San Francisco is a fabulous city for so many reasons, and food is just one of them.
I was traveling recently when I was invited by a colleague to try his favorite French restaurant.
Not just his favorite French restaurant in The City. His favorite French restaurant.
How could I not go?
How could I not go without checking to see if I would be able to eat gluten-free and safely there?
Of course I had to check. So, I pulled up their web site.
No gluten-free menu, but several items on their regular menu that looked to be safe.
But then I saw that their dessert menu has crème brûlée.
I love crème brûlée!
Normally, crème brûlée is gluten-free, but I wasn't about to leave things to chance. I called them.
Yes, their crème brûlée is gluten-free. Just like it is supposed to be.
Favorite French restaurant, here we come!
This is not a restaurant you would stumble upon by walking the streets of San Francisco. It is tucked away down a tiny alley that I would have never suspected of nestling such a treasure.
We walked in without a reservation and were seated outside. In the alley. Literally. But it was covered and had heat lamps, so the cool fog didn't intrude on our dinner.
If there is one time I wish I could have ordered French Onion Soup, this was it. But I didn't. I know better. I wasn't about to make myself sick.
Instead I ordered the asparagus side dish and coq au vin for my main course.
The naive eye might have decided that the asparagus was burnt, but far from it. It was just brown and tender all the way through. Outstanding!
The coq au vin was fabulous too. Perfect potatoes. Magnificent mushrooms. Wonderful wine.
But the best was yet to come.
I had to order the crème brûlée. I was surprised to see that my colleague had the same idea. But time would tell me why.
The lighting was very low, sitting in the alley. It may have been just as low in the dining room. Good lighting or not, this is what I saw when my crème brûlée arrived.
It looks like any crème brûlée. It looks like all other crème brûlées I've ever seen, except that this one had a bit of powdered sugar on top of the browned sugar.
But this was not just any crème brûlée. Far from it.
The texture was superb. Smooth, creamy, light, silky, velvety. Beautifully perfect.
The taste was rich but gentle. It was the flavor crème brûlée should be.
This was the best crème brûlée. Not just good. Not just excellent. Not just outstanding.
This was, without a doubt, hands down, second-to-none, the best crème brûlée ever!
There are no other, better, more appropriate superlatives that I can use.
Did I forget to mention the service? The service was outstanding. Our server was very knowledgable and helpful and accommodating with my questions.
The food was outstanding. The setting was quaint and cozy. The service was impeccable.
Did I mention that they also have the best crème brûlée ever?
Oh, I guess I did. Well, it is worth every mention.
If you are within a hundred miles of downtown San Francisco, you need to stop by Café Claude and indulge!