There are few places I can call home. After over seven years of living on my own, even my childhood home doesn’t quite feel like home anymore. This may sound crazy or exaggerated, but somehow, every time I walk into SPQR, it feels like I’m home. And I don’t just have a special place in my heart for the restaurant itself; for me, the feeling that the city of San Francisco is my home is intimately connected to my ties to particular restaurants, SPQR being one of the most important. After two years of interacting with the staff, being awed by Chef Matthew Accarrino, and just basically being a “regular” (well, at least for me), I can say that SPQR isn’t just an excellent restaurant, nor is it just one of my favorite restaurants in the City. It’s home.
But enough of my sappy, emotional sermon. Why don’t I just explain the reasons why this restaurant is so special? Sure, I could describe the dimly-lit, neighborhood atmosphere, or the professional-yet-incredibly-friendly service. I could certainly discuss the expertly chosen wine list, created by co-owner Shelley Lindgren, whose wine program at sister restaurant, A16, has been nominated more than once by the Beard Foundation. Of course all of these factors add to the overall experience. But, at the end of the day, what keeps me coming back for more is the food...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, italian food, lower pac heights, matthew accarrino, pasta
After more than a year of seasonal, hyper local, vegetable-driven cuisine, it was about damn time I ventured out of the norm and found myself a giant, no-frills, juicy steak. While associated places like Bobo’s or, more recently, Alexander’s Steakhouse with the idea of a steakhouse, my hunger for meat led me to an unlikely location: Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons.
Honestly, because Seasons isn’t situated on the ground floor I didn’t even realize there was a notable restaurant in this hotel. But what the fourth (or possibly fifth) floor has that the street lacks is a beautiful view of the city. Sure, it’s not the entire skyline hitting the bay, but it’s still impressive. And, having recently changed the menu’s concept from what I like to refer to as “seasonal power lunch” cuisine to one found in a more traditional steakhouse, I was excited to see if the transition was successful...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, fine dining, sf examiner review, steak, union square
My love affair with Coi began roughly one year ago, when I stepped into the serene dining room and proceeded to have one of the best meals of my life. That 12 course tasting menu featured some of the most inspired cooking I had ever had the pleasure to devour. So inspiring, in fact, that I was compelled by an unstoppable force to ignore all fiscal responsibilities and go back for that tasting menu two more times within the span of three months. I quickly realized that maintaining such a regular schedule at one of the most notable, and expensive, restaurants in the Bay Area was sheer madness, and a cloud of sadness crept over me. Until I discovered one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets: the Lounge at Coi...Continue Reading
Tags: 100 best of the bay, california cuisine, Daniel Patterson, financial district, fine dining, Michelin-rated restaurant
Cotogna. San Francisco’s new hot spot. Situated on a beautiful block in the financial district, right next door to a little place called Quince. Rustic Italian cuisine brought to you by one of this city’s most celebrated chefs, Michael Tusk.
