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Normally I don’t write posts about fine dining because it’s not accessible to the majority of my readers, but last night I had one of my most memorable San Francisco dining experiences. My mother is in San Francisco for the weekend and we elected to dine at Spruce for our “splurge meal” – you know, the place you save to go to when one of your parents is in town (i.e. footing the bill).

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were led to the Laurel Room in the back, a small room with only five 4-tops normally reserved for private dining but they open it up on Friday (their busiest night) for reservations. I was happy to be in this quiet room so that I could enjoy the evening with my mother and be away from the hustle and bustle of the main dining room. Evidently, Spruce is the “it spot” for Pac Heights and Laurel Heights dwellers on a Friday night.

I opted to bring my own bottle of wine because I knew their wine list would be pricey and we could save some money on corkage. I selected a 2007 Saddleback Cellars Zinfandel that I had been waiting to open with at least one of my parents since they bought it for me several years ago on a trip to Napa. The wine was brought to the sommelier, Melissa, to be decanted while we sipped on our Kir Royales.

My mother and I decided to share two appetizers and two entrees: the Foie Gras (soon to be banned in California), Bay Scallops, Pork Tenderloin and Liberty Farms Duck. We also shared a dessert of Frozen Key Lime Pie. What follows is a pictorial storyboard of our meal.

This textbook of wine was beyond impressive.

Kir Royales with Cristalino Champagne

Turnip chip with olive oil emulsion and a demi-sec grape

Fois Gras two ways: torchon and seared, with macerated strawberries and rhubarb syrup over a strawberry jam

Bay scallops with roasted Brussels sprouts, parsnip puree and a parsnip bellini over caviar butter

A special treat from Melissa to be paired with our pork tenderloin

The Saddleback Zin that I brought with us.... delicious.

Left: charred Berkshire pork tenderloin with crispy pork belly and shelling beans
Right: Liberty Farms Duck with arugula, huckleberries, smoked honey jus with shaved Foie Gras

Frozen Key Lime Pie with strawberry jam and fresh strawberries

A treat to soften the blow of the bill... a dark chocolate ganache with salted caramel.

Everything was fantastic and paired perfectly with out wine selections (except the Key Lime Pie, which we opted to have them bring after we finished our Zinfandel). Of course, it wouldn’t have been anything special without the company of my favorite fellow-diner and the woman who taught me everything I know about food, my mother.

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

4 responses »

  1. I mean’t to ask you… my Mum is coming to visit from England the first week of June, and I want to take her to a Michelin starred restaurant. Would you recommend Spruce, or another one in the city?

    • Spruce, Michael Mina, Frances, Bix, Zuni Cafe, Fleur de Lys… It depends how much you want to spend 😉

      • Eh, once you are at the price level, $10 either way doesnt make much difference… which is your very favourite one to go to – if someone else is paying? 🙂

      • Without a doubt, Michael Mina. The Lobster Pot Pie is the best and most memorable dish I have ever had in San Francisco. Enjoy!

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