Check out the following story: b. patisserie Sweetens Lower Pac Heights, Starting Today – Eater Inside – Eater SF.
We were fortunate enough to try the kouign amann, sort of a hockey puck formed of buttery, flaky and compressed pastry layers thus dipped in sugar. This is an amazing and beautiful thing. And, a meal in itself. The other items described in the link above merit your swift attention, notably some fun macaron options. Savory lunch items, too! This is a major local opening folks, do go.
Check out this article for a list of the top 20 sandwiches in San Francisco.
Our comments are below:
2, great quality meat, but fatty. Not quite seasoned enough.
5, bland, fatty, not sure why this one makes the list, least of all in the top 5
7, amazing quality meat, fatty yes, impeccably seasoned. A star.
11, simple and delicious, just the right amount of pepper, the greens balance the egg, mayo and cheese perfectly
13, fatty but decadent. Nice spice. The bun is so good!
14, we love lamb, just the right amount of veggies to add crunch and a burst of juice
15 yes, a calorie bomb. But it hits all the right notes. We go back again and again for it!
16 this is a great seafood roll and a good value, too!
17 nicely marinated meat, right spice mix, juicy and grilled flavors harmoniously blend
19 Great german fare, spicey and delicious with ‘craut and onions. Do have the beer with it. So good. Love the weiswurst at Rosamunde, too.
We here at MUSeYUM agree, Wise Sons is good food. We were there when it was a POP UP at Heart Wine Bar. And it has to be said, the guys who started it……..? HOT.
medley of cheese, seasonal fruit and almond butter, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.
I’ve been wanting to try this place since it opened, by all accounts an exquisite fixed price brunch in the Mission. Sister restaurant to one of my neighborhood favorites, Local Mission Eatery, Local’s Corner is a relatively new restaurant that has very quickly developed her own following. The restaurant is located off the 24th Street beaten path (on Bryant) and as such has a relaxed and quiet vibe, more home kitchen than restaurant. Warmth is reflected back in bright morning sun, in the decor, and in a genuinely friendly waitstaff. A sunny August day, conditions were ideal for this leisurely Sunday brunch. I was there with a dear friend, a nationally-renowned interior designer who also happens to be a fellow foodie, home gardener, and home cook. As a designer, he has a high taste-level and is equally blunt with his criticisms. Read on to see the brunch in pictures, with our reactions:
Perhaps the most controversial dish, it was salty. Too salty for my friend. Pushing it for me. The marriage of ingredients in the hash was amazing, a subtle grilled flavor balancing the savoury and sweetness of the corn nicely for me. Still, we both marveled over the egg. I had read about sous vide eggs like this one but this was my first time eating one. The texture, evenly smooth and creamy from eggwhite through to the yolk, was like a fine custard. Sublime. We took the opportunity to chat to our server about it, and we got a wealth of information about the sous vide process, learning the chicken for the hash was prepared by that method as well. I’d love to try it at home, but one does need specialized equipment to do it, and I’d be eating dozens of eggs a week, which couldn’t be a good thing. In the meantime, I’ll know to come to Local’s Corner for the perfect egg, toast and more.
2500 Bryant St. (at 23rd Street)
Lunch was lovely at Cassava Bakery and Cafe, a warm and lovely spot in the foggy outer Richmond, very near the Balboa Theater. Great for a coffee and french pastries or a savoury lunch. (It looks like they host some very interesting pop up dinners, as well.) The menu is inspired by japanese cuisine, but you’ll see a strong element of French, too.
I had the Japanese breakfast:
Koshihikari plum rice, ichiban dashi miso soup, sous vide “onsen tamago” poached egg, Meyer lemon kosho natto, wakame salad, simmered hijiki.
The egg was sublime! The fermented soy is an acquired taste….
The owners, a husband and wife team, are impossibly cute, too. It just has to be said: )
3519 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
Moya, aother “find” within walking distance of my office, ethiopian is a fun alternative for lunch. Today I was joined by a fellow artist (painter), paralegal-by-day. He’s also got some wild stories. WOW. Always fun.
