Eating in San Fran

I’m just back from yet another work trip, this time to San Francisco. It was pretty much in-and-out, but we had some time to do a little shopping, plus one really incredible dinner at Anchor & Hope. We enjoyed a bunch of appetizers for a small plates-type dinner, followed by the most incredible dessert.

One new thing I tried was sea urchin. I had no idea you could actually eat sea urchin, but it turns out you can (if you have somebody crack it open for you). The presentation was just beautiful–a soupy mixture of crab and urchin meat served inside the opened urchin shell and surrounded by a wreath of sea urchin spikes. The urchin meat was very buttery tasting and melted in my mouth. I don’t know that I would want to eat a large quantity of it, but the crab complimented the smooth texture and I cleaned the bowl. Which was really the sea urchin’s shell, which was surprisingly hard.

For dessert, we enjoyed the pumpkin pie ice cream sandwich. Oh. My. Goodness. This was a gift from above, I swear, and the most perfect fall dessert I’ve ever found (yes, I actually liked this better than my previous fall favorite, Pumpkin bread pudding). Pumpkin ice cream was sandwiched between moist, flavorful gingerbread cake. A side of warm caramel dipping sauce and a scattering of crushed pecans complimented the dish. We devoured this. It was just incredible. And here’s what I can’t figure out: how did they get the ice cream to look so perfect between the soft cake pieces? I don’t see how you could possibly spread hard ice cream over the cake without tearing up the cake, but this had perfectly smooth lines between the layers. Also, the cake was not frozen, but the ice cream was. I think I could make this at home if I could figure out a technique for putting it all together! Anyone have any ideas?

I’m home for the next few weeks and need to get to work planning a Thanksgiving dinner for 6. I think the planning may be my favorite part of preparing Thanksgiving dinner–well, that and the drama of pulling a perfectly-cooked turkey out of the oven. Check back soon for a series of posts about preparing for your own flawless Thanksgiving dinner!

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