After dining at two super-hip restaurants back-to-back while in San Francisco (see: State Bird Provisions and Al’s Place), a low-key lunch at beloved institution Zuni Café was just my speed before catching a flight back to Los Angeles.
I’ve been hearing about Chef and Owner Judy Rogers‘ legendary roast chicken ever since I started reading and writing about food, and my colleagues were kind enough to satisfy my longtime culinary curiosity on our final afternoon in the city.
Opened in 1979, Zuni Café serves an ever-changing seasonal menu inspired by traditional Italian and French recipes. As one of the pioneers of California cuisine, it’s not surprising that nearly all of the produce, meat, and fish served here is farmed or harvested in a sustainable manner.
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On my second night in San Francisco, I met up with my Bay Area-dwelling cousins for a family dinner at Al’s Place, the newly anointed best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit.
Here at the corner of Valencia and 26th Street on a quieter stretch of the Mission, Chef Aaron London cooks mostly vegetables and a little meat. This makes sense because prior to opening Al’s Place, he was the chef of the much-lauded vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu in Napa.
We began with a duo of “Snackles.” First up were the brine-pickled french fries ($7) served with smoked apple sauce. They were perfectly snackable and even palatable, but not quite the revelation that Bon Appetit’s Andrew Knowlton made them out to be. Can’t say this is the first time I’ve fallen victim to hyperbolic food writing. Continue reading ‘Al’s Place – San Francisco’
State Bird Provisions came across my radar back in 2012 when Bon Appetit named it the Best New Restaurant in America. Owned and operated by chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, the restaurant is most notable for serving inventive small plates on dim sum-style carts and trays.
While State Bird’s service model sounded a little gimmicky, I was intrigued enough by the menu to make reservations while in San Francisco for a digital conference last fall.
Even though it’s been a minute since the restaurant was lauded by Bon Appetit, reserving a table at a decent hour is still quite competitive. A little good press goes a long way.
The food started rolling by as soon as my dining companions and I settled in. In true dim sum fashion, hash marks were added to our “bill” as we selected various items from the carts and trays. Continue reading ‘State Bird Provisions – San Francisco’
Swan Oyster Depot has been on my list of San Francisco must-eats for quite some time, but I always passed it over in favor of trendier spots. It’ll always be there, I rationalized—after all, it’s been around since 1912.
On my latest visit to the city, I craved fresh seafood and the kind of old fashion charm that can only be found at a century-old dining institution. So, off to the Depot The Astronomer and I finally went.
We were greeted with a line snaking out the door upon arriving at the restaurant on a Monday afternoon. After a 40-minute wait spent snacking on a few choice doughnuts from Bob’s down the street, we settled into two stools along the 18-seat counter.
Owned by the Sancimino Family, Swan Oyster Depot serves up wonderfully fresh, barely fussed seafood. The quality of the catch really shines when the preparations are this minimal.
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