Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FOOD TRUCK QUICK BITE: BEYOND THE BORDER

It's back to SOMA StrEat Food Park time, because you know this is one of my favorite funky places to hit in San Francisco. It works especially well for me and the SO as we can usually find something for each of our taste buds from their array of food trucks. On this particular day we both laid eyes on the same truck and tried it together. Which is always fun as you can order more things to try without looking like a glutton. Though, weirdly, that doesn't usually stop me. Anyway, this week's truck was Beyond The Border, serving up traditional, home made Mexican flavors.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A BARBECUE RANT....AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME


Seems Franklin Barbecue decided to come to town with a pop-up event at Magnolia's Smokestack in Dogpatch. I was moderately enthused to see this, then I saw the price--$130--for a plate of brisket, 2 beers and a copy of their book. Tickets were to go on sale Friday April 24th at 9 am. Me and the SO discussed whether it was worth it or not--that's a lot of money. It's not like this is Lazy Bear where you get a 12 course meal or something. It was one shot deal. Then the price oddly dropped to $70 and no longer included a copy of the book (which you can get on Amazon for $18). Strange, but okay, and me and the SO just decided to suck it up and pay the money. Sort of a doing to be doing it kind of thing. I was up early Friday morning and had the Eventbrite page open 15 minutes before sale time. At 8:57 am I began hitting the refresh button over and over till suddenly at 9 am the tickets got listed. I clicked the date, add 2 tickets (a pop-up told me there were 31 tix available) and hit the buy button. Instantly I got a message that tickets were now no longer available for this event. I looked at the clock on my computer and it just tripped over to 9:01 am. ARGGGHHHH!! That's right, somehow, every ticket (for both days of the event!) sold out in less than a minute! I was pissed (and yes I know I wasn't the only one to miss out). Granted I was ambivalent about going but to get so far as to decide to go and be shut out so quickly was beyond irritating. It reeked of suspicious ridiculousness. You were limited to 2 tickets per person and I'm guessing there were probably 30-40 tickets available for each day and in some mysterious computer generated way they were all gone. As of now, no tickets are showing up on the secondary market like StubHub or Craigslist, but I say give it time. I'm sure someone has gamed the system (they usually do) and they will show up at some point before the event in May at an exorbitant price. And for that I say f**k you Eventbrite, Smokestack and Franklin Barbecue for making something so difficult for the regular folk to get in to. After some quiet reflection (and some time to calm down), it's fine by me--NORTH CAROLINA BARBECUE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE WAY BETTER than that texas stuff anyway. And that is something you can't take away from me. Whew! All good now--how 'bout some food news.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HOOKER'S SWEET TREATS IN THE TENDERLOIN....SOUNDS KIND OF KINKY

Ah, the Tenderloin, it's the new hot neighborhood for restaurants and gentrification--though I'm just passing through to cover the food. A handful of the places opening are quite affordable, which means they are at least taking the hood into consideration. But, beyond the new places, are a fair number of spots that have been kicking around the 'Loin for some time and they are serving up tasty delights. One such spot is a dessert place I tried when it first opened 5 years ago (before I started this blog) and figured enough time had passed I should try it again. It's called Hooker's Sweet Treats, a name that is both seemingly unfortunate and highly fitting for the neighborhood (I'm not going to give a history of the Tenderloin here--better just to Google it while you are enjoying the treats).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LITTLE SKILLET SECRET MENU ITEM....EVEN THEY DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT

Secret menu items are all the rage, or at least they have been for some time now. From Starbucks to In-And-Out Burger to Chipotle and so on, these so-called off menu items are the holy grail of in the know foodies who want to feel like they are trying something other folks don't know about--like they are in some secret foodie spy ring or something. Just say the magic words to the cashier or server and they will nod or wink knowingly and poof, like magic, a dish that is not on the menu for the world to see, presents itself for your culinary amusement. These dishes are not limited to chain restaurants either, supposedly homegrown faves also offer these off-menu dishes, again, if you are in the know. Sometimes I follow this out of amusement, sometimes I decide to give one a try to see what all the fuss is about. Such was the case when news that Adam Richman was in town filming his new show Man Finds Food and trying 4 "secret menu" items in San Francisco. One of those dishes is at Little Skillet in SOMA. Since it is around the corner from where I live, it was an easy choice to try it out.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

