The doughy, stuffed charms of pierogi have been largely confined to Eastern European bakeries and restaurants in the Avenues, like Cinderella Bakery and Russian Renaissance Restaurant, until a more recent movement over the past year or so. Now Californized versions of pierogi are showing up on unexpected menus, like the one at Absinthe, for example.
It's Fall. And with Fall, restaurant openings go haywire. Charles Phan's Wo Hing General Store, three new BBQ/Southern-inspired restaurants (in the Mission and the Marina) and the first of three Bay Area Umami Burgers should be opening in the next few months. And that's just off the top of my head. With soft-opening this, and grand opening that, firing off left and right, sometimes it's nice—necessary, even—to step back and relish the gems that've been sitting here, right underneath our noses, for years: the Chez Papas, Canteens, and Outerlands of our city. This post is dedicated to the San Francisco fixtures that haven't just survived for three, five, maybe even 20 years, in our cutthroat restaurant-scape; they've flourished. And you better believe they've got something good in the works for the next few months.
In the industry, it's widely known that chefs put a lot of items on the menu that they don't necessarily get a kick out of making anymore. These are the nachos, tuna tartares and flatbreads of the world. Without a doubt, they are the menu staples, and they certainly do please a whole hell of a lot of people. But while you're happily digging into something cheesy and easy to make (at least for a pro cook), the chef is getting his thrills by putting a few more adventurous, unexpected dishes on the menu. Think chicken foot skewers, whole braised fishes and—gasp—lamb chops at an Indian dosa restaurant. I asked chefs at some of the more popular spots around town what they wish you'd order, even though you really just want the nachos. Give these dishes a shot. You might just learn something.
It's Valentine's Day, a holiday for suckers if you ask me. But for those of you suckers who don't have a dinner reservation for tonight (and you just noticed that your girlfriend is giving you the silent treatment), do not despair. The most canoodle-friendly seats in the house are at a restaurant's bar anyhow. And the bar is always reserved for drop-ins.
I wrote about the relationship benefits of bar dining long ago for the Tacolicious blog (the restaurant owned by my husband Joe) but in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll make my case for 7x7.
Five reasons why dining at the bar beats a table.
We all know what this first big rain storm of the season means: more are on their way. I'm ready, actually, for soup and for roasted root vegetables and for an end to tomatoes. It's OK. I think I'll feel even better about the change of seasons once I get my hands on a butter pecan scone with Rittenhouse whiskey glaze, or a fig-fromage blanc scone with honey glaze. Where to purchase such goodies?
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged very positively about the new Absinthe from Germain-Robin. I was a little perplexed, therefore, to receive an anguished voicemail from Crispin Cain, who distills the spirit. He was happy with my enthusiastic review, but had one complaint.
I called his absinthe "sweet".
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!