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Ramen Memories

There are ups and downs to ultimate eating experiences. The up is in the moment. The down is when you start to compare every similar dish to that moment.

Romantic Dining: A Bar For Two

People are always asking me for restaurant suggestions, and more often than not, it’s for a romantic occasion. Funny thing is, I rarely recommend what I consider date-worthy myself. Instead, my mind goes to something a bit more traditional: a white tablecloth, a candle, a quiet, back table for two—something a little Lady and the Tramp (you know, the spaghetti kiss and all).

But if you really want to know what I find romantic? The bar.

A Pub's Life

Change, as we all know, is an inevitable part of growing up. It’s actually one of the greatest, hardest things about growing up, truth be told. So I guess it makes sense that some of the regulars at Magnolia Pub and Brewery—which closed at the end of the May for a complete face-lift and a rebirth as Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery—are having a hard time with the transformation. As owner (and all-around nice guy) Dave McLean wrote in his blog chronicling the construction, “I know some of you are sad and miss some or all of the "old" Magnolia.  I understand and I miss it, too.  Right now, it's all a little strange, honestly, after ten years.

New Restaurants and Blind Dates


The other night I was headed to a new restaurant, Anchor & Hope (to read a Q and A with co-owner and all-around-nice-guy Doug Washington, click here), and I mentioned to our Executive Editor that I was almost hoping that I wouldn’t like it (I did...but more on that in another post). It’s not that I relish being a crank (at least, not all the time) but just that loving all these restaurants in San Francisco can be debilitating.


Universal Cafe, one of my local favorites.

Q & A with Absinthe's Jeff Hollinger


Jeff Hollinger in action.
Photo courtesy of Frankie Frankeny.

Fresh Ricotta: You Know You Want It

We all think we’re the master (mistress?) of our own universe, but the truth is, we’re not. You think you’re drawn to that fuchsia top because you like it? Sorry. Most likely, a highly-paid fashion forecaster set the palette for Summer '08 way back, stores have placed it strategically and, voila: You’re suddenly overwhelmed with the need for a closet-full of hot pink.

Similarly, if you have fresh ricotta on the mind, the versatile cheese has, in fact, been subliminally wiggling its way into your collective craving conscious for most of spring. And there’s more than one chef to blame (or in this case, thank).

Bosom Buddies: Where Dinner and Drinks Meet


The Lone Palm, perfect for a pre-dinner Scotch

Dinner and drinks go together like movies and popcorn, milk and cookies, olives and caramel. It’s good idea to have some standby combos, ideally a bar and a restaurant located a stone’s-throw away from each other.

The End of an Era for Frisson

If you’ve been following the restaurant gossip these last few months then you’ve likely heard about Frisson. The restaurant closed a few months ago, ostensibly for a redesign, and partners Joe Hargrave and Andrew McCormack (who also own Laiola) teamed up with Myth chef Sean O’Brien, with grand plans for a redesign and relaunch. Meanwhile, Frisson’s former chef Sarah Schafer scooted across town to head up the kitchen at the newly opened Anchor & Hope.

Kid-Friendly Dining: The Dilemma

Here’s my dilemma: As a parent, I want my kids to experience all sorts of food at all sorts of restaurants—taquerias to ramen joints to the likes of Zuni. Sure, it would be easier to stay at home and eat Annie’s, but what’s the point of living in SF if they don’t get a taste of it? (Admittedly, I have visions of them growing up worldly and cool, telling tales of their groovy, urban mom who took them out on the town and now they appreciate everything from kim chee to menudo to croquettes because of it. Thanks, Mom. We’re forever indebted to you.)

El Cachanilla: The Perfect Tacos

I had a Technicolor food moment the other day: Running errands last weekend, on an intensely bright and beautiful Sunday, I pulled over at 21st and Treat to get a little lunch at El Cachanilla, the only taqueria in SF that transports me immediately to Mexico. The tacos are small in true antojito style, and served from a little window where your choices of meat are displayed in scratchy handwriting—in both Spanish and English. I conservatively ordered three carnitas tacos, but the sign says they offer everything from tripe to eye, neither of which have I tested out. I’m relatively hardcore, but not hardcore enough for eye taco.

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