It's not exactly popsicle weather out there right now. Soggy, wet streets set the mood for hot, boozy cocktails. And my mind is on stew. Here's a list of five San Francisco restaurants ladling out steaming bowls of heartiness that are worth getting out of the house for. All of them put your Crock-Pot to shame.
1) Kokkari chef Erik Cosselmon has been rotating some variation of his goat stew on and off the menu for eight years now. The current version includes black currants, nutmeg, and allspice with a touch of vinegar to cut the richness. It's available for lunch only in the winter.
2) One of Green Chile Kitchen's most beloved items is its green chile stew. The spicy, stick-to-your-ribs New Mexican creation is served with warm corn tortillas on the side. Order it with chunks of falling-apart, tender pork and make your own tacos as you go, or just lap it up with a spoon.
3) At Local's Corner, chef Jake Des Voignes just added a warming seafood stew to the winter menu. The broth is made in a similar style to a bouillabaisse with a rich fish stock, white wine and a touch of cream. The kitchen infuses it with kaffir lime leaves, curry leaf and fresh lime juice for some zing.
4) Beast & The Hare's Ian Marks makes a cult-followed rabbit stew with braised roaster rabbits and house-made bacon ragout. The stew gets more depth and richness from chocolate, chiles and orange—"a sort of Mexican mole rillette," according to Marks. Mint and lemon peel brighten things up. The redolent concoction is served over creamy polenta and topped off with an herb salsa made with marjoram, thyme and chives.
5) Nopalito does chilpachole de jaibe y pescado, a soup of crab, fish, dried chiles, tomato, onion, potatoes, carrots, epazote and cilantro. Owner Jeff Hanak says it's a traditional soup from the Veracruz region of Mexico. Its base of shellfish stock and ancho chile creates a lingering warmth.
Where do you get your stew on when it's cold out? Do tell in the comments.
Carolyn Alburger is the editor of Eater SF.