So much food, so little time. I'm in San Francisco for just a couple of days, so I went straight from the airport to Absinthe, an old French bistro with a new chef. A young woman originally from New York's Upper East Side, Jamie Lauren, Scorpio, age 29, took over the kitchens in June and since then has been working to revamp the place (that’s her, on the left). She greeted me after I had lunch wearing a faded red Adidas cap, arms decked out in tattoos. She didn't like the Upper East Side, but is having a good time in the City by the Bay, which it seems to me is having a bit of a romance these days with Middle Eastern food. Or maybe it's just what I've been ordering. I had Jamie's Little Gem lettuces with pomegranate, shaved red onion, creamy dill dressing Persian cucumbers, mint and sumac. Middle Eastern -- at least the pomegranate, Persian cucumbers, mint and sumac. Well, and onion and to a certain extent dill.
Then I had the Croque Madame, which isn't Middle Eastern at all.
Jamie also sent me a soup of Jerusalem artichoke, spiced walnut oil, kaffir lime and micro cilantro. I had all of that with a couple glasses of Viognier.
Jamie's also buffing up Absinthe's cheese selection, so I had one of her sheep's milk selections paired with something light and Alsatian.
I had a cocktail for dessert, since cocktails clearly are a priority at the restaurant.
I chose the Java Islan: Espresso, Batavia Arrack, agave nectar and angostura bitters, chilled and served long over ice.