though we're only two months into 2007, it has already been a great year of eating for me. sometime last fall, i had dinner with carolyn jung food critic of the san jose mercury news at the counter. while chomping down on our gourmet burgers, we chatted about (not surprisingly) food and the great collection of restaurants the bay area has to offer. sharing her love for eating, her husband has made a goal of conquering michael bauer's top 100. as far as goals go, that ain't a bad one. whether you make it or not, i don't doubt it'll be one delicious journey. when you think about, you never really reach the goal. every year there will be a new crop of restaurants that make it onto this coveted list and the journey just continues . . . and you're more than happy to continue eating.
so, inspired by carolyn's husband, i embark on the same mission. while the chronicle food staff have had their stomaches full with the enviable job of bestowing 2007's honors, i've kept my mouth just as full trying to knock a few off the list before the new 100 gets published in april. anyone who has ever had a taste of nancy oakes' most-perfectly hearty and flavorful dishes at boulevard knows that you can't just have one helping of her food. so with my family visiting (after two years away from the bay area!) for a week in january, i decided to start this quest with a trip to boulevard sharing this bay area favorite with them. two trips to a16 followed shortly. the pizza which has been raved to be reminiscent of the flavors and textures of italy. it was not. but the wine made up for it. though it may have been offset again by the horrors of trying to find a parking space in the marina and battling the hoardes of yuppies (hmmm . . . though i may be one of those yuppies). alas, the latest stop on my journey has more than made up for any disappointment caused by a16. yes, i loved the moist-and-tender-just-order-an-appetizer-because-it's-worth-the -hour-wait roast chicken at zuni cafe. so, it's taken me almost thirty years after chef judy rodgers opened the place in 1979 to get there (give me a break, i wasn't even born when the place opened so there must be some sort of grace period) but i got there and i will be back for more of that goood frikin' chicken (which also happens to be a name of a chicken joint in the mission!).
next stop: a table for two at quince on march 24th. if it's one of thomas keller's favorites, i'm sure it'll soon be one of mine too.