We're big fans of Sunday Funday, and nothing winds it down like a soulful meal. Although it's typically a day of rest and relaxation for chefs, we've noticed a growing number of them rallying to put together special fixed price feasts to wind down the weekend. Here are the latest Sunday Suppers at some of our favorite restaurants around town. Add them to your weekend dossier, and consider it our prescription for the Sunday blues.
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.
San Francisco is a brunch-lover's paradise (with the long lines to prove it), so it's no surprise that many of us enjoy kicking off a Sunday-morning repast with the tomatoey hangover helper known as the Bloody Mary. There are plenty of classic spots to snag one of these tasty treats in the city, from Zeitgeist to Zuni Cafe. (The Bold Italic even created a full rundown of the city's most beloved bloodies, along with diagrams of what's in 'em.) But given SF's concentration of mixology masters, the Bloody Mary recipe has remained somewhat sacrosanct: tomato juice, lemon, Worcestershire, horseradish. Experimentation? We'll save it for dinnertime, thanks.
Yesterday I climbed a ladder up to the rooftop of Nopa restaurant to visit its brand new baby bee hives. Owner Jeff Hanak has been working with Terry Oxford and Brian Linke of Urban Bee SF to cultivate a two-hive community for three weeks now. Weather permitting, its honey will surface on the food and cocktail menus below the roof as soon as June. The idea of freshly harvested honey on a menu is romantic and all, but these urban hives are really all about the bees.
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.
To make chef Michael Tusk’s spinach sformato—a bright green custard with a ricotta-like texture—you’ll need a couple of small ramekins like these from Williams-Sonoma. Tusk likes to use Bloomsdale spinach, a sweet, buttery leaf that’s never bitter and can usually be found at the Country Line Harvest stand at Tuesday’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
With all the Italian restaurants continuing to open in San Francisco, I've been talking shop with some of the city's best chefs. Particularly, about dried pasta.
Should you think dried pasta is inferior product, think again. Dried pasta is used very specifically for preparations such as carbonara. No self-respecting Roman would be caught dead with a bowlful of carbonara made with anything else. It's a dish that calls for spaghetti with a backbone!
Unless you’re one of those people who merely eat to live, Cotogna is the kind of restaurant that takes hold of your inner glutton. Step inside, and your eyes immediately register the roaring fire while your nose picks up the aromas of the meats roasting on the rotisserie that owner-chef Michael Tusk ordered from Tuscany. Skim the menu full of words like tortelloni, fried pumpkin, porcinis, and sausage ragu, and your hands will unconsciously start rubbing together in greedy anticipation. On a cold winter’s night, how could you not want to dip into a shellfish stew with grilled bread swiped with aioli? Or a creamy mess of burrata with chopped chicories followed by spit-roasted pork with fennel and satsumas?
There are two types of menu paralysis.
1. The kind when you open a menu and can't decide what to eat because it all sounds a bit … wrong: This includes leap-of-faith menus: "Oysters on the half shell with a cranberry-cilantro mignonette and gingerbread sprinkle." And frustrated-poet menus: "White chicken. Rain water. Red wheelbarrow."
2. The kind when you open a menu and can't decide what to order because you want to eat it all.
Paralysis case number two is the reason why I sat with Cotogna's menu for quite a while before budging to order.
Before you even enter Quince you get a visual of what’s for dinner: A massive window facing the street beckons diners to gaze from the darkness outside into a kitchen glowing with stainless fixtures and copper pots, and outfitted with a centerpiece of a three-ton royal-blue Bonnet stove the size of a studio apartment. The voyeur opportunities Quince’s kitchen offers might be classier than that of the peep shows at the Lusty Lady up the street, but the excitement that it generates in the loin of fine dining aficionados is the same.