t says: A while ago, g got me some bananas. For some unknown reason, these bananas went un-eaten (very unlike me). But I had no fear … because when bananas go bad, g shifts into banana bread mode … and life gets good.
This particular month, she let me choose the recipe – and choose I did. You see, for me, the only thing banana bread is missing is chocolate, so when google revealed an Ina Garten recipe, it was a done deal. Here’s the copy-pasted recipe.
For the bread:
– 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4 very ripe bananas)
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel topping:
– 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
– 3 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg, vanilla, banana, and sour cream and mix until combined. Don’t worry—it may look curdled. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
For the streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a medium bowl and pinch the ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture makes crumbles. Add the chocolate and combine.
Distribute the streusel evenly over the batter, sprinkle the almonds on top, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
How’d it turn out? Take a look:
How’d it taste? Heaven. Seriously. Pure heaven. Even g agrees that it was “holy crap” good, not hesitating to mention this recipe to friends immediately. Throw out anything you might have thought about banana bread, and instead replace it with something more like banana “cake” … with a crazy good topping. Super-moist, flavorful, accented with just the right amount of chocolate (I went with 60% cacao – the bitterness with a nice foil to the sweet cake) – it was one of the first times that I didn’t wish for something else to add (we did use pecans instead of almonds in the topping, however – they were on sale). Is it blog-worthy just to put up someone else’s recipe and rave how good it is? I have no idea – I put it here just so I can find the recipe more easily when it comes time to make it again. Speaking of which: have we made it again (it’s been about a a month since we made it last)? Hell no. Why not? Because I’d eat it all by myself … in a single sitting … sorry g.
t says: We took a trip to Seattle a while ago, and I realized that I never updated the blog! It was g’s first time (I had been there only briefly before), and we met up with a and v for a good ‘ol-fashioned get-together.
Next up, we ate at this interesting restaurant called “Nue”. I have to say that the menu was a little all-over-the-place, which usually makes us afraid, but with a large group and limited options for a last-minute lunch, we wandered on in and ordered. Well, above you see their version of Shakshuka, which was really good – g had it, and it was cmoparable to that of Kanella. Maybe not as rustic as Kanella’s, but a bit lighter on its feet (vibrant tomato, vibrant feta).
t says: Holy cow! It’s been a whole month since our last post! How shameful! I guarantee that we’ve been eating – it’s just that I didn’t have time to eat and type! So it’s time for a photostorm!!!!
t says: I’ve been holding back on this review for a while because I couldn’t figure out how best to do it. Normally, for a restaurant that was this delicious, I like to do a dish-by-dish review. But the lighting was so low that the photos all came out terribly. So now what? And I don’t have the gift of word necessary to carry you through an entire multi-course meal. So I decided to keep it tight:
t says: There’s no reason that Souvla and Sous Buerre Kitchen should be in the same review. They feature different cuisines. They’re in different neighborhoods. They are entirely different concepts (restaurant vs. order-and-sit). Really, the only thing keeping them in the same post is that they both begin with the same-sounding first syllable: “soo”. But if you look deeper, maybe there is a point, because one’s failing is precisely the reason why the other is a success.
UPDATE: OH NO!! Sous Buerre Kitchen has just closed!!! Read about it here: http://sf.eater.com/2016/5/18/11701524/sous-beurre-kitchen-closed-mission-san-francisco. I guess our review wasn’t far off from the truth!
t says: g and I literally just ate at Petite Crenn last night … and it. was. fabulous. Really. Every dish. Now, on one hand, we should expect it to be fabulous, as Dominique Crenn was just honored as “Best Female Chef” in the WORLD – the WORLD!! (and the DLROW, too, for all my neurology friends) But she really delivered!
Now, this post has no pictures – g was exceptionally self-conscious that evening, so photos were vetoed. But take my word as to why I think that this is the first SF restaurant we’ve gone to that’s worth the fixed price meal:
- Service was prompt and courteous. You think that that would be a “given” – but it was nice to see people serving us who appeared to be excited by the food – it was contagious!
- The room is casual enough to make you feel at ease. No white tablecloths. No excessive silverware. A higher-than-usual volume in the dining room allowed for more of a fun-night-out feel than a worship-at-the-altar-of-food feel.
- The wine list was reasonable. Ok – I take that back; I’m sure that it’s marked-up by a bajillion percent – but they’re bringing in things that are unconventional, so I’m ok with it (it’s like paying a “finder’s fee” for interesting wine). g had an actually wonderful rose cava (that I can’t find anywhere else in the U.S. except one retailer in San Jose …), and I had a Sauvignon Blanc that rode this very interesting line between New Zealand power and French austerity.
- Each dish was excellent. From the bread course, to the oyster, to the gnocchi, to the fish, to the salad (salad!!! the SALAD!), I was hooked. It was like this magical mix of Little Fish and Talula’s Garden and Ottolenghi, where the hits just kept on coming. The “weakest” course might have been the dessert, which was a mixed berry galette – but you know what – after so many other wonderful dishes, a humble berry tart which was nicely executed, was all I needed.
- We saw Dominique Crenn. Sporting her short hair, tattoos, and [we think] a dog in a pet carrier, it was like seeing Bradley Cooper in the wild (there’s more to this joke).
Even g loved the dining experience – and she’s as anti-fixed-price as they come. She has decreed: “yea … I’d come back … how about for my birthday?”. ‘Nuff said.
t says: There was this curious little frontage called “the Lab” in Dogpatch – we’ve seen it on numerous ventures to Piccino. Each time we peered into the windows and read the posted flyers we were intrigued; we had stumbled upon one of the sites of “Feastly”, which is essentially an organization that conducts pop-ups all over the country. As far as the Dogpatch site, I would say that it is reminiscent of “Cook” in Philly, but less “instructional” (i.e. you’re not all up in the chef’s business the entire night), and more like a venue that is forever a pop-up restaurant. Each night (nearly every night), there’s a different chef and “theme”. Hoping to be one of the cool kids, I dipped my toe into the water by making a brunch reservation for a Saturday.
April 2016, Saturday Brunch, Party of 2. The space is pretty simple. The tables are simple. The chairs are simple. They aren’t going to win any awards for decor … but we got the feeling that that wasn’t the point. This was not a showcase for “the next super chef” or “chef that’s so hot right now” (even though that’s what the website is espousing), rather, this was a space for some chefs to share their independent creations with a bunch of random people. The theme for the morning: crepes.