Friday, August 20, 2010
"Sell the sizzle, not the steak"
The Sizzler shifted their focus from sizzle and steak to their (once revolutionary) buffet and salad bar back in the day when it began to pack in the crowds. I became re-antiquated with this retrorant over a burger ($7.99):
... and a pass at the pruned down salad bar.
My beefwich hovered above happy meal quality and the sneezed guarded veg selection held few surprises. There were the expected boiled eggs, tinned olives, faux seafood salad and even a tip of the iceberg to lettuces that didn't come in wedge form.
Local nerd workers and old timers lunched in the sparsely populated room which has been updated (to include a little more natural light) in the century since my last visit to this on the chain eatery.
||Thursday, August 19, 2010
I sat my kabootle down after placing my order at Spice Kit:
... where pork buns ($2.95 each, or 2 for $5.00):
... let their belly hang out with slices of pickled cucumber and green onion lending vegetal variance to this hoisin-hoisted, hand held hog. I was happy with my clamshell bun of traif treats while being a lotus eater. Thin, crunchy chips ($1.50):
... made with lotus root were delectable doilies laced with salt.
My Ssam ($6.90):
... had a higher rice ratio than I was in the mood for, but this nicely seasoned, 5 spice chicken wrap with bean sprouts, kimchi, mushrooms, squash and cukes was wound up with lettuce and rice paper to produce a koreatto that was more the ssam of its parts.
I'll have to check out the beef short rib banh mi on my next visit to this terrific, counter service, Asian street food kit-chen.
405 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA
||Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"Climate best by government test" is the sexy motto that captures the imaginations of ideal temperature seekers entering Redwood City.
This proclaimation precipitated my al fresco meal at Donato Enoteca:
... where a buffalo mozzarella, cuke and heirloom tomato salad ($9.00):
... aclimatized me to the thoughfully prepared chow of this Italian eatery. My olive oil showered starter was followed by a whole branzino ($24.00):
... which was gorgeously grilled with a moist, well seasoned center. The slightly woody stalks of asparagus were a bit distracting, but the zukes, fennel, and tomatoes worked well with this fish dish.
The local lingo may lure lunchers with promises of unrivaled weather, but this reigning restaurant is worth a visit even during a cold front.
1041 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA
Mark your Calendar
Taylor Boetticher will cut you...if you are a 150 pound Duroc/Landrace pig.
A butchery demo and porky prandial pleasure are returning to Bloodhound as Taylor places pig parts on the hardwood grill during the Meatlocker event at Bloodhound.
This famed Fatted Calf charcutarian is bringing batches of his pates, bacon cornbread, pintxos, and blanketed pigs to fill in the gaps between bites of grilled goods and mini pork banh mi sandwiches.
You can choose your preferred poison or go with the special bourbon cocktail made from Heaven HIll Distillery with your 1 complimentary drink that is included with admission.
There's no need to rush the doors at 6:00pm as Boetticher never skimps on the chow and there will be swell swine during the whole event.
Tuesday, August 24th
tickets $45 each
1145 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA
||Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We passed on the 'rami at the Max's table during Sunday's grand tasting:
... but the suggestion stuck so I sat down to some for lunch today.
The "Eat Me" sign stabbing my pastrami, corned beef and chicken liver sandwich ($11.99):
... lead to the discovery that my sandwich was broken (since both sides made me bigger.)
This cow and clucker combo wasn't beefy enough to hold up to the baseball of chicken livers (which were in need of a more even distribution in its rye catcher.) The organs were chopped too fine for my taste and had a pasty quality, making me feel like I was cementing in my stomach. Fortunately the matzo ball soup ($7.99):
... offered relief with a flavorful broth with carrots, celery and onion. The noodle and chicken tethered ball of cracker crumbs looked leaden, but luckily, this unleavened lump went down without giving me the appearance of a snake that swallowed an egg.
I emerged from Max's suspicious of food impaled with printed instructions.
||Monday, August 16, 2010
I've had better luck on the right coast (than the left) with bagels, so I really shouldn't have been lured by this loopy leavened lump, but a sign promising "pretzel bagels" spun me inside of the bready ark chain:
... for what turned out to be a darker, saltier take on their customary carbs (but without the pretzely flavor that I had hoped for.)
