Monday
Jun252012

Part one: Reykjavik, Iceland. 

Angela: Finals week(s), graduation, ensuing horrible illness from trauma of finals and graduation, job searches, Los Angeles, camping, insane freelancing, Iceland, Sweden--

Hopefully, you'll forgive us for our temporary neglect of this blog. Though we've not been too busy to eat--I hope that never happens!--we have been to busy to write about it. But now I'm at home, contemplating a blissfully empty afternoon, and can finally sit down and digest (ha-ha) what's transpired over the past couple months, at least gastronomically. 

Late May through mid-June found me in Iceland, an austere and humorless country (the landscape, not the people, especially after a couple drinks) whose food generally follows suit. On most dinner tables you'll find: lamb, fish, canned peas, lamb, fish, and canned peas. 

The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, is a city of only 120,000 people. For a city so small in a country so small (only 340,000 live on the entire island), it has a remarkably developed coffee culture. Good coffee is everywhere, mostly in the form of espresso-based drinks, though one especially great coffee shop, Kaffismiðja Íslands, felt a lot like home--one of my travel companions mentioned it reminds her a lot of Portland. 

They had drip in the form of V60, aeropress, and espresso from a La Marzocco machine. 

...as well as plenty of Barista Cups on display. Kaffismiðja Íslands was definitely my favorite thing about Reykjavik. The interior was cozy and mismatched and, yes, very Portland; the pastries, especially the croissants and the scones (served with cheese, jam and butter) were addictive; and the coffee was always good, in any preparation. I'll definitely miss this place.

What I found to be the most interesting thing about food culture in Iceland is the almost complete lack of grocery stores. 

All Icelanders have, for the most part, are Bonus and 10-11. Bonus is sort of like a grocery store, except all the produce is kept in a refrigerator the size of a walk-in closet; everything else is packaged nonsense, although since most of Europe isn't owned by the corn lobby, there's very, very little corn syrup to be found in anything. 

10-11 is a convenience store with frozen bagels, what looked to be month old blueberries, and the ubiquitous Skyr. 

Skyr is yogurt made from nonfat milk. It has the consistency of greek yogurt, but since it's nonfat, it's essentially flavorless on its own, hence the need for added flavors such as strawberry (we here at Consider the Dinner have issues with flavored yogurt as well as nonfat anything). Despite its problematic structure, Skyr was my life support while in Reykjavik as its blueberry, melon, and lemon flavors stood in for my daily fruit intake.  

Reykjavik was disappointing, from a food standpoint especially, but the rest of Iceland wasn't. Part two of my Nordic saga will discuss eating atop 700,000 year old glaciers, among other things.

Thursday
Apr192012

Bacon Thursday

 

In light of the recent and obscene developments at Burger King, Consider The Dinner's board of trustees is suspending, seriously reconsidering, and perhaps replacing Bacon Thursday™ with a more conscientious Quinoa Monday™.

Sunday
Apr152012

The other Tommy's joint

Angela: Yesterday afternoon, Emanuel and I went out for groceries and ended up at the beach. 

After an hour or two of gazing at a shockingly people-free ocean-front and exfoliating our feet in the sand, we headed back home, utterly starved. Luckily for us, we ended up at the best possible thing to eat after a long day in the sun: mexican food.

The place is called Tommy's, at 24th and Geary in the Richmond. According to their website, it's been open since 1965--and the exterior certainly looks aged. I've walked past it several times and never paid it much attention; the main draw would be the big bowls of freshly fried tortilla chips in the window, although the glass they're behind is dingy and old. Not exactly appealing.

However, it had been recommended by a friend, and I'd seen it recommended in Esquire as "America's leading tequila bar." The question is why I hadn't been there yet.

First off: complimentary chips and two truly fantastic salsas that took a minute or two to kick in. The chips were so good, and we were so hungry, that we probably finished off the first basket of chips in under four minutes. Said basket was again refilled within about thirty seconds.

Secondly: a drink. 

A good, no-frills margarita, salted rim, 100% Agave and on the rocks. If you're not hungry, go here for the drinks alone. It's worth the twenty minute trip on the 38.

Emanuel: I eat Mexican almost every week, mostly at taquerias, sometimes at taco trucks, and rarely at upscale, fancy (read: expensive) Mexican cuisine resturants like Mamacita, our go-to in that department.

I almost never go to the less popular in-between option: sitdown, family-style Mexican restaurant like Tommy's. Actually the only other similar place I can recall going to is Mexicali Rose in Oakland, which is a shame because I really enjoyed it, as I did Tommy's. 

We'll have to go again when we're not starving to confirm, but the food certainly hit the spot after our long walk, though it was apologetically over cheesed. My beef enchilada was nice and gooey and the masa in the tamale Angela ordered, which in other places tends to be a dry, somewhat useless filling, was rich and flavorful. The high point I think was Angela's black beans, and the low point were the tortillas on the side that we suspect may have been microwaved.

All in all, we'll be back at Tommy's. Often. Which is great because there's now another great Mexican place to go to in the neighborhood, and not so great because now there's another great Mexican place in the neighborhood taunting me to make irresponsible decisions every time I walk by. And they serve tequila. Dangerous. 

 

Tommy's Mexican Restaurant

5929 Geary at 23rd Ave

San Francisco, CA