Friday, December 25, 2009

Chapeau!; San Francisco

Date:  16 decembre 2009
Location:  126 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA
Tel:  415 950 9787

Excitable Chef Phillippe personally comes to shake all of his patrons' hands.  He is honest and will tell you what is good on the menu, and will also tell you what not to order as "I dont like the way the xyz is coming out today...." in his adorable and welcoming French accent.  Tres bonne!   

Very consistent and savory dishes.  Seasonal.  Delicious, cozy, and not pretentious.  Warm and inviting atmosphere.  Phillippe is the heart and soul behind the success of this establishment.  He truly lives and breathes what he loves to do...  provide food and wine to his guests whom he considers all to be family.

Chapeau is the cozy, comfortable, neighborhood restaurant I always go to when I am looking for a relaxing place to wind down at for freshly made french desserts and aperatif at the end of an evening. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brazenhead: San Francisco

Date:  mercredi 9 decembre 2009
Location:  3166 Buchanan Street (@ Greenwich)
San Francisco, CA
Tel:  415 921 7600

Cozy and quaint.  Perfect place to pop in while walking by at 530pm on a freezing cold weeknight.  Dining alone, and dining room still intimate and quiet before the evening rush comes in.  Meditative.  Known for yummy broiled escargot, roasted garlic bulb & Camembert cheese, and certified angus beef.  Really good complimentary garlic bread (more, more!).  Personally, I love their bread pudding a la mode (share with 2-4 other people!).  Brazenhead serves until 1am - one of the few such type places in the city.  

Not a lot of people know about this place.  Thank God.  Hidden gem...  =)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Delfina Pizzera, Fillmore: San Francisco

Date:  dimanche 6 decembre 2009
Location:  2406 California Street
San Francisco, CA

Clean, quintessential San Francisco-style pizza and salads.   This means seasonal ingredients.  Stopped in for a quick last minute Sunday lunch.  It has been remarkably cold this winter in San Francisco... wool sweaters everyday and turtlenecks or wool scarves are needed.  Heading to a little bustling Delfina was a nice idea to temporarily help me forget that the weather outside was gloomy and cold!

Their online menu changes daily (just slight variations based on what fresh ingredients are available from nearby farmers markets).  So if you are looking for a particular dish (ie, me and my pizza with the runny egg on top), be sure to review their daily online menu first.  Else you will miss out on it ... twice I missed out already.  I am used to it.  I just as well assume that I will never have a chance to eat that pizza again!

Today I tasted the following:
Vitello Tonino Salad - Chilled Vozzi Farms Veal Breast, dandelion greens (I thought dandelion greens were out of season, so maybe these were not organic), anchovy dressing.  I thought the dressing was too thick and heavy which further added to the weightiness of the veal.  I liked the anchovy flavor, yet might suggest it a bit less salty.  This veal salad dish made me want a glass of red vino QUICK to offset the tangy, heavy, veal/anchovy dressing. 

4 Formaggi Pizza - Tomato, mozzarella, fontal, provolone and pecorina pizza.

Vino to taste - Sangiovese "Terre degli Osci" Borgi di Colleredo.  basic table wine... didnt do much for my palate.  astringent alcoholy nose, bit sour cherry/plummy on the palate, and flat finish.

Crocker Galleria Thursday Farmers' Market: San Francisco

Date:  jeudi 3 decembre 2009
Location:  Crocker Galleria
50 Post Street at Montgomery
San Francisco, CA 94104

It is nice to take short walking break during work lunch and stroll through the every-Thursday Farmer's Market at the Crocker Galleria.  There are so many samples that one could make it an art out of the taste-sampling process.  The smoked salmon is quite nice - the guys behind the stand are the actual fisherman themselves who catch the fish in Alaska, smoke the fish (I like the one smoked with cognac, told them to use more in future batches), and sell it at Farmer's markets, etc.   

If you go toward the end of the day, produce is usually marked down. 

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Boulettes Larder Lunch, Ferry Building: San Francisco

Date:  vendredi 4 decembre 2009
Location:  1 Ferry Building Marketplace
San Francisco, CA 94111
phone (415) 399-1155

Reservations absolutely necessary - request the communal table in the open kitchen dining room if possible.  Else you will be stuck eating in the Ferry Building hallway on the side next to the restrooms and ATM.  Be prepared to enjoy a relaxing minimum 2 hour lunch affair.  An afternoon at Boulettes Larder is not to be rushed through.

Boulettes Larder is a warm, inviting, cozy, and relaxed experience.  You will share a communal table for a total of 11 guests.  Most of the guests sitting with you will hopefully be fellow foodies so that you may share colorful banter;  experienced discourse regarding foods and restaurants in the San Francisco region and comparing it to other places around the world.  It is not the type of place one would choose to dine at unless you passionately appreciated superbly fresh, seasonal, local, organic cooking - you might not be able to appreciate what you were masticating in your mouth...  

