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
5) Roasted Carrot Salad, SPQR
If you’ve been following my writing, you probably know that throughout the course of 2010 I’ve been completely in awe of SPQR and Chef Matthew Accarrino. Choosing my favorite of the entire year was almost impossible as it would be easy for me to fill ½ of this top 10 list with items from this restaurant. But, I think that it’s the balance and ingenuity found in Chef Accarrino’s Roasted Carrot Salad, which made the cover of the latest issue of Culinary Trends, that best represents this restaurant and this chef. While the idea of a roasted carrot may seem painfully simplistic to most, Chef Accarrino uses numerous techniques to bring out the different facets and flavors of the carrot, changing it from something mundane into a show-stopping appetizer. It made me realize just how luscious and truly delectable a simple carrot can be, and even inspired me to roast some carrots of my own. It also inspired me to order the same dish on 3 more occasions. You can read a more in-depth description of this dish here.
Tags: california cuisine, italian food, lower pac heights, matthew accarrino, Top 10 of 2010, vegetables
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
The following is an excerpt from my latest Examiner article, a review of Baker and Banker. To read the way-more-interesting Examiner article please click here.
On opening day, Baker and Banker faced two problems. First, as there is no lack of mid-priced, neighborhood restaurants serving New American cuisine in San Francisco, how would their food stand out? Secondly, the previous tenant of this space was a lil’ ol’ restaurant known as Quince; Baker and Banker would need to find a way to avoid living in the shadow of such an immensely popular, critically-acclaimed restaurant by quickly establishing their own unique image and reputation...
Tags: 100 best of the bay, california cuisine, lower pac heights, new american cuisine, sf examiner review
The many years of hopelessly searching for an upscale Italian restaurant to rival Delfina finally led me to the doorstep of SPQR. Actually, because the entrance is so nondescript, I walked by the place two times, in the rain, before realizing it was what I was searching for. But, when I walked in, I knew I was in for an amazing experience...Continue Reading< /strong>
Tags: 100 best of the bay, italian food, italian restaurant, lower pac heights, matthew accarrino, pasta, sf examiner review