A Taste of Terroir (not Terror!)
One of our favorite local bloggers is Anna Haight,whose blog Anna’s Cool Finds shows off both her eloquence as a writer and her skill as a photographer. Anna turns every restaurant visit into an outing where we as readers somehow feel like we got to come along and sit at the table with her (and sometimes her Dad), and we find Anna’s company to be very pleasant.
For the third year in a row, Anna is coordinating an event for food websites to post an article on the theme of “A Taste of Terroir.” Once we got over our paranoid misreading of the headline (a sign of the times?), we learned that terroir means “a sense of place” in something like wine. It’s that sip that tells you, “Ah, it’s from Napa!”
Anna’s take on this concept is that as writers we can look at terroir more broadly, and look for any factor that links food to a special place in our minds. The dishes my Dad would always order at any Chinese place created that sense of stable food-place-people links for me as a kid. Another OurSausalito.com editor says it was watching his dinner cooked through the window in the kitchen at the now-departed Jennie Low’s in Mill Valley.
So what foods and restaurants do we think of when contemplating terroir in Sausalito?
The Caesar Salad at Spinnaker, with the waiter assembling it in the big wooden bowl next to your table and making it look easy. We tried replicating it at home. It’s hard.
The pizzas at Poggio… sitting at a sidewalk table on a nice day. They’re oval, not round, and they show the fact they’re made by hand, not stamped from a machine. Thin crust, really fresh (and sometimes unusual) toppings, and actually less expensive than many routine pizzas served downtown.
The shadow of Valhalla Restaurant. Chart House, a non-Stanford Valhalla, Antidote and now Gaylord India have all come and gone in that spot, but every time I look at the building I picture the Valhalla sign and The Way it Used to Be.
Hamburgers. Grill. Fire. Watch. Round and round. Bite, flame flavor, juice. Mmmmmm.
A deli sandwich eaten sitting on a bench or at a table next to the Bay on a sunny day. You can do the great debate over whether the Deli de Resistance is Venice Gourmet (our favorite), Sausalito Gourmet Deli, Louie’s, or Golden Gate Market. But wherever the sandwich comes from, it doesn’t “open up” till you’re next to the water.
And perhaps the simplest cuisine of all: A candy bar when you’re tired at the end of the day and coming home on the Ferry.
What does terroir mean to you in Sausalito? We’d love to read your list! You can find Anna’s guidelines here.