Just a few weeks ago, Jonathan and I hit our three-year anniversary of living together. I know it’s no biggie, and something hundreds of Americans (ok fine, thousands!) celebrate, or disregard with scorn, every day. So what’s the big deal? Well if you stop shot-gunning me with applause and adoration I’ll tell you.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, what makes this year different from all other years is that it was also the one-year anniversary of our owning a home together! Yep, we’re homeowners– or, as I like to joke, “homo-owners.” We had a year full of fighting over fixtures, bickering over bills, and complaining about compost. And I’m happy to report we’re still going strong. I will say here; documented for the world to see, that Jonathan does: on occasion, sometimes maybe, or on every other blue moon; take the compost out more than I do. A truism this may be, it should also be noted in The Book of Tit-for-Tat that I do a heck of a lot more cooking than he does. So I think it only fare to say we’re even on the compost-front. And if that doesn’t seem right, then it’s probably the case where the scales of life (you know those giant gilded ones you’d imagine in some Technicolor film about the gods of Mount Olympus judging human souls or something) are tilted ever so slightly in my favor. Because let’s be honest… cooking is sooo much more valuable than taking out the compost, right? Don’t answer that.
All jovial jabs aside, and I say this with all seriousness; there is probably one single thing we did that saved us from breaking-up once we moved in together. I know it’s uncouth to talk about, but I feel like I need to spread the word now that I’ve seen firsthand that it does indeed work. So here goes; when you’re on the verge of cohabitation, the best way to prevent the death of passion is to hire a housekeeper. I know it sounds like I’m describing one of those, “white person problems,” with a, “white person,” suggesting a, “white man’s solution,” but I swear; that’s only what this looks like. No really, hear me out.
No matter how confident you are in your evolving relationship, the moment you lose all personal space (which is what happens when you co-sign a lease) is the moment your dirty toilet becomes “our dirty toilet.” You getting a whiff of what I’m hinting at?
It’s bad enough to clean your own toilet, and if you’re at all like me when I was single, you probably only cleaned it once a year, because you didn’t mind the build-up when you thought it was just yours. But when you find yourself on your knees, scrubbing away at what you’re not sure is yours or your loved ones “crusties,” is when your bond will be tested to the fullest. So get a housekeeper! It doesn’t matter if it’s every day, once a week, or once a month—having someone else to take this single task (and maybe a few others) off the docket is worth whatever you can negotiate. Because your first year of living with someone is really an inevitable, self-imposed gauntlet of Jedi mind tricks, unforeseen tests and proverbial shit-flinging that each of you will have to overcome with speed, grace and ease. And to love someone enough to share a bathroom with them daily, is to realize that your shit doesn’t smell like roses. It stinks like everyone elses’ and fighting over who limed the latrine last is not something you’ll need more than rubber gloves for.
So on our one-year anniversary of being homo-owners, and having the most amazing housekeeper/therapist we could ask for, Jonathan and I went to La Mar Cebicheria to enjoy Chef Diego Oka’s fresh seafood menu, bright flavor mash-ups and uber trendy waterfront scene. The high-end cebicheria built into Pier 1 just next to the San Francisco Ferry Building on Embarcadero, looks like a Miami South Beach explosion mixed with Silicon Valley clientele. The dark hardwood floors are counter-balanced with all white geometric fixtures and furniture patterns. The colors of Peru’s teal ocean blue are highlighted in the accent walls and accessories and of course each plate is it’s own visual carnival of the rainbow. Oh and the waiters aren’t so bad to look at themselves. If you like ceviche, cilantro, and the flavors of south American cuisine, I highly recommend you check out La Mar Cebicheria. Only make sure you have a reservation, because it seems like this is the perfect place for all of the advertising agency execs at the base of Telegraph Hill to gather for a quick bite and a few drinks after work. Here’s what we had.
La Mar Cebicheria, San Francisco
Instead of bread, everyone starts off with a vase of fried plantain, sweet potatoes, and yam chips. Each chip type a slightly different experience, but all equally crisp and crunchy. They’re wonderful in the various salsas they provide and can be used to scoop up any of the following ceviches.
Cebiche clasico: California halibut in a classic leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam.
Cebiche mixto: yellowtail, calamari and shrimp in an aji Amarillo leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam. When we go back to La Mar cebicheria, I’d probably suggest to the table that we just select one or two of the ceviches and order full orders of them. The ceviche sampler is great, but each of them are equally fabulous, and once you like one, you’ll want to make sure you have more than a bite it before it’s gone.
Cebiche chifa: Yellowtail with peanuts, scallions, ginger, pickled carrots and daikon, habanero, wonton strips and cilantro in a sweet and sour sesame oil leche de tigre.
Cebiches nikei: Tuna, red onion, Japanese cucumber, daikon, avocado, nori, and sesame in a tamarind leche de tigre.
Causa chicharron: aji Amarillo causa filled with avocado puree, topped with chicharron de calamari (fried squid) and crab meat, dressed with tartara rocoto and criolla sauces. The soft buttery yellow potato is chilled but practically at room temperature. If you can do it, it’s best to pop one of these in your mouth in its entirety. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out a way to chew it.
Pulpo: grilled octopus skewers, herbed mashed potato with chimichurri sauce and antichuchera sauce. This is probably one of the best octopus dishes I’ve ever had. The octopus is grilled to perfection, and practically melts on your mouth like butter, instead of being chewy like it so often can be. The sweet chilli sauce and the bitter chimichurri sauce pair perfectly.
Quinoa chaufa: wok fried quinoa with bell peppers, scallions, mushrooms, eggs, soy sauce, bean sprouts, sesame oil and fried egg noodles.
Tacu tacu a lo pobre: crusted yellowtail on top of a golden lima bean tacu tacu with manzano banana, fried egg, salsa criolla and finished with chancaca sauce. Risque placement of this manzano banana aside, this panko crusted and lightly fried yellowtail was amazing! Once the creaminess of the yolk blended with the gloden lima bean tacu tacu patty (almost like a pureed potato pancake) the perfect single bite was all I experienced once mouthful after another.
Dessert was an amazing caramel and chocolate medley: some frozen flan-like custard in the shape of a log, with some baked chocolate and chocolate ice cream and a garnish of fresh raspberries.
And a palate cleanser of merlot pate de fruits.