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

Posts tagged “reviews

Long lines, kooky combos at HRD Coffee Shop | Jesse Hirsch | Food and Wine | San Francisco Examiner

“Namely, I’d never seen a coffee shop menu like this one. Fried oyster kimchee po’boy with Asian Cajun remoulade? Pesto-smeared pork torta? Mongolian cheesesteak?

HRD plays on fusion fantasies I didn’t know I had. Well, me and every 30-something brogrammer in greater South of Market.”


The review degenerates from there. Is it junk food chic out of control? If  the food isn’t quality the gimmick doesn’t cut it. Will we try it? yes, but let’s wait til the lines are shorter…


See review below, after the jump.

via Long lines, kooky combos at HRD Coffee Shop | Jesse Hirsch | Food and Wine | San Francisco Examiner.


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


house made bread, huckleberry preserves

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


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.


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


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

lunching series gone mad…

20111030_food_marcellos_1det by markevnic72
marcellos, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

Lunch with the mad hatter happens shortly after the bars close……Marcello’s Pizza in the heart of the Castro. San Francisco. Halloween.

Marcello’s Pizza

420 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 863-3900
Hours:Mon-Thu, Sun 11 am – 1 am

Fri-Sat 11 am – 2 am


20111010_food_redcrawfish_1det by markevnic72
redcrawfish, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

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
(415) 771-1388
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am – 10 pm, Sat-Sun 12 pm – 10 pm

Teach Pie.

mission pie photo

It’s been nearly four years since my first trip to Mission Pie, a wonderful oasis for homespun dessert and savoury pies located in the Mission District of San Francisco. I was new to the food community then, and eager to learn more about it. I wanted to learn more about the provenance of the wonderful ingredients being used in the meals that I was enjoying. My eyes were being opened to the wealth that is the abundance of the Bay Area’s local produce.

I’d started taking photos, too, with my new digital camera and many of those pictures were of my food. I began to post photos of memorable meals on Flickr and Yelp, together with reviews of my experiences both good and bad. I wanted to document my excitement for what I was discovering and for what I was learning, all at the same time. And, I wanted to connect with others who shared my passion. And my passion was fed.

It’s funny now to think that something as quintessentially homespun as a warm-from-the-oven pie could be a novel new player on the bakery scene but then, it was. At a time when bakeries were vying for the top cupcake, a bakery devoted to the humble pie seemed novel and maybe even bold. No one was doing pie then. I sought out Mission Pie soon after it opened and on that visit, after tasting that perfectly cooked crust and the luminous brightness of the fruit inside, even then remarked to my friend that pie ‘just might be’ the new cupcake. Was I right? Maybe not quite on the grander scale but for me, it sure is! And I wanted to learn more. . .

slice of Mission Pie

What I also learned on this first visit made me love this business even more. Mission Pie is the retail outlet for a bigger picture and a bigger story. All the ingredients which comprise every one of those gorgeous pies comes from a ranch, the Pie Ranch, located outside the city on the San Mateo Coast. Bees make the honey, fruit falls from the trees, wheat is milled to flour, and the spirit, hard work and love of farmers and volunteers all come together there so that you and I may enjoy the fruits of their labor here, and I was- and am- blown away and moved by that concept.

photo by Yelp's Dana W.

Founded in 2002, The Pie Ranch is a working farm, not only producing food but producing change. Their mission (Mission Pie) is to feed and nourish the body, the mind, the consciousness and the broader community by educating people as to where their food comes from and how it gets to one’s table. The Ranch welcomes students from inner city schools and introduces them to the country, all the while teaching farming and an appreciation for where food comes from. They mentor adults who want to learn to farm sustainably.

So they’re doing far more than growing food or even making pies…they’re making a difference. You can see this passion in the eyes of every single person in this video and I invite you to check it out:

via Teach Pie. on Vimeo.

The Pie Ranch apprenticeship program gives apprentices the skills needed to become the next generation of successful farmers.

Pie Ranch is an education farm whose mission it is to inspire and connect people to know the source of their food, and to work together to bring greater health to the food system from seed to table.


Thanks to Nancy, Jered, Amy and all the apprentices and interns!

Mission Pie  

2901 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-1500


Mon-Thu 7 am – 9 pm

Fri 7 am – 10 pm

Sat 8 am – 10 pm

Sun 9 am – 9 pm

lunching at my favorite cafe, starstream

Roasted fig, fresh basil and stracciatella cheese sandwich with salad of arugula, red onion and fingerling potatoes

Roasted fig, fresh basil and stracciatella cheese sandwich with salad of arugula, red onion and fingerling potatoes

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!