MORE COOKIE TIME! AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

I'm continuing my hole in the wall week with a trip down cookie lane. Dogpatch is an up and coming neighborhood (though they've been saying that for years now) and it does have some out of the way spots to get a quick bite to eat. One such place is tucked away in the back of one of the American Industrial Buildings on 3rd Street and it can be difficult to find if you haven't been there before. Called Jolt N Bolt Cafe, it is strictly a Monday through Friday lunch spot for those who work in the hood. They make a handful of salads and sandwiches for the tech crowd offices in the building but they also make their own baked goods on premises and this, of course, is what drew me in. Particularly the large chocolate chip cookie you see above. I'm a sucker for big chocolate chip and this one did not disappoint. It's as big as my hand and loaded with tiny little chocolate bits pretty much throughout every bite. The edges are crisp leading to a soft center. The middle is also thick, but unlike other cookies, it is cooked properly and neither too doughy or or too dry. For me, it is one of the better large size cookies in this town. At $2.25 a pop, the price and what you get match up nicely to make it worth it. The only thing that could make it better is to be served warm, but that's not always possible, plus a few seconds in the microwave can take care of that easily. The do offer a smaller size version of this for $1 and it also good, but hey, why bother. If I'm gonna cookie it up I'm going all the way for the big one and enjoy every bite will chowing down on it. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

LES CROISSANTS EATING ON THE CHEAP NEAR THE FERRY BUILDING

***Whether they did this because of the Super Bowl or not, I'm not sure, but sadly the prices of their sandwiches have gone up to $6.25. In the grand scheme of San Francisco sandwiches that is not bad but still a bummer***

I'm continuing my hole in the wall theme this week with a visit to a place I've walked by innumerable times, but never went in. I was working down by the Ferry Building recently and when lunch time rolled around, I just didn't want to deal with the lines or the high prices there, so I set out to roam a few blocks over to see if I could find a more reasonable bite to eat. As I crossed over Drumm Street I spotted Les Croissants and thought, maybe I should just have a donut for lunch--yes I do that sometimes-don't judge me. I feel like this place has been here for as long as I've lived in this city and I've always thought of it as one of those Happy Donut alternatives if I'm ever in the hood. Though, as I said, I hadn't tried them and now seemed as good a time as any.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LOUISIANA FRIED CHICKEN AND HAPPY DONUTS? THAT'S AN INTERESTING COMBO

Sometimes neighborhood spots you go to on a regular basis for one thing can occasionally surprise you with something else. Down the street from me is a Happy Donuts, that ubiquitous, not really a chain, sort of a whole in the wall, sometimes sketchy, everyday donut shop serving up the basics from old-fashions to apple fritters. I've been to the one located at 3rd and King Street near AT&T Park more times than I'd care to admit. At one time this place was in danger of disappearing due to high rents, property values and whatever other shenanigans San Francisco real estate holds these days. Somehow, it overcame these odds, several different owners and sort of a makeover to maintain it's corner spot and be mine (and sadly boat loads of baseball fans) go to spot for a quick donut fix. In all the years I've visited they have served other stuff there like sandwiches and fried stuff, but I never really paid attention. I'm just here for the donuts--as they say (more like blinded by the donuts). A few years ago, the current owners added something called "Famous Louisiana Fried Chicken" to their moniker and while I'd briefly glanced at the menu, I'd never really considered it. One day last week, I'm not sure why, I was hankering for some fried chicken and when the Safeway near was actually sold out, I thought, well, why not give this a try. They've been serving it for awhile now, so if it wasn't any good they'd have stopped right? Seemed like as a good a reason as any to give their chicken a shot. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

