I was just in San Francisco for a recipe project and restaurant consulting gig. I always make a point of getting to the Ferry Building which is a seven day a week gourmet pleasure palace and an outdoor farmers market on the water on weekends.I was strolling through as always staring at mushrooms, having a bite of chocolate, a shot of Blue Bottle espresso is a must, etc. A lovely woman at the restaurant Tsar Nicoulai Caviar recognized me from the NFNS show and invited me in to try some caviar. Leiann is her name. She is the director of outside operations for the company. She cracked a bottle of Carneros bubbly and her team put together the most beautiful tasting of caviar. She is quite passionate about her work. I learned a lot! From the same fish came three different grades of eggs. They ranged from more clumped and a touch salty to very fine individual pearls. I also tried the eggs of the albino sturgeon which I had never heard of. Not only does it take 7 years of nurturing their farm raised sturgeon to get a harvest of eggs but there is no guarantee that the albino will produce these luscious light green/gray eggs. They were so delicate in the mouth and when they burst they had a perfectly balanced flavor of salt and sea. The initial taste was more like seaweed (in the best way) than the others. The finish was a bit earthy. The salt was just right. In addition to tasting these amazing eggs I also got a lesson from Leiann on the traditional way to taste caviar. #1 place a small spoonful of the caviar on the thumb side of your fist as if you were licking salt for a shot of Tequila. #2 toast with your bubbles and take a sip to prepare the palate. #3 lick the eggs off of your hand and let them rest on the roof of your mouth. Gently press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and feel the individual eggs collapse and turn into butter of the sea! Repeat step 1!
As if this wasn’t a great enough impromptu experience Leiann then asked the waiter to show me what he is best at. I was a little hesitant but curious. He broke out into the opera that you see attached here. His beautiful voice filled the arches and caverns of the 100+ year old Ferry Building. What an afternoon!
Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.