I ordered the kitfo, a beef tartare with clarified butter. You heard me correctly. This was accompanied by salad, KIK ALI-CHA (yellow pea stew) and the ingira bread. The first bites of the tartare were amazing but be warned, this is heavy stuff. They give you a lot of it and I wasn’t able to finish it. It’s really rich. The salad does help to cut that richness but in itself, was unremarkable. My friend had a grilled chicken with ethiopian spices and enjoyed it a lot. He too felt we got a lot of food for our buck. The menu does cater to american tastes, and is not as broad as I’ve found at other ethiopian restaurants. It is quick though, and perfect for a well executed, nontypical lunch.
121 9th Street
San Francisco, 94103
Here’s a recipe I’ve been searching for since having a wonderful brunch at a Japanese bakery in the Outer Richmond, Cassava. I’d ordered the “Japanese Breakfast” from the menu, and the standout dish was a sous vide poached egg.
Japanese Breakfast ( $10 )
Koshihikari plum rice, ichiban dashi miso soup, sous vide “onsen tamago” poached egg, Myer lemon kosho natto, wakame salad, simmered hijiki
Here’s a recipe we found online for Slow Poached Eggs, adapted from Chef David Chang and Peter Meehan’s Momofuku restaurant cookbook by:
Slow-poached Eggs Recipe
But none of those things kept me from trying out more recipes, and I struck pay dirt with the slow-poached egg recipe. Meehan did a splendid job conveying Chang’s fervor over the utter simplicity of the cooking process, which originated in Japan with old ladies who took to multitasking at the natural hot springs. They soaked themselves while slow-cooking eggs in 141F hot baths. The finished eggs hold a wonderful elliptical shape (in the photo above) that charms and excites all at once. The yolk is barely cooked and remains runny so that you can enjoy their unctuous essence. At Momofuku Noodle Bar, the slow-cooked eggs are added to ramen and fried too.
I slow poached all the eggs I had – 8 total – and ate them over the course of several days. I don’t usually eat that many eggs in a week but it was fun to play around with them. Then I had to eat them. Thank G.O.D. Rory was around to help.
To give you a sense of my thinking process when using a restaurant chef’s recipe, I’m providing Momofuku’s slow-poached egg recipe verbatim but with [my annotated text in brackets]:
Large eggs, as many as you like [as fresh as you can get, organic, free range, all the quality you can afford]
1. Fill your biggest, deepest pot with water and put it on the stove over the lowest possible heat. [If you have a 5,000 BTU burner for simmering, that works perfectly.]
2. Use something to keep the eggs from sitting on the bottom of the pot, where the temperature will be highest. If you’ve got a cake rack or a steamer rack, use it. If not, improvise: a doughnut or aluminum foil or a few chopsticks scattered helter skelter across the bottom of the pan will usually do the trick, but you know what you’ve got lying around. Be resourceful. [Chang and Meehan know that this is a potential obstacle for home cooks and their encouragement is great. You don’t need much to MacGyver the cooking set-up. I used a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot and a collapsible steamer rack to elevate and cradle the eggs. A deep 4-quart pot would have done the trick too. Any pot that will hold eggs in 1 layer and will fit a rack of some sort; or do the foil coil. You have to keep the eggs submerged for 45 minutes. Think of the Japanese ladies in their hot springs!]
3. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature in the pot – if it’s too hot, add cold water or an ice cube. Once the water is between 140 and 145F, add the eggs to the pot. Let them bathe for 40 to 45 minutes, checking the temperature regularly with the thermometer or by sticking your finger in the water (it should be the temperature of a very hot bath) and moderating it as needed. [On a home stove’s simmer burner, achieving the low water temperature and maintaining it is easy. I just clipped my deep-fry thermometer on to gauge the temperature and then stuck my finger into the water to double check. Set a timer. My temperature fell below 140 for about 10 minutes so I adjusted the temperature and then bathed them for longer. It’s not rocket science though vigilance is required.]
4. You can use the eggs immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. (If you’re planning on storing them, chill them until cold in an ice-water bath.) If you refrigerate the eggs, warm them under piping hot tap water for 1 minute before using. [I kept the eggs around for 4 days. Before using them, I returned them to room temperature by letting them sit out for about 1 hour. If I served them as warm poached eggs, I boiled a saucepan of water, then let it cool for about 15 minutes, then let the egg sit in the hot water for 1 minute.]
5. To serve the eggs, crack them one at a time into a small saucer. The thin white will not and should be firm or solid; tip the dish to pour off and discard the loosest part of the white, then slide the egg onto the dish it’s destined for. [Chang and Meehan are totally right on about this. The egg holds a mounded shape but it’s jiggly. And, there’s some white for you to pour off.]