JUNK FOOD JUNKIE: PECAN PIE AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Sometimes you run across the most unexpected things in random places. Such was the case recently when I was in tiny sandwich shop grabbing a bite and came across the little nugget above. Being from the South I am an ardent fan of pecan pie, even though the best of them can be sugar bombs of the utmost sweetness. Still, I'm usually undaunted by that and decided to give this pre-packaged version a shot to see if it even comes close to the original. As you can see in the below picture they come close to replicating the filling in both color and texture. (It's an interesting mix of brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter and vanilla, for the most part) They also got a cooked crust type topping that should have been a mix of pecans and sugar (see lots of sugar). For the most part, it sort of tasted like a pecan pie. Though comparatively, the crust wasn't quite buttery enough and it lacked actual whole pecans on top to give it some needed crunch and texture. I'm pretty sure there were small bits of crushed pecans on top, but they were few and far between. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite nuts and I just happened to have some of them around the house so I added my own to this version and sure enough, it brought the flavor level up a notch and the sugar level (at least taste wise) down a notch. So overall, not terrible, moderately edible, a very sweet treat and in a pinch, a decent $1 dessert substitute for those of us who can stand a sugar bomb or two. I do think if they up the actual pecan quotient it could be even better than most, though, considering the cost of nuts these days, probably not gonna happen. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SPRIG + MATTHEW ACCARRINO = DINNER AT HOME FOR BUSY (AND LAZY) PEOPLE

Sprig: A new, "artisanally crafted", sometimes chef curated, meal delivery service/start-up, offering hot, fresh delivery in 20 minutes (or so) that has taken off in San Francisco since it was launched.

Matthew Accarrino: recently nominated James Beard Award chef de cuisine at SPQR. Him and the restaurant have gotten acclaim from the get go a number of years ago. He's been best chef something or other over the last few years and even has his own book (then again, don't they all).

Convergence: moving toward one point and coming together to meet and form one interest, purpose or goal.

Such was the case for Sprig and Accarrino who came together and coordinated on some chef curated meals by him, coincidentally, just a day after he was named a finalist for a James Beard Award--Best Chef: West. I'd not been to SPQR since he started his run there and I had been wanting to try Sprig since I'd heard about it. When I saw the Accarrino pairing, it seemed like the perfect time to order from them, see if they measure up to what they are offering and to try the chefs food. Granted, he didn't actually cook each dish, I'd need to hit up SPQR for that, but he did create the recipes, chose the ingredients and, I'm assuming, showed the Sprig chefs how to prepare the dishes to his specifications, thus I'm just going with "it's just like he did it himself."

The Chef from SPQR book author photo.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

IT'S GAY LUNCHABLES!! AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Sometimes you gotta' hand it to Safeway to directly market to customers in a particular neighborhood, such is the case with the one at Church and Market. I just happened to be through there killing time one day and came across this little pre-packed selection they are calling the grilled chicken and humus box. Me, I'm gonna call it gay lunchables (that's not a slight--I owning it and buying it!) because it is offering up protein and veggies in a convenient grab and go when you are fresh out of your gym workout/bike ride/hike/yoga/whatever. I thought it was a great idea. Sometimes you don't want those useless cracker carbs or whatever else they pack up and pass off as snacks. This is a perfect fit, even for those of us who like to pretend we are occasionally healthy and aren't looking for some bready sandwich thing. It's hard to mess up the veggie part so those were fine. The chicken was on the dry side a tad and they need to fix that, it had good flavor though and hey, it had grill marks and pretty much hit the spot. For $3.99, I considered it a bargain bite for the on the go healthy snack concious gym boy (or girl) and for those of us pretending to be. Well done, Safeway, now if you could just offer this at your other locations as I have yet to see it anywhere but the Market/Church one. What? You don't think folks heading to AT&T Park want a quick healthy bite to wash down with their beer? Okay, maybe not, but this would pair really well with some garlic fries, I'm just saying. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

THAT EASTER THING IS ON SUNDAY, HAVE YOU MADE YOUR BRUNCH PLANS YET?