Their lox schmear must be an efficiency expert's answer to food. This predigested, pulverized combo of cream cheese and salmon was more like an unmelting Humphrey Slocombe ice cream flavor than an answer to fishy fulfillment.
Their pretzel poster may have pulled me in, but I had to jump ship.
Mark your Calendar
The beer selection at The Public House hasn't hit 99 bottles, but it's a stone's throw from that song-worthy mark so it is only fitting that they are throwing a Stone Brewing Company beer dinner as their inaugural Third Tuesday Beer dinner series.
Stone's suds will be swigged with a fresh pasta Carbonara with house made pancetta and a grilled 8 oz. pork chop with spaetzle (there are also vegetarian options). This heady supper will be finished up with Humphry Slocombe ice cream (not cream cheese and salmon flavored) and stout for dessert for a mere $40 per person (plus tax and tip). Check out all the deets here.
The Public House
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA
||Sunday, August 15, 2010
Today's SF Chefs Grand Tasting event included our favorite newlyweds.
Brett and Elan Emerson's:
... wood oven roasted corn,bacon, Manchego and chanterelles on house made crackers:
... were crisp-based, savory 'spressions of their craveable,Contigo cuisine.
We also loved Dominique Crenn's:
... clarified tomato water with pickled peach and basil oil:
... which were a splash of fresh, bright, flavors.
... did double duty by supporting the gulf fishing industry as well as deliciousness with his gulf shrimp, Padron pepper and Romesco sauce made with Jimmy Nardello peppers.
Golden Gate Restaurant Association Executive Director Kevin Westlye, and P.R. gurus Andrew Freeman and Dominic Phillips are the forces behind this celebration of Northern California flavors:
This trio of trend spotters don't restrict their radar to established eateries; they make a point of including restaurants that are preparing to open. Last year's inaugural event gave us previews from the kitchens of Frances, Benu and Il Cane Rosso and this year, we can look forward to Kim Alter's Plate Shop.
Laying the foundation for this fete involves the tricky task of coordinating chefs within their limited time windows of communication. Dominic:
... found that this usually meant a lot of morning missives to insure smooth sailing once they hit the venues.
... observed that this is the one time of the year that all of these chefs come together to taste each other's food to which Dominic added that the Bay Area is the epicenter of culinary innovation in the United States.
Kevin discussed the importance of feedback from the chefs and sponsors in order to keep improving each year but after Andrew saw the Saturday night drag show he wondered how they could possibly top such an over the top event.
After our chat, we headed to the InterContinental Hotel to the next SF Chefs event - Dessert First.
This Project Open Hand benefit has been sweetening the scene for a decade with the help of premium pastry professionals like Elizabeth Falkner, Jessica Sullivan and Terri Wu.
We started with a shot of Luis Villavelazquez's sensational smoked blackberry soda:
... which was syrup-titiously sauced with chocolate and coffee with a cloud of cinnamon whipped cream.
Baker & Banker made fabulous fig newtons with a swirl of blackberry caramel and a scoop of malted milk ice cream.
This bankable baking makes me want to make a withdrawal from their new venue.
Michelle Polzine's peach granita with peach leaf ice cream and golden raspberries:
... coordinated with our palates as well as her dress. This textural tour of fruity fun was a pleasing pastel punctuation accompanied by Livewire dance band.
Cocktails and cupcake couture capped off this cavity-creating carousing which had us spinning home before the after party.
SF Chefs 2010
Project Open Hand
||Saturday, August 14, 2010
This evening's SF Chefs "Fork it Over" benefit for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Fund and the SF Food Bank took us from A-Z with chefs from Aziza to Zare at Fly Trap.
Guests flocked in for a little lamb at this baaaad ass function presented by the California Lamb Producers and The American Lamb Board.
... sheered off thin slices of this bleat meat for carpaccio with garbanzos, olives, parsley and yogurt:
... while Matthew Accarrino:
... used it as a stuffing for his gnoteworthy gnocchi with apricot, pecorino and fried sage.
The Bon Vivants' "Radio Flyer" got our wagon wheels aligned with a cranberry-kissed, Wild Turkey Rye, Cocchi Americano and bitters.
... rolled in with some spectacular kufteh tabriszi with avocado salsa, black olives, feta cheese with a carrot and verjus sauce:
These perfectly spiced, crisp crusted vegetarian "meatballs" were fly.
