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.
As children, brothers Albert and Klaus Rainer had their mom's chicken and dumpling soup every Sunday. At their Russian Hill restaurant Leopold's, they recreate the family recipe with tender, herbed dumplings floating in a clear chicken broth with diced vegetables. It's pure comfort food and one of our "Best of the City" picks in the June 2011 issue of 7x7.
3-pound whole chicken
4 quarts chicken stock
It might be a stretch to call the hearty trappings of Central Europe a palate cleanser, but in a city saturated in Neapolitan pizzas, French bistros (see page 74), and a growing number of izakaya joints, a plate of wiener schnitzel with lingonberry sauce offers a refreshing break.
Not to say this is a complete novelty. For a long time, Suppenküche in Hayes Valley had the hip-with-spätzle market cornered. Walzwerk and Schmidt’s followed suit. But the turning point might have come in January when Leopold’s, a chummy Austrian gasthaus—complete with dark wood wainscoting and egg-yolk yellow walls cluttered just so with mounted deer heads and family portraits—took over the former Antica Trattoria space in Russian Hill. No one’s yet calling for an end to margherita madness, but it does say something about the changing of the guard.