SF 10

I just spent a week in San Francisco on book tour and had a total blast. When I got back, I said to Laurie, “How come nobody ever told me San Francisco was so cool?” She looked at me as if I’d said, “How come nobody every told me bacon is delicious?”

So I’m going to steal a page from MattBites and do a no-particular-order San Francisco top ten.

  1. Yellowtail at the Slanted Door. I had lunch at this local institution, and the grilled pork noodle bowl was excellent, but the fish was stunning: four slices of Japanese yellowtail topped with crispy shallots and thai basil, and I tasted a little chile and sesame oil, too. I used my chopsticks to fold them up like little tacos. One of the best raw fish preparations I’ve had anywhere, and I live in Seattle, so I’ve had a lot.

  2. Sardine toasts at Contigo. Chef-owner Brett Emerson’s blog is called In Praise of Sardines, so these sardine tartines were predictably fabulous: fresh fish, crunchy toast, creamy avocado. The hot chocolate with churros was also exemplary. Also the pork belly sandwich. This place is also crazy inexpensive, given the quality.

  3. Roast beef sushi and burdock-lotus root salad at Delica RF-1. This is the kind of deli counter you’d bypass if it were at your local supermarket, but this is a Japanese deli counter. Their signature item is roast beef nigiri sushi: a slice of rare roast beef with wasabi and grated daikon on a finger of rice. I ate two. But the best thing I had at Delica was the spicy burdock and lotus root salad, which was a superbly crunchy lunch.

  4. Stop signs. Many main streets in San Francisco have mostly stop signs rather than stoplights. It works very well. I am an urban design geek.

  5. The epicenter of hipsterdom. Have you ever wondered where hipsters come from? The factory seems to be located somewhere around here, which is not coincidentally the location of…

  6. Secret Breakfast at Humphry Slocombe. Slocombe is a very grownup ice cream parlor. The other flavor I tried was yuzu poppyseed. There are some slightly more normal flavors, but not many. Anyway, secret breakfast is bourbon and cornflakes. It tastes exactly like bourbon and cornflakes. Great stuff.

  7. Pasta shells and beans with nduja. Sorry, this great pasta dish isn’t available at a restaurant, because Anita of Married with Dinner made it, from this recipe. But the nduja, which is a spicy spreadable salami, is very much available, from Boccalone at the ferry building (or by mail order). I brought Laurie a chub of nduja as a present, and made bruschetta with nduja and radish-arugula salad. You have to try this stuff. It’s great spread on bread, but when you put it in a hot pan, it melts and coats everything with spicy goodness. The pasta Anita made was as good as anything I had in a restaurant on my trip.

  8. Korean fried chicken at Coco Bang and Italian fried chicken at SPQR. My first night in SF, I was staying downtown and found Korean fried chicken half a block from my hotel. Then, at SPQR, I had hot and juicy fried chicken (not really Italian in any way, but it’s an Italian restaurant), along with plenty of other great stuff, including cumin-scented pork heart and a perfect spaghetti all’amatriciana.

  9. Samusa soup at Burma SuperStar. It sounds like a joke: a bowl of rich, spicy soup with falafel and samosa chunks in it. Sog city, right? I suppose you think it’s also silly to put crispy tortilla strips in soup.

  10. Origami at Paper Tree. Iris and I love origami, and this is origami heaven. In addition to selling enough different origami products to satisfy the entire population of Japan, there’s a museum section with feats of origami ninjutsu contributed by masters. This didn’t do much for my ego, but wow. I brought home a set of waterproof origami pirate ships and junks and pleasure craft.

20 thoughts on “SF 10

  1. Genie

    Anita, yes, please do blog it…and I’m going to have to make it. I haven’t picked up any of the nduja yet, but am starting to feel behind the times and left out. Mamster, this is a great list, ’cause there’s plenty of stuff on it that I have yet to do, even as a resident! I can, however, second your emotion on the Secret Breakfast ice cream. Ohhhhh yeah. :-)

  2. Tea

    Yay San Francisco, yay samusa soup! So glad you had fun. Isn’t Contigo fab? And this nduja thing is making me want to head down just for a taste.

    PS. Mission hipsters are the reason I left SF. One of them at least.

  3. denise (chez danisse)

    Next time you swing through SF try Piccino and Boulettes Larder–two of my favorite places.

    I loved the nduja on nice slices of crusty bread, but have not yet tried it w/ pasta–will do!

  4. Susann

    I wasn’t at all hungry before I read this post. Now I’m lying on the floor, moaning about my empty belly. Sardine toasts and Slocombe, please.

  5. ts

    Re: 9: Have you had Indian medu vadas with sambar and chutney? A lentil donut you dunk into soup. You have to go to Bellevue though – at least I haven’t found any in Seattle.

  6. Beth

    I wish I’d had your list prior to our last trip to SF!!

    I sampled your book this morning on my Kindle, and I have to tell you – I LOVED IT! I’m running out to get the actual book tonight. I buy almost all my books on the kindle these days, but I can tell this is a book that I will refer to a lot :) I’m hoping to get my 2 year old off the hot dog and mac n cheese wagon and on to the pad thai wagon! I’m absolutely thrilled to see you are blogging – I’ll add you to my regularly read blogs.

  7. ex.libris.lady

    Oh man, this post made me miss SF so much. I’m glad you made it to Burma Superstar – I’m addicted to their rainbow salad.

  8. Amy

    While you were at Burma SuperStar, did you have the Tea Leaf Salad? If not, hurry back to SF and go there again.

    –A Bay Area foodie and mama, who discovered your blog due to a friend who said “You have to check out Hungry Monkey!”

  9. mamster Post author

    Yes, Amy, I did and it was great. I missed the rainbow salad, though. Next time.

  10. Chantelle

    Ha! I live about 5 blocks from Humphrey Slocombe and it is indeed hipster central around here. Bought your book yesterday – my little guy is only 4 weeks old and on a strict latte diet so far, but we have high hopes for his future palate. Congrats on the book success – I’m one of Laurie’s maud list friends and we are all big fans.

  11. denise (chez danisse)

    i took your advice and finally tasted the roast beef sushi and burdock-lotus root salad. the roast beef sushi was very nice and the burdock-lotus salad was excellent! i also tried the wasabi garlic potato salad–superb! i was joined by my little bro and his friend (she works for chris bianco)–a good time was had by all! the arizonans got a big kick out of the way the ferry plaza disposes of waste so efficiently–compost, recycle, AND trash containers. thanks for the great post. i should have tried those goodies located right here in my own city long ago.

  12. Auntie Nan

    Humphry Slocombe lists bacon peanut brittle on the menu. Is that in keeping with the Nueske’s theme?

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