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

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Little Skillet, SOMA

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

What could be a better way to start a weekend than sleeping in til 11 (I didn't even know I could still do that!) and then heading over to Little Skillet for some insanely good fried chicken and waffles. 

Little Skillet is on a small, alley-type street in SOMA, pretty close to Giants Stadium.  If you're headed to a game and want some great food first, I highly recommend you stop over here.  It's a pretty basic operation - order at a window and your food is delivered in a to-go box. No tables or chairs, just some cement stoops across the road. 

I ordered the fried chicken and waffle, and it was probably the best fried chicken I've ever had - tender and moist - but that skin! That is some amazing crispy, flavorful skin.  The waffle was pretty good too, but maybe not the best ever.  It could have been a little crispier for my taste, but the chicken more than made up for it. 

They also serve Po Boys, including a fried chicken version - no bones! I'm thinking I should get that one next time to ensure that I don't waste any of that precious skin.

Little Skillet
360 Ritch Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-2777

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broder, Portland

I celebrated my birthday in Portland and we picked Broder to have my birthday breakfast.  It was definitely the right choice.  This place is fantastic - I can imagine that if I lived in Portland I would bring all of my friends here when they came to visit.

The space itself is on the small side (though fairly large if you compare to here) and feels very homey.  It seems like a lot of places we ate at had a similar feeling, as if you were eating in someone's house. I liked that - it felt very unpretentious.  

We got to sit at the window seats in the front which were open because it was such a beautiful day. Really, every day we were there was a beautiful day. Sunny, blue skies and 80 degrees is much nicer than San Francisco summer weather.

These strange looking things are called aebleskiver.  Since I can't pronounce that, I'm going to call it a Danish pancake.  These are served with two dipping sauces, and I chose the lemon curd and the ligonberry jam. The jam was good - but the lemon curd was amazing. It actually reminded me a lot of one of my favorite items at Tartine.  But back to the pancakes: they were such a fun treat! Maybe it's because I never had them before, but something about having these for breakfast felt a little celebratory, which was perfect since it was my birthday.  Also I now have it on good authority that Trader Joes sells aebleskivers as well, so I'll be needing to try that. 

This is the Swedish hash, or pytt i panna, if you speak Swedish. I am so glad that it tasted as good as it looked.  In the dish is potatoes, peppers, roast beef and ham, and on top of the eggs are pickled beets. It is the perfect savory breakfast dish. I could not get enough. 

Because we thought it might be nice to have something healthy, we also ordered the yogurt and granola parfait.  That's healthy, right?  I only had a few bites of this one, since I was too busy power eating my pancakes.  I really liked what I had - and Kev named it his favorite granola dish in Portland (we did eat granola at most breakfasts there). 

I know I've already showed you all of these dishes, but I thought I'd share picture of the whole meal together, so you can see how Broder appealed not only to my stomach, but to my general aesthetic sensibility. 

It was a great way to start what turned out to be our best day in Portland. We followed this meal with a trip to the Japanese Gardens, which I highly recommend if you are going to Portland, and then finished the day with a meal at Le Pidgeon. Stay tuned for that post!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stumptown Coffee and Clyde Common - Portland

People keep asking me what we did on vacation. I keep explaining that we ate. We ate and we walked around. And when we walked around, we were frequently walking to another place to eat. Stumptown Coffee and Clyde Common are two more places where we killed some time (eating) while waiting for our next meal.

Both Stumptown and Clyde Common are part of the Ace Hotel. We didn't stay at the Ace, but maybe we should have since we spent so much time over there. Another reason to stay at the Ace is the view of the Fish Grotto across the street.  I may have been slightly obsessed with the Fish Grotto mural, and I seem to have more photos of it than anything else from our whole trip. If you need such a picture, let me know, I have quite a selection. 

These pictures are from happy hour at Clyde.  $3 for some pickled veggies, $5 for the charcuterie board and $5 wine and cocktails. We sat at the outdoor tables, which was great because the weather was so nice. What was not great was the amount of smokers walking by. This is the most confusing thing to me about Portland. For such a healthy, active city it is really surprising to see so many cigarettes. 

We spent a few mornings in the Ace lobby, drinking our coffee and PG Tips. We were very excited to see PG Tips on the menu since it is our favorite.  I love all of the succulents on the table and the branding inside the mug.

I also love that the saucer says Good Luck. How random. But thank you - I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lovejoy Bakers and Pearl Bakery - Portland

In between eating, we did some more eating. 

We stopped over at the Pearl Bakery.  Check out this pastry. 

It had the texture of a doughnut with subtle orange and anise flavors. Kind of like a very sophisticated doughnut. 

We also went to Lovejoy Bakers, which is a little further out in the Pearl District. We liked that there was less traffic - both pedestrian and cars.  There was also loads of outside seating which made for a great place to relax and read while waiting for our next dinner reservation.

We ordered some sandwiches and then just hung out. I love vacation.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Little Bird Bistro - Portland!

We just returned from having spent five days stuffing our faces in Portland. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I was out of control doing research on all of the places we needed to eat and when we'd go where.  And by "out of control" I mean I plotted and color coded my list on a google map so I could see, by neighborhood, where everything was and then made a daily agenda of all of our meals. Yes, I am just that kind of obsessive person.

The point is, we ate a lot.  Seriously, I don't know that there was ever a time in my life where I have eaten so much every single day.  So while this is a blog about eating in San Francisco, I  couldn't let our Portland food experience go undocumented.

Our first Portland dinner was at Little Bird Bistro.  Because the restaurant was just 2 blocks from our hotel I thought it would be nice to go there on our first night, as we were getting the lay of the land.

We decided to share an appetizer and picked the smoked trout gougeres. We had recently tried an amazing gougeres in San Francisco (cheddar and black pepper from Tell Tale Preserve Co) so we were curious what this one would be like, especially with the addition of the smoked trout. I am so so happy we ordered this, as it actually was probably one of the best things we ate our whole time in Portland. The texture of the gougeres was different than what I would have thought - it was more like fried dough than the croissant-like interior I was expecting.  The addition of the trout was intriguing - you could taste it, but not in an overtly fishy way.  The beet salad seemed a little strange to go with it, but it was incredible. I couldn't remember what the dressing was, and at one point I said to Kev, "there's a flavor in here that reminds me of Jewish deli".  He thought I was crazy, but I wasn't far off - the dressing had caraway in it - the same seeds that are on rye bread. If any chef in San Francisco reads this - can you please put this on your menu? I will be your #1 customer. 

It seemed fitting to order the salmon, since we were in the Pacific Northwest. The salmon entree changes daily. This was sockeye salmon on a crepe of creamed corn and fennel. The flavor on this was amazing, and like the trout, it wasn't super fishy - it felt very meaty.  We were sharing both entrees and I think we were fighting over this one - we both couldn't get enough.

We also ordered a side of what they referred to as macaroni gratin, which is just a much fancier way of saying mac and cheese. This was a perfect mac and cheese - it had lots of crispy bits, it wasn't too creamy, but just creamy enough and the cheddar had a nice tang to it. 

Our second entree was the pork shoulder with a fried poached egg, just in case a regular poached egg on your pork shoulder isn't decadent enough. The thing with this one was that the meat tasted incredible, but there wasn't much meat - it was nearly all fat. Now, I am not one to send things back to the kitchen, it really makes me uncomfortable, but this just didn't seem right. We spoke to the waiter who was incredibly apologetic and told us he'd get us another piece.  When the second piece arrived - perfectly cooked - we were stuffed. But we persevered because we couldn't let such an amazing piece of food go to waste.  So we had pork for dessert. Delicious, tender, you-don't-even-need-a-knife pork.

If you're going to Portland, I can't recommend Little Bird highly enough. The food and service are  great and it's just a really cute spot - so much so that we even went back our second night to get an after dinner drink.  If this place was in San Francisco I know we'd be regulars.

ps: If you are going to Portland and want to take advantage of my OCD tendencies, email me and I can send you my Google map and agenda.
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