The Industry All-Stars: Bobi Adle

A good server has an attentive eye and a “customer is always right” attitude. A good server facilitates your meal, is there when you need him to be there, and otherwise leaves you alone so you can enjoy your dinner without much interruption. A great server goes further than this. A great server has an uncanny ability to read his tables and adapt to the vibe they’re giving out. A great server understands when a table wants to be left alone, or when a table wants him to engage and liven up their meal. An exceptional server goes further than this. An exceptional server has a killer sense of humor – pushing the bounds of what’s PC in the workplace, but never offensive. Because, again, an exceptional server can read his audience perfectly. Bobi Adle is an exceptional serverContinue Reading

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Croissants at Knead Patisserie: The Root of all Things Evil and Delicious

Whoa 2012, slow down! It’s already December and all year, I haven’t written about the one thing that makes my life complete. That single thing that gets me out of bed every morning (seriously). This year would not be complete without posting an article (or in this case, more like a love letter) to my all-time favorite bakery, whose name any regular KelsEats visitor should know by now. Yep, you guessed it! Knead Patisserie.

Before proclaiming my love for this bakery once again, I browsed through my previous articles, wanting to ensure that I didn’t repeat anything I’ve written in the past. Although I’ve publicly given most of Shauna des Voignes’ pastries piles of compliments, there is a noticeable, gaping hole: I left one MAJOR item out of all of my writing. Therefore, I’m dedicating this piece to the #1 pastry Shauna does better than any other patisserie in the world: the croissantContinue Reading

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The Industry All-Stars: Tara Payne

For three years, my writing has been almost exclusively focused on food – literally taking the things I eat off of the plate, and changing them into words on paper. By doing so, I often don’t bring enough attention to the hundreds of other facets of the food industry: the dining atmosphere, larger industry discussions a la Michael Pollan, emerging new trends, or the people who make it all possible.

As I was getting my daily morning coffee from Philz, it suddenly hit me: one of the most important reasons for why I keep going back to this place, or any place for that matter, is because of the happiness I feel whenever I interact with the people working at these establishments. It’s part of what makes San Francisco feel like home; it’s like Cheers – there’s nothing better than getting a warm welcome from people who know you’re name…and they’re always glad you came. So right here and now, I’m starting a new series of posts that puts the spotlight on some of my favorite people in the San Francisco, and what makes them so damn awesome.…Continue Reading

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Buns that Wow: Chairman Bao

Rating: ★★★★★

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus partly because of work, but also partly because of the fall television season starting again. Not to mention my determination to watch Lost, the entire series, for a second time. But the good news is I’m back now with something I’ve been meaning to write about for many, many months. What I’m trying to say is, it’s about damn time I talk about my unconditional love for Chairman Bao.

Alright, so it’s not quite unconditional – there is one condition: their Bao buns must always taste amazing. Luckily, they’ve got that on lock, so I’ve had no problem continuing my love affair with what is arguably the best food truck in San Francisco…Continue Reading

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Returning to a Long-Time Favorite: SPQR

Uova SPQR

Rating: ★★★★★

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 foodContinue Reading

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Mr. Pollo Version 2.0

Rating: ★★★★★

Dear Mr. Pollo,

I owe you an apology. No, it’s not for what you might be thinking – I’ve never written unsavory remarks about you or slandered you to my friends. In fact I only had positive things to say in my previous write-up of your business. But I did make one mistake in that first review – one big mistake. I underestimated you.

See, even after publically endorsing your Pork and Cheese Arepa as one of the best I’ve ever tasted, I still wrote you off in my mind as a simple specialty shop – my go-to place when I’m in the mood for no-fuss Venezuelan cuisine. But then, one fateful night earlier this year, I finally opened my mind up enough to look past your arepas and venture into tasting menu territory. Now, after making countless return visits for your nightly-changing menu, it’s obvious that my initial perception of you was wrong. Completely, embarrassingly wrong, and for that, I’m sorry…Continue Reading

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Screw Sexy. Serrano’s Pizza is Bringing Real Pizza Back

Rating: ★★★★★

San Francisco is obsessed with perfecting the Neapolitan pizza. Actually, a better way to say it is San Francisco is obsessed with adding their own unique twist to the most classic definition of Neapolitan pizza, instead creating variations that almost classify as the original but more closely resemble a close cousin. A16, Flour and Water, Ragazza, Delfina Pizzeria, Beretta, Una Pizza Napoletana, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Zero Zero…the list goes on. It’s so prolific that, other than a few, well-known deep-dish pizzerias I began thinking that this was practically the only non-chain type of pizza available in this city….Continue Reading

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Complimentary Beginners as a Means to an End

After seeing the final version of my latest Culinary Trends piece on “Complimentary Beginners,” I can officially say that this article is my all-time favorite. Not surprisingly, it was also one of my more difficult pieces. Finding restaurants that offer interesting complimentary bites, and run the gamut in terms of cuisine and price was no easy task. But the final result speaks for itself!

Below is the full, unedited version. Enjoy!…Continue Reading

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American Cheese Meets its Rival: Beemster Graskaas

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

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The Chicken Sandwich at 3-SUM EATS is a Beast

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 sandwichContinue Reading

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