Brunch in San Francisco is a rite of passage, if you live here, you must do it. Whether you wait in line (like most folks in town) or make a reservation, whenever the weekend rolls around, it’s time to fall out of bed, throw on some clothes and grab some grub. This is especially true when holidays and weekends converge—like Easter Sunday. If you have already made plans, don’t fret, The City is chock full of establishments serving up pancakes, scrambles and mimosas to sate your appetite. Here are just a few places worth the wait and or journey to try. 


"The Plow" from Plow

Plow: Go early, go late, sadly it doesn't seem to matter when you hit up this small gem in Potrero Hill, there will always be a wait. If you are lucky, sometimes it won't be as long as at other times. They serve up brunch in all it's basic finery here and if you want an excellent hearty sampling of all they do then get "The Plow"--eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and lemon ricotta pancake. You'll probably want a little nap afterwards.

Croque Monsieur from The Butler and The Chef

The Butler and The Chef: Located on a little circlet called South Park in SOMA, this long, narrow bistro has the look and feel of a Parisian boîte, complete with French chef serving up croque madames and house made quiches. It’s a perfect intimate spot to feel like your are sipping your cafe au lait on the Seine without all the jet lag. 

Magic Flute Garden Ristorante: Whimsical, frilly and a great outdoor patio combine with eggs benedict and smoked hash to create a relaxed and charming atmosphere at the Pac Heights gem. An enchanting ambiance that lets you stop and smell the flowers with a nice espresso. 

The beignets from Just For You Cafe

Dogpatch Neighborhood: I’m mentioning this as a whole neighborhood as you have multiple choices to meet any palate that will be well worth the journey over to 3rd and 22nd Street. From Serpentine to Piccino to Just For You to Hard Knox Cafe to Smokestack  They all are serving up good food for brunchies and each offers something different. If you can’t find something at one of these places then you really are a picky eater. 

El Techo de Lolinda: The food is good and Latin American inspired and what better way to enjoy it on a sunny day in The Mission than on their rooftop deck. Enjoy your bunuelos and chicharrones de carne under the bright sky (and an umbrella) above all the hustle and bustle on the street below. Be sure to relax with a pitcher of margarita del Techo while watching Karl the Fog creep in around Sutro Tower. How much San Francisco can you get?

Town’s End Restaurant & Bakery: They specialize in breakfast, lunch brunch only and while they aren’t breaking new ground with their offerings you can’t beat the complimentary basket of house made assorted mini-muffins that greet as you sit down. Plus, if you ask, they will bring more. The space is big and they have outdoor tables offering up a view of San Francisco Bay. After filling up on either an omelet or a French toast sampler, you can walk off your morning meal with a leisurely stroll down the Embarcadero. 

Turkey hash from Slow Club

Slow Club: Everyone talks about their burger and you can get it during brunch but they also serve up some killer hash and frittatas. It’s a funky night club like space that has hipster brunch stenciled all over it, but don’t let that deter you. The food is pretty darn good. 


Johnny cakes from Brenda's Meat & Three

Brenda’s Meat & Three: This Divisadero offshoot of the Brenda’s French Soul Food is a great new option if you don’t feel like waiting in line at the original location in the Tenderloin, and really, who does. It offers many of the same down home, delicious dishes in a more relaxed, less busy location including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and ham steak with red-eye gravy and sweet potato pancakes—just like mama used to make. I’m getting hungry just writing about it. 

Duck and grits from The Corner Store

Corner Store: Yes, they are all the way out Geary at Masonic, but don't let the possible 38 ride deter you. This cute little spot is a great brunch/lunch spot offering up unique takes on classic dishes like duck and grits. Does get crowded and noisy inside so ask for a seat on their covered patio if you can. 

These are just a few places to try, and as I stated above, you can pretty much get brunch in any hood in The City. (I'm pretty sure it's an unspoken requirement for anyone who opens a restaurant in town.) All you have to do is get out there and eat, it really is the thing to do in San Francisco. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FOOD TRUCK QUICK BITE: BEYOND THE BORDER

It's back to SOMA StrEat Food Park time, because you know this is one of my favorite funky places to hit in San Francisco. It works especially well for me and the SO as we can usually find something for each of our taste buds from their array of food trucks. On this particular day we both laid eyes on the same truck and tried it together. Which is always fun as you can order more things to try without looking like a glutton. Though, weirdly, that doesn't usually stop me. Anyway, this week's truck was Beyond The Border, serving up traditional, home made Mexican flavors.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A BARBECUE RANT....AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME


Seems Franklin Barbecue decided to come to town with a pop-up event at Magnolia's Smokestack in Dogpatch. I was moderately enthused to see this, then I saw the price--$130--for a plate of brisket, 2 beers and a copy of their book. Tickets were to go on sale Friday April 24th at 9 am. Me and the SO discussed whether it was worth it or not--that's a lot of money. It's not like this is Lazy Bear where you get a 12 course meal or something. It was one shot deal. Then the price oddly dropped to $70 and no longer included a copy of the book (which you can get on Amazon for $18). Strange, but okay, and me and the SO just decided to suck it up and pay the money. Sort of a doing to be doing it kind of thing. I was up early Friday morning and had the Eventbrite page open 15 minutes before sale time. At 8:57 am I began hitting the refresh button over and over till suddenly at 9 am the tickets got listed. I clicked the date, add 2 tickets (a pop-up told me there were 31 tix available) and hit the buy button. Instantly I got a message that tickets were now no longer available for this event. I looked at the clock on my computer and it just tripped over to 9:01 am. ARGGGHHHH!! That's right, somehow, every ticket (for both days of the event!) sold out in less than a minute! I was pissed (and yes I know I wasn't the only one to miss out). Granted I was ambivalent about going but to get so far as to decide to go and be shut out so quickly was beyond irritating. It reeked of suspicious ridiculousness. You were limited to 2 tickets per person and I'm guessing there were probably 30-40 tickets available for each day and in some mysterious computer generated way they were all gone. As of now, no tickets are showing up on the secondary market like StubHub or Craigslist, but I say give it time. I'm sure someone has gamed the system (they usually do) and they will show up at some point before the event in May at an exorbitant price. And for that I say f**k you Eventbrite, Smokestack and Franklin Barbecue for making something so difficult for the regular folk to get in to. After some quiet reflection (and some time to calm down), it's fine by me--NORTH CAROLINA BARBECUE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE WAY BETTER than that texas stuff anyway. And that is something you can't take away from me. Whew! All good now--how 'bout some food news.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HOOKER'S SWEET TREATS IN THE TENDERLOIN....SOUNDS KIND OF KINKY

Ah, the Tenderloin, it's the new hot neighborhood for restaurants and gentrification--though I'm just passing through to cover the food. A handful of the places opening are quite affordable, which means they are at least taking the hood into consideration. But, beyond the new places, are a fair number of spots that have been kicking around the 'Loin for some time and they are serving up tasty delights. One such spot is a dessert place I tried when it first opened 5 years ago (before I started this blog) and figured enough time had passed I should try it again. It's called Hooker's Sweet Treats, a name that is both seemingly unfortunate and highly fitting for the neighborhood (I'm not going to give a history of the Tenderloin here--better just to Google it while you are enjoying the treats).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LITTLE SKILLET SECRET MENU ITEM....EVEN THEY DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT

Secret menu items are all the rage, or at least they have been for some time now. From Starbucks to In-And-Out Burger to Chipotle and so on, these so-called off menu items are the holy grail of in the know foodies who want to feel like they are trying something other folks don't know about--like they are in some secret foodie spy ring or something. Just say the magic words to the cashier or server and they will nod or wink knowingly and poof, like magic, a dish that is not on the menu for the world to see, presents itself for your culinary amusement. These dishes are not limited to chain restaurants either, supposedly homegrown faves also offer these off-menu dishes, again, if you are in the know. Sometimes I follow this out of amusement, sometimes I decide to give one a try to see what all the fuss is about. Such was the case when news that Adam Richman was in town filming his new show Man Finds Food and trying 4 "secret menu" items in San Francisco. One of those dishes is at Little Skillet in SOMA. Since it is around the corner from where I live, it was an easy choice to try it out.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