...made a cameo on the business end of the bar serving up a ginger infused Skyy solution with lemon and bitters which we used to toast the ladies of Harry Denton's Starlight Room:
... as they sauntered stylishly through the soiree.
Black garlic puree was the platform for Mourad Lahlou's yellowtail with seabeans, olives and compressed cukes:
... while Tomales Bay mussels flexed with corn and green tomato salsa:
... as Phil West opened the 'valve on his sparkling, seasonal salad.
... scooped up mini beer and pretzel ice cream cones which covered all of the essential food groups in one covetable, conical, comestible.
This Union Square epicurean environment will go out like a lamb after tomorrow's Grand Tasting, so march over Sunday or you will find yourself lion around til next year.
SF Chefs 2010
||Friday, August 13, 2010
The SF Chefs 2010 opening night commenced with the cutting edges of scissors:
(roll over the image for fun and action!)
... and sabres as Andrew Freeman:
... kicked off the "Hog in the Fog" event in Union Square.
Anyone hitting the bars in the city suffered from the vacuum of talent that was sucked into this evening's party tent.
... hit us with a "Marquee Moon" of Makers Mark, mint, sugar, cherry black tea and bitters, while the Bon Vivants (aka Josh Harris and Scott Baird):
... had us tying one on with their 99 Red Balloons which got lift from Duggan McDonnell's enchanting Encanto.
... poured us some of this straight Pisco which was wage-replacement worthy:
Jon Gasparini added sparkle to his "Rye Bar Back":
An aversion to those skinny black straws led to a cigarettey sipper in its stead.
4505's "Fantastic Pig Salad" was just that:
Slow roasted heritage pig circulated with cilantro, garbanzos, vinegar, lime and ginger in this porchetta perfection garnished with a stellar 4505 chicharron. We are amped about Ryan's:
... upcoming CSA program that starts on September 4th.
... went whole hog with his pigstrami, liverwurst and assorted charcuterie along with a hunk of pork belly with tomato, avocado and sardine:
... gave us hoof and mouth:
... (along with pork rilliettes and a chicharron stuffed with pork liver mousse) on his fabulous fifth quarter plate.
The Namu crew:
... duroc'ed the house with little gem cups of pork with a seasoned seaweed skin. Dennis Lee's creation had a refreshing crunch to contrast with the rich swine.
The promise of both hog and fog was fulfilled at this celebration of divine digestibles which continues through the weekend. Check here for the full schedule.
SF Chefs 2010
||Thursday, August 12, 2010
Bangus Belley ($9.98):
... were strips of milkfish belly done up like fish and chips (minus the chips) a few bones made their way into these Filipino fish fingers, but it wasn't enough to put me off my feed. The combo of mango, tomato and salted egg that came with this Bangus wasn't my daing thing.
Coconut milk enriched squash, shrimp, chicken and long beans converged in a meat and veg melange that wasn't the sidedish that I had envisioned. This Ginataang Sitaw At Kalabasa ($8.98):
... had substantial structure rebarred by crisp green poles was a hefty helping with a squashed foundation.
The service was efficient at this funky and friendy Philling station.
422 San Mateo Ave.
San Bruno, CA
||Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sommelier Jai Wilson took us on a terrior tour of Rieslings during this evening's tasting at Jardiniere Restaurant.
We sipped through a spectrum of bone dry to honeyed helpings of this grown up "apple juice" taking us from a 2001 Kientzler to a lower acidity 2004 Mittnack Klack then turning towards Australia for a citrusy spritz of 2008 Franklin Estate before an Oregonian 2005 Brooks Ara.
Jai brought along his associate, Gnorman:
... who accompanies him on his vineyard tours and tastings (probably due to his understanding of the gnome-nclature of this business.)
The 2007 Toni Jost jostled well with the duck liver mousse before we gilded our guts with the 2007 Willi Schaefer.
Jai paired these wines with platters of charcuterie:
... to demonstrate the friendship of fatty foods with the acidity of these fine fluids.
This demonstration of diversity acted as a perfect preview for Jardiniere's upcoming Riesling dinner on September 13th. This 3 course, wine paired presentation Klacks in a a mere $45 per person (including wine.)
300 Grove St.
San Francisco, CA