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

restaurant reviews

restaurant favorites: Company

photo of warm ricotta

Warm, house-made ricotta cheese, served with artichoke tapenade and fresh-from-the-oven bread.

Photos of the food at Company Restaurant, SF

 

Company, you had me at the house-made ricotta cheese. Served warm from the kitchen. With toasted house-made bread. And in-season fruit…

Every time I go to Company, and this restaurant is on my very regular rotation, part of me thinks I could eat this dish and only this. But then there’s always something new on the menu that snaps me out of that fantasy. A chopped salad with seasonal fruits. A warm soup featuring the vegetable found in the farmers market this morning. The lamb. Oh god, the lamb…

What then ensues is this. Ricotta as a starter for the table to share. Maybe two orders. The topping will change seasonally but has been as varied as balsamic strawberry, peaches, honey, or an artichoke tapenade. With that order in, don’t miss out on a soup. The celeriac was a recent favorite, its texture perfectly velvety and smooth and exquisitely aromatic.

As for the main, the burger, roast chicken, and steak frites are always on the menu. I’ve had each one. Served with a blue cheese, the burger is an umami explosion, with a nicely charred exterior and ideally pink interior. The bun is made in house. The fries, tossed with cheese, are candy. The steak has always arrived perfectly cooked and the roast chicken as well, moist and flavorful.

Dessert could very well be the ricotta again. Or try the pot de creme. I’ve also had the fruit crisp with house-made ginger ice cream, which I loved. Get two, to share for the table. Yes, there’s room…

People ask me what my favorite restaurant is, and I have to say that Company is it. I’ve been coming to this restaurant since fall of 2012, and it’s been consistently wonderful. It’s right in the center of the hottest neighborhood, the Mission. But it doesn’t have the attitude. No matter the occasion, the food is right and the ambience is, too. The host always greats with a smile and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat in the front window, so you can enjoy the street life of this sweet corner in the Mission. I’ve come here for my birthday, for others’ birthdays, to treat the friend in from out of town, to send off two friends on their last night in town before moving back to the East Coast. For a solitary meal at the bar after a long day at work. The restaurant is just right for so many occasions. Casual, inviting, with top notch food.

Company Restaurant
1000 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

(415) 374-7479

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The Best Quotes From The UNIQLO ‘Celeb’ Chef Panel – Hangover Observations – Eater SF

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:

Quotable:

· 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”

Read more via The Best Quotes From The UNIQLO ‘Celeb’ Chef Panel – Hangover Observations – Eater SF.


dinner with the supper club at the front porch

the Front Porch, the Mission, San Francisco

the Front Porch, the Mission, San Francisco

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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.

Burger at the Front Porch

Burger at the Front Porch

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
thefrontporchsf.com/

65A 29th St
Between Mission and San Jose Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

Hours:
Open nightly 5:30pm-10:30pm
Brunch Saturday & Sundays 10am-2pm

415.695.7800


brunch series, Local’s Corner

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:

Brunch at Local's Corner, the Mission, San Francisco

Brunch at Local’s Corner, the Mission, San Francisco

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house made bread, huckleberry preserves

house made bread, huckleberry preserves: this was a highlight, still warm and full of flavor

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Seasonal vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, mustard aioli. Fresh, clean flavors and a big thumbs up. Refreshing.

Seasonal vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, mustard aioli. Fresh, clean flavors and a big thumbs up. Refreshing.

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hash of sous vide chicken, fingerling potatoes, scallions and sous vide egg

hash of sous vide chicken, fingerling potatoes, scallions and sous vide egg

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.

Press: Bauer review

Local’s Corner
2500 Bryant St. (at 23rd Street)
San Francisco
(415) 800-7945

localscornersf.com


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20120615_food_biergarten_1det by markevnic72
biergarten, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

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

Dinner at Outerlands, San Francisco

Dinner at Outerlands, San Francisco


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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.

Outerlands
4001 Judah St
(between 45th Ave & 46th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Neighborhood: Outer Sunset

(415) 661-6140
outerlandssf.com/


my pocket choice for thai, Suriya Thai Restaurant

Suriya Thai Restaurant on Howard, in SOMA, San Francisco, CA

Suriya Thai Restaurant on Howard, in SOMA, San Francisco, CA

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.

coconut shellers at Suriya Thai

coconut shellers at Suriya Thai

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…

Suriya menu

Suriya menu

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:

chicken dumplings at Suriya

scrumptuous, the chicken dumplings at Suriya.

sausage stuffed eggplant with basil

perennial favorite, the sausage-stuffed eggplant with basil

pineapple, tomato and duck curry

bursting with flavour: pineapple, tomato and duck curry

special menu item tonight, and so good!, the bbq pork ribs with shredded new coconut

special menu item tonight, and so good!, the bbq pork ribs with shredded new coconut

Suriya Thai Restaurant

1532 Howard St
(between 11th St & Lafayette St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: SOMA

(415) 355-9999


dining at Ragazza, superb Italian in San Francisco

Rustic and blistered, the thin crust pizza at Ragazza, San Francisco

Rustic and blistered, the thin crust pizza at Ragazza, San Francisco

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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.

Ragazza
311 Divisadero St
(between Page St & Oak St)
San Francisco, CA 94117

(415) 255-1133
ragazzasf.com


best bakeries of the Bay Area, La Victoria

La Victoria, Sunday Supper pop-up

La Victoria, Sunday Supper pop-up

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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…


lunching series, Canela: your Castro pocket restaurant

Brunch at Canela, egg omelet and salad

Brunch at Canela, egg omelet and salad

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.

calamari at Canela

calamari at Canela

revueltos, an egg and chorizo omelet at Canela

revueltos, an egg and chorizo omelet at Canela

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.

Canela
2272 Market St
(between Sanchez St & 16th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 552-3000
canelasf.com