"I’m kind of a prime rib snob. I love it because it’s beefy and tender, and I always get it rare. In life, beef is one of my top five favorite things. I used to work in hotels a lot, so I think that’s where I developed my taste for it. I used to try to sneak in a slice before the prime rib went out onto the buffet.
I’m not a fan of traditional American breakfasts. I like to eat weird random meats at 10 in the morning. Sunday mornings I go for dim sum with my wife and my 2-year-old daughter, who’s probably eaten more dim sum than anything else. My daughter likes egg rolls, sui mai and pot stickers. My litmus test for dim sum is the pork sui mai. You have to consider the size of it and how fresh the pork tastes. It has to have just the right amount of shrimp. Our No. 1 go-to is S&T on Noriega and 33rd. I like fried lobster rolls—fried dough stuffed with lobster meat and who knows what else. We eat salt-and-pepper shrimp and I love the steamed spareribs with chile-vinegar sauce. I love chewy cartilage-y things.
I really love yakitori. I tend to go to the Inner Richmond’s Halu, a family-run restaurant that has the feel of some place in Japan. I’ve been to Japan twice, and every time I go, I hit all the yakitori bars. It’s not just chicken on a stick. Each part of the chicken is cooked separately over hardwood charcoal, and it’s just so focused. They’ve achieved mastery.
I guess it’s fair to say I’m obsessed with fried chicken. When it’s spot-on, it’s amazing, but when it’s not, it’s so defeating and lame. There is no middle of the road with fried chicken. And even though it’s more popular now, and on a lot of menus, it’s hard to find a good version. I’ll be honest with you—I am not into the chicken-and-waffle thing. I love waffles. I love maple syrup. I love fried chicken. But all together? No. With waffles, you introduce another opportunity for failure. OK, listen: The crust has to be crispy, right? The skin must adhere to the meat. I don’t want to take a bite and have all the skin slide off. The meat needs to be moist. And hot. I do not like cold fried chicken—I want it rippin’ hot, fresh from the fryer.
I guess it’s fair to say that I’m obsessive about the ways pies should be done because I’ve been disappointed a lot. You go into a place, and you see pie, and you think, oh yes! Then you notice that the crust is so pale, and you think, I was going to thank you, and now I want to slap you!
Adam Timney, chef, Starbelly
Tacos are the ultimate snack. Meat and bread. Beans should not be on a taco. Beans are a side. I don’t want a crispy shell. I don’t want sour cream. No super tacos. Just meat, salsa, cilantro and chopped raw onion. The tacos from the El Tonayense trucks are my favorite. I get a combo—tripe, cabeza, lengua and buche. They cook their tripe perfectly. Most places overcook it, but they do it just right, so it’s a little crispy and a little chewy. Four tacos, a Tamarindo—then a nap.
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.
I just had my 4 o’clock snack. At 4 o’clock every day I have buttered olive bread topped with pickles, sometimes with fresh tomatoes. I have a love affair with vinegar. It’s true. As a kid I used to drink vinegar straight. At Luce we pickle all sorts of things—kumquat, rhubarb, cucumbers. I am just addicted to pickles. Maybe it’s because I’m French. Everything comes with pickles in France.
If I don’t eat pho twice I week I am a miserable human being. Seriously, I eat it two or three times a week, mostly for breakfast. There’s nothing better than going to Turtle Tower at 8:30 a.m. when they open and sucking down a big bowl of pho. It’s like you’re Mario and you hit the golden star: You are powered up and can go all day.