Foreign Cinema: Act 1
On Mission street, through an old set of theater doors, down a worn red carpet, you’ll find Foreign Cinema. Straight ahead from the hostess station, is a lovely enclosed courtyard. Off to the right is the indoor dining room, with 30 foot high ceilings, a rustic fireplace built for kings and at the back beneath rays of late afternoon light, a wall-to-wall well stocked bar. At dusk, foreign and independent films are screened on the white wash brick wall in the courtyard. Our reservation was early in the evening and unfortunately it meant missing the nights screening of The Royal Tenenbaums.
I feel awkward pulling out my camera in places like this one. Truth be told, I always feel awkward pulling my camera out. I also worry that it cheapens the overall experience, as though I’m not really in the moment, busy snapping away rather than simply soaking it up. Then again, each time I look at one of these photos, I recall the atmosphere, the flavors and the company. That and half of the people in there were snapping photos of each other and their food. We live in a world of constant documentation. Our meal at Garry Danko went undocumented due to the reasons listed previously. I’ll sum that experience up by letting you know that the dress code was elegant, so I wore white dress pants…on the bus…and it took all of 10 mins to get a dirt scrape down my knee ( I also overheard ‘her pants are so white, let’s smear her with something); I was asking for it. Then we ate so much that puking was almost a reality. We had a gift card and used the whole damn thing.
Back at Foreign Cinema, my sister and I enjoyed a glass of vino. We split two premier dishes; the ahi poke, Banyuls-soy ponzu, avocado, sweet potato crisps was beautifully tender yet meaty with a citrus undertone; the Mozzarella di burratta, nectarines, mint, toasted hazelnuts and olive oil was creamy, tart, refreshing and nutty, perhaps four of my favorite food attributes all in one.
These starters were as vibrant and attention grabbing as the group of girls dressed in full neon 80’s gear and tutus across the restaurant. I’m beginning to regret not having photographed the colorful people that played a role in my San Francisco experience.
To be continued…
Photos by Maggie Murphy