San Francisco – 9/2/17 – Tartine Manufactory and Lazy Bear

Tartine Manufactory
Absolutely perfect at anytime of day.

Lazy Bear
I was expecting to like Lazy Bear but perhaps not as much as I actually did. It was still a heatwave and so quite uncomfortable on the 2nd floor where dinner starts with snacks. But as we moved downstairs the ceiling fans made things tolerable. Considering that all diners are served at the same time at large communal tables execution was fantastic.  Most memorable were the reserve wine pairings which were definitely a good choice over the standard pairings.  Certainly a very fun evening and I would definitely return.

snacks




crispy mistake mushroom



spelt & rye dinner roll

sf coast halibut

sungold tomato, shelling beans, seaweeds, squid

abalone


king salmon and its roe, arrowhead cabbage, buttermilk, dill

corn, pork jowl, kale, egg yolk fudge

squab, smokey beets, huckleberry, pink peppercorn

blackberry, corn, butterscotch, basil

nectarine, nasturtium, white chocolate, oats

gummy bear, grilled strawberry, koi, olive oil
cinnamon macaron, white shocolate ganache
PB&J, raspberry jam, peanut butter mousse

San Francisco – 9/1/17 – Kin Khao and Saison

Kin Khao
Love, love, love Kin Khao so much.  The nam tok beans I can’t stop thinking about every time I have them.

nam tok beans – scarlet runner beans tossed isaan-style with lime, chili, rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint, herbs

som tum papaya salad – spicy chili, lime, fish sauce dressing, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts

Saison
Unfortunately I ended up in San Francisco during a heatwave and most places don’t have air conditioning.  Saison unfortunately was no exception.  I hate to judge the experience solely based on the temperature, but it in fact did make the evening almost unbearable especially as the staff seemed to almost ignore it instead of acknowledging it.  When we tried to have a server take away the wool and fur throws and pillows on our seats which were making us sweat by looking at them, he seemed taken aback.  Two hot teas and a hot broth were on the menu and as the heatwave was forecasted I can’t understand why these dishes were not changed.    The signature uni dish was fabulous as was the antelope.  But my lasting impression was of my sweat soaked dress plastered to me as I stood up to leave.



saison private batch caviar

spot prawn

sea urchin

ratatouille

barbequed quail



pronghorn antelope


pineapple

fruit & tea




Favorite dishes of 2016

I started with more than 60 and have narrowed it down as much as possible. In no particular order here are my top dishes of 2016, whatever ‘top’ means on any such lists. Largely these dishes are not representative of my favorite meals of 2016 and many are from what I would consider casual restaurants. They may not all be the best dishes technically but are the dishes that I could eat every day and often have cravings for. In the interest of fairness of I have disqualified the Au Cheval burger, the Humm Dog, Black Truffle Explosion, and Oysters & Pearls as well as all bread courses.

balsamic, truffle, artichoke
Luskus with Kitchen Table @ Bubbledogs
New York

osetra – plantain, papaya, rum
Alinea
Miami

elvis tartine
Eating House
Miami

beef crudo
Momofuku Nishi
New York

farm egg baked in celery cream
Miller Union
Atlanta

foie gras and truffle macaroon
Osteria Francescana
Modena

sheep’s milk gnocchi
Jockey Hollow
Morristown, NJ

passionfruit semifreddo
Contra @ Gramercy Tavern
New York

carolina gold rice
Roister
Chicago

okonomiyaki
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Charleston

snap pea sushi
Olmsted
New York
pike quenelle

nam tok beans
Kin Khao
San Francisco

spicy tuna toast
Wildair
New York

ko egg
Momofuku Ko
New York

general tso fried chicken
Chaan Teng
New York

San Francisco – 9/8/16 – Tartine Manufactory

After driving in endless circles to find parking, and then waiting in line to enter, I was cutting it very close to make my flight.  I forgot to take a photo of the menu and pretty much inhaled my lunch.  But it was absolutely fantastic and should be your go-to spot if you don’t need to deal with parking and especially if you live in the neighborhood.  The salad contained all of my favorite ingredients and even when I was full I could not bear to leave any of the delicious bread.

San Francisco – 9/4/16 – Kin Khao and the Progress

Kin Khao
Months later I wish I could rewind and do over this day.  I love everything about Kin Khao and would be quite happy to eat here on every single trip to San Francisco.  There are few places where I eat past the point of being full because I literally cannot stop.

Pak Pow – lager, appleton reserve rum, allspice dram, ginger, lemon, nutmeg

Nam Tok Beans – ayocote morado beans tossed isaan-style with lime, chili, rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint, cilantro

Som Tum Papaya Salad – spicy chili lime fish sauce dressing, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts

Pad Kee Mao – spicy stir-fried drunken noodles with ground pork, rice noodles, garlic, birds eye chili, onions, bell peppers, holy basil

Khao Mun Gai – chicken fat rice, ginger-poached chicken, served with pim’s secret sauce and a cup of chicken broth

The Progress
It took me far too long to get to the Progress.  As I knew I would, I loved everything about it.  The space is gorgeous, service is fantastic, and all of the food as excellent as expected.  But now I a torn and I see Progress/State Bird double dinners in my future.
(Apologies for the caption-less photos which is what happens when it takes me too long to update this blog.)


melon with sesame & dukkah, zucchini bread with pickled carrot creme fraiche, fried pickles with buttermilk & smoked hot sauce, claim cocktail with avocado & seven pepper cracker

pig’s head charcuterie, korean melon, fish sauce & chiles

hog island sweetwaters, yuzu pickled local nori






San Francisco – 9/3/16 – in Situ, Aaxte, Louie’s Gen-Gen Room and Lord Stanley

In Situ
I have to admit that when I first read about in Situ I didn’t get the concept at all and I really had no interest in going.  A restaurant based on reproducing dishes of various chefs from around the world seemed almost like a fad.  But I wasn’t considering the setting and when I finally visited it all made perfect sense. In Situ is located in the SF Museum of Modern Art and it is actually the absolute perfect museum restaurant as it is own museum of rotating dishes from famous chefs and restaurants around the world spanning decades.  The dishes themselves are classic and are faithfully reproduced.  Now I just need to dig back to that old photo of the Clove Club chicken.


Buttermilk fried chicken & pine salt – Isaac McHale, The Clove Club

Summery warm tomato & basil tart – Michel Guerard, Les Pres d’Eugenie

Ketchup fried rice – Roy Choi, LA Son

Aaxte
As our first stop of the evening we sadly had to limit what we ordered.  But I will definitely be back for a full dinner.  An adorable place, excellent service, and some shrimp that I could eat everyday.




Louie’s Gen Gen Room
I didn’t have time to try Lilhio Yacht Club on this trip unfortunately but did have a chance to check out this recently opened subterranean cocktail spot below it.  The space is adorable and the drinks bright and refreshing.  The abbreviated food menu contains a large number of waffle options.  A strange choice I initially thought but they were far better than I expected.




Lord Stanley
It was quite late by San Fran standards by the time we reached Lord Stanley and I felt badly that they allowed such a late reservation as we were the last table seated.  I don’t think I really appreciated how good this dinner was until the next day.  The vegetable preparations are really fantastic and refreshingly different.  The eggplant accompanying my lamb was hands down the best I have ever had.  It has never been one of my favorites and was completely transformed.  I”m looking forward to a return trip for the tasting menu.  Indeed one of the best new restaurants in America!


Onion petals with sherry vinegar

Grilled trumpet mushrooms, garlic and almond

Wagyu beef tartar with chanterelle and summer truffle

Sweet potato with shemeji, horseradish creme fraiche and nasturtium

Lamb loin and belly with charred eggplant, black olive and lemon

San Fran – 10/10/14 – Kin Khao & State Bird Provisions

Kin Khao
I have read so much about Kin Khao recently that I was initially puzzled to arrive for lunch to an almost empty dining room. My first thought was ‘I guess I didn’t really need a reservation.” But of course it turned out that all of the tables were reserved and San Fran just starts lunch a bit later than I do running on EST. For being in a somewhat strange space in a strange location I loved the quirky decor which contributed to an ultimately homey atmosphere. The perfect amount of heat in each dish…the kind that makes you unable to stop eating. I must get back for the wings!

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Som Tum papaya salad – shredded papaya, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, garlic, peanuts, lime, fish sauce

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Blistered green beans in XO sauce

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Pad Kee Mao – spicy stir fried drunken noodles with ground pork, rice noodles, garlic, bird’s eye chili, onions, bell peppers and holy basil

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Khao Soi Gai – northern style chicken curry broth, egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, and spicy chili oil

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After stops at Mikkeller Bar and Smuggler’s Cove….

State Bird Provisions
If I lived in San Fran I’m afraid that this blog would be half State Bird as I would be there every week. It’s so much fun that you don’t want to leave (which makes it even more impressive that they can turn tables at regular intervals). Thankfully I had some help on this trip so I could order more. But I still left too full to order an amazing sounding lamb dish (I am seriously full if I can’t eat lamb!). I started out trying to keep a list of all of the passed dishes but just gave up because I just wanted to enjoy the experience instead of documenting it. I think I may have missed a few pictures as well.

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Pancakes

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Toasts – chanterelle and pickled local anchovy

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Butter clam ‘picatta’

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Rose geranium ‘ice cream’ sandwich, chocolate cardamom ganache, pistachio and ‘world peace’ peanut muscovado milk

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If there is a more unassuming and gracious chef than Stuart Brioza I have yet to meet him. Thank you Ryan Anderson for the truly fantastic hospitality! Looking forward to what’s next at The Progress!