A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

coffee reviews

Reveille Coffee Spills Food And Design Details – Plywood Special – Eater SF

This soon to open brick and mortar certainly deserves your attention. If the truck and the coffee you’ll find there is any indication, these java purists will create a stunning cafe. We’re already planning the drive over there to report first -hand.

“One of the biggest perks of the new space is an elevated open kitchen that will overlook the coffee bar. The day will start with assorted breakfast pastries, biscuits with jam and butter, and sticky buns made from scratch in the mornings. Lunch options will move into “simply prepared seasonal antipastas and sandwiches,” including a tuna conserva sandwich, and a farro salad with beets, avocado, and pistachio. The menu will start small and grow as the cafe does.”

Check out the full article on SF EATER:

Reveille Coffee Spills Food And Design Details – Plywood Special – Eater SF.


latte at Cassava

20120707_food_cassava_1det by markevnic72
latte, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

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: )

Cassava Bakery+Cafe


3519 Balboa St

San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 640-8990

hidden gem in the civic center: mirtille

20120705_food_mirtille_2det by markevnic72
lentil soup, french press, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

Bonjour Mirtille.

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.

options at Mirtille, Civic Center, SF

options at Mirtille, Civic Center, SF

zucchini soup, ginger carrot soup

zucchini soup, ginger carrot soup

87 McAllister St
(between 7th St & Leavenworth St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin

(415) 252-7661


Mon-Thu 7 am – 7 pm
Fri 7 am – 6 pm
Sat 7:30 am – 4 pm
Sun 7:30 am – 11 am

18 reasons, and the coffee-tasting

Coffee tasting at 18 Reasons, San Francisco

Blind coffee tasting at 18 Reasons, San Francisco

18 Reasons is a non-profit organization located in the heart of the gourmet gulch in the Mission. It’s an organization that we here at MUS•e•YUM have grown to love. The group is dedicated to bringing the people of the community together, using food and food production as the thread that binds. In the tradition of family, friends & neighbors gathering around the table to share a meal and each other’s company, 18 Reasons hosts events that teach, enlighten, enliven and delight. I’ve met a lot of quality folk here, it’s just that kind of place. Here’s the Mission Statement:

18 Reasons brings people together to deepen our relationship to food and each other. Through an innovative community center and thought-provoking, fun programming, we inspire action and foster collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system.

18 Reasons has several events per month, of dizzying variety. Want to learn how to make cheese at home? How about a multi-course meal, each dish prepared with, and paired with, Chinese teas? Maybe you’ve had the desire to try urban farming (and you can) and didn’t know where to begin? 18 Reasons and their community of eaters and producers will help you. I love coffee but realized, I didn’t know that much about it. So when I saw a coffee tasting come up on the schedule, I jumped. (The cost is usually discounted for members, so much I decided to purchase a membership; I suggest you do, too!)

evaluating the aromas. . .

evaluating the aromas. . .

We blind-tasted 9 coffees. It was fun to conjure up adjectives to describe the nuances of the flavor profiles, which varied wildly from cup to cup. Of course, the event reminded me of a wine tasting but with a twist: interesting adjectives emerged that I’d never used when speaking about wine. Of a flavor profile, the best descriptive phrase of the evening was “hot, humid jungle”!

The tasting also differed from a typical wine tasting in another way. Because of the changes coffee undergoes during preparation, we wrote notes for each of 9 samples at four different stages of brewing. First, we described the fragrance of the grounds themselves and second, the aroma released after the pour (this was timed with precision). Third, we broke the surface of the coffee to release still more aroma, and described that. Last, we documented the taste. This involved a particular technique of aspirating the coffee, essentially a very quick suck from the spoon with a loud sssssssssssuppppppppp!

writing down our tasting notes

writing down our tasting notes

With 9 coffees side by side, it’s just so easy to appreciate the broad array of flavors that the varied beans deliver. There’s a surprising diversity out there. It’s amazing, too, to see how one’s experience of a particular coffee, one’s impression of it, changes from the moment you sniff the grounds, as compared to the first taste. And not only that, for each coffee the taste and aroma change over time, from bean to brew. Very cool stuff.

