Posted by Lauren
Wednesday morning I took the super early train to San Francisco. My first stop was the nearest Starbucks for their egg/spinach/feta wrap and a venti gingerbread coffee with soy milk (my freebie!). The coffee warmed me up on my walk to the SF office.
I really should take advantage of this office more often! It’s quite peaceful up on the 10th floor, away from the distractions I’d face in our Mountain View office. Before I knew it, lunch time came and went. I got a small sub from Quiznos down the street and then around 2:30 I set out for a short 3 mile run. I needed a change of scenery and the bay views did the trick!
The main reason I worked from SF today was to meet Miranda for dinner. In the past, we tried thai, vegetarian, and sushi spots. When I pitched a couple of options this time around, she chose one of the more interesting ones: Scandinavian!
PLÄJ (pronounced: play) is a relatively new addition to the Inn at the Opera in Hayes Valley. Owner/Chef Roberth Sundell opened up PLÄJ to bridge the gap between Scandinavia’s classic flavors and California’s seasonal ingredients.
We sat at the polished wood bar (day-of reservations are hard to come by FYI) and looked over the interesting menu, which is divided into four sections: Hagen (veggie), Fjord (fish), Beta (meat), and Godis (desserts). Everything sounded amazing; I’ll admit I had trouble choosing just one thing!
We both ordered cocktails to start and our conversation turned to Gossip Girl. Miranda said the last episode she watched was the one where Lola and Rufus hooked up. To which the bartender chimed in with his thoughts on their freaky relationship!! Miranda and I were taken aback by his GG knowledge! Pretty funny!!
The complimentary rye bread arrived wrapped in a bag on top of a cutting board. I was barely half way through my slice when my first plate arrived…
The herring plate featured herring three ways. I tried the ginger smoked soy first and it might have been my favorite. The coriander chili-lime herring left me wanting more heat. Although I’d probably order this again, there was too much going on… an abundance of chopped red onion, out-of-place potatoes, and a random side of unleavened rye bread. I loved the puree underneath the herring, but can’t remember what it was exactly.
A few minutes later my second dish arrived…. Yes, I ordered two entrees! When in
Swedish meat balls, potato puree, pan gravy, lingonberry, pickled cucumber
The rustic Scandinavian flavors really came out in this entree. The rich meatballs worked nicely with the simpler mashed potatoes. I swirled the lingonberry sauce into my mashed potatoes along with a little jus. Perfection. I would definitely recommend these meatballs!
As we left, I noticed the shiny industrial lights above the bar and thought how out of place they looked in the cozy, wood-paneled dining room. Really though, that’s kind of what Pläj is like in San Francisco – new, different, truly one-of-a-kind (IKEA meatballs don’t hold a candle to these!). I will be sure to recommend Pläj to all my friends, especially people who like Swedish Fish. :)
Thanks for joining me for dinner and suggesting we try Pläj, Miranda! Can’t wait til next time!!