Sam (Becks & Posh) was game, so we made plans to have lunch at Tamal, a new place on 12th & Howard that's been getting rave reviews on Chowhound, then head over to the tasting. I also decided that I'd stop off at Citizen Cupcake and pick up a couple of those lemon cookies we both swoon over.
As I was walking out of Virgin, my cell phone rang, and it was Sam (who was standing across the street) telling me that Tamal is closed for weekend lunch. So, after much walking and talking, we ended up at Citizen Cake (oh, the irony) since neither of us had actually had ever had a sitdown meal there.
Turns out, Citizen Cake does a mean lunch. We shared the Croques Tartuffe sandwich ($11) and the Ahi Tuna salad ($13).
The sandwich, made on sourdough levain bread, was generously loaded with gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil. It was all grilled on a panini press and served oozing and delicious. I loved this sandwich for how complex and yet utterly simple it was.
The salad was a "sister" to nicoise salad - tuna, greens, potato and sauce gribiche on a bed of farro. This was so delicious. The tuna was spiced with a rub that included star anise, which was surprisingly complimentary to the rest of the salad. I have to admit I'd never eaten farro before, and this was a lovely introduction - toothy grains similar to barley, but with a distinctly different flavor. I loved these so much, I tried to find some at the Pasta Shop in Berkeley, to no avail.