Lamb Jam at the Presidio

Who took the awards home?

I had a beautiful day visiting the Presidio in San Francisco this weekend. I had a ticket to Lamb Jam, a regional cook-off of lamb dishes by a selection of fine restaurants.

I actually got the time wrong and arrived over an hour early. I took the opportunity to do a quick walk around some of the historic buildings at the Parade Grounds of the Presidio. 

For those unfamiliar with San Francisco history, you might only know the Presidio from the movie, The Presidio, starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. Up until it was decommissioned in 1994, the Presidio was a military base that protected the San Francisco bay. Originally the bay was under Spanish protection as of 1776, then Mexican, and then by the United States starting in 1846. The Presidio covers almost 1500 acres of prime San Francisco real estate. Luckily it is preserved under the National Park Service and under the guidance and funding of the Presidio Trust. There are a lot of renovations going on. The old Bachelor Officers' quarters is being turned into an inn for tourists and events. The Officers' Club will be available for weddings and events. One of the old barracks was turned into the Walt Disney Family Museum, which tells the story of Walt Disney the man and how he created his empire.

The Presidio was a community unto itself. It had its own post office, bowling alley, hospital, golf course, etc. All of these are now somewhat open to the public. And all the homes and apartments that had housed military families? You can lease them out. How wonderful would it be to live in the heart of San Francisco in this beautiful setting with so much preserved nature? It will cost you, though. I looked it up and a 865 square foot, 2 bed/1 bath apartment runs $2750 per month! 

There is  no lacking of scenery and views though. I had never been through the area and so after the event I actually drove throughout the Presidio to see some of the areas such as Baker Beach and the campgrounds. Yes, there are actual campsites that you can reserve. I am now interested in camping there for a weekend and hiking on all the numerous trails. And if you golf, the golf course is one of the oldest west of the Mississippi. It is gorgeous and open to the public.

But I was there for the lamb. Lamb Jam was held at the Golden Gate Club. There were 16 restaurants and plenty of wineries present.  I recognized one chef, Jeff Mall of Zin, from Top Chef or some such TV appearance. The dishes ranged from tacos to braises to a soup.

These were plated show pieces, not how much we got.

John Fink from The Whole Beast and roasted an entire lamb (seen in above collage). Apparently that's his business, doing whole animal roasts for private parties and events.

I liked many dishes, particularly the banh mi bun (lower left above) from the Morimoto Napa restaurant.

I didn't stick around for the awards because I decided to do my drive around the Presidio instead. I was so full of lamb I had that feeling-ill feeling. The day was too beautiful to be stuck in one place.