Young turnips rest under decomposing leaves that must be dug through by hand
One Night Only: SWEDEN’s MAGNUS NILSSON & SF’s DANIEL PATTERSON Cook Together at COI
Photos and article by Virginia Miller
Near the kitchen, Coi staff welcomes Magnus on a chalkboard wall
Food lovers in the know are well aware of Chef Magnus Nilsson and his restaurant Faviken Magasinet in the furthest reaches of northern Sweden, the small restaurant causing the biggest food magazines in the world to trek hours from anywhere for a meal. They return glowing, with photo spreads capturing meats hanging from a rustic wood ceiling, ingredients like lichen, moss and open fire meats turned into delicious, elemental art, all sourced within miles of the restaurant, and the young Nilsson in his nearly iconic fur coat.
His just released new book, Faviken (with charming, traditional Scandinavian art cover), is a pleasure to walk through. Lucky us, Nilsson’s US book tour featured only two nights of cooking in the whole country, one in Charleston at Husk with Sean Brock, one on October 20 at Coi here in San Francisco with Daniel Patterson. I savored all twelve courses of the collaborative dinner and will let photos and brief descriptors do the talking as imagination could not quite envision the unique tastes and earthy experiences reflecting Bay Area ingredients Nilsson and Patterson foraged for themselves that morning.
Think tofu made from water sourced deep within the ocean around the Farallon Islands or turnips one must dig for by hand through a pile of decomposing leaves and you’re on the right track.
Powerhouse chef team of Daniel Patterson (L) and Magnus Nilsson (R)
Entering Coi in North Beach for this one night only dinner; we are served sides of whole wheat milk bread & excellent rustic black olive caraway bread
Starting with “crackers and dip”: flaxseed chips with a dreamy, of-the-sea blue oyster emulsified dip (L) & brown rice crackers with kale dip (R)
Unreal course: “Earth & Sea” tofu made from deep ocean water pulled from a spot of the Farralon Islands, pasteurized & coagulate into ricotta-like tofu and served with cherry tomatoes & seaweed, in Silver Leaf olive oil
Most aromatic, striking course of the night: Pacific oysters moldering in redwood and pine
Chanterelle mushrooms, clean & unadorned with Meyer lemon, peas & lovage salt
Kohlrabi root crusted in tobacco & vinegar, laced with dill, edible flowers, Thai basil, mint and surrounded by pomegranate sauce
One of my favorite courses: Monterey Bay abalone grilled in nettle dandelion salsa verde, crunchy with spicy breadcrumbs
Cauliflower cooked in white soy and vinegar with S’Peters English Ale whipped cream
Emigh Ranch lamb slow-poached in olive oil & cooked over direct fire, with Swiss chard leaves & stems in garum (fermented fish sauce) and rosemary
Superb: almond milk ice cream dotted with wild bay oil and chocolate crumbs
Passion fruit-white chocolate baba topped with honeycomb, in shiso sauce
Finish: candied raspberries