdough toast. You're not likely to find that anywhere else.

After brunch we wandered over to Stonehouse where we bumped into Pim! She told us about the saucisson sec from Fatted Calf Charcuterie that they carry there, which of course we indulged in. I can also highly recommend the Stonehouse blood orange olive oil. A little goes a long way. It's just the thing for green salads, and finishing grilled salmon or chicken. Stonehouse also recommends using it to grill french toast. Oooh that sounds good, doesn't it?

Next stop was Noe Valley Bakery. They make a terrific rustic sourdough bread that was used for some BLT sandwiches on Sunday.

On to 24th St Cheese Company where the friendly staff is happy to give you tastes of anything you like and make suggestions for a little slice of heaven. We bought some Boucheron, Stilton, Brie and a delicious ripe cheese from Portugal I've already forgotten the name of.

Loaded down with our purchases we finally wound our way all the way through the Castro and down Market street so we could swing by Yum! my favorite and probably the most fun gourmet store ever. Just the place to stock up on the likes of Lee's beloved HP Brown sauce, ras el hanout and wacky sodas from the world over. The proprietor Paul and I happily chatted about varieties of hot chocolate and exotic spice mixes. What more could I ask for? The perfect end to a perfect day.