Archive for the 'San Francisco' Category

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen – San Francisco

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The Astronomer and I road tripped to the city by the bay this past President’s Day weekend. While the bulk of our days were filled with catching up with friends and family, we were able to sneak in one food-centric outing: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. I love Jewish delis, both old school and new, so I was excited to taste this latest San Francisco treat.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, the two guys behind the operation, met in 2003 while studying at UC Berkeley. According to 7x7SF, the two threw a weekly 250-person barbecue for Hillel House, the Jewish student center, which led to a pop-up that eventually graduated into a stand at the Tuesday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. In February of last year, they opened Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen on 24th Street in the Mission.

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen - Mission - San Francisco

The deli is run in fast-casual fashion, with a line snaking out the door most of the time. Since it was our first visit to Wise Sons, we took advantage of the extra few minutes to digest the menu and to make some tough decisions.

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Dynamo Donuts and Coffee – San Francisco

Dynamo Donuts - San Francisco

Last December, Eater LA asked a slew of the city’s food writers to predict a dining world headline for 2011. My prediction—Gourmet Doughnuts Overtake Cupcakes and Macarons!—wasn’t based on anything substantial, just a secret hope I’ve been harboring since thoroughly stuffing my face at New York’s Doughnut Plant and at Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts and Frost Doughnuts.

We’re three months into 2011 and there’s no sign of a gourmet doughnut shop opening anywhere in the city. Though a deep-fried revolution doesn’t seem likely in the remaining months, I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed. Until L.A. gets its doughnut act together, I am forced to satisfy my cravings on the road at places like Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco.

Dynamo Donuts and Coffee - San Francisco

Sara Spearin opened Dynamo in 2008 after graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and honing her pastry skills at a slew of fine dining restaurants in New York and San Francisco. Dynamo is dedicated to using organic, sustainable, and local ingredients whenever possible. All doughnuts are handmade daily, with a rotating selection of seven to ten donuts available each day.

Dynamo Donuts - San Francisco

I was hoping to get my paws on one of Dynamo’s famous bacon maple doughnuts, but alas, they were sold out by the time our crew arrived. Instead, I chose the “Bitter Queen” ($3), which was comprised of a candied grapefruit doughnut topped with an elderflower glaze and Campari sugar.

I was skeptical that a doughnut could ever taste anything but sweet and really sweet, but this creation surprised me with its legitimately bitter notes. The light and delicate yeast dough provided the ideal base for the grapefruit and apéritif to do what they do best—elicit bitter faces.

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Tartine Bakery & Cafe – San Francisco

Tartine Bakery & Cafe - San Francisco

From the perspective of a casual visitor, it seems that the pitter-patter of rainfall whets the appetite of Nor Cal food lovers. In spite of inclement weather, hungry hoards were lined up outside Homeroom in Oakland, and once again at Tartine Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco. I’m one of those wussy So Cal-types known to cancel dinner reservations whenever a storm approaches, so I was especially impressed to witness such sheer determination.

When The Astronomer and I arrived on the Tartine scene, we were greeted by a line fifteen deep snaking out the bakery’s door and into the rain. Seeing these dedicated folks waiting so patiently got us even more excited to sample the breads and pastries of Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. The husband and wife duo opened Tartine in 2002 after graduating from the CIA and training extensively in France. In 2008, the couple was awarded with Outstanding Pastry Chefs honors by the James Beard Foundation.

Tartine Bakery & Cafe - San Francisco

Joining us for lunch were my cousins Timmy, Michael, and Andrew, and Timmy’s girlfriend Jessica. Our friend A.J. rounded out our party of seven. Since our group was humongous by Tartine standards, we congregated along the bar overlooking the sidewalk. A comfy table was definitely not in the cards.

Nearly everyone in our group ordered one savory and one sweet item from the concise menu. I went with a slice of quiche ($4.75) made with crème fraiche and Niman Ranch smoked ham. The texture of the egg had a gentle quality about it, while the crust was sturdy and buttery. Had it been served hot out of the oven (and with hot sauce on the side), I would’ve been more enamored.

Tartine Bakery & Cafe - San Francisco

The Astronomer’s croque monsieur ($9.75), on the other hand, was warmed in the oven just before serving and arrived perfectly toasty. The open-face sandwich was layered with béchamel, gruyere, thyme, pepper, and Niman Ranch ham. While the toppings were all superb, it was the bread base, which was baked in a wood-fired oven, that really stood out. That, and the spicy pickled carrot served on the side.

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Dynamo Holiday in The Bay

Dynamo Postcard

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