Four More from San Francisco


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.


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.


But San Francisco also has some great ethnic joints, too, and after hitting my favorite burrito spot, El Castillito, I went shopping for some clothes. After all, it’s not America unless you go shopping for something you don’t need. I tried on a relatively form-fitting Hugo Boss shirt and I must say, I thought I looked pretty hot…until I turned sideways and saw the bulge in the middle, which may give the security folks at the airport cause for suspicion.

So I sadly left the offending pullover behind, and am now concerned that when I leave, that they’re going to think that I am smuggling a flattened boa constrictor around my waist. (I have a friend who works for the customs department and she’s told me about things like that, which actually do happen. She had a baby monkey jump out of a woman’s shirt at her once during a frisking.)

bar jules sign

Speaking of acting like a monkey, I was speaking at an event last week, perched high above the fray on a stepstool, and a hush came over the crowd when someone asked me why they don’t have clothes dryers in Paris. They understood when I explained that there are rules against cutting holes in historic buildings for outside venting, and that air drying clothes was actually more ecologically-correct. But when I added that I spend a good 6- to 8-hours a week doing laundry, that collective thud that was heard throughout Noe Valley that night was around a hundred or so jaws hitting the hardwood floor.

Then again, I wonder what I would do with all my free time if I didn’t have all that hanging, drying, folding, and ironing to do? So I think I’ll stay put once I get back home.


But in San Francisco, there may not be any shortage of dryers, but fortunately, there’s also no shortage of dining companions. And Pim, who I met in Paris a few years ago, came up to the city from sunny Santa Cruz to have lunch with me at Bar Jules, in hip Hayes Valley.


Years ago I pondered opening a bakery there, and everyone warned me against it. “It’s too dangerous!” they said. Nowadays the only danger on that street is getting sideswiped by the rolled up yoga mat of some hipster yakking on their iPhone.

Pim just came out with her first book, The Foodie Handbook, which she wanted to hand over. And although I have a mad crush on the other chef David in her life, (along with the rest of the world, and Pim, of course), she is one of the few people who’s been in my bedroom—albeit trying to get a WiFi signal. Her David hasn’t been there yet. And if he was, I’m certainly not telling her about it.

frisee salad

We had a nice lunch, catching up and drinking glasses of sparkly Basque white wine while splitting a Frisée salad topped with bacon, wild mushrooms, and breadcrumbs. We also shared a hamburger, which was good, although they’d run out of buns (grilled levain bread was substituted) and they don’t have fries. Mon dieu!

verticalburger peaches bar jules

Since we didn’t have fries, we reasoned it’d be okay to head over to Citizen Cake and do our caloric damage in the cupcake department. Pim asked me which of them I wanted, and since the lady was buying, I was a gentleman and let her choose. She said “Vanilla”, which was last on my list, so when she said that I could pick the other, I couldn’t get the words “Rocky Road” out of my mouth fast enough.

vanilla cupcake

Both were just perfect. The cake in each with light and moist, and the frosting was a good balance between buttery-smooth and slightly-sandy from the powdered sugar. Deciding which to choose for round-two, I opted for lemon (called Lem-ania), made with buttermilk batter and filled with rich lemon curd. I guess I’m still a but of a pushy Parisian because I ignored her request for a pineapple cupcake. (But seriously, folks. When there’s lemon and rocky road cupcakes in the line-up, who the heck wants pineapple?)

firing japanese coffee japanese coffee

Since I’m leaving soon, I’m trying to have as much good, freshly-roasted coffee as I can. So we ended up at Blue Bottle coffee. Their café is doing a Japanese siphon coffee, which involves heating the water over halogen lights, adding coarse grinds, then one of the two trained specialists finishes it off with a combination of stirring and heating. When it’s done, the resulting liquid looks and tastes like thin coffee, almost tea-like, without any harsh overtones.

I wasn’t entirely won over, but I loved watching the ritual of them making and serving the coffee. It’s one of those special experiences in San Francisco that I think is worthy of a taste, even if my palate, over-abused by years of chugging harsh coffee, didn’t quite get it.

Where and what did I eat for one of my last meals? Well, perhaps these two words might give you some clue: “fried” and “chicken”. (Another hint: Notice the word “steak” wasn’t in there.) There were Sidecars involved, wedges of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese dressing, and bacon-filled tater tots.

And that’s all I’m going to say, for now.

El Castillito
136 Church St (at Duboce)
San Francisco
(415) 621-3428

Bar Jules
609 Hayes Street
San Francisco
(415) 621-5482

Blue Bottle Coffee
66 Mint Street
San Francisco

Citizen Cake
2125 Fillmore Street
San Francisco
(415) 861-2228

(UPDATE: Citizen Cake is now closed)

Other San Francisco Dining Posts


Humphrey Slocombe


San Francisco Dining

Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant

Bi-Rite Creamery

Dynamo Donuts

Never miss a post!


  • October 1, 2009 8:52pm

    Everything looks so good… I am really missing San Francisco reading this post. I do miss it, and Marin and the Dipsea trail… ahh well.
    It looks like you had a good time… and plenty of good food.

  • October 1, 2009 8:52pm

    David, what gorgeous photos! Look like you’ve got that camera nailed! I loved all the beautiful colours. So glad you had a good time in SF…


  • October 1, 2009 9:08pm

    Glad you are getting your Mexican food fill, they sure ain’t got any in Paris….

