coconut heaven at the slanted door

Every time I eat at the Slanted Door, I wonder why it is I'm not eating there every month (or week!) It's always an experience that delights all the senses. Even back in the day when the restaurant was in it's original funky location on Valencia Street, it was such a treat to have a meal there–the fresh, innovative combination of ingredients always cooked to perfection (my mouth is actually watering now just thinking of their crispy imperial rolls.)

But when they moved to the Ferry Building, they reached another level of perfection. It's so rare for a stylish waterfront restaurant with spectacular views to actually have decent food, let alone great food. So when you're eating your delectable grilled Hamachi collar or five-spiced duck confit, and find yourself staring out at a sparkling postcard view of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with ferry boats passing by, it's hard not to feel like you've achieved nirvana.

A few days ago I met two of my Slow Food Nation compatriots for a post-event catch-up lunch and as always was wowed by the meal. The show stopper though was the dessert: a creamy coconut sorbet with a young Thai Coconut tapioca, topped with a slice of persimmon. It was not only visually stunning (also in its sexy color combination of Heath Ceramics) but the combination of flavors, textures and mouth-feel was unbeatable.

Part of its elegance was its simplicity which inspired me to see if I could try it out at home. After doing some research online, I found several different recipes for coconut sorbet but ended up modifying this one by not using the shredded coconut. So basically just coconut milk and sugar–simple and delicious.

Then I found this recipe for a pudding with young coconut. I made several modification here: I used young Thai coconut juice instead of coconut milk (and substantially more than the 1/3 cup called for); I used large pearl tapioca instead of small; and I didn't use the pieces of young coconut. I think I got pretty close with this as well. I wonder if Charles Phan has published the actual recipe anywhere. Anyone know?

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