Results tagged San Francisco from David Lebovitz

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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Dynamo Donuts

two donuts

Donuts! Now there’s a new concept.

Actually there’s nothing new about donuts, and places like Krispy Kreme have come, and (almost) gone. But tucked away in a sunny corner of 24th Street in the Mission is the Dynamo Donut & Coffee shop.

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Citizen Cake Cupcakes

rocky road cupcake

I feel like I deserve a majority of the credit (or blame…depending on how you look at it) for the cupcake craze. I was eating them decades ago, when no one gave them a second thought. And now, as someone who teaches baking told me, making and selling cupcakes in America is like printing money.

I’m not much for trendy foods, but for some reason, mid-day yesterday, right in the middle of my Japanese bento box lunch of chicken katsu and seaweed salad, I was seized with the overwhelming desire for a cupcake.

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Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant

pile of onion rings

Stop the presses!

Although I think in this day and age of online publishing, what do we now say—stop the downloading? Somehow, that doesn’t have the same sense of urgency to it.

Still, this is important.

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but my search for the perfect burger was not to be resolved in Paris.

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Robert Steinberg

chocolate

The first time I ever really tasted chocolate, it was from a man I’d met in a dark alley. Actually, it wasn’t really a dark alley, but in a barren parking lot in a scruffy section of San Francisco.

I had taken a tour of an industrial bakery with a group of local baking enthusiasts, and afterward, a strange man sided up to me, pulled a wad of crumpled up foil out of his jacket pocket, and asked me if I wanted a taste.

Recoiling a bit, when he opened the crinkly foil, in the middle was a small nugget of something dark, sticky, and melted. When I stuck my finger in, then put it in my mouth, there was an explosion of flavor: dark and roasty, only slightly sweet, and very rich. It was pure chocolate, but unlike any other that I’d tasted before. I thought it was delicious.

He told me that he was going to start a chocolate company and make chocolate like this in small batches.

I thought he was insane.

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Great Addresses for Food and Eating in San Francisco

I was trying to explain to a French friend what a ‘foodie’ is, and he was looking at me like I was nuts. I guess when you live in a country that’s full of people that live to eat, the concept of people not into eating is a bit odd.

So, for lack of a better introduction, here are my ‘foodie’ addresses for places that I visited and good things that I tasted while in San Francisco:

Charles Chocolates

When someone handed me an unusually heavy sack emblazoned with the name ‘Charles Chocolates‘ on it, I wanted to run home with in and dive right in! I’ve been jealous reading reports of Chuck Siegel’s magnificent confections from other bloggers and let me tell you: Chuck’s chocolate are worth the wait.

charlesalmonds.jpg

My hands-down favorites were the Triple Chocolate Almonds; California almonds roasted and enrobed in both milk and dark chocolate. Superb! There was a stack of tablets of chocolate in there too, flavored with caramelized rice and candied ginger that I’ve schlepped back to Paris to share.

But the most stunning were two heavy boxes, crafted entirely of chocolate, and filled with a luscious selection of Chuck’s best and more dazzling creations. One was his Tea Collection with tea-scented chocolates (think Osmanthus blossoms and charcoal-fired Oolong tea), while the other had such diverse tastes as passion fruit and salted peanut butter. They were so good, you’ll want to eat the box. Luckily you can.

Charles Chocolates
Westfield San Francisco Center
3rd Floor, Bloomingdale’s side
(888) 652-4412

panna cotta

Delfina

This is my must-stop restaurant when I come to San Francisco. The problem is, I can never get in. Luckily my good pals came to the rescue and we dined like celebrities (like Jake Gyllenhall, who was seated across the dining room, unnoticed by everyone but us. I thought Joy was going to drop her kid right then and there.)

Starting with marinated sardines, moving on to heaping bowls of pasta, then finishing with perhaps the best version of Panna Cotta I’ve ever had, it’s hard to have less than a stellar meal at Delfina.

And having charming, if distracted, company…and Jake Gyllenhall to look at, certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Delfina
3621 18th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 552-4055

Nopa

This is my newest must-stop restaurant in San Francisco (I’m allowed a couple…aren’t I?) And by the looks of things, I’m not alone. Laurence Jossel paid his dues at some of the best dining spots in the city before opening Nopa and he’s got a winner on his hands. In a formerly dicey area (my old neighborhood), diners and chefs from other restaurants now come from all over to gather at the large table to share dinner, or to cozy up in a booth. (Warning: The noise level can be daunting. Request upstairs if you want some calm.)

How can you not love starting a meal with a frosty martini alongside perfectly-salted, hyper-crispy French fries with harissa dipping sauce ending with a bowl of sugared donut holes? Nopa makes me almost want to move back to San Francisco. If I could only persuade Laurence to open in Paris…*sigh*

Nopa
560 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 864-8643

Citizen Cake

I’m sure I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting Elizabeth Falkner’s upcoming book, Demolition Desserts. But for those of us who’ve been enjoying Elizabeth’s desserts for years, we’ve been relishing her tasty treats at Citizen Cake.

(Disclaimer: I have a major crush on Elizabeth Falkner for years.)

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