This interview brings together some of the hottest chefs (Chad Robertson! ) of Tartine, and Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole, adorable Danny Bowein of Mission Chinese Food, and Jason Fox, of Commonwealth. The venue was the soon to open Uniqlo, a Japanese store that we simply can’t wait for. Check out their views, their favorite restaurants (Lers Ros comes up to the top) and opinions of food trucks:
· Brandon Jew on becoming a chef: “It gave me an appreciation on mother nature and natural growth.”
· On fish: “Today I can tell you the name of the captain and name of the boat where my fish came from. You couldn’t do that three years ago”
dinner at the front porch, a set on Flickr.
Dining with the Supper Club, in the Mission at the Front Porch. . . purveyor of good country cooking, by the hand of an expert chef. I always enjoy eating here, I love the eclectic decor, I love reading the menu. They take care to get it right, down to making their own hot sauces and ketchup in-house. They’ll start you off with some corn bread. Then, get the fried chicken, slightly spicy with a hit of lime. Get the pork chops. Get the baby gem salad with market peaches, pecans and a bacon vinaigrette. . .it is grilled and the slight char on the lettuce gives it this great flavor, rounded out by the savory of the cheese and the salti-sweetness of the bacon.
The burger, however, was nothing special. The bun was gorgeous, most likely house-made, but the bread was too dry. The meat was cooked slightly longer than I’d have thought for a medium rare and the juiciness was gone. The fries, happily, were great: cut thick, they are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Served with house made ketchup, a real win, there. The drink menu is a fun read, heavy on sweet drinks and bourbon / whiskey comes up a lot. And, where else in San Francisco can you find moonshine?
The Front Porch
65A 29th St
Between Mission and San Jose Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
Open nightly 5:30pm-10:30pm
Brunch Saturday & Sundays 10am-2pm
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)
Magical spot in Hayes Valley. If you’ve ever been to Germany you’ll be interested in checking this out, an outdoor biergarten run by the folks who own Suppenkuche, a local German restaurant nearby. Have your soft pretzel and bier with a bratwurst, seated at one of the outdoor picnic tables in the garden. Super social, cheery vibe. Food is served from a repurposed shipping container, a great example of reuse instead of new-build. The food? It’s great, the sausages and pretzels are house made.
Dinner at Outerlands, a set on Flickr.
This might just be my favorite meal of the year, making the restaurant one of my new favorite places to eat in all of San Francisco. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it. Location, location. A warm oasis in the foggy outer Avenues, Outerlands is simply a wonderful restaurant, slightly off the radar, definitely off the beaten path and every bit worth the trip. Every dish was memorable, click the images above for a taste. After your meal, explore the neighborhood a bit. Trouble Coffee, and the eclectic interiors store, Mixed Nuts. The beach is nearby, too.
4001 Judah St
(between 45th Ave & 46th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
Tonight, dinner was about not just food but celebrating my friend Ll’s great accomplishment, acing a critical exam needed for his profession. (He’s so good. ) We chose Suriya Thai Restaurant, a place we’ve known for years, back in the days when it anchored the south end of the Valencia foodie corridor. (In fact, before Valencia was the foodie street that it is today.) Still, the new location on Howard has all the familiar trappings of the old. Gorgeous antique carvings are placed throughout the dining room including a striking display of centuries-old carved coconut shellers.
And the food is special. One can find a lot of thai in the City but somehow Suriya manages to set itself apart. Many of the dishes are drawn from family recipes so you’ll find some things here that you’ve not seen on menus before. The helpings are generous, the price reasonable. The casual-dining-feel in turn reflects the casual nature of the food. The descriptions on the menus are well worth reading, too…
Our server was Ahn, always flawlessly kind. A special treat was meeting Suriya’s owner, who came by to check on us, and I met one of the lovely women behind the scenes responsible for the exciting flavors on the menu.
A meal in pictures:
(between 11th St & Lafayette St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
dining at Ragazza, a set on Flickr.
One of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco is Ragazza. The pizza is among the best in the city and you should order at least one, but look also to the other parts of the menu, and save room for those, too. This is a time when going with friends and sharing is ideal. Start with one of the house made salads. They’re creative and rotate with the season. Perhaps a persimmon and goat cheese and pistachio, or what’s pictured here, blood orange and pancetta. Get at least one order of the baked pasta with butternut squash. Split a pie, any are amazing, the crust thin, and blistered. Even roasts are represented on the menu, you’ll find the meat perfectly cooked. Finish with a desert pizza, a thicker version of the crust with nuttella, and whipped cream.
311 Divisadero St
(between Page St & Oak St)
San Francisco, CA 94117
La Victoria, a set on Flickr.
La Victoria is a great bakery in a neighborhood full of bakeries. Located in the Mission, San Francisco, La Victoria takes inspiration from mexican-style pastries but the chef has distinguished himself from the rest by choosing organic ingredients and also, by creating some new items you won’t find in the average Mission panaderia.
Not only that, La Victoria has broadened the concept of the bakery by hosting special dinner events throughout the week, “Pop ups“. The Pop Up is an experience that has become popular in San Francisco over the past four years, in that a chef with a food concept can try the idea out in an established kitchen and dining space that otherwise wouldn’t be in use. It’s an easy and low cost way to get feedback from the public about one’s food. At La Victoria, the pop up calendar is as follows: Wednesday you’ll find Jewish Soul Food. Fridays, Cajun. Sundays, a very special Sunday Supper, new-style Mexican, the traditional cuisine, but stretched…
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
Never had a dining experience like this one. It was a first date and I did not enjoy having to put on a plastic bib. Still, the food did merit that; this is a messy dinner. But GOOD. You’ll see in the photo above the crawfish arrive piping hot, scarlet in color, bathed in butter and garlic. I grant you, anything bathed in butter and garlic would be good. (Like the bread that comes with it. )The waiter proceeds to dump the critters right on the table, and you commence dissection.
