Monday, January 24, 2011

Take another piece

It's kind of hard to describe what the weather in the Bay Area was like this weekend. "Perfect" does not seem to do it justice. It looked and felt as if a pitcher full of pure golden beauty had been poured from above all over the whole Earth, saturating the ground and making the air crisp and the breeze warm and the the sky supernaturally blue. In a climate that alternates between six-month seasons of "dry with foggy mornings" and "drizzly", this weekend seemed to exist outside of any season, with crunchy leaves on the ground but also a few flowers in bloom and sunshine in the hills and the green green grass that you never see in the summers here.

I've been eating a lot this winter and as a result I've been feeling a little bit like a fat-bottomed girl, a feeling which was confirmed to me when one of my friends noted that her boyfriend's bottom, in comparison to mine, was way better, like, really toned. So this weekend I decided to do what Freddie Mercury advises--get on my bike and ride. Jeff gladly tagged along for an adventure through perfectly coiffed greenery of Marin County.

Pizzeria Picco is kind of a pilgrimage for Bay Area foodies--the restaurant is said, not least of all by the venerable Rachael Ray, to turn out the best pizza for 50 miles, which is a tall order given that a new artisan pizza place opens in San Francisco every five days or so. Pizzeria Picco is nestled among houseware shops and art galleries up in Larkspur, about 20 miles and a bridge toll away from downtown San Francisco. Despite this, Jeff and I anticipated a two-hour-long line of hungry pizza fanatics from far and wide, so we set out on our bikes around 9:30 AM for the noon opening time. We would have left earlier, but I really wanted to make Cheeseboard oat scones, and also I forgot my bike pump.

Well, we ended up getting there around 11:57 AM, and we were definitely the first people at the door, the first people seated, the first people to order, and the first two pizzas out of the oven. We even took up three outdoor tables, with our bottle of crisp Sonoma rose on one side, our pizzas on the other, and our (perpetually clean) plates in the middle. Around 12:30 some locals with their adorable Marin kids started to trickle in--so PROTIP: even on the nicest day in six months, you can beat the line at Pizzeria Picco by arriving anytime in the first half hour.

I know I said that one of the rules of this blog was no pictures in fancy restaurants, but, hey, I'm eating this with my hands, okay? The dessert is soft serve. After a few sips of rose and an exemplary Caesar salad--crisp and cool with just a hint of anchovy funk--I couldn't resist snapping a shot of the pizzas hot out of the oven. As appetizing as they look, believe me when I tell you that they were even better after sitting at our table for a few minutes. Perhaps the flavors just harmonized a little bit over the half hour it took us to eat them. Perhaps the pizzas marinated in the aforementioned golden beauty that had been poured all over the Bay Area and somehow became tastier by diffusion. Whatever happened, all I know is that my last bite of bacon-braised escarole and baked egg was crazy good.

After that I perhaps stupidly made us bike all the way to Tiburon to take the ferry back to San Francisco when there was a ferry landing right there in Larkspur, but, hey, then I wouldn't have gotten any pictures like this one. And that was just half of Saturday!

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