MORE COOKIE TIME! AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

I'm continuing my hole in the wall week with a trip down cookie lane. Dogpatch is an up and coming neighborhood (though they've been saying that for years now) and it does have some out of the way spots to get a quick bite to eat. One such place is tucked away in the back of one of the American Industrial Buildings on 3rd Street and it can be difficult to find if you haven't been there before. Called Jolt N Bolt Cafe, it is strictly a Monday through Friday lunch spot for those who work in the hood. They make a handful of salads and sandwiches for the tech crowd offices in the building but they also make their own baked goods on premises and this, of course, is what drew me in. Particularly the large chocolate chip cookie you see above. I'm a sucker for big chocolate chip and this one did not disappoint. It's as big as my hand and loaded with tiny little chocolate bits pretty much throughout every bite. The edges are crisp leading to a soft center. The middle is also thick, but unlike other cookies, it is cooked properly and neither too doughy or or too dry. For me, it is one of the better large size cookies in this town. At $2.25 a pop, the price and what you get match up nicely to make it worth it. The only thing that could make it better is to be served warm, but that's not always possible, plus a few seconds in the microwave can take care of that easily. The do offer a smaller size version of this for $1 and it also good, but hey, why bother. If I'm gonna cookie it up I'm going all the way for the big one and enjoy every bite will chowing down on it. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

LES CROISSANTS EATING ON THE CHEAP NEAR THE FERRY BUILDING

***Whether they did this because of the Super Bowl or not, I'm not sure, but sadly the prices of their sandwiches have gone up to $6.25. In the grand scheme of San Francisco sandwiches that is not bad but still a bummer***

I'm continuing my hole in the wall theme this week with a visit to a place I've walked by innumerable times, but never went in. I was working down by the Ferry Building recently and when lunch time rolled around, I just didn't want to deal with the lines or the high prices there, so I set out to roam a few blocks over to see if I could find a more reasonable bite to eat. As I crossed over Drumm Street I spotted Les Croissants and thought, maybe I should just have a donut for lunch--yes I do that sometimes-don't judge me. I feel like this place has been here for as long as I've lived in this city and I've always thought of it as one of those Happy Donut alternatives if I'm ever in the hood. Though, as I said, I hadn't tried them and now seemed as good a time as any.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LOUISIANA FRIED CHICKEN AND HAPPY DONUTS? THAT'S AN INTERESTING COMBO

Sometimes neighborhood spots you go to on a regular basis for one thing can occasionally surprise you with something else. Down the street from me is a Happy Donuts, that ubiquitous, not really a chain, sort of a whole in the wall, sometimes sketchy, everyday donut shop serving up the basics from old-fashions to apple fritters. I've been to the one located at 3rd and King Street near AT&T Park more times than I'd care to admit. At one time this place was in danger of disappearing due to high rents, property values and whatever other shenanigans San Francisco real estate holds these days. Somehow, it overcame these odds, several different owners and sort of a makeover to maintain it's corner spot and be mine (and sadly boat loads of baseball fans) go to spot for a quick donut fix. In all the years I've visited they have served other stuff there like sandwiches and fried stuff, but I never really paid attention. I'm just here for the donuts--as they say (more like blinded by the donuts). A few years ago, the current owners added something called "Famous Louisiana Fried Chicken" to their moniker and while I'd briefly glanced at the menu, I'd never really considered it. One day last week, I'm not sure why, I was hankering for some fried chicken and when the Safeway near was actually sold out, I thought, well, why not give this a try. They've been serving it for awhile now, so if it wasn't any good they'd have stopped right? Seemed like as a good a reason as any to give their chicken a shot. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

