The French Connection


It's Bastille Day! Got your freedom fries?

We here in San Francisco might not like France and the French quite as much as we like Italy and the Italians (at least, judging by our restaurant predilictions), but we still seem to have a bit of a love-affair with the country and, particularly, with its food. Today is Bastille Day (quick history lesson: this is the day that the French people stormed the Bastille prison, marking the beginning of the French Revolution). Here in the states (and probably in , too) the day may be celebrated, but it's watered down to be a day of feasting, picnicking and drinking rosé.
In honor of this mid-summer European holiday, we here at 7x7 have dreamed up the following suggestions for how to celebrate here in San Francisco .

French Toast: We think the best version of this breakfast treat can be had at Mama’s (off of
Washington Square), preferably slathered with house-made jam. But the version at Just for You comes in a close second, made from slices of homemade bread (thick enough so it stays creamy within) and dusted with confectionary sugar. We’re also big fans of the French toast served each weekend at Slow Club’s legendary brunch, topped with strawberries, walnuts and—the clincher—bourbon maple syrup (and real stuff, mais oui, not that Aunt Jemima crap). 

French Fries: A new front-runner in the battle for the perfect French fry has emerged: the very thin, very crisp ones served at the new Chez Papa Resto, presented in a cone, are not to be missed. But our old favorites remain—how to resist a huge bowl of fries at Universal Café, tossed with handfuls of herbs? They remain the undisputed champions. And, if you want the complete Bastille Day experience, some very fine fries can be ordered at Café Claude, where you can also sample soupe à l’oignon and a fine pan bagnat (the French take on a tuna sandwich). 

French Bread: For a perfect French-breakfast, pick up a loaf of Acme’s superlative French bread. Sweet, with a tender crumb, it makes the best toast. For authenticity, drink your morning coffee from your cereal bowl.

French 75: Oh, those French. Not only have they taught us have to tie scarves, they also have us beat in the cocktail department, too. The French 75 is a dangerously delicious combination of Champagne , gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. We like the version around the corner at Otis, but you can’t go wrong with the one at Absinthe. While you’re there, you can also chow down on their croque monsieur. 

French Dip: Though this has absolutely nothing to do with France, we’re quite sure (except that it gives non-French speakers the chance to commit the language faux pas of ordering it “with au jus”) this sandwich—soft bun, thinly sliced rare roast beef with side of drippings for dipping—is still worthy of Bastille-day consideration. Where to get the best? A very serviceable rendition can be order at the Pork Store Café in the Lower Haight .
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