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California dining report

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 17, 2010 01:31 AM

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Given the wicked travel schedule, time difference, and overall workload, I've fallen behind in chronicling the California cuisine.

On Thursday morning, I opted for a flight to San Francisco instead of San Jose. SF is about 45 minutes north of San Jose, but it was well worth the extra time because of two very important stops prior to the morning skate. First, there was the required visit to Tartine Bakery, the titan of West Coast baked goods. One of their signature pastries is the buttery frangipane croissant -- toasted almonds on top, almond paste inside. It has no peer, although the orange and cinnamon morning bun is outstanding as well.

But I was more excited to make my first pilgrimage to the Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk. I've been ordering beans from Blue Bottle, then using my burr grinder and French press. But I'd never been to the kiosk, where they make individual cups of drip coffee. The stand is literally a garage on Linden St., with sacks of beans and other items stacked on shelves inside. You order a cup, the nice girl grinds the beans, then pours hot water over the grounds. It's the freshest cup of drip coffee you can find -- rich, fruity, full of character. Out of this world.

Upon my return to Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, I continued to eat every taco I could find. There was another trip to Tacos Por Favor, and a failure at Super El Taco (closed because of fire). But there was a pretty good haul at the Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Market (oranges, apples, asparagus), plus a hearty omelette at Jinky's. For a postgame meal, I hit El Parian, right around the corner from the Staples Center, and had my first birria (goat) experience. Tastes like pork, just a bit richer. Capped off the LA experience with my first horchata. Refreshing.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to start walking back to Boston to burn off all the calories. Not sure the red-eye can handle the extra weight.
tags Food
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