How to use the slow-poached eggs:
- Eggs Benedict without much last-minute fuss.
- Fried eggs – use a nonstick skillet with a film of oil. Heat over medium high to smoking, slide the egg in (do the sauce thing to make it easy), then fry for 45 seconds on each side. Sprinkle with Maldon or kosher salt and black pepper. Eat as is. Or, top a salad orbowl of hot rice. Add Maggi Seasoning sauce and black pepper or homemade Sriracha sauce. Heavenly.
- Add the poached egg to an impromptu bowl of rice soup (chao/congee/jook). Use leftover cooked rice 1 part cooked rice: 4 part broth, water, or combination of. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until creamy. Add salt, scallion, and ginger. Ladle it into a bowl, slide the egg into the middle and top with black pepper.
Momofuku’s slow-poached eggs recipe is a keeper. The technique is easy to master and one that I’ll keep in my back pocket. That’s the kind of restaurant cookbook that worth adding to your bookshelf.
Part of starting a new job is adapting to a new stomping ground as well. “Living into” your new job involves getting to know new coworkers and routines but also, exploring a new neighborhood. Finding a good cup of coffee and a quiet lunchtime escape is essential. Mirtille has become (one) of those spots for me. And they have Parisienne Macaroons too- that’s a bonus.
Given that Mirtille is conveniently located in the heart of the Civic Center and quite near a major BART and MUNI station, it continues to appeal to locals-in-the-know and somehow remains invisible to tourists. The outside of the cafe is painted jet black and there’s very little signage to call it out. Inside, you’ll find sexy plum colors, a little chrome, and comfortable chairs. And you ‘ll find your cup of coffee.
The staff are reliably friendly, and every once in a while you’ll hear a bit of spoken french, as well. The cafe feels more European than American. The food takes you to France, too. Beyond your espresso, you’ll find quiche and pretty baguette sandwiches. Pastries. Making your own salad at the counter is fun- for one set price, choose your greens and up to six ‘add-ins’. All the ingredients are fresh. A personal favorite is the soup of the day. And, the french press, bien sur.
87 McAllister St
(between 7th St & Leavenworth St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin
Mon-Thu 7 am – 7 pm
Fri 7 am – 6 pm
Sat 7:30 am – 4 pm
Sun 7:30 am – 11 am
I love the Castro neighborhood but for the movida, the street scene, less for the food. There are a few dependable spots, though, and this is one. Relatively new, Canela is nice enough to be a date night, and casual enough to be a place for friends to gather. This is a Spanish style tapas restaurant (of which there are few in the city) and as such, you can order large plate (appropriate for that dinner out) or small plates (ready for that group of friends to share) Today, I was in need of a stage more than anything. My friend, a film maker and director in town from Los Angeles, is used to good food. I wanted something fast and easy, since I had to get in and out over my lunch hour, yet something nice enough to make the afternoon special for my pal. Canela fit the criteria nicely.
The food is not mind blowing, but solid and good. Get the calamari and white beans. Get the Revuelto, a very thin egg omelet with savory sauce, sausage. Get the Lamb. Get the patatas bravas, roasted potatoes in a spicy sauce.
The service is friendly and it’s not hard to get a table here without waiting. The look is sharp and clean. So if you need a place to enjoy an evening in the Castro, check this place out. It’s a find.
2272 Market St
(between Sanchez St & 16th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Lunch with the mad hatter happens shortly after the bars close……Marcello’s Pizza in the heart of the Castro. San Francisco. Halloween.
420 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Fri-Sat 11 am – 2 am
Brunch Drunk Love, God Love You.
You might have heard of the chef, Ryan Scott. Yes, he was on Top Chef and yes, he’s hot. He also seems to be part of whatever happens to be the current trend in San Francisco. Take his 4505 Meats for instance, a business that has eschewed brick and mortar in favor of a presence at farmer’s markets. If you’re trending Paleo these days, especially burger-Paleo, this one is all for you. Following another emerging trend, the food truck scene exploded here in San Francisco and Scott was quick to dive in there, too. In fact, he operates one of my still-favorites, the 3-SUM truck. In fact, I was there on their first night of business and the sandwich I had that night remains one of my all time favorites. (read more about that here..) And the latest trend? The pop-up restaurant. Rolled out for only one day, pop-ups are high concept and quite focused to a particular kind of food. Essentially a chef borrows an existing space to try out a new concept, bearing minimal overhead. There will be queues but hey, we do like to be au currant here in the Mission. So Ryan opened Brunch Drunk Love, and it operates Sundays inside Bruno’s Restaurant on Mission Street. The crowd, uber-hipster, is hungover and kind of loud.