JUNK FOOD JUNKIE: PECAN PIE AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Sometimes you run across the most unexpected things in random places. Such was the case recently when I was in tiny sandwich shop grabbing a bite and came across the little nugget above. Being from the South I am an ardent fan of pecan pie, even though the best of them can be sugar bombs of the utmost sweetness. Still, I'm usually undaunted by that and decided to give this pre-packaged version a shot to see if it even comes close to the original. As you can see in the below picture they come close to replicating the filling in both color and texture. (It's an interesting mix of brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter and vanilla, for the most part) They also got a cooked crust type topping that should have been a mix of pecans and sugar (see lots of sugar). For the most part, it sort of tasted like a pecan pie. Though comparatively, the crust wasn't quite buttery enough and it lacked actual whole pecans on top to give it some needed crunch and texture. I'm pretty sure there were small bits of crushed pecans on top, but they were few and far between. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite nuts and I just happened to have some of them around the house so I added my own to this version and sure enough, it brought the flavor level up a notch and the sugar level (at least taste wise) down a notch. So overall, not terrible, moderately edible, a very sweet treat and in a pinch, a decent $1 dessert substitute for those of us who can stand a sugar bomb or two. I do think if they up the actual pecan quotient it could be even better than most, though, considering the cost of nuts these days, probably not gonna happen. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SPRIG + MATTHEW ACCARRINO = DINNER AT HOME FOR BUSY (AND LAZY) PEOPLE

Sprig: A new, "artisanally crafted", sometimes chef curated, meal delivery service/start-up, offering hot, fresh delivery in 20 minutes (or so) that has taken off in San Francisco since it was launched.

Matthew Accarrino: recently nominated James Beard Award chef de cuisine at SPQR. Him and the restaurant have gotten acclaim from the get go a number of years ago. He's been best chef something or other over the last few years and even has his own book (then again, don't they all).

Convergence: moving toward one point and coming together to meet and form one interest, purpose or goal.

Such was the case for Sprig and Accarrino who came together and coordinated on some chef curated meals by him, coincidentally, just a day after he was named a finalist for a James Beard Award--Best Chef: West. I'd not been to SPQR since he started his run there and I had been wanting to try Sprig since I'd heard about it. When I saw the Accarrino pairing, it seemed like the perfect time to order from them, see if they measure up to what they are offering and to try the chefs food. Granted, he didn't actually cook each dish, I'd need to hit up SPQR for that, but he did create the recipes, chose the ingredients and, I'm assuming, showed the Sprig chefs how to prepare the dishes to his specifications, thus I'm just going with "it's just like he did it himself."

The Chef from SPQR book author photo.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

IT'S GAY LUNCHABLES!! AND YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Sometimes you gotta' hand it to Safeway to directly market to customers in a particular neighborhood, such is the case with the one at Church and Market. I just happened to be through there killing time one day and came across this little pre-packed selection they are calling the grilled chicken and humus box. Me, I'm gonna call it gay lunchables (that's not a slight--I owning it and buying it!) because it is offering up protein and veggies in a convenient grab and go when you are fresh out of your gym workout/bike ride/hike/yoga/whatever. I thought it was a great idea. Sometimes you don't want those useless cracker carbs or whatever else they pack up and pass off as snacks. This is a perfect fit, even for those of us who like to pretend we are occasionally healthy and aren't looking for some bready sandwich thing. It's hard to mess up the veggie part so those were fine. The chicken was on the dry side a tad and they need to fix that, it had good flavor though and hey, it had grill marks and pretty much hit the spot. For $3.99, I considered it a bargain bite for the on the go healthy snack concious gym boy (or girl) and for those of us pretending to be. Well done, Safeway, now if you could just offer this at your other locations as I have yet to see it anywhere but the Market/Church one. What? You don't think folks heading to AT&T Park want a quick healthy bite to wash down with their beer? Okay, maybe not, but this would pair really well with some garlic fries, I'm just saying. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

THAT EASTER THING IS ON SUNDAY, HAVE YOU MADE YOUR BRUNCH PLANS YET?

