Moons of Honey I: Tartine

October 12, 2009


Crisps and Tarts, Dough & Desserts, Fall, Lunch, Sandwiches, Seasons

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About midway through my last post and this one, I grew up a little bit. I grew up a lot, actually, more than I ever have in a single day. Who would have thought that putting on a dress, taking a short walk, and eating a piece of cake could be so significant? It seems I’ve done that on many a night out. Well never in such a grand dress… and never down the aisle of a little church. And certainly, I haven’t been escorted to the threshold of a fabulous party by my father—at least not since I was quite small. It may be that the last time that happened, actually, I was wearing a puffy white dress and he was walking with me on some holy October date…only it would have been the 31st instead of the 3rd. And I would have been about three years old, searching for candy instead of Maple Buttercream cake.

Anyway, it was an extraordinary day indeed, a little bit misty—at times downright wet—but full of fall colors and rooms with many happy friends. And despite how terrified I’d been of our dance, Christopher actually pulled it off gallantly, lifting and twisting me, train, veil and all. And then, when it was all finished, my husband and I flew to California and did what we most love, and what we hope to do for the rest of our lives: we hiked, we slept, we ate and we drank—lots and lots of wine.


The trip was planned around those things, really. We love to climb mountains (or at the very least large hills) and we haven’t been able to do much of that since moving to a place as flat as a slab of glass. Nor were we able to sleep much before the actually nuptials, or get as full or drunk as we pleased… well at least I couldn’t, with the prospect of a white gown both exciting me and weighing mightily on my conscience.


And then all of a sudden, in just one short day, all of those pressures were lifted and there were just the two of us, flying high, due West. We spent our first night of honeymooning in San Francisco, where we rented a very cheesy convertible and wound ourselves down CA 1 to Big Sur. A few days later, we wound ourselves back up to St. Helena—Napa’s more dignified cousin—where we stayed for a few days. Our last weekend was spent trudging up San Francisco hills again, and now here we are, back in Houston, nestled among many unopened boxes full of very nice things from very kind folks. Our kitchen will be a much grander place from now on.


In any event, the trip was primarily focused around food and drink: we ate at places too grand and wonderful to name, and we drank at as many vineyards as we could drive to without putting anybody at risk. A few places were real standouts though, especially those that sold bread or grew their own produce… dough and dirt really do have my heart.
Today, on this first day I’d like to pay homage to a little hipster haven called Tartine—600 Guerro St., San Francisco. Packed though it may have been with skinny jeans and canines-as-accessories, the apple tart we had was well worth the hour we waited to order. The fruit was sliced paper thin and laid over a crust that was expertly layered with crispy, sweet and soft dough, which cradled the slightly caramelized fruit. The sandwiches were something to marvel at as well: crunchy, thick crusts with soft, chewy centers, slightly crisped, heavily buttered and pressed generously with cheese. Best of all, we were given the letter “M” to identify our order… the first initial of my brand new name.


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