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
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
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
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.
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
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:
MUS•e•YUM can watch this guy for days… article share from SFWeekly.com:
Orson first drew me through its doors 3 years ago when it opened, back when Jackie Patterson was running the bar show. It was a time when Patterson was honing her personal style and gaining accolades for her original creations. A highlight of the Patterson era was the first Bourbon and Bacon dinner during Cocktail Week in 2008, a staggering seven-course/seven-cocktail chunk of piggy awesomeness ― no surprise when you consider that, besides Jackie behind the bar, there was Luis Villavelazquez (Les Elements) as pastry chef, Ryan Farr (4505 Meats) as chef de cuisine (serving his now famous chicharrones as an amuse), and chef Elizabeth Falkner herself in the house, making the magic happen.
Taking full advantage of Orson’s pastry department, Adams crafts some really interesting flavor combinations. The Tabla Beet Science, which he created for a Scharffenberger event, combines bourbon, beet-peach gastrique, and Angostura-bruléed Manhattan beets. Assistance for Adams’ syrups and compotes comes from 19-year-old prodigy pastry chef Maya Erickson. If you have any doubt about the amount of ass she can kick, try her Breakfast of Champions dessert: cinnamon toast ice cream with chunks of caramel French toast mixed in.
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:
Heart, in pictures. . .
THE VERDICT: I’ll definitely go back.