The Exploratorium’s new digs boast stellar water views. Photo: Amy Snyder
The museum cafe, long a place of soggy sandwiches and mediocre meals, is getting a makeover in the Bay Area. Case in point: The recently reopened Exploratorium in new digs at Pier 15 in San Francisco, which offers creative fare tied to the mission of the museum, known for its interactive exhibits and playful approach, designed to encourage curiosity and experimentation.
Think seawater cocktails. Honeycomb with almonds and apricots. And living foods.
Visitors have three eating options: The 200-seat Seaglass restaurant, complete with panoramic views, a glass-topped raw bar, and open kitchen, which serves up familiar, family-friendly fare like tacos, pizza, and sandwiches — albeit with a sustainable pedigree — along with more adventurous eats such as marinated sardines, batter-fried green beans, and kelp salad with quinoa. There’s even a local riff on Welsh Rarebit (that’s gussied up grilled cheese to the uninitiated.) A full-bar serves cocktails promising a taste of the sea and in-vogue drinking vinegars known as shrubs. Near the museum’s Embarcadero entrance, the Seismic Joint offers take-away chow such as a chickpea-battered fish fingers, various spins on clam chowder, salads, and sandwiches. Mobile food trikes (built by Luigi Oldani and crew of CRO Cafe) roam the floors, peddling espresso Thanksgiving coffee, baked goods, and Strauss organic soft-serve ice cream.
The culinary duo behind the Exploratorium’s restaurant menu features acclaimed chef Loretta Keller of Coco500, a perennial Chronicle Top 100 restaurant, and her Coco500 partner, catering operations manager Clay Reynolds. The pair, who previously partnered with Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame to run The Moss Room at The California Academy of Sciences, have teamed up with Bon Appetit Management Company, known for its emphasis on scratch cooking with sustainably sourced ingredients, for the Exploratorium’s edible enterprises to form the Curiosity Catering Company.
Keller talks about her plans to feed people well and offer a side of education. [[Click to continue reading this post]]