Skilled in the best way to grab the meat from the tiny little bodies, my date showed me how all this works. The rest of the date was good, too : )
The Red Crawfish
611 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am – 10 pm, Sat-Sun 12 pm – 10 pm
dinner at frances, a set on Flickr.
The produce is good here in California. Very good. Sometimes good cooking is little more than good shopping- there’s an art to allowing the essence of the food tell its own story. Melissa Perillo, executive chef and owner of Frances, certainly knows this. She’s inspired by her weekly visits to the farmers markets of San Francisco, and the menu varies with the Northern California growing season.
3870 17th St.
Press (as quoted from the Frances website):
Since opening Frances, the restaurant has received much critical acclaim, earning a James Beard “Best New Restaurant” nomination in 2010, Michelin star, was named an Esquire magazine “Best New Restaurant” by John Mariani, was one of Bon Appétit magazine’s “Ten Best New Restaurants in America” in 2010, and received a 3.5-star food rating from the San Francisco Chronicle.
MUS•e•YUM will be on the ground and reporting from the event. Check it out, not only will it bring together good people and amazing food, the proceeds go to charity, thanks to the San Francsico non-profit La Cocina.
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
Underground dining with the Wild Kitchen, a set on Flickr.
Part of the fun is the clandestine nature of it all. Sign up for a meal, get the location ‘day of’ in an email. Show up at a non descript location, staged for a one night only meal for 60 people.
Seated at one long communal table, you’ll have eight courses, each with a locally and sustainably foraged key ingredient. Founder Iso Rabins describes the adventure behind gathering each one. You’ll have a deeper understanding of how we’re all connected to, and with, our surroundings, and you’ll meet some fellow foodies, too!
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]
Overheard: “if the United States had lost the war and become a Soviet Block country, this is the kind of food we’d be eating in the diners.”
And it’s true. This is horrible stuff. It’s where food goes to die. (Twice.)
As the door to the kitchen swings open, one can see the rows of plus-sized generic-label cans of vegetables that supply the diner. The lone waitress for the whole dining room comes and goes from the kitchen with her arms full of plates of bad food moving one way, and dirty dishes with half-eaten food the other. Your wait for her attention is time best spent deciding whether or not you’ll stay a minute longer.
For my main, I ordered a hot turkey sandwich because, well, I used to like those growing up. The one presented to me here was a nightmare. The slices of deli turkey were dried out. There was a greenish tinge to some of the edges. The slices of white bread were a little stale, too. The gravy was bland with a sort of film on the top, covering the sandwich and the mashed potatoes in a gelatinous goo. They were instant mashed, but by now that was expected. Ok, you can’t really mess those up; I added salt and
butter margarine. And pepper. Yes, you certainly do have a choice of sides here, and all of them have shelf-lives in the dozens of years. Copper penny carrots, grey-ish kernels of corn, mushy green beans- you might remember any or all of these from the school lunch program with which you grew up. Yuck. There’s a memory I didn’t want.
The service was awful. Not that the waitress was mean. She wasn’t. The part of her psyche that could get angry, sad, or be pluckily ironic, or ironically plucky, was probably long dead. She was just. . . blank.
Some restaurants harken back to the past with sort of nod to nostalgia. Not this place. No whimsical memorobilia on the shelves here. There’s nothing joyous in this dusty place. It’s just that old, and hasn’t been renovated in that long. The furniture has aged. The vinyl booths have torn and discolored. Try not to touch that vinyl with any exposed skin. And, don’t buy the open-faced hot turkey sandwich.
Here’s a great list of San Francisco restaurants to experience. We can vouch for Commonwealth, and we’re eager to try more on the list! Click here :
Here’s a great article from one of our favorite food blogs, [No Recipes]. Marc Matsumoto is not only a photographer but an artist when it comes to preparing food. You can’t ask for food photography tips from a more knowledgeable source! LOVE the tip about balancing your point and shoot camera on a water glass in low light conditions. Check it out:
(disclaimer: it’s unabashedly a commercial for Sony products too, and we make no endorsement of them here…never used them. Delfina Restaurant on the other hand, we LOVE. You should go there;-)
Marc also happens to be a gifted writer. He cooks improvisationally, hence the name of the blog, and the narrative of his posts is as much about his day, his inspiration and his process as it is about the food. We love the way he weaves food, socializing and a moment in time together, reminding us why we love to cook and . . . celebrate food.
But darn, he shot this video mere blocks from MUS•e•YUM H.Q. So bummed to have missed out on meeting him in person. Marc, come back! We’ll take you to Starstream on the company expense account!
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!
-could this be the burger for which we’ve been waiting? We have a reverence for the umami here at MUS•e•YUM (probably why we were so entranced by the huitlacoche and mushroom quesadilla so much at Papito) so when we read that the concept behind this burger is the amplification of the umami of it, right down to the umamification of the ketchup, Umami Burger had our attention. The Japanese were the ones that identified the umami flavor, a fifth to add to the four for which we have receptors on our tongues: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Think of it as “savoury”. By focusing on umami, owner Adam Fleischman just might have hit upon a way to make a good burger great, by scientifically focusing on the component of the taste that burger lovers crave. Hot. He’s certainly been able to create a following in LA. Look for the Umami Burger outpost to open on Scott Street in the Marina, details to follow next week.
Check out the following article on SF Gate’s Inside Scoop, by Paolo Lucchesi:
And a review of the burger, named Best in America 2010 by GQ Magazine:
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: