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Hill Country Barbecue

I woke up this morning, and could not even make it through to the second half of my flagel.

Hill Counrty BBQ Hill Country Barbecue Sauce

My stomach was stuffed from yesterday, which began at Baked in Brooklyn, then extended through to a burger and fries at Shake Shack, across the border to Connecticut for steamed lobster, then back into New York City with a quick detour through the Apple store, then home to polish off the box of cookies I absconded with from the boys at Baked. Because, you know, I had to eat them while they were still fresh. Right?

cornbread

So you can imagine that I didn’t wake up with much of an appetite.

However…

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Doughnut Plant, NYC

chocolate doughnut new york

Could the Doughnut Plant be the best place in the world?

I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the name of each and every doughnut we had at Doughnut Plant in New York City. Frankly, I was so caught up in ordering doughnuts, passing them around, trying to take a few snaps, while going berserk over each and every flavor of doughnut we tried, my sanity took a temporary leave and I just let the overwhelming experience of being surrounded by fluffy, just-made, extraordinarily wonderful doughnuts pass over (and into) me.

chocolate doughnut plant doughnut plant menu

It was standing in the middle of a storm of doughnuts, literally playing referee between the hungry mob I arrived with.

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Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku soft serve ice creams

I sometimes think about stepping back into the restaurant world. I miss being around all that energy and cooking alongside others instead of toiling in the kitchen all by my lonesome (…and with you, of course). But it’s nice to bounce ideas off of others and do more involved presentations, plus I’ll admit, I miss having a team of dishwashers on staff just as much—or even more.

I love what the new generation of pastry chefs have been doing. There’s lot of fresh talent out there, and I guess I should just continue to leave things (and the pots and pans) in their hands and be happy to remain a stay-at-home baker.

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Porchetta

crisp porchetta

It felt a little funny heading over to Porchetta for lunch. I mean, I live right next to Italy and had amazing porchetta there just recently. So why am I taking a lengthy subway trip down to the East Village for lunch?

And I was tempted even further when I was on the way to meet my friend Shira (who I met on a boat trip on the Côte d’Azur last year) for lunch, and I passed a ‘San Francisco-style’ burrito place that tugged in the pit of my slightly bulging stomach at my sense of nostalgia for the famed tummy-torpedos I remembered so well.

potatoes and lemon seltzer porchetta

But like the people who told me that that Mexican food and BBQ in New York aren’t going to be as good as where they originated (which I find partially true, but I’ve had great French food in New York and wonderful Italian fare in San Francisco, so perhaps I’m becoming a little too globalized for my own good) I’m going to agree that it’s pretty hard to replicate a San Francisco burrito. So in my twisted logic that says you can’t get a good San Francisco-style burrito in New York City, but good Tuscan roast pork is a possibility, porchetta it was. And boy, am I glad when my convoluted reasoning works out.

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Flat Bagels

flat bagels blog

Tradition schmadition. Something I’ve noticed every time I come to New York is that the bagels keep getting puffier and puffier. (Which happened before everything started going 3D.) When I eat a bagel, I want a chewy exterior with lot of seeds on it and enough dough inside to support a swipe of cream cheese. I don’t want a whole loaf of bread in there. Is that too much to ask?

Roaming around the streets of New York, I’ve seen bagels practically as round as a baseball and others as fluffed up as a burger bun. And I know you’re not going to believe this, but I even saw bagels with dried fruit in them. Oy. What is this city coming to?

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…and that was the RUB

baby back ribs

We came for the burnt ends. But to be fair, when we called the day before to see if RUB Barbeque took reservations, we were told that they sometimes run out of certain items because they take days to smoke. So, of course—with my luck, we arrived at RUB, aka, Righteous Urban Barbeque, to…

burnt ends

I think that sign is the VA (version Américain) of the infamous Fermeture exceptionnelle I’ve come to know all too well. I asked at the counter, “Are they really as good as they say they are?” and the woman replied, “Yes, they are.” When I started to cry, the staff sat me down at the bar and gave me a Country Cocktail of housemade lemonade and a double shot of bourbon.

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Fish & Farm

I don’t know why, but on my recent trip to San Francisco, I was having a really hard time remembering the name of the restaurant called Fish & Farm. Maybe it was the jet-lag, or all the chocolate and cookies that were coming at me from all angles.

chocolate-covered florentines

But I kept calling the restaurant Farm & Fish.

Or Fish Farm. Or Farm and Fowl.

Aside from having a hard time trying to find a listing for a restaurant about fish farming, because of the offbeat name, I thought the Fish Farm was somewhere in the outer Mission, one of the fringe neighborhoods of San Francisco. Not right downtown, in the gentle theater district.

tater tots

When we pulled up to the restaurant, I was surprised at how slender it was. (What was I expecting? A farm? A hydroponic tank?) But then I was glad, because it’s small size gave them the luxury of spending more time on the food for each guest.

tattoage

Doubly-inked chef Chad Newton sources as much of the food as possible as close to the restaurant as he can.

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Four More from San Francisco

burritto

If it seems to you like all that I’ve been doing since I arrived back in San Francisco has been eating, you’re right. San Francisco really is the best food city in the world, and as I walk around, (…er…I’m in California..) I mean, as I drove around, and visit my favorite restaurants and markets, I often wonder if I could move back here.

castillito

I’ve been loving all the food and great restaurants: the quality of ingredients, many locally-grown with pride, and the attention to quality, continues to astound. I keep walking by piles of colorful heirloom tomatoes or flats of juicy-ripe figs, and although I’ve seen all those things when I lived here before, I’m still completely in awe of the bounty of the Bay Area.

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