Eat + Drink
I'm in St. Helena for an excellent conference at the CIA. I spent my morning listening to powerful talks from sustainability pioneers Fedele Bauccio of Bon Appetit Management Company and farmer Lee Jones of The Chefs Garden. What an inspiration those men are. But that's another story for another day.
Formerly local chefs say this city’s myopic focus on rusticity and pizza is a yawn. Yet in NYC—freed from SF’s trappings—they’re still cooking up meatballs, and New Yorkers aren’t complaining.
Last year at the NYC Food & Wine Festival, when Momofuku chef David Chang “called bullshit” on SF restaurants, asserting that they were all “serving figs on a plate with nothing on it,” he inadvertently started a heated debate that—as more and more SF chefs resettle in New York—continues.
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
Learn to make French macarons
Pastry chef Thip (formerly of Cortez and Luce) is teaching two-hour hands-on classes in French meringue technique. A demonstration is followed by hands-on practice, taught in a private loft in San Francisco. Cupcakes are so three years ago. For more information about the classes and schedule, email email@example.com
Anchor & Hope celebrates its second anniversary!
Local: Mission Eatery is not a sandwich shop. That is, it’s not only a sandwich shop, though every day chef Jake Des Voignes (formerly of Fifth Floor and Fish & Farm) is making a half-dozen sandwiches, including one with roasted potato and green-garlic ricotta and another with braised lamb and Cara Cara orange marmalade. It’s not a restaurant, either, though a few nights a month the kitchen stays open late, serving a family-style menu that’s both prepared and served by the chefs. It’s not a bakery, though Knead Patisserie, headed up by Des Voignes’ wife, Shauna, has set up shop in the far corner, making a small selection of cookies, parfaits and cakes.
It’s a texture thing, I think—and that it tastes just like the ocean. It’s so refreshing to me. My boyfriend Chad [Newton, chef at Fish & Farm] doesn’t like it at all, but I order it wherever I see it. One of my favorite preparations is Lissa’s staff meal, on the menu at Ame: cuttlefish noodles, tossed with uni, wasabi and a quail egg. Perfection. Generally I prefer it chilled, in the Japanese style, maybe over rice, which is how they serve it at Katana-ya—but at Okoze, a sushi restaurant near my house, they do an oyster shooter with sake, quail egg and uni that I like a lot.
Whoever has the wherewithal to hunt it down will be rewarded with food not easily found in San Francisco.
I just got back from a trip to LA—a city I wish I could somehow fuse with San Francisco to make what might be a perfect city. To this city I'd like to add LA's warm weather, amazing ethnic eats, al fresco dining culture (see: warm weather) and real respect for salads and burgers.
I feel a burger wave coming to SF (the new Super Duper in the Castro—which I have yet to try—will definitely be followed up with other all-burger spots), but LA has long been known for their burger culture. I'd been highly advised to try out the newish Umami Burger in LA of which there are a few outposts. So on a sunny Saturday, I stopped by the Santa Monica location with my family to try out pretty much every burger on the short menu.
I finally, at long last, made my way to Smuggler's Cove last Thursday night. I have been a fan of Polynesian-themed watering holes since I was a teenager, when my underage friends and I would head to Aku-Aku in Cambridge, Massachusetts, mugging in front of the giant Easter Island heads outside before trying to convince the waiters that yes, they could serve us Scorpion bowls. Let's face it—there are point in ones life when drinking tête-a-tête from two-foot-long straws is basically the pinnacle of existence.