Inspiration from Bar Tartine

Today was a very exciting day for me, because I was back in a restaurant kitchen with a knife in my hand for the first time in years. I’m happy to report that I did not cut myself!

I was in the kitchen at Bar Tartine, making pickles for Monday’s upcoming dinner, and hanging out with the brilliant Chef Cortney Burns, who co-runs the kitchen with her fiance, Chef Nick Balla. It’s Burns who has a passion for Persian food, and her enthusiasm is what made our dinner possible.

If you’ve ever eaten at Bar Tartine, you may know that everything is made in house, including bread, pasta, and even cheese, like the feta that Cortney starting fermenting today. The feta will go on Monday’s sabzi khordan platter, the traditional Iranian platter of “edible herbs” which accompanies virtually every meal.

The first time we met, Cortney and I talked about limoo omani, the essential Persian seasoning known as dried limes. Dried limes are sweet, bitter, and pack a supercharged concentration of lime flavor. Cortney told me that dried limes are not plain old limes that get dried, but a variety of limes called Bearss, which are seasonally available in California. Conveniently enough, two weekends ago at the wonderful Hollywood farmer’s market in LA, I came across Bearss limes, four for a buck. Inspired by Cortney, I decided to dry some, and they’re currently sitting in a basket on the counter, getting more shriveled by the day. When they feel hollow and light, they’ll be ready. I can’t wait to cook them up in a Persian khoresh, or stew, like in the photo above.

It’s always inspiring to work with new people, and I’ve learned so much already just spending one day in the kitchen with Cortney and Nick. We’ll be using preserved dried limes in our dinner menu on Monday, along with locally grown persimmons preserved from last season, green almonds, housemade barbari bread, and lots of other traditional Iranian ingredients. I am so honored to collaborate with these folks!

Here’s the menu for Monday. If you’re in San Francisco, please join us, there are still a few seats left, but it’s filling up fast. Call the restaurant to make your reservation: 415 487 1600.

Bar Tartine                           May 6th, 2013


Louisa Shafia

Celebrating her recent book

The New Persian Kitchen

Feta with radishes and barbari bread

Charred spinach with yoghurt

Grilled beets with green herbs

Cauliflower with roe

Lamb kebabs with pomegranate molasses

Pickled carrots and turnips

Sardines with bearss lime

Whole fava beans with sumac

Beef kotleti with buttermilk

Kale and kohlrabi salad with sunflower tahini

Yoghurt and sorrel soup with sesame crackers

Orange blossom squab with walnut and dill

Tahdig with watercress and green almonds

Artichoke, turnip, and peas with saffron

Pistachio and gooseberry nougat

Lime loukoum

Zoolbia with honey

Date biscuits

Goat cheesecake with preserved persimmons

Cardamom coffee

Mint tea

Aniseed tea

7 thoughts on “Inspiration from Bar Tartine

  1. Good for you for braving a professional kitchen again. The last time I did, I realized that I had lost my line-cook stamina! The menu sound refreshing, especially with SF’s unusually summery weather. I have a copy of your book in my hands and am looking forward to diving in.

    1. Hey Kate! Yes, it was fun to flex those muscles again. I like how the all-hands-on-deck, teamwork mentality makes me push myself. Definitely an exciting change from writing all alone. Thanks for stopping by, I hope I get to sign your book!

      1. I’d love for you to sign my book! I’ll see if I can swing by the Ferry Building on Saturday. Hope you’re having fun with the tour-

    1. That is so sweet, thanks! Fingers crossed, someone will formally and officially invite me to participate in something over on your side of the divide.

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