It’s been awhile since I’ve written about one of my all-time favorite topics in food: cheese. While I may frequently tweet about my favorite cheese derivative, cheezits, or even add new entries to my cheese list on occasion, I rarely find a cheese so notable as to dedicate an entire post to its magnificence. Get ready, because today is one of those days. Continue Reading
Since returning from Europe, I’ve been…how should I say? Aggressively eating. Aggressively would probably be putting it lightly. Aggressively writing? Not so much. With all of the amazing meals I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy in the past two months, I could probably write epic articles about fancy shmancy dinners until the end of the year. But you know what? Sometimes you just have to put all of that elegance aside and write about a damn good sandwich...Continue Reading
A lot has happened in the last three weeks. After traveling to Rome, Naples, and Paris with the primary goal of eating everything in sight, you could say that I have a lot to write about. So much, in fact, that it’s rather overwhelming. So in order to simplify my life, instead of delving into an analysis of multi-cultural food movements, I’m just going to write about my favorite chocolates in the whole wide world, found at le chocolatier Jean-Charles Rochoux...Continue Reading
What was your single favorite thing that your parents cooked when you were growing up? Was it some kind of special pasta? Or maybe your mom cooked chicken a way that no one else has ever been able to replicate? Because my parents happen to be quite adept in the kitchen, I could probably list 20 different dishes that are deeply ingrained in my memory. However, if I had to name just one, there's a particular dish that has always stood out: I grew up eating the best eggs benedict most people have ever tasted...Continue Reading
Although panna cotta has been making appearances on dessert menus in San Francisco for years, it seemed like in early 2010 there was an absolute explosion across the entire city. Not only did it seem like panna cotta was listed on just about every menu that I came in contact with, but suddenly dozens of different, interesting variations were popping up. Now in early 2011, everyone seems to have their own unique version to proudly display on their menu. While many variations are interesting, there are only a few that stand out from the panna cotta chaos and deserve special recognition...Continue Reading
I know that I have a page on this website dedicated solely to cheese, but recently I experienced a cheese that was so incredible, possibly even life changing, that I had to dedicate an entire post to it. Before the holidays I was lucky enough to be invited to a class on Wisconsin cheese at the Cheese School of San Francisco, and the first selection that was served was one nobody had heard of: Rush Creek Reserve.
It's produced by the Uplands Cheese Company, the same makers who produce Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which has one best in show for 3 years at the ACS. The Rush Creek Reserve is brand new, the only other cheese being sold by this company, and in my opinion, 500 times better than the Pleasant Ridge...Continue Reading
10) Dungeness Crab Salad, One Market
At long last, we’ve come to the end of this captivating culinary journey. And what a better way to end this best-of list than with the last dish that wowed me in 2010: One Market’s Dungeness Crab Salad. What I love about One Market is how the menu reads fairly plain: Hand-picked Dungeness Crab, fuyu persimmon, pomegranate, hearts of palm. At first glance, there’s not much about this description that’s particularly exciting, but what’s placed in front of you is nothing short of a beautifully presented, technically advanced dish indicative of a one star Michelin-rated restaurant. It’s a classic shock and awe maneuver, and it works...Continue Reading
9) Whole-Roasted Poularde, Saison
2010 also marked the year that I was introduced to the high-end chicken dish. No more of those traditional marinated, grilled, or fried preparations that I’d been used to – no, no. Instead, “poularde” replaced the common “chicken” on upscale menus, and techniques like “slow-cooked” or “Hung for 3 days to intensify flavor” started popping up. In just one year this mild, overlooked, household meat transformed into a tender, moist, must-order entrée, and nobody did it better than Saison. In 8 extraordinary dishes, it was the Whole-Roasted Poularde with berbere spices, smoked date milk, and roasting juices, paired with a chard leaf rolled with foie gras mousse, that stood out...Continue Reading
8 ) Grass-Fed Burger, Nopa
For me, 2010 seemed to be the year of the burger. Prior to last year, I don’t think I had ordered a burger at a restaurant since I was young enough to use the kid’s menu (so about 16, 17 maybe). But, for whatever reason, I suddenly went on a burger binge, determined to find the best gourmet burger in San Francisco. After visits to Fish&Farm, Serpentine, Bar Tartine, Roam, Burgermeister, B3, Nopa, and Spruce, there was a clear winner: Nopa didn’t just have the best damn burger in the City, it was the best burger I’ve ever tried...Continue Reading
7) Buttermilk Panna Cotta w/ Cherry Blossom, Coi
Yes, Coi pops up on this list for the second time. Although I wanted to get a good mix of restaurants represented in my top 10, I just couldn’t avoid including this dish – it was just too damn incredible. The dish, which I was lucky enough to get on my first visit to this restaurant, will forever remain in my memory: buttermilk Panna Cotta accompanied by cherry blossoms and topped with budding shoots of wild fennel. First and foremost, the flavor was overwhelming - the buttermilk (a special culture acquired through their in-house butter-making process), infused with cured cherry blossoms, along with the hints of pickled and wild fennel was a perfect balance of delicate freshness and creamy richness. And, the aromatic qualities the cherry blossom twig, left on the plate purely to smell, transformed the flavor into something truly unique and created a dish that really represents Daniel Patterson as a chef. It was the culinary incarnation of early spring. To read more about the other dishes from that night, check out my full account of Coi.