We filled the tank with gas and bought a small garbage can, bag of ice, borrowed two Slurpee cups. The garbage can became our champagne bucket we deposited two Moët flagons. We loaded the CD player with Jimmy Buffett CD’s that was listened to in our early days when the champagne came from the gas station and we cooked tortellini over a campfire. Yes, we were trying to capture what 10 years of retail had sucked from our lives.
San Francisco was our destination with no reservations and a penchant for finding the inexplicable. We ended up serendipity-essly at the Hotel Phoenix, a hotel known in the 60’s for housing the coolest bands that came to the city to play. It was in the tenderloin district, but on the bus line and had an Andy Warhol pool. We fit right in with the backpacking Europeans and Gays on a budget.
We asked the front desk about the attached restaurant and he declared that it served “Comfort food”, just what comfort food was to a guy names Miller, and we couldn’t wait to find out. Chamber’s was an opportune comfort.
Chambers struck us as tres chic with the walls lined with thousands of vinyl records and a sound track to match. Our starter dish was a truffle dip with wild mushrooms and severed with Ruffles. The truffles dominated the jelly jar it was served in and we wondered again about Millers comfort.
Next course was chicken liver pate topped with buttered leeks, that where spicy and savory with a raw quail egg. Spread on a crostini this was cherubic. The pancetta roasted figs with a ricotta salata and a balsamic reduction it all floated in as if it was capturing my soul, made me groan with pleasure. These dishes were only $7.00 each and overflowing with smack. The main course of Kobe tri tip steak served on a broiling hot stone that continued to cook the meat if you liked, sizzled our slab. It came with pickled vegetables and a mushroom brand reduction with a pungent piquancy. I also had the lightly breaded and fried green beans (cause if there are Haricot verts in the house, I order them) adorned with cherry tomatoes, dried olives, gremotlata, and capers. They did the bean justice.
Executive Chef Trevor Ogden is serving some impressive comfort food that will bring me back every time this hipster is in the city.
We took our wine (a 2007 Foxen Pinot from Julia’s Vienyard) and stuck our feet in the pool, amazed and enthralled with the 69’s floating below us.