Eat + Drink
No jukebox blaring banda. No salsa, chips, or beer. Just pure burrito. In a blind taste test—analyzing everything from girth to beef-sear to ingredient distribution and harmony—five experts dig into six of the city’s most popular super carne asada burritos, with a ringer thrown in for fun (ahem, Chipotle). After some serious thought—and proof that even the best burritos can be flawed—conclusions were made.
1. El Farolito
1 ⅔ lbs ($6.30)
Even the freight elevator smells like chocolate. Walking the halls of the massive Dogpatch warehouse that holds commissary kitchens for some notable food artisans—including longtime tenant Michael Recchiuti, Christina Besher (of Kika’s Treats), and Leadbetters Bake Shop—is a bit like making a visit to Mr. Wonka’s factory.
Unless you’re one of those people who merely eat to live, Cotogna is the kind of restaurant that takes hold of your inner glutton. Step inside, and your eyes immediately register the roaring fire while your nose picks up the aromas of the meats roasting on the rotisserie that owner-chef Michael Tusk ordered from Tuscany. Skim the menu full of words like tortelloni, fried pumpkin, porcinis, and sausage ragu, and your hands will unconsciously start rubbing together in greedy anticipation. On a cold winter’s night, how could you not want to dip into a shellfish stew with grilled bread swiped with aioli? Or a creamy mess of burrata with chopped chicories followed by spit-roasted pork with fennel and satsumas?
Leave it to Namu chef Dennis Lee to take the SF ramen craze one step further. One step towards fried that is. His ramyun—a Korean version of ramen made with fried noodles (instead of ramen's fresh), plus pork belly, egg, and kimchi—is the new must-eat at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. (Fifty bowls are made every week and they sell out fast, so get there early.) We spoke to Dennis about his new soup on a recent Saturday morning as he stirred stock and assembled bowls.
Connoisseurs of the French national spirit should jump on this immediately -- Liquor.com's hosting an Exclusive Cognac Tasting Monday, January 31 at Café des Amis. The main event is $65, and will include samplings of some of the world's finest cognacs. But those with an appetite for the ultra-exclusive will be most excited about the Louis XIII VIP Tasting, which happens before the main event and is open to just 15 people. At $2000 a bottle, Louis XIII cognac is blended from extremely old eaux-de-vie then aged in oak barrels over several hundred years old.
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Tequila Tuesday at Maya: If you like tequila (and who doesn't?), mark the last Tuesday of the month on your calendar. For the next three months, Maya will be lining up a prominent distiller (this month is Espolon) for a sampling extravaganza. For a mere $10, attendees get three tequila tastings, a margarita, and access to a buffet of Mexican bar bites. Reservations are recommended, so get cracking. (Tuesday, January 25, 6:30 pm, at Maya, 303 2nd St., SOMA.)
The recession might have left a lot of the city's chefs without jobs, but in turn those chefs have created a dynamic "underground" dining scene. The next few weeks are full of action, so if you’re the type that likes a few surprises with your supper, be sure to nab your seat now.
Where there's smoke there's fire. Where there's a line of 20-somethings happily waiting in a long line, heads down, tweeting on their iPhones, there's some trendy form of food to be had—whether it's grilled cheese or sushi the size of a burrito.
Thus, I didn't really need to know where exactly where Sushirrito was to find it. Even at 2 pm, the tiny, new to-go restaurant had a line snaking down a block of New Montgomery off of Market Street—the block usually known for its line of people waiting for sandwiches at The Sentinel. I had just gotten back from Crunch, the gym next door, and in the locker room, I overheard two women discussing the scene with the wide-eyed curiousity of a couple freeway rubberneckers.
Choosing what to have for lunch at the Thursday market is always one of the hardest decisions of the week for me. The vendors at the market are so creative and the seasonal specials always so enticing that in the year and a half since we re-launched the market, I’ve rarely eaten the same thing twice.
If you want to see where coffee is headed (other than the Mission, we mean) head over to Berkeley for La Marzocco's Out of the Box event today. It's your last chance to catch workshops, classes, contests and demos on everything coffee. It's also a chance to sample some of the region's premiere roasters brewing their own beans, and check a slew of fancy equipment from La Marzocco, Hario, and others.