Everything on the menu looks great because it’s all decadent, and rich. A meal here is an indulgence. I believe every item on the menu had some form of alcohol, somewhere in the ingredients. I offer you, the Sticky Icky, a Bourbon-salted-caramel-mixed nuts roll of icky yum yum:
Yes there (eventually) was a protein… The sandwich arrives with some ‘throwaway’ greens on the side. The greens are an afterthought, overshadowed as they are by the gargantuan sandwich called, the Little Piggy. It’s a commitment to get through this one, folks.
I went with the boys for this brunch outing and “as you do” when the yummy restaurant-cum-pop-up is owned by a cute celebrity, we joked about Ryan coming-out (from the kitchen) to visit us. The waitress must have heard that because, sure enough, he did come out (from the kitchen). He was cordial and polished, almost flirty, and completely straight-in-the-quintessentially-Mission-way…..very ‘at ease’ around gay guys, and enjoyed that we were there among all the other Mission hipsters and enjoying his food.
We liked the food a lot but we also hit the gym afterwards. For a really long time.
Brunch Drunk Love
2389 Mission Street (@ Bruno’s)
San Francisco, CA 94110
T (415) 648-6800
Samovar, a set on Flickr.
From beautiful ambiance to quality food, Samovar always gets it right. Fine teas are at the focus, and they’ve curated a menu that is as culturally diverse as the teas themselves. From an English tea to Japanese, Indian to Russian to Moroccan, the food and drink will take you on a lovely flight. Samovar takes great care to create a mood that gets the experience right. Come for an afternoon relaxing with friends among the pillows, make it a special candle lit date night, the decor and service lend themselves to just about any occasion, morning through evening… including a little “me time” with a good book. Today, catching up with a good friend and fellow blogger, intermittantly talking about blogs, taking pictures of our meals, appreciating the food and enjoying the opportunity to leisurely talk the afternoon away on a sunny day Hayes Valley…
297 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
We’ve been wondering why this city full of food trucks didn’t have one devoted to the burger (hmm!) and now, lo and behold, we have two! Here’s the scoop, straight from SF EATER. Of note, the second truck they mention, Doc’s By the Bay, also has a vegetarian option that sounds kinda good, actually…
These guys can be found (among other locations) at some of the Off the Grid hotspots, check the OTG website for details (for more Off the Grid commentary, jump here)
Friday, May 13, 2011, by Carolyn Alburger
In the great tradition of January’s BBQ Truck faceoff, we now bring you Burger Truck Faceoff 2011. We’ve heard numerous complaints about the lack of burger-wielding food trucks in San Francisco of late. And soon, where there were none, there shall be two—both of them flipping burgers to-order from an on-truck griddle. As Zak Silverman’s Doc’s of the Bay deals with its public hearings for two future Mission locations, we learn of new player Fivetenburger, suiting up for action. Both burger vehicles will be rolling up to Off the Grid’s Civic Center edition for the next two Tuesdays. So consider it your fleeting chance to try the contenders side-by-side. Behold now, the vitals for each.
Mastermind: San Antonio-native and former Bar Johnny chef Roland Robles
Burger Style: Choice of grain-fed Golden Gate Meats or Eel River Ranch 100% grass-fed ground beef on a proprietary North Beach Bakery Co. bun Robles “spent months perfecting”
Special Sauce?: Yes. Housemade spicy mustard, garlic mayo and a “secret spice mix”
Location: Off the Grid, Civic Center
The Extras: A cage-free egg, applewood bacon or garlic fries can be added to each order.