Clearly, Cotogna has a lot going for it - and many people have noticed. This establishment has attracted a huge amount of attention from both important figures in the San Francisco restaurant industry, as well as local dining enthusiasts. In fact, on my first visit there was such a cloud of hype surrounding this restaurant that it was hard to even see the front door. Having dined at Quince several times, I had always left with the feeling that, while delicious, it never quite lived up to its widespread publicity. So, in all honesty I walked into Cotogna with a bit of an attitude, entering with my chin held high as if to say, “Okay hot shot. Impress me.”...Continue Reading
Tags: financial district, italian food, Michael Tusk, pasta
If you hadn’t heard, it’s the holiday season - a season synonymous with the word “indulgence.” Oh, and the word “drinking,” of course. For frequent diners and homebodies alike, ‘tis the season to throw down hundreds of dollars for that one special meal that just wouldn’t seem sane at any other time of the year. And, having recently indulged in things like foie gras, pink champagne, and extravagant chef’s tasting menus, there’s no denying that fine dining holds a very special place in my heart. But you know what also holds a special place in my heart? A damn good sandwich...Continue Reading
Tags: cheap food, sandwiches
Roasted White Chocolate Parfait with Huckleberry and Tarragon
The Time and Place:
November 7th, 2010, Dinner at Plum
When was the last time you dined at a restaurant where ordering dessert was an absolute must? In a city obsessed with every aspect of the dining experience, it seems that dessert is one aspect often overlooked. And understandably so! After a couple of appetizers, a sizeable entrée, and a few glasses of wine it’s nearly impossible to walk, never mind find the room for another dish. And while most restaurants boast signature savory dishes, few have reputations for serving desserts so good that skipping them could be considered a crime, reinforcing dessert’s status as an afterthought. Enter: Plum...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, Daniel Patterson, dessert, dish of the month, sf examiner review
Slow Roasted Carrot Salad, Lentils, Medjool Date, Lardo & Foraged Leaves & Flowers
The Time and Place:
October 22nd, 2010, Dinner at SPQR
I have two, dominant childhood memories of carrots. The first is of seeing my dad snack on, what I thought to be, tasteless baby carrots almost every day, and never understanding how someone could stomach them without first applying an ample coating of blue cheese dressing. The second is of eating all of the cold, dry, sliced carrots out of my salad before touching anything else so that they couldn’t ruin the rest of it – a sort of “save the best for last” strategy. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why my associated feelings towards carrots have not all been strictly positive...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, dish of the month, italian food, lower pac heights, matthew accarrino, sf examiner review
If someone would’ve told me five months ago that, by October, I’d be craving a chilled suimono salad once a week, I would’ve looked that person right in the eye and said, “What the hell a chilled suimono salad?” After hearing that it’s made with sea bean, cucumber, squash blossom, wakame seaweed, tofu, and served in a dashi broth ($14), I would’ve politely explained that I’m not the biggest fan of cucumber, seaweed, tofu, or dashi broth and proceeded to laugh at such a ridiculous prediction. Ah, silly, silly girl.
This unique salad, the ultimate expression of freshness, is one of many reasons why in a very short span of time Nombe has become one of my favorite restaurants. It was in the spring when Nombe first impressed me with its California-inspired take on traditional Japanese izakaya fare, offering both a fixed selection of dishes, as well as many that evolve with the season. Now five months later, even with the summer’s proliferation of much-hyped restaurants, Nombe has continued to stand out from the crowd...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, japanese cuisine, sf examiner review, the mission
The Dish: Chilled Eggplant Soup with fresh pole and shelling beans, preserved lemon, cilantro, and tomato water gelée.
The Time and Place: August 27th, 2010, Dinner in the Lounge at Coi
The Description: To say that I first tried this dish on the 27th at Coi is a bit of a lie. In fact, the first time I had it was August 9th at the Plum preview dinner at Il Cane Rosso - Chef Patterson had to step into the kitchen at the last minute and therefore brought a couple of his signature dishes along with him. Actually, the 27th wasn’t even the second time I ordered the dish; the second time I had it was as the third course of Coi’s tasting menu on August 24th - a course which proved to be my favorite of the night. What’s listed above is actually the third time in three weeks that I, again, succumbed to the soup’s advances. But there’s a reason for listing that date as the one that was truly revelatory. The night of the 24th was the first time that I was driven back to Coi by an overwhelming craving for the purity and freshness of the flavors contained in this dish; it was officially the night that a dish, a healthy, vegetable-centric dish at that, stripped me of all of my self-control and had me crawling back to Coi’s front door...Continue Reading
Tags: california cuisine, Coi, Daniel Patterson, sf examiner review
Who would've guessed that Williams Sonoma in Union Square would evolve into a destination for food enthusiasts, like myself, to get up close and personal with all-star industry professionals? And half of the demonstrations and classes offered are free!
The following is an excerpt from my latest examiner article that goes into detail about the changes happening at Williams Sonoma, and how you can take advantage of them! To read the full article, please CLICK HERE...Continue Reading
Tags: sf examiner review, union square