Leopold's sausage and kraut (photo by Ed Anderson)
It's been 12 months of good eating. After reviewing all my past blogs, I've pulled out some—though clearly not all—of the most delicious dishes from 2011 and listed them in no particular order. A couple are new discoveries to me (see L'Ardoise), some are rediscoveries (see Kiss), but most are new as of this year.
I rarely get over to Betelnut for dinner but last night I sat at the smooth, red counter and ordered a bowl of the Malaysian curry laksa soup. What a perfect bowl of comfort. The shrimp were plump, the shredded chicken tender, the kinked up noodles springy. It was all bathing in a rich, fragrant coconut curry a pumpkin color of orange that could stop traffic. It warmed me up as I shivered my way through yet another restaurant in SF with an open-door policy. (As in the front door is kept open even on windy, cold summer nights.)
7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you can't stop thinking about and want to make at home, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your wish may end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.
Executive chef Alexander Ong usually fries the cauliflower and curry leaves he serves at Betelnut Pejiu Wu, but for the homemade version, he suggests sautéing. For Sichuan peppercorns, head to Chinatown, and for curry leaves (fresh or frozen will do), Ong sends people to Richmond New May Wah (207 Clement St.).
I am a carbohydrate freak—noodles, rice, dumplings, you name it. But it’s char siu bao—barbecued pork buns—that I am really addicted to. I might need an intervention. I get them twice a week, two or three dozen at a time to bring to my staff at the restaurant. But while I’m driving back, I eat one, then two, then before I know it I’ve eaten six: chomp, chomp, chomp. I like both steamed and baked, but I usually get the pork-filled steamed ones. At Clement Street Bakery, they’re 80 cents apiece. The dim sum there is also pretty good, and their coconut buns? Oh, god.