Recently in USA category

…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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Nopalito & Contigo

Last week, when I spoke at the Blogher Food conference, positioned on stage between Ree and Elise, I was sure during the moments when I was going on and on, everyone was biding their time, waiting for me to shut my trap, so they could get back to listening to the other two.

carnitas

Then I made an announcement that seemed to grab a bit of attention: I said that there were about forty-one blog posts started on my computer, which seemed to get quite the reaction from more than a few of the couple of hundred bloggers in the room. A good portion of those posts will never see the light of anyone else’s computer screen. But inspiration strikes me at odd times, and I’ll just start hammering away when I think of something to write about. I’m certain I’ll get back to it a day or two later, only to never get back to it at all. And now, my desktop is littered with half-written posts and other illiterate detritus.

carnitas at Nopalito

When I did a reading in Paris a few months back, someone asked me a good question about what are some of the things I’d miss about Paris if I moved away. Which actually made the to the finish line and became a post.

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Nopa: The Burger That Knocks It Out of the Ballpark

The search ended abruptly Friday night at Nopa.

nopa burger

It’s one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, and my pal Matt and I decided to have a boy’s night out while the planets were aligned and we were both in town at the same time. Even before I saw a menu, I knew I wanted the burger and after a plate of incredibly tasty Padrón peppers (which, if you haven’t tried, you should hop on a plane to try right now—and that’s coming from someone that dislikes peppers, almost across-the-board) and a couple of Sidecars (Matt’s with rum, mine with Armagnac), my burger finally landed. And ho-boy, what a beauty*.

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Burger #1

The one thing I crave almost every day is a good burger. Oddly, I rarely ate burgers when I lived in the states. But for some reason nowadays, I just can’t get enough. Go figure.

sf burger

So we went to Serpentine, whose burger was exalted in the virtual world, as well as in print. For some reason, as soon as we sat down, I was craving a cocktail. I haven’t had a cocktail in ages since aside from Mojitos, Parisians don’t drink mixed drinks.

(I once made Cosmopolitans for my friends and they barely got halfway through the first one without becoming close to falling-down drunk. And when you live in a rooftop apartment, having inebriated people milling around your place—or worse, stepping out on the roof for a smoke, is not really a good thing.)

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Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

If you’re looking for a simple scoop of chocolate ice cream…or vanilla…or strawberry…you’re not going to find it at Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco.

pig part ice cream

Okay, you might see one of them nestled somewhere amongst the wacky flavors on the ever-changing list. But you’ll have a better chance of finding Fumé (smoked) ice cream, Chocolate passion fruit, and cinnamon brittle. There’s a decidedly non-kosher Boccalone proscuitto ice cream, as well as Ancho coffee, Jesus juice sorbet (you don’t want to know…), Balsamic caramel, and Secret breakfast, a mixture of milk and sweetened breakfast cereal.

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The City Bakery

City Bakery

Here’s what I like best about The City Bakery: anything you order is going to be first-rate. There’s a thin, flaky apple tart with a hint of tangy lemon and lots of crackly sugar. The chocolate cookie is soft and bursting with deep, dark chocolate flavor. And the dreamy chocolate tartlet is simple and direct: a bittersweet chocolate shell encircling a dense, chocolate pudding-like filling. No unnecessary garnishes like cream or frosting. Just chocolate, and lots of it.

(And don’t even get me started about those Pretzel Croissants. If I could find a way—or space, to haul a few back to Paris, I would.)

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