Hey Phil. Good Coffee.

Philz has completely ruined me. I used to be happy with a regular grande coffee from Starbucks. I used to pay $2, $2.50 max for a cup of coffee. I used to be ignorant and happy. But now that I know how incredibly delicious coffee can be, now that I know its true potential, there’s no going back to the naive bliss I once had.

Now if I don’t start every single morning with Philz coffee I’m a bitter, angry person. It sounds arrogant, but it’s honestly become difficult to drink anything else. It’s just too. damn. good….Continue Reading

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Benu Part 2: The Chefs Tasting Menu is Kind of a Big Deal

Rating: ★★★★★

I really wasn’t expecting much the first time I walked into Benu for dinner. I mean, really what would there be to expect? Sure Corey Lee spent eight years at the French Laundry, four of which were spent as chef de cuisine, and yeah maybe he won a James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year. But I guess I’m just not really impressed by, you know, things like experience and public recognition. And c’mon, only fifteen courses on the tasting menu? I’m sorry but if there aren’t at least 19 courses, I’m generally not satisfied…Continue Reading

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Benu Part 1: Creating its Own Identity in San Francisco Fine Dining


When asking fellow foodies how they would describe the dining experience at Benu, a friend of mine, well-versed in the art of fine dining, described it simply as, “The Asian Laundry.” However, after dining there on several occasions, I found this label to be a bit unfair as I wasn’t drawing parallels, but rather, I was noticing the glaring differences: the atmosphere and table settings at Benu are stark and more austere than the welcoming, cottage feel of the Laundry; the tasting menu is made of 15 courses which express Chef Lee’s Korean heritage, rather than 9 courses that communicate the restaurant’s sense of place; a feeling of grandeur is created by openly displaying Benu’s impressive, imposing kitchen, versus the quaint mystery hidden behind the closed doors at the LaundryContinue Reading

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Dish of the Month – November

The Dish:
Roasted White Chocolate Parfait with Huckleberry and Tarragon

The Time and Place:
November 7th, 2010, Dinner at Plum

The Description:
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

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Ramen Done Right: Hapa Ramen Serves Big Bowls with Big Flavor

Rating: ★★★★★

After my first time experiencing what a real bowl of ramen is supposed to taste like, I was left feeling utterly perplexed. How in the world did Nissan foods take something so rich and complex in flavor, and create a replica that is totally overloaded with sodium and tastes like absolutely nothing? Who did a side by side comparison and decided, “Hey! Our instant Cup of Noodles can totally pass as ramen! It’s close enough to the real thing, I bet hardly anyone will be able to tell the difference!” It would be like saying an M&M could pass as a fresh cream truffle from Jean-Charles Rochoux, one of the best chocolatiers in Paris. It simply makes no sense…Continue Reading

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Dish of the Month – October

The Dish:
Slow Roasted Carrot Salad, Lentils, Medjool Date, Lardo & Foraged Leaves & Flowers

The Time and Place:
October 22nd, 2010, Dinner at SPQR

The Description:
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

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Humphry Slocombe Gets It Done

It all began one cold January night at Frances. I ordered a dessert featuring Humphry Slocombe’s olive oil ice cream, which was so shockingly good I set out to discover what other treats this little ice cream parlor had to offer. Little did I know that only 4 months later I’d be calling to ask about their flavors 4 times per week, have their phone number into my contacts, and eventually find myself living a mere 4 blocks from their front door…Continue Reading

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Nom Nom Nom Nombe: Where a Japanese Izakaya Menu Meets California Cuisine

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

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From Fables to Tables: Discovering the Golden Egg

After patiently waiting a few weeks for the latest issue to go to print, I’m excited to finally share my latest Culinary Trends with the world! It’s about the recent rise in popularity of one of the most ubiquitous ingredients out there – eggs. Knowing that selling the idea of eggs to chefs would be a difficult task, I ended up putting a lot of effort into this piece, and I hope you find the information as interesting as I did!

Since I wrote much more than the allotted space would allow, I’ve included the unedited version below. Enjoy!…Continue Reading

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A Tribute to the Men Who Arepa’ed Me – Part 2

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Following Jonathan Kauffman’s footsteps, my quest to find San Francisco’s best arepa led me to Pica Pica Maize, a relatively new Mission eatery located at 15th and Valencia. Although Kauffman was rather critical of many of Pica Pica Maize’s menu selections, his description of his arepa led me to believe that I would have a similarly satisfying arepa experience. I was wrong. Comparing Mr. Pollo to Pica Pica is like comparing McDonald’s to In&Out – the menu selection may be similar, but the quality of food is radically differentContinue Reading

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