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Flour + Water

Five Great Chef's Tables for Intimate Dinners with Friends

A small bunch of San Francisco restaurants offer personalized dinner experiences where the chef will cook just for your table, as if you were dining in his or her home. Here are some of our favorite "chef's tables," from a secret spot for up to eight guests, nestled in the belly of Baker and Banker's bakery to a fancy eight top with backdrop views into the kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton

Treatful, the "Anti-Groupon," Brings Online Gift Certificates to Acclaimed Restaurants into the 21st Century

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), we Americans are in the process of spending around $28 billion on gift cards this holiday season, with 80 percent of us choosing to buy at least one, spending an average of $43.23 per card.

There’s nothing new about gift cards, of course, but what is new in 2011 is the effort by a number of local startups to attack the traditional, impersonal sort of card with a new, much more personalized online approach.

Three small companies poised to disrupt the traditional gift card industry in three separate strategies are Giftly, Giftiki, and Wantful – all of which I’ve profiled earlier this year.

Now there’s a fourth to add to the list – Treatful – co-founded by two Stanford business school grads, Brent Looney and Hoon Kim.

Triple Threat: Holiday Headache Relief in the Mission

If you want to have a successful night out in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between pre-dinner drink, food and a show, we bring you the Triple Threat series — a block-by-block guide to nights out that only require one parking space. Today a little holiday helper the Mission.

Come On In, The Tomato Water's Fine

San Francisco is one of the few cities in the US where, come winter, it's nearly impossible to find a tomato at the hottest restaurants in town. On the contrary, come tomato season, it's hard to avoid them. Now that all the heirloom varietals have hit full stride in warmer points south, there are tiered salads of steamy heirlooms, plays on Caprese, cherry tomato-dotted pizzas, and, finally, the seasonal BLT has arrived. The happy by-product of this tomato overload is tomato water. While the New York Times just gave the "intense translucent liquid" a little jab as one of the fleeting "charms" of the 1990s, Bay Area chefs never seemed to let it go. Find out why they love it and where you can try it, after the hop.

The 20 Best Dishes of 2009

No longer in a pre- or post-holiday stupor, we finally feel we've got the clarity to reflect on a year of eating. It took some sifting through our notebooks, some brain jogging, some staring off into space: And then it all came back to us with the shocking clarity that only memories of delicious meals can conjur up. Some of these dishes are from new restaurants, and some from old favorites. Either way, they all defined a moment.

JESSICA'S TOP 10

First Taste: Don’t (Just) Order Pizza at Flour + Water

Since the lines at Flour + Water showed no signs of abating, I finally just took the plunge and went. Despite F+W's best intentions to publicize the restaurant as not-just-a-pizza joint, early diner reports have focused on the pies because, well, that's what people do. I'm not here to tell you skip the very good pizza (and even if I did, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't listen), but I am here to tell you not to skip the rest of the menu. Because even if it's a uovo pizza you're after, topped with a golden-yolked egg, some of the finest things I tried did not come from the Mugnaini oven.

Flour + Water: You Want Pizza, You Get Pizza

Yesterday I stopped by the Mission's latest addition, Flour + Water, to see how the team is doing after being open for a week. The answers, it seems, are 1) they're hot (small kitchen plus heat wave=sauna) 2) overworked and 3) unfailingly kind and cheerful, taking time to squire me around the kitchen. To say that they have been busy since they started serving dinner last Friday would be a gross understatement—they have been absolutely crazy jammed, quoting hour-plus waits at 7 p.m. and turning away people who arrive too late in the evening. Those who read my earlier post may remember that they are serving not only pizza, but also handmade pasta and house-cured charcuterie.

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