Twitter, Facebook, website
2) Doc’s of the Bay
Mastermind: New Jersey-native Zak Silverman
Burger Style: Organic black Angus beef, Mid-Western smashburger technique
Special Sauce?: Yes. Housemade ketchup and a special ratio of minced onions worked into each patty
Location: Washington St. by the TransAmerica building, Off the Grid, Civic Center on Tuesdays, every other Sunday outside Homestead, possibly two locations in the Mission next month
The Extras: Doc’s has a black bean veggie burger that’s been driving vegetarians crazy
As if hearing our call here at MUS•e•YUM for the Best Burger in San Francisco, the fine fellows over at SF Eater have mobilized the entire city (and their fancy-shmancy number crunching servers) to scientifically determine just that! The winner? -no surprise here: celebrity chef and food concept innovator Ryann Starr and his 4505 Meats. Starr is a busy guy, running 4505 Meats at the Ferry Building on Thursdays as well as other pop up venues (like his fabulous turkey lunch right before Thanksgiving in Hayes Valley, link here) and the scrumptious 3-SUM Food Truck which you can find at various Off the Grid venues around town.
Friday, April 29, 2011, by Laura Beck
4505 Meats won the Best Burger in the SF Bay Area Burger Brackets showdown! You go, girl. Congrats to 4505 Meats team and congrats to all of our restaurants and voters. You’re all the real winners here. I think.
4505 Meats Burger [Photo: HamBlogger]
Given the choice of trying a new restaurant or going back to one that is tried-and-true, I’ll usually opt for the former rather than the latter. So if a place does manage to keep me coming-back on a fairly regular basis why, that’s an endorsement in and of itself. Starstream certainly is that kind of place, and it certainly has a hold on me. I keep going back. And without fail, every time I do there’s at least one new thing waiting to be tried, something that blurs the line between sweet and savory (a distinguishing factor for which Starstream is known, check out my previous review here). As much as I try to resist that bit of sweet at the end of the meal, I can’t. (It is the best cookie in San Francisco, after all) And then there’s Remi, the owner and chef, who is a true gem.
The following is a lunch in pictures. Joining me on this latest visit was MUS•e•YUM Trustee, L., a former advertising exec. who’s eaten at some of the top restaurants in town and beyond, so he has a refined palate and holds the bar high. L. always presents a neutral and unbiased review. . . it was his first time eating here, in fact. (Not his last, he really liked it!)
On my plate were the roasted fig, basil & stracciatella cheese sandwich and the salad of arugula, pickled red onion and sliced fingerling potatoes . Both of these dishes reflect Chef Remi’s signature approach of bringing savory and sweet together, in a deftly-balanced way. L. also loved his meal, the Pork Conserva sandwich and Citrus Salad. He appreciated how well-balanced all the flavors were on his plate, as well. The brightness of the citrus fennel salad was a real highlight, as well as the iced Bergamot tea he ordered with his meal, very aromatic and rich. We both agree the rolls on which the sandwiches are served are pretty great and well worth mentioning; they’re beautiful, they’re flavorful, and they’re made in-house by Remi, as well. We also agreed the portion size is exactly right. We left completely satisfied, but not stuffed. In fact, as always, I had room for a little dessert, the dark chocolate and red chile pepper scone, dusted with gorgeous crystaline turbinado sugar. The flavor of the scone was nothing short of amazing, the richness of the chocolate totally satisfies your sweet tooth, and it’s accompanied by a real nice “kick” on the back-end, thanks to the chiles. Awesomeness.
And this visit we found out about a bit of exciting news from Chef Remi- . . . so stay tuned for a big story mid-February!
1830 Harrison at 14th St (near the Best Buy)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 4 pm
Links to articles in the Press:
Lunch with my friend D. always is a treat. In this review I shall refer to him only as D. in order to protect his privacy, because he is quite famous. And not only is D. a world-renowned author and a pillar of the community but also, he just happens to be a foodie of the first order. (Suffice to say, he is simply fabulous.) So for all these reasons and more, it was a joy to try out a new restaurant with him, the Green Chile Kitchen, a Western Addition/NOPA restaurant that serves dishes inspired by the food of New Mexico.
Before getting to a review of the food, I feel a hiccup must be pointed out. The restaurant is not that new so I was surprised that upon entering there was a bit of confusion with regard to the service. No one greeted us and as it was a big restaurant. . . what to do? Where was the menu? Oh, there’s a basket of them near the door. Should we seat ourselves or order at the counter? We managed to flag down a server (it was 12.30pm) and we were instructed to proceed first to the register to place our orders. Scanning the paper menu at the register took some time, given how extensive it is and how unusual some of the dishes are. . . they merit a good read (this could definitely create a bottleneck at rush hour) We made our selections and paid, and then we got our flags with numbers to take with us back to our table.
