Thursday, October 14, 2010

On the road again: Bouchercon, San Francisco, day 2

After a humane number of hours of sleep, I got up and dove into work. When I was caught up, I headed to the con and watched a relatively poorly executed liars' panel. I've done a few of these now, and to do them right you need extreme questions that permit entertaining lies and a group of funny panelists. The panelists did a reasonable job on this one, but the questions were too serious to permit the kind of humor that makes a large audience stay late.

Lunch was at the Ferry Building, where 4505 Meats produced a wonderfully tasty steak sandwich. Topping it, however, was a small bowl from Scream Sorbet; the Indian peach was very good, but the vanilla with macadamia nuts was superb.

After more work, I caught a panel on writers working in both film and novels. One writer, whose name I did not catch because I arrived a few minutes late, told the best story I've heard yet about Hollywood's attitude to a novelist wanting control of a script. After he complained for some time to an executive producer, the producer finally told him the following:

You don't understand the process. You owned a car. You sold me the car. Now, you want to drive the car. You may wave at the car as it goes by, but you may not drive it.
My view on this subject remains as it always has been: should someone buy the movie rights to one of my books, I will hope for a very large check that I will deposit as quickly as possible.

I promised yesterday that I would cover last night's dinner today, and so I shall. We ate at Coi, which the owners named using an archaic French term that means "tranquil." You have only one option at Coi: the eleven-course tasting menu. All the plates were interesting and demonstrated both technical skill and an intelligent approach to creating dishes. The server said that "cerebral" best described the food, and that's a reasonable summary.

The taste, however, was nowhere near as consistent. It ranged from difficult dishes I did not greatly enjoy, such as the oysters, to controversial, such as the young turnip-brown butter soup with pickled watermelon radish and purslane, to the absolutely delicious, such as the mushroom and beef courses. Both dessert courses were lovely, so the meal ended on a high note. The small dining room echoed the restaurant's name and conveyed a calming sense of tranquility. All things considered, I'd definitely go back to Coi, and I recommend it for adventurous diners.

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