Ooh, my favorite!

A funny thing happened on the way to the market…
February 22, 2010, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Food, Restaurants, San Francisco

In short: we were on our way to pick up ingredients for Zuni chicken, passed by Zuni Cafe on the way, took an unexpected detour and ended up with a lovely table in the cafe sipping cocktails, downing oysters, and patiently waiting for our chicken.

Fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa, and a spicy bloody mary

Washington Kumamoto oysters

Caesar salad for two

Roasted chicken for two with warm Tuscan-style bread salad

So there, that’s the truth. Now, I realize that my point that anyone can and should try this at home will totally be negated by this admission, but I promise that this was just a nice moment of spontaneity that was seized, and has nothing to do with the fact that Zuni chicken at home takes hours…nothing at all.

So here’s the background. If you haven’t yet heard of Zuni’s famous chicken, just know that it takes about an hour from the time you place your order, and some would argue a fairly sizable chunk out of your wallet (considering it’s chicken), but to me it is worth every second of the wait and every penny charged.

My first Zuni Cafe experience was when I moved down last year. I’d heard of the chicken, but was skeptical since chicken isn’t typically at the top of my list of things to order when dining out. The funny part about our first chicken venture was that we really liked it, but for some reason it went from a strong like to an obsession over the course of the next few weeks. (I wonder if there’s a clinical term for this?)

The chicken is amazingly tender and juicy, and the skin is crisp and salty with a wonderful smokey flavor from the wood fired oven. And then there’s the bread salad. Oh my gosh, the bread salad…a mixture of fire roasted and lightly charred pieces with others perfectly damp from the light vinaigrette and chicken juices.

It’s because of this obsession that I needed to learn to make it myself, and thanks to the extremely detailed recipe I’ve had wonderful success each time.  It is an amazing labor of love and yumminess, and my point here (yes, I’m finally getting to it) is that while I love to stop by the cafe every now and then, taking the time to plan and make this meal at home is one of my all-time favorite ways to celebrate a special occasion (even if there’s nothing to celebrate).  This meal has so much love wrapped in every step, there’s no reason to be scared away if your heart so desires to try this at home.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hey Natira.
Can you pass your list of SF’s must go eating places, with specialties listed :)
Or better a post, so other folks can benefit as well.

Comment by Vivek

Yes, I would love to pull a nice list together. I’m still a rookie, but eating out has been a great way to learn the city. If I could try a new place every week I’d love that, but sadly my purse strings are a bit tight. Hopefully sometime soon I can get something started so I can share with everyone.

Comment by nsuchoknand

Natira, I can’t wait to try the recipe. With your refined taste, I take you at your word!!SMH

Comment by Susanne

Maybe we can have a dinner party date soon. Karen can do the steaks, and mom and I will bring the chicken!

Comment by nsuchoknand

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