Eat + Drink
Welcome to the 2009 Burger Bonanza wherein two girls eat 20 of the city's best burgers, on the path to burger enlightenment. The 10 best will then be chosen to be featured—in ranking order—in 7x7's September magazine issue. Burgers must fit our "fancy burger" parameter: made with beef and available as part of the regular dinner menu at upscale restaurants in SF. Beyond that, we're open to suggestions, which we hope you will leave in the comment box below!
Golden boy Nate Appleman has left both A16 and SPQR where he is both chef and co-owner. The grapevine news comes only a month after Appleman cooked at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, which honored his selection for one of the annual, coveted "Best New Chef" slots, and just a couple months after he accepted his Rising Star Chef award from the James Beard Foundation.
Just last night, while tending bar at Cantina (which I do most Mondays), I chatted with a lovely young couple on vacation from Tuscon. With plans already to see Alcatraz, etc, they asked me what I thought they should do while in town. "Get out and walk the neighborhoods," I told them. "That's where the heart and the identity of San Francisco is. And it's the most fun you can have to see what they're all about."
“Tracking down the perfect chicken korma became something like a vision quest for me. Honestly, I took out $100 from the bank and then went to nine Indian restaurants. In a row. My favorite place is Lahore Karahi—their korma is different than what I normally like. It’s a little less creamy than the usual, but the spicing is perfect. They don’t sell alcohol there, but you can buy Kirin at the corner store and it’s a perfect match for the korma—better even than [Indian lager] Taj Mahal. And it’s cheap—a plate of korma, with rice, is only $9.80 and it can easily feed two. My second favorite spot is Little Delhi, on Eddy. It’s like an old ’50’s diner converted to an Indian restaurant.
“I lived in the Mission for 9 years, right around the corner from El Tonayense taco truck parked on 22nd and Harrison. I’d go twice a week for the cabeza [head] and carne asado tacos, because they are cheap and the ingredients are in perfect proportions. Cancun is another favorite—I always overdue it, ordering enough for 3 people even if I’m alone. I usually get a few carnitas and carne asado tacos, a side of grilled onions and a quesadilla or two. I eat half and then take the other half for later—I have to stock up now that I no longer live in the Mission. Now I live in the Sunset, and Tommy’s has become my new local Mexican joint as a result of the Mission withdrawal. At Tommy’s my favorite is the panucho, which is offered only as a special.
One thing that will be left behind when all this recession nonsense is said and done, is the legacy of what we’ll deem the “fancy burger.” When we tell our grandkids that 2009 was the year we learned to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps—while, of course, maintaining some sense of luxury—we will have to include the fact that our strength was often fueled by a patty of house-ground, grass-fed beef.