Brunch in San Francisco is a rite of passage, if you live here, you must do it. Whether you wait in line (like most folks in town) or make a reservation, whenever the weekend rolls around, it’s time to fall out of bed, throw on some clothes and grab some grub. This is especially true when holidays and weekends converge—like Easter Sunday. If you have already made plans, don’t fret, The City is chock full of establishments serving up pancakes, scrambles and mimosas to sate your appetite. Here are just a few places worth the wait and or journey to try. 


"The Plow" from Plow

Plow: Go early, go late, sadly it doesn't seem to matter when you hit up this small gem in Potrero Hill, there will always be a wait. If you are lucky, sometimes it won't be as long as at other times. They serve up brunch in all it's basic finery here and if you want an excellent hearty sampling of all they do then get "The Plow"--eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and lemon ricotta pancake. You'll probably want a little nap afterwards.

Croque Monsieur from The Butler and The Chef

The Butler and The Chef: Located on a little circlet called South Park in SOMA, this long, narrow bistro has the look and feel of a Parisian boîte, complete with French chef serving up croque madames and house made quiches. It’s a perfect intimate spot to feel like your are sipping your cafe au lait on the Seine without all the jet lag. 

Magic Flute Garden Ristorante: Whimsical, frilly and a great outdoor patio combine with eggs benedict and smoked hash to create a relaxed and charming atmosphere at the Pac Heights gem. An enchanting ambiance that lets you stop and smell the flowers with a nice espresso. 

The beignets from Just For You Cafe

Dogpatch Neighborhood: I’m mentioning this as a whole neighborhood as you have multiple choices to meet any palate that will be well worth the journey over to 3rd and 22nd Street. From Serpentine to Piccino to Just For You to Hard Knox Cafe to Smokestack  They all are serving up good food for brunchies and each offers something different. If you can’t find something at one of these places then you really are a picky eater. 

El Techo de Lolinda: The food is good and Latin American inspired and what better way to enjoy it on a sunny day in The Mission than on their rooftop deck. Enjoy your bunuelos and chicharrones de carne under the bright sky (and an umbrella) above all the hustle and bustle on the street below. Be sure to relax with a pitcher of margarita del Techo while watching Karl the Fog creep in around Sutro Tower. How much San Francisco can you get?

Town’s End Restaurant & Bakery: They specialize in breakfast, lunch brunch only and while they aren’t breaking new ground with their offerings you can’t beat the complimentary basket of house made assorted mini-muffins that greet as you sit down. Plus, if you ask, they will bring more. The space is big and they have outdoor tables offering up a view of San Francisco Bay. After filling up on either an omelet or a French toast sampler, you can walk off your morning meal with a leisurely stroll down the Embarcadero. 

Turkey hash from Slow Club

Slow Club: Everyone talks about their burger and you can get it during brunch but they also serve up some killer hash and frittatas. It’s a funky night club like space that has hipster brunch stenciled all over it, but don’t let that deter you. The food is pretty darn good. 


Johnny cakes from Brenda's Meat & Three

Brenda’s Meat & Three: This Divisadero offshoot of the Brenda’s French Soul Food is a great new option if you don’t feel like waiting in line at the original location in the Tenderloin, and really, who does. It offers many of the same down home, delicious dishes in a more relaxed, less busy location including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and ham steak with red-eye gravy and sweet potato pancakes—just like mama used to make. I’m getting hungry just writing about it. 

Duck and grits from The Corner Store

Corner Store: Yes, they are all the way out Geary at Masonic, but don't let the possible 38 ride deter you. This cute little spot is a great brunch/lunch spot offering up unique takes on classic dishes like duck and grits. Does get crowded and noisy inside so ask for a seat on their covered patio if you can. 

These are just a few places to try, and as I stated above, you can pretty much get brunch in any hood in The City. (I'm pretty sure it's an unspoken requirement for anyone who opens a restaurant in town.) All you have to do is get out there and eat, it really is the thing to do in San Francisco.