For fun events like this and so much more, check out the calendar of events at 18 Reasons and, go try one out!


the surface of the coffee is gorgeous, four minutes after the pour

the surface of the coffee is gorgeous, four minutes after the pour

18 Reasons
593 Guerrero at 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

our favorite coffee destination, Sightglass, set to open cafe space 11 July

sightglass coffee interior

Interior of the new Sightglass Coffee space, photo courtesy of Tablehopper.com

Straight from local food authority Tablehopper comes some news for which we’ve been eagerly waiting here at MUS•e•YUM, not in the least because their location is but blocks away from the Mission Street office! Yes, after one cup of Sightglass Coffee and we were hooked. In our estimation it’s the best cup of coffee in the city (click here for our first review). Up until now the coffee has been served up from a kiosk on 7th Street near Folsom, housed in a loading dock that is tucked into a nondescript part of a nondescript industrial block. Sightglass has been building-out the space next door, however, over the past several months. Curious we were and after taking several peeks through the curtain, we’ve followed the development in its progress, as the immense warehouse space morphs to coffee Mecca. The centerpiece is a towering roaster, gleaming under the skylights that bring ample light into the two-tiered, lofted room. Beautiful. What you need to know is this: not only will the space be as impressive a space as the coffee is rich (it’s roasted on the spot after all), they’ll also serve baked goods from two of the hottest sources in town, Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Hooker’s Sweet Treats. Everything comes together here: Industrial chic, fabulous coffee and great desserts… so get thee there! Here’s the full article by Tablehopper, with all the sumptuous details and photos:


Sightglass Coffee

270 7th St. at Folsom


Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm


we love this hot new foodie website, Deep Dishing by the gorgeous Marcia G.

deep dishing logo


There’s a hot new foodie website on the interwebs, and it just launched today. It’s called Deep Dishing and it’s the brainchild of Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper fame (((our OTHER favorite foodie website :)))

What do we love about the site? It provides the reader a fast way to find out which restaurants are trending right now, and an easy way to look up the ‘fan-favorite’ dishes on each of those menus. Need a recommendation for a…? There’s an active forum that delves into such consequential questions as “Where’s the best croissant?” and apropos a previous post on this blog, “Where’s the best burger???” Now, we know.

And thankfully on Deep Dishing, there are lots, and lots of pictures of those menu items and, as everyone knows, we here at MUS•e•YUM do love our food porn;-)

Best of luck Marcia! It’s lookin’ hot!

PS: if you look carefully enough through the image galleries on DeepDishing, you just might find some familiar photos . . .

18 reasons event, coffee tasting

'blind' coffee tasting at 18 reasons

‘blind’ coffee tasting at 18 reasons


I’ve been to wine tastings but never a coffee tasting. 18 Reasons, a local food and advocacy non profit, set the stage for a delightful, educational, evening around coffee. We tasted 9 varieties over the course of one evening, copiously taking notes at various stages of the coffee brewing process. From the aroma, to the pour, to the bloom, to the steep, the aromas changed in a surprisingly nuanced way. I left with a deeper appreciation of the variety of tastes associated with coffee. I also left buzzed.

Find out more about 18 Reasons, and check out their calendar. There are food related events every week, at which you can be sure to meet quality people, and experience gorgeous food.

Ma-Velous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat

See link, via MaVelous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat

interior, Ma*Velous, hot new Civic Center coffee house, SF, CA

interior, Ma*Velous, hot new Civic Center coffee house, SF, CA (photo courtesy Sheri C. at Yelp.com)

Wow, this place looks HOT. You had us at “Japanese cold slow drip and Siphon”. Blue Bottle, watch out, these guys are on your heels. Norwegian roaster Wendelboe coffee??? Really??? MUS•e•YUM is on it. Look for a first hand report, soon.

And as if that isn’t enough, they serve pastries by one of our favorite bakeries, Sandbox, and we won’t have to travel nearly so far to get them, anymore. Sigh. And local cheese.

Check it out (here’s a link to the Ma*Velous Website) and if you get there first, let us know what you think, please!