Boulettes serves French country rustic breakfast, brunch, and lunch.  You will sit and dine right up next to the Montague stoves in the open kitchen.  You will watch the professional chefs work with ease and grace as they prepare your dish with seriousness.  Each ingredient is cooked in the perfect temperature for the exact right amount of time.  Nothing is too well done nor undercooked.  Each ingredient's true character is allowed to shine through in the dish, playing its role as a dominant flavor or secondary one.  They do a very good job here...  and keep in mind this is rustic French country cooking, so do not expect fine dining super meticulous, fussy presentations.  Nothing too contrived here in Boulette's kitchen...  I grew to like it.  

All of their ingredients are very special...  down to the tiniest nuances of mysterious spices hidden in the secret subliminal after thoughts of that last bite of dessert.  Every vegetable, meat, fruit, is carefully chosen and transported from a local organic farm.  This ensures the quality in freshness and its no wonder the dishes are so tasty.  Fresh local organic truly makes all the difference.  When I stayed in Beirut for one month, the local food was so amazing and tasty.  My memories of Fatoush and Falafel can never be replaced anywhere in the world, simply because I cannot procure local Beirut ingredients (ecwn tomato, rocket, etc.) here in San Francisco.  Likewise, San Francisco cuisine cannot be replicated anywhere in the world due to the source of ingredients.  The terroire and grape vines in France cannot be replicated in Napa... 

I fully enjoyed my entire dining experience on this particular Friday for lunch.  I was worried that we would lose our seating at the communal table since we arrived about 10 minutes late (SF restos are not so kind when it comes to saving your table for tardiness).  We got lucky.  Comfortably seated, I had a full view of the master chef French style open kitchen with copper pots and pans hanging from the top.  The sun was shining in from the Embarcardero water and Bay Bridge behind me.  The cool fresh air gently waved in from the large sliding open doors behind me.  Calm, peaceful, quiet.  Just food, and enjoyable company.

We dined with 3 extreme foodies from out of town (Los Angeles and San Jose).  They had reservations at the Ritz Dining Room later that evening and asked us for our recommendations for dinner and brunch.  We both agreed Spruce was a must eat.  Casual lunch we recommended Toast, La Boulange... These folks were on a mission to eat their way through their stay in the city, just my kind of visitors.  Happy lunch experience indeed on a beautiful (and freezing cold) Friday in San Francisco.   

Drink:  2005 Danjean-Berthoux Givry, Burgundy, France.

-Acme bakery bread with sweet butter.
-Stuffed cabbage rolls, creme fraiche and celery root puree.
-Yogurt and chili marinated chicken leg, black chickpeas, roasted feta, escarole salad, za'tar and pomegranate seeds.
-Blue bottle coffee.
-Pistachio tartlet, mandarin ice cream, citrus sauce, cardamom spices.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation at the Fairmont Hotel (Chef Hosea Designs Menu for 500 Guests): San Francisco

Date:  samedi 21 novembre 2009
Location:  Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

I was honored to be a guest at this important dinner.  Hosea played Executive Chef to a 500 guest dinner due to his connection with the BJALC Foundation.  It was a poignant event celebrating the foundation, an amazing foundation doing unimaginable things bringing together world class physicians and researchers.  Together, they are pushing the envelope in international lung cancer research and funding.  There were many survivors in the room.  Some, not so lucky.  God bless... may all of the fights be winning ones and happiness and health reigning... a beautiful evening.

Fall Dinner for Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg 2009: San Francisco

Date:  vendredi 20 novembre 2009
Celeb'g for the Celeb Top Chef!
No fear.

Tataki Sustainable Sushi: San Francisco

Date:  samedi 28 novembre 2009
Location: 2815 California Street @ Divisadero)
San Francisco, CA 94115

Applause for sustainable sushi and some of the most delicate, tasty, tender morsels of tataki sushi I have had in quite some time (not in San Francisco, anyway - probably in Taipei was the last time I experienced such fine, flavorful, delicate fish).

Highly recommend the Arctic Char Carpaccio and  Albacore Tataki.  Humm... might also suggest one plate to be shared with 2 persons maximum (or just order double).  We shared amongst 4 people and I was still hungry...

Loved the fresh, tender, delicate fish.  Loved the flavors of the extremely fresh fish dressed in light yet savory fine sauces, none too overpowering, and rather complemented the natural flavors of the fish.  Even the searing technique used served to complement the flavor of the fish combined with the sauces.

I have found my new favorite sushi restaurant in San Francisco.  Oh beware - no reservations taken.  So arrive early and write your name down on the board outside (in the cold.... so again, arrive early).  2nights later and I am still dreaming of the sashimi at Tataki... this means it was GOOD by Soledad's book.