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.
You know we here at MUS-e-YUM love our cake but given the choice, we’ll go for pie every time. Homespun as it is, quintessentially Gramma’s dish, it’s easy to forget just how complex a good pie can be, how many notes it can hit. More complex than a cake we think…There are a few great places to go for pie in San Francisco and Three Babes Bakeshop is one. Probably top of the list. Yes, it’s a pop-up. It’s only available once a week at the Stable Cafe in the Mission although, yes, you can call to place an order. It’s worth a trek and hope they open a brick and mortar. Then, there’ll be more pie. . .
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
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
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
Pre-opening at Craftsman and Wolves, on Valencia in the Mission. San Francisco.
Easily one of the most anticipated bakery openings of the year, Craftsman and Wolves opened it’s doors prior to launching to give the neighborhood just a taste. Rather than buying, you could reach in a fish bowl and draw the name of a pastry, which you got as a free sample. I drew a cocoa + carrot muffin, and it was good. Incredibly moist (almost wet) and incredibly rich.
The richness matches the space, a concrete and wood industrial fantasy. The owner has a pedigree, previously of Telltale Preserves. Telltale was amazing and this should be equally so. More to come!
Craftsman and Wolves
746 Valencia St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
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
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
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.
This is the only time we’ll recommend a film to you this year. Just see it.
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.
Heart, in pictures. . .
THE VERDICT: I’ll definitely go back.
Now, didn’t I tell you that that cocoa nib wafer by Goody Goodie was HOT??
Thanks Jonathan Kauffman for another fine roundup, with Cocoa Nib Wafer coming in at #2, and featuring my current favorite folks, Goody Goodie, Pinkies, Knead and Sandbox. Heck, I’ve been to Baker and Banker too, had two cookies and a scone, and will have a review up soon. (–>the topline: very good but . . . dang, it sets you back a few!)
Here’s the link to the article:
NEW BAKERY INFO FROM MATTE GRAY: Head over to Matte Gray for the scoop on another hot bakery opening, right at the nexus of two foodie hotspots, 24th and Valencia. Curses Gray, you’ve scooped everyone!!! (FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SCROLL DOWN TO 6 OCT 2010)
This is my favorite sandwich destination in San Francisco and I’m not alone. In just a little over two short years of business, Ike’s has managed to achieve national recognition, which you wouldn’t think would be all that easy to achieve when your dealing with a food so ubiquitous in the American diet as the sandwich. He’s made one that is that good. Rolls are fresh-baked at the time of the order, meats are prepped on the premises, and a special sauce of mayo, garlic and around twenty other secret ingredients is baked right into the roll. A foodie culture has risen around Ike’s and the line is always present outside that shop (tip, avoid it by calling ahead;-). Of course, that also contributed to the problem, despite Ike’s efforts to accommodate the litigious neighbors who, by many accounts, were uncompromising and mean.
Ike’s was a positive force for the neighborhood. The Castro prides itself on fostering small local business to the exclusion (for the most part) of national chains. We actively preserve and maintain that quality of life, the unique character of the neighborhood in which we live, by keeping them out. But times are tough, rents are high (too high) and it’s hard for all those businesses to remain open. There are more and more empty store fronts and the neighborhood has to work to make opening a business viable again. In this playing field, Ike’s was not only a success story but a magnet for the neighborhood, drawing customers not only from other parts of the city to the Castro but, thanks to national media publicity, he made the neighborhood not only a gay tourist destination but also a sort of foodie tourist destination. Ike’s personality was also a great fit, reflecting the easy going and friendly nature of the community. As popular as his business got, I often saw him still working the line himself, always smiling and concerned about the customer experience and quality of the food.
All the more sad that he’s going to have to close his doors by August 26th. MUS•e•YUM only hopes Ike’s will find another location in the city and in the Castro, especially. We need our Ike’s!