The other night I was headed to a new restaurant, Anchor & Hope (to read a Q and A with co-owner and all-around-nice-guy Doug Washington, click here), and I mentioned to our Executive Editor that I was almost hoping that I wouldn’t like it (I did...but more on that in another post). It’s not that I relish being a crank (at least, not all the time) but just that loving all these restaurants in San Francisco can be debilitating.
Universal Cafe, one of my local favorites.
Photograph by John Casado
I’m well aware that this is what my friend Rob likes to call a “Class A” problem, meaning that it ranks very low on the scale of real world troubles. But in the course of a week I can go to 4 or 5 new restaurants and, because the bar in San Francisco is set pretty high, quality-wise, there are a lot of places that I love at first sight (or, rather, at first bite). There are chefs I’m particularly fond of (like Chris Kronner of Slow Club and Serpentine) and restaurants that I like to go on nights when I’m tired and I just want to eat good food without thinking too hard (Universal Café, here’s looking at you). Trouble is, with a rigorous dining schedule I don’t get back to the places that I love as often as I’d like. And as the tally of restaurants that I really like gets higher, it becomes more and more difficult to answer that all-too-frequent question: “So, where is your favorite place to eat?”
After the Executive Editor and I had talked about it for a while, she summed my problem up perfectly. “It’s like a blind date—you had a good time, but as you’re saying goodbye you know you’re never going to call that person again.” I’ve actually never been on a blind date, but I think she might be right. So, to my favorite restaurants, the ones I wish I could get back to once a week but only make it to every six months—I’ve been meaning to call, really.