Sunday, March 20, 2011

Canteen, Nob Hill

Some pictures from a recent dinner at Canteen - which turned out to be one of the better dinners we've had recently. We were both super impressed with the meal.

The restaurant is tiny, and we sat at the counter. The very bright green counter.

Amuse bouche - avocado with bay shrimp. Fresh and tasty.

Fresh rolls, spicy crab soup and sea scallops.  The soup was super flavorful and not too spicy. The scallops were ok - but I think the weakest point of the overall meal. One of the highlights of the meal was watching the three guys in the tiny kitchen. The way they maneuvered around each other was amazing. Our waitress told us they had all been working together for years.

I ordered the lamb loin with sesame-chickpea puree and pepper relish. It was excellent. It was like  fancy lamb and hummus.  
Kev ordered the halibut poached in olive oil with green garlic, baby leeks, grits and spicy ham. Really light and nice flavors. 

For dessert, we shared the chocolate pot de creme with chicory and the vanilla souffle. The pot de creme was different than most - it didn't have the same thickness that I'm used to. I liked it - but not as much as the souffle, which was amazing.  The menu at Canteen changes weekly, but the souffle is always on the menu, for good reason.

The cool thing about this place is that it doesn't seem like it's trying all that hard - the food they make isn't anything crazy or fancy - it's all just done really well. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Outerlands, Outer Sunset

I can't remember when I first read about Outerlands, but I remember seeing a photo with the wood paneled walls and thinking, I want to go there. I finally remembered to add it to my "places to go" list, and attempted to go there for breakfast this morning. 

I say attempted because I didn't read the fine print - they don't serve their breakfast menu on Saturdays. Big, huge bummer, because I was really excited for the "eggs in jail" and the Dutch pancake.

They did have an egg dish on the menu though, so I got that - fried egg sandwich with cheese and bacon. Their bread was amazing. My only complaint is that I wanted a steak knife to cut it with - that crust is no joke and my bread knife struggled with the task. Also I have been debating if I should buy a Chemex so I was excited to get to try it out again. The coffee was excellent (they use Sightglass beans) and it convinced me to make the purchase.

That there is the grilled cheese and it is serious business.  I love the little burned bits of cheese oozing out. It reminds me of french onion soup, which I also love. 

I should have taken a whole bunch more photos because the place looks so cool, but I was too absorbed in enjoying the food and the company.  I fully intend to go back though, both for breakfast and dinner, so expect an update in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

(PS: Before or after you eat here, I highly recommend you check out the General Store, which is just 2 shops down.)

4001 Judah St 
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 661-6140

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mayfield Bakery and Cafe, Palo Alto

I had big (eating) plans this weekend: 1) Nopa for dinner on Saturday night and 2) Bakesale Betty for lunch on Sunday. Want to guess how many of those plans happened? (Answer: Zero.)

Plan 1: Nopa, you and I can never seem to get it together. And by you and I, I mean me. I was all psyched to finally have dinner at Nopa (see: here) but forgot we had made plans to babysit. Oops. Another canceled reservation. When we finally get to eat dinner there, maybe in 2014, they are going to have to work really hard to live up to my expectations. 

Plan 2:  We were supposed to head over to Emeryville to go to Ikea, and then reward ourselves with Bakesale Betty, which I have still never had.  As we got on the 101, at 10am on Sunday morning, we were greeted with a sign saying that 3 lanes on the bridge were closed. We got on anyway, saw the traffic, and decided to head South instead, to the Ikea in Palo Alto. Goodbye, Bakesale Betty..... maybe some other day. 

We still needed to reward ourselves for spending our Sunday morning at Ikea, so we decided to hit up Mayfield Bakery and Cafe. Mayfield is part of the Spruce/Cafe Des Amis family, but I don't think you'd guess that if you didn't know.  The vibe in there just feels really different than their other restaurants. Here's a picture to prove my point: 

I think the staff at either one of those restaurants might frown at drawing on the linens.  Mayfield is much more family friendly though (tons of kids in there for brunch) and drawing on the table was not at all out of place.  Mayfield provides all the baked goods for the other restaurants that are part of the same management group. What this means for you as a customer there: if you go for dinner, they frequently give away loaves of bread at the end of the night. If you go for brunch, they give you delicious treats. Last time I was there, we got zucchini bread. Today we got these madeleines, which were really cakey and had the slightest hint of orange and were delicious.

Kev ordered the country breakfast, which is like your standard egg/potato/bacon/toast. But the potatoes! They call them "cottage potatoes" on the menu, but they reminded me of a potato pancake, which is weird because the texture is completely different - the insides are smooth and creamy in a crunchy, fried shell - but really, it tasted like your favorite Chanukah treat. Which is pretty awesome.

I ordered the romesco and egg flatbread with chorizo, roasted red peppers, pecans and arugula. Oh and a sundried tomato sauce. It was really, really good. They have a wood fire stove so the crust had that nice charring, and the tang of the sundried tomato sauce plus the spice of the chorizo, plus all the other ingredients, were a winning combination, plus it was nice to have something different for breakfast.  And I just had to stop writing this post to go eat the leftovers, so, there you go.

Mayfield Bakery and Cafe
855 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 853-9200

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Knead Patisserie, Mission

Last week, in a moment of pure brilliance and gluttony, I decided to take a different route to the 101 and stop by Knead Patisserie for coffee and breakfast.

On weekday mornings before 11, you can find Shauna (the owner/baker) and her cart in the doorway of Local Mission Eatery, where the bakery is based.  Once the restaurant opens at 11, the operation moves inside.  You might want to click on that link to check out the website for the restaurant because it is a prime example of a logo so well designed that I'd want to eat there even if the menu didn't look amazing.  I'm such a sucker.

I couldn't decide what I wanted, and I really wanted everything, so I picked up a whole bunch of stuff.  This included the pomme d'amore, which is basically pastry wrapped around awesomeness: melted and brûléed caramel.  I was ordered to purchase this by KelsEats, who happened to show up  at the same time as me.  Luckily it isn't very hard to persuade me, because that pastry was amazing.

I tried a little bit of everything and loved it all. I then begrudgingly shared with my coworkers, because even I realize that eating four whole pastries by myself at once might not be the best idea.

Knead Patisserie
3111 24th Street 
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 655-3024
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