The decor was austere, with lots of heavy wooden furniture and catholic iconography. The room almost had the feel of a Spanish mission. . . some of the pieces were gorgeous. . .
As for the food, we ordered the following:
The food was good, but not great. While the ingredients themselves clearly were of top quality, and while the food was beautifully plated, the end result still felt a bit disappointing. The burrito was unremarkable, bland. The quesadilla though was much better; while mild, it was rich and had a deep savory richness that we both loved. The drink, what was it called??, was horrible. Bottled vinegar. Yuck!
Given the uneven nature of our experience, I think the reason to go to this restaurant is the following: it provides solid, good food (and sometimes really good) but moreover, provides a convenient venue for the people of the neighborhood to connect. In terms of menu and decor, it’s one of the coolest spaces on the block. It is spacious enough for the ladies who lunch, it is friendly to parents with babies in tow, to the laptop warriors who want plenty of space to stretch out while they work over lunch, and for the singles that want to linger over a book and people watch. The restaurant provides a fine stage for all these things but to be fair, can also get fairly loud, too, during prime time.
I’d definitely go back to try some of the other menu items, as there were many things that looked appealing, but I’m not in a hurry.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: Western Addition/NOPA
After lunch, however, we discovered a real gem, one block to the south. Green Chile Kitchen has a partner bakery, Chile Pie and Ice Cream. We decided to ‘peak-in’, despite being full from lunch. We both decided we’d have to make a point to come back for this one. The pies are gorgeous, made of organic ingredients and every bit as gorgeous as the ones you’d find at a church bake-sale. Perhaps more so. They also serve Three Twins ice cream which is another star on the local ice cream scene and again, all organic. Stay tuned for a review as we’ll be going back to Chile Pie and Ice Cream, most definitely!
It was a great year for bakeries in SF, with several notable openings. Yet despite the competition one bakery still holds the title of our favorite and that is Thorough Bread and Pastry.
Why we love it:
- beautifully prepared food, every item we’ve ever had there has been exquisite
- broad choice, from morning pastries and loaves of bread to small, beautifully decorated artisanal desserts, parisian macarons and even sandwich offerings at lunch
- the prices are very reasonable, and it’s a great value for your money
- the beautiful space, perfect for lingering. Not only is there ample seating indoors but check out the charming garden behind- it’s a great place to read over your coffe or, to take a special friend for lunch.
- they have a mission, and that is to train future bakers. This store is affiliated with the San Francisco Baking Institute and serves as a laboratory for the students.
- friendly, quick service. It’s quite fun to shop here, and they’ll take good care of you.
248 Church St (between Market St & 15th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Could this be my new favorite mexican food place? I mean, if you’re greeted in French, by a Frenchman, does it still qualify?? Duck confit tacos??? Really???
• • •
Yes. Yes. Yes. YES.
I cannot think of a better word to describe this experience than enchanting. Picture it, two gay guys, positively wrapped around the finger of our gorgeous french waitress who guided us through our meal. She spun a web around us with her cursed chile-lime parmesan dust, having sprinkled it on buttery grilled cobs of corn. I think we ate more because of her. Or maybe it was the Huitlacoche (have you tried it? it’s a blue fungus that grows on corn. Also known by the names, ‘corn smut‘ and ‘raven’s excrement‘, it’s fabulous!) that she put in the mushroom quesadillas. We did whatever she wanted us to do. Duck confit tacos. Witch! We were willingly enchanted though, smiling, laughing and purring through the whole thing. (Churros and chocolate!)
Leaving the restaurant left me a little turned-around though. Having interacted with a greeter, the owner and the waitress, I left saying an ‘au revoir‘, which the owner promptly returned, but then quickly switched, to an ‘adios’ (delivered in a french accent), which I quickly returned and then switched to a ‘see ya later‘. Oh, yes. They will!
Charming Enchanting cafe, small(ish) and sunny. Parisian in look and feel.
The food. Purr-inducing. Unmistakably Mexican with a presentation, technique and quality that impresses. While accent is french, this is unmistakably mexican fare.
The verdict. I can’t wait to go back.