1408 Market St.



via MaVelous Perks Up Civic Center Coffee Scene – San Francisco Restaurant Buzz – Zagat.

best restaurant series, starstream

exquisite pizzas and sandwiches of Starstream

exquisite pizzas and sandwiches of Starstream

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.

citrus fennel salad at Starstream, San Francisco

citrus fennel salad at Starstream, San Francisco

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.

sliders at Starstream, with an assortment of pickled vegetables

sliders at Starstream, with an assortment of pickled vegetables

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.

brioche bomb from Starstream

brioche bomb from Starstream

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;-)


1830 Harrison at 14th St (near the Best Buy)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: Mission

(415) 864-6370

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 4 pm

Links to articles in the Press:





my favorite coffee shops; seesaw in Hayes Valley

scooter ride, Octavia Street and Seesaw Cafe

scooter ride, Octavia St

My first weekend back in San Francisco has been gorgeous, an unseasonably warm weekend with lots and lots of sun.

After ten days back east I was itchin’ to get back on my scooter and take a long ride. As per usual, I didn’t have much more of a plan, other than to find some coffee, snap some photos, hit a bakery and the Heart of the City Farmer’s Market on the way home.

My ride just happened to include a stretch of Octavia, and I’m glad it did. Driving the block between Grove and Birch, and I couldn’t help but spot a huge cartoon frog painted on wall of a business. I took note but kept going, but at Grove Street I decided to turn around and take a closer look, on foot.

Seesaw Cafe, hayes valley, S

Seesaw Cafe, hayes valley, S

Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street

Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street

I discovered that the space next to the cartoon is called Seesaw and a quick inspection of the board outside indicated they served Four Barrel Coffee and light bites- Score… what a great find! A friendly voice said “come on inside” and I was greeted by the owner, Sabrina, a lovely woman who gave me the lowdown on the cafe. Relatively new, it’s a coffee shop that also has toys, books and a (separate and supervised) playspace for kids, making it perfect for parents in need of an oasis. And grown-up kids, like me!

Seesaw Cafe

Seesaw Cafe

I walked in and was blown away by the design. This is a beautiful cafe, clean and minimal in aesthetic, with clearly delineated areas for children, interesting toys and art objects on floating shelves (some of which are for sale), tables of various height, and a gorgeous playroom off to the side. (Parents take note, you can enjoy your coffee while the kids play in the supervised playroom, staffed with a ‘sitter’. ) That playroom by the way is separated from the dining area with a gorgeous fir rolling barn door, custom-made, which deserves a close look in and of itself. Beautiful. It was no surprise to learn the owners took inspiration both from Asian and Scandinavian design, representative of their combined heritage, and it’s a perfect expression in white and natural wood. The light is amazing here and the space is quite airy. And how fun, they have a calendar of events that include children’s book readings in Danish, and Korean!

Seesaw Cafe

Seesaw Cafe

The food menu is still being devised but will reflect both the Asian and Scandinavian influences. Yum. In the meantime, get your fill of the Four Barrel, hand-brewed a cup at a time, and load up on cookies from my FAVORITE place, Goody Goodie. (I was pleased to learn the owners are friends, Remi of Goody Goodie is a total star;-) And, they serve cookies by Batter Bakery, too, home of the amazing sand angel cookie and the one I sampled today, a salted lavender shortbread cookie, which was divine paired with the coffee: perfumy, not too sweet, and just salty enough. Everything is served by an equally awesome barista, who also lights up the room.

coffee and shortbread cookies at Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street, hayes valley

coffee and shortbread cookies at Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street, hayes valley

Now, disclosure, I don’t have kids. That said, this space is one of the most pleasing, and creatively inspiring, I’ve encountered-  a third space to sit, relax and enjoy a coffee. If you want a little break from working at home, this is a great spot. While the facilities for children are there, clean and well-stocked, the space is delineated in a way as to allow the kids to play in a separate, supervised area while adults can relax and enjoy their coffee, and free wi-fi.

Personally, I love art and children’s’ books so being surrounded by that inspiration, as well as the shear beauty of the interior design, is an added bonus.

Seesaw “We’re a one-of-a-kind café, play studio and shop inspiring curiosity, creativity, and connection.”

600A Octavia St
(between Grove St & Birch St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley

(415) 553-8070

Hours: Tue-Fri 9 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 5 pm