Saturday, December 10, 2011

Doña Tomás, Oakland

I'm trying a new format. I realized that if I try and write about these meals, I will never wind up posting anything. So, for now, let's just go with photos.

This was a brunch from a few weeks ago at  Doña Tomás in Oakland.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bar Jules, Hayes Valley

Will you be insulted if I don't write much about this brunch? I've been sitting on these pictures for awhile and in an effort to finally get them up I am going to sacrifice having much text.

This was Halloween at Bar Jules. Good food, good friends. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Starbelly, Castro

It's nearly Halloween, which means Summer has finally arrived in San Francisco.  Hooray! We decided to take a walk to enjoy the weather and also get some breakfast at Starbelly

(Ok, that isn't exactly true. Kev wanted Eggs Benedict at Le Zinc's outdoor patio. I needed a new blog post and we had already covered Le Zinc so we thought: where else can we walk to brunch that I haven't already blogged about? That is how we wound up at Starbelly).

There is this great outdoor patio, but it was all full when we got there. It emptied out as we ate. 

Some coffee and scrambled eggs for me. That is one giant piece of toast.

Sunny side up eggs for Kev, with  what they call sausage. To me it was more like a spicy slider. Call it what you will, it tasted pretty good!

All in all - a decent breakfast. Nothing revolutionary, but a convenient neighborhood place. Even better if you can snag a table outside.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Piccino, Dogpatch

Sorry for the lack of posting, but mostly it's because we haven't gone anywhere new in awhile. Finally this weekend we tried a couple of new places, including Piccino, over in the Dogpatch. We had tried to go there last weekend but were thwarted by a street festival of people dressed up in crazy clothes.

I immediately loved the look of this place - tons of wood, white and completely light filled. Very helpful for taking pictures, too.

I ordered an Arnold Palmer. It came with simple syrup since they don't sweeten the tea or the lemonade.  We got some marinated olives, too.

We didn't order any pizzas, even though it seems that is what they are known for.  Instead we got the white bean soup, which sounded like something I would make at home (but tasted way better).
We also got a poached egg over a semolina gnocchi. I'm still not clear how this was a gnocci - it reminded me more of a potato pancake, but with semolina. The flavors were great - egg and olive and zucchini and basil. Very savory and different than a normal, breakfast-style poached egg.  The parmesan cracker was a nice touch too.

Extra bonus: they are located very close to CalTrain, so if you are just visiting San Francisco from one of the surrounding areas this might be a good option for you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Local: Mission Eatery, revisited

It's official, I have a new favorite brunch place. Local: Mission Eatery/Knead Patisserie. I've posted about both of these places before, and I just can't get enough. I love that I can walk there, I love that it isn't too crowded, I love how low-key the vibe is. And have I mentioned that I love the food? 

This time we combined the best of both worlds - some eggs from the restaurant and some pastries from the patisserie. The poached eggs were exactly, perfectly the way I like them. We sat at the counter and I was excited that I could watch the chef make the eggs, so maybe I could learn her technique.  Turns out her technique consisted of cracking an egg directly into the not-quite boiling water, leaving  it alone to go deal with some other food, and then coming back to scoop the egg out.  My eggs must smell my fear.

The croissant was also insane - so crispy on the outside but so soft and buttery on the inside. I realize that just sounds like a description of any old croissant, but this is something else entirely. You just need to try it for yourself, ok?

Both egg dishes were great, but I particularly liked the one with farro and tomatoes. I'm on a roasted tomato kick right now, so this really hit the spot.

I loved this breakfast so much I'm already planning on returning this coming weekend for my anniversary brunch. Save me a croissant!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beast, Portland

And... we are back to Portland. I didn't take any photos this weekend in San Francisco, so here's some more great Portland food.  This was actually our last meal there, a six-course dinner at Beast.

You may have heard of Beast or it's chef, Naomi Pomeroy, if you watched the last season of Top Chef: Masters - she made it to the final four.  That was how I first heard of the restaurant and why I originally wanted to eat there.  As I started investigating where to eat for this trip I noticed that every list seemed to mention Beast, which sealed the deal for me.