(between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill
Papito in the Press:
I first met Remi at Goody Goodie Cream and Sugar, home of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in San Francisco. (Evidence here. and here.) Frankly, Remi had me at the chocolate chip cookie but upon ordering that, she offered me a sample of a product in development: the cocoa nib wafer. This thing blew me away, chocolate made savory. Earthy. Magic. Combining notes of chocolate (without the sweetness), and oil-cured olives, Remi had just taken me to a new place! And how great would this be with a strong cheese and a bold Italian red?! What followed was a conversation about food that only happens between folks that are in love with it. . . wine pairings for cookies, cheese pairings for fruit (and prosciutto), favorite producers at local farmer’s markets. I was hooked.
On a subsequent visit, Remi offered me a sample of a “bun-in-development”. She’d been offering featured sandwiches at Goody Goodie made with bounty from the day’s farmer’s markets (example here) and now had some tantalizing information for me- she’d finalized plans to open a restaurant. Not surprisingly this would be the place she’d been wanting to open for a long time, a full-service restaurant that would afford her the space and tools to showcase her unique talent, her ability to bridge pastry and savory (and, a place with seating!) Owing to the relationship Goody Goodie has with scooter-loving Blue Bottle coffee-making Vega next door on Folsom, the two entrepreneurs envisioned a palate-pushing Roman-styled industrial-chic café and the name would be Starstream.
Yesterday I had a great lunch there with my gorgeous friend, one who happens to be a foodie of the first order! Between us we (naturally) tried a little of everything, from a great citrus salad, to the ‘squashed’ pizza Schiacciata to a flight of sandwich sliders and the famous cookies. The salad: greens dressed in a light citrus vinaigrette with pieces of citrus fruit and notes of fennel, was served on the aforementioned cocoa nib wafer. My pal was blown away by the combination of flavor profiles, from earthy to bright, which really worked. This salad was one of the highlights of the meal, for sure.
The pizza: thin and light, the house-made crust is stuffed not with tomato but rather Bellweather Crescenza cheese, arugula & Prosciutto de San Daniel. The flavor is at once bold and light. The sandwiches themselves were wee works of art, each unique in terms of shape and bread kind and style. These included a mortadella with fried quail egg, an egg salad on focaccia (the standout) and the Robiola Di Langa- creamy cheese made from goat, sheep & cow’s milk, micro greens & Fuji apples.
The styling details of the meal are part of the fun, right down to the fried quail egg and mini pickle stabbed on top of the mortadella slider. The sandwiches came with an assortment of pickled vegetables that were a gorgeous array of pinks, arty in their presentation and tangy delicious. The lemonade was special, too, made with honey and infused herbs, not overly sweet. (Teaser, Remi told us she’s working on a line of different lemonade concepts for next year, so stay tuned! I thought this was an awesome idea since one of my favorite beverages to make at home is rosemary-infused lemonade, using herbs cut from the garden. Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it, too: Recipe link here.)
The meal ended with Goody Goodie cookies, all of which are available at Starstream as well as the G.G. Folsom location.
From the pastry side, I’ve previously sampled not only the cookies but also the brioche bomb (cinnamon, sugar and orange in a brioche bun) and a spice cake with citrus glaze. Next up, I plan to try the famous Belgian Waffle.
The space itself reflects the materials of the neighborhood, industrial concrete and metal, but somehow it does not seem cold or austere here. The lines are clean and the space is chic. There’s ample seating inside but on a nice day, grab a table on the east-facing sidewalk to capitalize on that morning light while you enjoy your coffee.
Looking ahead, I know Remi has some new menu ideas planned not only for the morning coffee and pastry crowd but also for the lunch-time crowd so do expect more great things to come at Starstream and if you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the first to get a sample, too;-)
San Francisco, CA 94103
- Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 4 pm
Links to articles in the Press:
Andy Goldsworthy’s art is candy for the eyes and food for the soul. His work makes real the magic that I like to think lives just under the surface of the earth, almost like there’s been a tear in the veneer of “the Normal” and a little magic has erupted from it, from the invisible to the visible.
So, when I read via Matte Gray’s journals the tantalizing first-hand report of a new Goldsworthy art piece under construction here in San Francisco, I had to jump on the scooter and get over to the Presidio to check the site out for myself, with the tantalizing possibility of meeting Goldsworthy himself in the back of my mind. (Gray did, after all.) That didn’t happen, but I did meet the Bird Lady, which was fantastic! And I found two solid bakeries along the way. Yum.
