Saturday, August 31, 2013

Discovery Weekends: Good Friends, Good Libations, and Comfort Food at Tyler Lawrence’s Wayfare Tavern

A friend was visiting from Southern California, so my husband thought it would be good to take this opportunity to check out Wayfare Tavern in The City (a.k.a. San Francisco). We’ve been meaning to do this, but have not had a good excuse. 

With no desire to drive into The City that late in the evening, we decided to take the BART (SF’s equivalent of the subway) and walk to the restaurant. It was a short walk from the Montgomery BART station (I still think it’s a shorter walk from Embarcadero station) and reminded me of the days when I worked in the City. In fact, it was just a couple of blocks away from my old building.

We got there a bit early, so we had to wait at the bar: All members of your party had to be present to be seated. My husband had his usual glass of pinot grigio, while I enjoyed a Virgin Mojito. It was a bit to tart for me, but the bartender was gracious enough to sweeten it for me. Awesome (Maybe "Sweet" is more appropriate).

My friend finally arrived and we got seated promptly. We dined upstairs where it was a bit more quiet than the bar area, and we could carry a more comfortable conversation. Almost immediately, we were served Wayfare Tavern’s famous pop-overs! Yummy! Moist and buttery… I could have eaten three or four of those (and take some home for breakfast). But I restrained myself.

For appetizers, we shared the “Devils on Horseback” – Medjool dates wrapped in bacon and topped with blue cheese with hazelnut pesto and Fried Oysters with Tartar sauce (self-explanatory). Since there is no picture, you can tell that these appetizers went quickly. The Fried Oysters were excellent (in cornmeal batter, I think), but I think my favorite were the dates. I’ve always had a sweet spot for that appetizer ever since I tried it at our favorite tapas restaurant in San Diego. Although I kept eyeing the deviled eggs every time they landed on another table. Awesome presentation – obviously, very eye catching!

seared ahi
We enjoyed conversation while we were having our entrees. My friend and I caught up with work, family, and mutual friends. For our entrees, my husband had the Seared Ahi Tuna. The dish had a generous helping of ahi, seared perfectly and had a good portion of roasted baby carrots and two or three dots of carrot puree. What he did not like was the roasted garlic (although I did not mind it). He said it was a bit too strong and almost tasted like horseradish.
My friend had the Halibut on Barley Risotto with Clams, Apples, and Roasted Turnips. My friend’s halibut looked perfectly cooked and the barley risotto looked yummy. I’ve been looking for ways to cook barley since I love the texture. I may just attempt to cook barley risotto sometime soon.

buttermilk brined fried chicken with sage and rosemary
Of course, I had to have their Signature Buttermilk-brined Fried Chicken! I’ve read so many reviews about the chicken that I had to try it!  It did not disappoint: generous helping of juicy chicken (about 5 pieces) with hint of rosemary through-out (How did he do that! Must experiment) and served with roasted garlic and lemon. Delicious – reminded me of my attempt to make Chicken with Herbes de Provance (which is probably the inspiration for this). I was able to finish three -- leg, wing, and about third of the breast. The remaining two-thirds I meant to have for lunch the next day but unfortunately forgot my to-go-box at the restaurant (Nice touch: they gave me a claim tag to get my left-overs so it would not crowd the table). Oh well, I’ll take it as a sign to return.

For dessert, we had a beautiful French Almond Cake (the name escapes me) served with crème bruleè topped with a dollop olive oil ice cream and pluots. The almond cake was moist and the crème bruleè was probably the best I’ve ever had. It even had a hint of lavender, thanks to the edible petals that decorated the plate. The pluots were also quite awesome - very juicy and but not too sweet, a good counterpoint to the almond cake and creme bruleè. I should have been greedier and also ordered the peach pie, but we were so full. Next time….
cake, creme brulee with pluots

Sadly, we had to end the evening. My friend had an early conference session, and it was also a school-night for me and my Hubby. Bite-sized pieces of coffee cake were served with the bill: perfect ending to a great evening.  Thank goodness, I did not get the peach pie! I told my husband that he was lucky that I no longer work in The City, otherwise, I’d be spending my paycheck at Wayfare’s every day…. well, maybe every week.

…Unless I get a raise, of course.

coffee cake bites

Check out Wayfare Tavern’s website for more info. You’ll be tempted to make a trip to The City after that, just to check it out.

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