The restaurant is run a little differently than most.  For example: there are just 2 seating times (6PM and 8:45PM);  all guests are seated at one of two communal tables; there is just one prix-fixe menu; and the chefs work from a buffet in the room where the meal is served. Literally you can have a conversation with them as they prepare your meal.  While I think it would have been great to be inside to watch them cook, we chose to sit outside at this table for two, since it was such a nice night (and also because there was a very loud party of 12 inside and I was feeling anti-social).

Here's where my memory gets a little fuzzy.  This meal was a month ago and I admit, I don't take notes. Bringing my giant camera out at meals is enough of a distraction, not only from the food but from whomever I'm dining with.  I kind of feel I need to draw the line there - whipping out a notebook and pen just feels like too much.  However what that means for you is a sort of hazy recollection of this meal. 

This soup was a cold tomato soup with garlic bread croutons, almonds and cucumber (that's a borage flower as well). We cleaned the bowls and thought it was an excellent first course. 

The charcuterie plate came next. This was a crazy dish of (starting at 12 o'clock): foie-gras bon-bon with sauternes gelee; chicken liver pâté on a leaf-lard cracker; steak tartare and quail egg toast; pork pate en croute and aramagnac  poached prune; and lastly, a couple of pieces of salami.  It was fun to get to try all the different flavors and my favorite was the steak tartare and quail egg toast.  (Side note: we were instructed to start at 1 o'clock and finish with the foie gras bon-bon, since it is almost like a dessert in itself).

The main dish was pork shoulder. I love pork shoulder and was happy that this was the entree. The crust on it was insane - it was some sort of whole grain mustard rub. All of the flavors were amazing, and this was the highlight of the meal for me. 

This is a good example of how my non-note taking doesn't do me much good when I am writing a post a month later. I remember that I liked this salad and thought it was really  nicely dressed. The cheese course I sorta just picked at, because I was already ridiculously full and obviously needed to save room for dessert. We did particularly like the hazelnuts and honey.

I snuck back into the restaurant to take some pictures of the dessert plating . This is how they do it for all the courses - line up all the plates on the buffet and get them plated at once for serving.

The dessert was a tart  topped with some cream and then some vanilla salt.  I was very proud of myself for recognizing that the salt came from The Meadow, another awesome Portland place that we had been to the day before known for salts, bitters and chocolates (hey NYers, there's one in Manhattan too - you should check it out).

Truth be told, I had tried to cancel our reservations  the morning of this meal.  I was worried about eating six-courses - I was food-ed out from the week and I didn't think I could manage it.   We were unable to cancel without a charge since it was the day of the meal.  Looking back,  I'm glad that policy was in place because it really would have been a shame to visit Portland and miss out on the unique charm of Beast.

5425 Northeast 30th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211

(503) 841-6968

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sightglass Coffee, SOMA

(Blog news: Tasting SF has been nominated for "Best Food Blog" by SF Weekly. If you'd like to vote, please go here)

Sightglass Coffee is one of San Francisco's newer coffee roasters. They've only been around for a year or so, and for most of that time had been operating out of a small kiosk on 7th Street.  Recently they opened a much, much larger space so we went over there to check it out.

The coffee is great but you must also try the baked goods. My favorite was the cheddar and black pepper gougere from the Tell Tale Preserve Company. Here is the saddest news though: I just learned that they are closing - the last batch of pastries went out this past weekend. I'm so glad I got to eat this one last time before they closed. And I really, really hope that they reopen soon.

We also tried the chocolate brioche with sea salt (with Mast Brothers chocolate).  We liked this a lot too, and it did go better with my latte. It was made by Firebrand Bakery, which I had never heard of.  If they are reading this, I have a suggestion: please can you try making a cheddar and black pepper gougere?

Part of the new space is a big mezzanine. Currently there is nothing up there, but I imagine they'll expand and put seating up there as well. It's kind of fun to stand up there and get a bird's eye view on the whole place. (And a nice way to get photos, too.) 

Sightglass Coffee
270 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-1313
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