The ride took me very close to a Russian bakery that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so I took a slight detour to check it out. The name is Cinderella and it’s located at 436 Balboa St (between 5th Ave & 6th Ave). The space is small and wide, with sweet pastries generally on the left and savory on the right. Standouts include gorgeous danishes, hamentashen and other fruit-topped pastries but the distinguishing feature of this place appears to be the savory, especially the extensive variety of piroshki, hand pies sort of like British pasties. I bought a potato piroshki for later that night.
Then, to my surprise, near the intersection of 7th and California, I saw a bakery with a familiar name, similar to that of my scooter. The place was Kaju and I stopped in to check it out. While the interior is rather nondescript, (uninviting in fact) the owner was friendly and a glance at the food suggested an interesting mix of standard coffee and cookies, scones and the like as well as some uniquely Asian offerings. As a sample, I picked up a triangle of sushi-styled rice stuffed with avocado called onigiri. Wrapped, it was the size of a sandwich and an interesting alternative to the same, easy to throw into my backpack. I also got a house-baked organic chocolate chip cookie. The onigiri has the same mouth feel as the sticky rice used for sushi and was tasty and filling, great fuel for the rest of the afternoon. The cookie was the prize, one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had all year. Nicely chunky, medium sized, crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. There was a ’roundness’ to the flavor that I loved, but which couldn’t quite identify, that made every bite irresistible. . . could there be a secret ingredient in there?
But I was losing the afternoon light by now so I didn’t linger. I started scooting around the edges of the Presidio and first, had to stop at the older Goldsworthy there, the Spire. Seeing it is a spiritual experience for me, a temple among the trees.
I’d found enough information about Wood Line to know that I was fairly close, but I had to travel from the Arguelo Gate (site of the Spire) to the Presidio Gate. I could have walked, it’s about half a mile, but I was losing the light fast by now. Back to the scooter! But not before checking out a beautiful, natural grove of majestic (magical) trees right across the street from the Arguelo Gate.
From here, I followed a winding road to the Presidio Gate and found the Wood Line immediately. Or rather, the sign for it. The installation wasn’t apparent until I got off the scooter and went over to the sign and, from that vantage point, saw a gap in the forest dead ahead along a single sight line.
Felled timber creates a lovely, snaking curve on the forest floor, with the trees reaching upward on both sides like the support columns of a gothic cathedral. It’s a spiritual place. It’s ephemeral, too. The forest will reclaim the wood through natural decay in about 25 years or so. . .
And I almost forgot, while I was enjoying the Wood Line, a woman offered to take my picture in front of it on my scooter. We started to chat and I soon realized the woman was more fairy than person. Her questions were punctuated by her quick looks up to the treetops, and the occasional bird call. She explained she’s a birder, and visits and follows the birds of the Presidio daily. Or, they visit and follow her. She talks to them. They talk to her. And as fast as she appeared she vanished; she heard the tweet of a bird and with that, had to go. She danced-skipped-floated away, down the dirt path into the forest, and was gone! The light was nearly gone, too, so with that, I mounted Kaiju and . . . vanished.
best restaurant series; venezuelan is the new salvadoran, and Mr. Pollo becomes my favorite spot in the Mission
I’m afraid this is another case in which I have to weigh sharing the good news about this fabulous restaurant, with the possibility that with every bit of press owner Chef Manny Torres Gimenez gets, it will be that much harder to get in. “Mr. Pollo” is not a big restaurant. No matter, it’s worth the wait for Manny’s food. Everything is made to order, just for you, mere steps from the kitchen. It’s like eating IN his kitchen and he’s going to treat you with that kind of respect.
A dish popular in Venezuela, Mr. Pollo is known in particular for the arepas, thick fluffy cornmeal ‘pancakes’ in which you’ll find melted cheese, pulled meats, veg and melted butter. On my first visit I had the good fortune to have a good friend who is Venezuelan as my dining companion. I can assure you, he was impressed. He loved it. We’re already planning a return visit.
The tasting menu caught our eye, too. Though we didn’t order it, next time I will. The menu changes daily, at the whim of the chef. Four dishes for $15. . . a steal! The table next to us ordered this and the parade of dishes they received was elegant and sculptural.
So go check out Mr. Pollo as soon as you can. Tell Manny MUS-e-YUM sent you but don’t go on the same day that I do, please!