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Feast Goes On | Firefly

For my birthday it’s supposed to be a previously unannounced film and dinner at a restaurant where I have never eaten before. So…

Yesterday I met up with Ken at the Embarcadero Theater. He didn’t know I have watched Lust, Caution and have read the novel 5 times. So we ended up watching Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling who gives an outstanding, Oscar-caliber performance as a shy, troubled young man who develops a delusion around a sex mannequin. He believes that she’s real and that she’s his girlfriend. It’s a very curious film, partly comic and partly tragic, more melodramatic than comic I say. Quirky film for quirky me, Ken says.

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Lars is a man so warped by his childhood, it’s remarkable he can get along socially well-enough to even hold down a job or function in society (he barely manages the latter). Once Bianca comes into his life, though, Lars slowly begins to move out in the world, participating in social activities he’d previously always shunned — Bianca gives him the courage to reach out into the world.

Here’s where you have to suspend your disbelief a bit, because pretty soon everyone in their small town has gotten in on supporting Lars in his delusion that Bianca is a real person. At first, they stare, but soon everyone is carrying on conversations with Bianca, and taking her around the town; it isn’t long before Bianca has a full social calendar to keep her busy. My faith in people overall isn’t so strong lately that I’d buy that a whole town would embrace a life-sized doll as a real person, but this is the kind of film that gives you a little hope for humanity. I’m touched by how in this fictional world where people care enough about another person who’s not even related to them that they would go to such lengths to try to help him.

After the film we took a walk around the ice-skating rink and the Ferry Building. Dinner was at the lovely Firefly on 24th Street and Douglas. Chef/owner Brad Levy really hits the stride. He loves cooking home-style foods from around the world — and at times the menu ranged from latkes to potstickers. Creamy buttermilk green peppercorn dressing graces the butter lettuce salad with radish a very captivating flavor. Roasted Brussels sprouts are sprinkled with reggiano parmesan and white truffle oil.

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For main courses the chef prepares a very delicious maple glazed grilled pork rib chop but adds a sophisticated twist: Bacon laced farro, braised escarole and grain mustard sauce. The grilled Hawaiian ono feeds my Kauai notsalgia with appetizing Satsuma mandarin–beet salsa, toasted coconut rice and sautéed pea shoots.

For desserts we split pumpkin brioche bread pudding with pears and the highly addictive warm pecan crepes with Huckleberry sauce and brown butter pecan ice cream. The crepes have been heavenly tasty and is my favorite dessert out of all the desserts I’ve had eating out in the city. Service at Firefly is very attentive and warm, and the prices are a bargain. According to the menu, their meat “comes from happy, never mad, drug free animals!”

9 Responses

  1. Wheee! What a celebration. I MUST see the movie. It sounds positively quirky. And the dinner sounds amazing. Especiall those crepes!

  2. We both enjoyed the film. But we didn’t have anything near the dessert you had! Oh, that looks so good!!

  3. I’m intrigued by your review Firefly restaurant. I’ll be staying with my friends in S. F. the weekend after next, and as they live at the opposite edge of Noe Valley from it, it’s not too terribly far from them; maybe I can talk them into going there. I gather it’s not a “cheesy” place. (ha,ha) I hope by this time you’ll be rested up and having a great time in your trip.

    Tom and I had seen previews of Lars and the Real Girl. Your comments have clarified to me what, in part at least, the film might be driving at; it sounds better than our impression. Not surprisingly, the preview emphasized the comedic aspect and only in rather shallow snippets. I’m glad to get a more thoughtful and comprehensive view. Trailers can be very misleading sometimes, and I did want to think it might be a better film, at least in part, than our impression. Like you, I want my yearnings for the humanity in us to manifest itself in mutually caring behaviors, at least in fiction; and like you I prefer to think this does happen in real life, too, if imperfectly, and in a more limited sphere.

    Greg

  4. Yummy food, good company and a quirky film? Now those are all my kinda thing. Keep on celebrating Matt!
    I’m hoping to go see Lars & The Real Girl this weekend.

  5. I love Firefly! But I agree with you that they can use a bit more light. The food is tasty, service is attentive. I read about their dessert being the weak link, but judging from your crepes, I tend to disagree with the critic.

    Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

  6. Wow that meal looked amazing! I’ll have to check out Firefly next time I’m on that side of the world.

  7. Andi:
    I think you’ll enjoy the film. It’s got the human side even out of a seemingly absurd situation. It will bring tears to your eyes. 🙂

    Greg:
    It was something unusual. Crepes with huckleberry sauce (no chocolate), walnut and pecan ice cream! That was a taste of heaven. 🙂

    Greg S:
    Firefly is an upscale neighborhood restaurant. The music, maybe just for the night I went, was a bit out of place. But food was absolutely delicious.

    I’m a bit surprised at how critics were out of their usual caliber in reviewing this one. They were preoccupied with the fact this is a comedy. It’s not. It’s a melodrama that is worked up with emotions, the inner working of mind sprinkled with laughing moments. You’ll like it. 🙂

  8. Iliana:
    Let me know what you think.

    And yes, you have summarized my whole experience! 🙂

    John:
    Ditto. Desserts are great. Ken had the pumpkin bread pudding and it was just as delicious. 🙂

    Angie:
    It’s certainly a winner, with great ambiance, attentive service, and entree around $15-$20. Prefix for $35. 🙂

  9. The movie and dinner sound great! Next time I am in SF I’ll go to the Firefly!

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