Pork Conserva sandwich and arugula/fingerling potato salad at Starstream Cafe

Pork Conserva sandwich and arugula/fingerling potato salad at Starstream Cafe

figarella sandwich at Starstream

figarella sandwich at Starstream with the delicious iced bergamot tea

dark chocolate and red chile pepper scones at Starstream

dark chocolate and red chile pepper scones at Starstream

Starstream Cafe, on Harrison Street, SF

Starstream Cafe, on Harrison Street, SF


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:





from food cart to store front; Smitten Ice Cream Opening a Shop in Hayes Valley

photo courtesy SFWeekly, Robyn of Smitten Ice Cream, making made to order ice cream

​Made-to-order ice cream. That’s right, ice cream made on-the-spot at the time you order with the amazing liquid nitrogen ice cream maker-on-a-Radio Flyer wagon dubbed the Kelvin.

The process in fantastic, your scoop arrives in a whoosh of white cloud, like a magic trick, or the most memorable science experiment from that high school chemistry class. (Just follow Twitter for the time and location to find the cart, and you’re good to go!)

But this cart has been so popular, it’s been able to cross-over to brick and mortar. (Well, actually repurposed shipping container . . . see the link to the article below.) Future location? Octavia and Linden, Hayes Valley, SF.

Says the proprietor Robyn Sue Goldman, “We will have four ‘Kelvin’ machines, and each one will be used to churn a different flavor,” explained Goldman. “We will be featuring the freshest seasonal flavors and changing two flavors every week based on what’s best at the market. Every scoop will be made to order, and visitors will even be able to order off the menu, based on the ingredients we have, if they think of something that better suits their taste buds.”

via Scoop! Smitten Ice Cream Opening a Shop in Hayes Valley – San Francisco Restaurants and Dining – SFoodie.

best sushi, Eiji and Minako

My favorite sushi restaurants, Eiji and Minako, are distinguished not only by the highest quality fish but also the intimate, authentic sincerity of the restaurant spaces themselves.  Both are family run neighborhood haunts and you will feel as if you’re a guest in the home of the chef when you dine at either one. Yes, you can find many more great sushi restaurants in San Francisco but in my opinion, the inviting character of these two set them apart from the rest. I’ve copied my reviews from Yelp.com below…


photo of sushi at Eiji Restaurant San Francisco

sushi at Eiji Restaurant San Francisco

317 Sanchez St
(between 16th St & 17th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114

“5 star experience, every time.  When you find a place that consistently serves up a great experience, it just keeps you coming back.  This is a staple whenever we have guests in from out-of-town.  You know the scenario, the guest wants to go ‘somewhere off the beaten path’, following that true ‘insider’s tip’.  This is that place . . .impossibly cute, very authentic and always, always good. And, very “OFF” the beaten path . . .

Yes the sushi melts in your mouth, yes you’ll find some stuff you don’t always find in other sushi restaurants (note the loving tribute to tofu on the first page of the menu, and a few very varied and good offerings of same). . .try the whitefish carpaccio, thinly sliced white fish on a drizzle of olive oil, with tomatoes. . . yum.

For the singles out there, it’s not just for guests, this would be a very special (and CUTE) first-date place.  (Impress him/her with your exquisite knowledge of the neighborhood dining scene, and unpretentious taste)

And the staff are just so nice.
Love that.”


picture of sushi at Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant, San Francisco

picture of sushi at Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant, San Francisco

2154 Mission St

(between 18th St & Clarion Alley)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission

“Last night my partner and I had dinner here for the first time and I have to say it was among the best meal experiences we’ve had all year. From the food to the joy of getting to know the vibe of this neighborhood haunt, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves from start to finish.

We wanted to try a new sushi place and given it was Earth Day, Organic seemed particularly appropriate.  We’d heard great things about Minako so our choice was made.  The food didn’t disappoint. Seafood salad was the best I’ve had. The sushi is exquisitely prepared (with brown rice. Interesting!) and every detail was right, down to the fresh, brightness of the pickled ginger and wasabi.  The care they take was evident in the attentiveness of the server who actually explained the servings are large (they are) and actually advised us to order LESS.  How often does that happen?  She cared about  our experience of the food.

The restaurant traffic was light so we also had the chance to talk to our server, about local food, even the music playing in the restaurant, and had the best time. We found ‘mom’ is the chef and owner and given this, and the familiarity the staff had with others in the restaurant (which is small) it was so evident this is a true neighborhood spot. They staff will remember you, and treat you as if you’re in their home. And I really appreciated that.”