  • Sarah
    October 1, 2009 9:25pm

    That monkey story is truly terrifying. I am going to be less annoyed with TSA employees from now on.

  • October 1, 2009 9:32pm

    As an expat from SF, you’re killing me with that burrito!

  • Jocelyn
    October 1, 2009 9:37pm

    I got the strongest coffee available at Blue Bottle (three Africans, I think), and I think Peet’s is better.

  • blowback
    October 1, 2009 9:49pm

    They understood when I explained that there are rules against cutting holes in historic buildings for outside venting, and that air drying clothes was actually more ecologically-correct.

    You have heard of condensing dryers?

  • Penny
    October 1, 2009 9:52pm

    I don’t get this dryer thing! So it’s unusual in the US to hang clothes out on a line? What about your smalls? Shrunken undies are the worst! (Not to mention the carbon footprint…)

  • Morgan
    October 1, 2009 10:03pm

    Ack!! You’re in my old neighborhood! Just moved to NYC this summer and I miss SF (and Hayes Valley) so much! I’m tickled you approve of Castillito — it was always my pick of the burrito places, but all my friends are super loyal to El Farolito because they have el pasteur burritos there. Just give me good carnitas and I am a happy man! And Bar Jules is such a wonderful spot. When it first opened we could walk in any night, any time, and get a table and a wonderful meal. But once Bauer waxed eloquently about it everywhere and then Marcia at Tablehopper went to town, and before we knew it, our neighborhood secret had turned into a city-wide destination! Oh well, it’s still a wonderful and cozy place. Glad you had a day to enjoy it all! (btw, brunch at the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle is terrific and kind-of-still a secret).

  • Julialuli
    October 1, 2009 10:25pm

    Bacon filled tator tots? How to make a Minnesotan crazy!!! That puts Tator Tot hotdish in a whole new light! I hope they were as good as they sound.

  • Ryan
    October 1, 2009 10:27pm

    Blue Bottle’s coffees are normally very mild as far as the roast goes, I’m not surprised that you thought it tasted tea like.

  • October 1, 2009 10:59pm

    Wait . . . BACON FILLED TATER TOTS . . . seriously, you can’t just drop a bomb like that at the end of a post and sign off like all is well with the world. It’s wrong. Very wrong. And if you lived in the States, I might hunt you down to get this bacon-tater-tot story. Okay, maybe just if you were on the west coast. Or in the Northwest. Or, you know, in Portland, Oregon. Really, I would hunt you down.

  • October 1, 2009 11:03pm

    Morgan: Everyone kept telling me that Bar Jules was always packed. But for lunch, we just walked right in and it was extremely pleasant. At night, it’s probably more of a scene. Darn that Mr. Bauer! ; )

    Chocolate & Toast: Boy, were they good…

    blowback: Yes, I’ve heard of them. But the folks I know who use them say it takes hours and hours to dry the clothes.

  • October 1, 2009 11:03pm

    It makes me so proud to hear that you think that ‘San Francisco really is the best food city in the world.’ I hope you move back to San Francisco someday.

  • Robert Ruiz
    October 1, 2009 11:38pm

    Funny to see El Castillito in the mix here. I just think of it as “the burrito place near Safeway that’s open really late.” Have been going there for years and never even bothered to notice the name. :) And Bar Jules is right by my best friend’s place, so I’m by it all the time but have yet to go in (maybe because Frjtz nearby seems like it’d be faster, or because the old-style bulk (not prepackaged Newman’s Own) fig bars at Nabila’s often draw me in.

    I’ve never understood the appeal of Blue Bottle enough to justify the lines in the alley at their Hayes Valley location, but I follow them and brave the lines a couple times a year. A few good reads on Blue Bottle I sent to a friend awhile back that you and your readers may enjoy:

    Article in NY Times about their $20,000 Japanese siphon coffee bar in San Francisco:

    Their web site:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip and had such nice weather today!

  • October 2, 2009 12:41am

    OMG that burrito…needs to be in my mouth.

  • October 2, 2009 1:08am

    Makes me hungry for that city across the bay-wow, you get around. When are you going to do your foodie report about this side of town….I saw that you were already invited to Pizzaiolo. Many of us would be happy to join you…

  • October 2, 2009 2:31am

    Maybe french people do not have dryers also because they are slightly nostalgic : those lines of drying clothes, everywhere (townside and countryside) would be really missing in the landmarks. It’s one of the elements of “good old times”, some cheerfull tradition that gives the idea of a clean, hosting home, where the hostess takes really good care of the members of the family.

    The fact is I find those dryer are really expensive, but if I was a millionnaire, i’d still love to have my clothes hanging in my garden … (not to mention the delicious smell of clean and fresh air they get when they dry outside ♥ – to cuddle in some old tee-shirt which cotton became really soft, dried outside in the wind, it’s one of the life’s major pleasures :D)

  • October 2, 2009 2:34am

    Ah, burritos. I think Pancho Villa’s steak and shrimp burrito was on my last-meal list for a while.

    And no joke, I think I recognize the girl in your Mex place picture – an ex-colleague from HP! :)

  • ann
    October 2, 2009 3:15am

    I think u went to Mua in Oakland for the bacon filled tater tots (thanks to Yelp search). Am I right?

  • October 2, 2009 4:41am

    Thank you. I’m in the middle of chaos packing up our house in preparation for a big move, and your post has fortunately arrived to inspire and excite me because the move is from Wales (rural idyll, chickens etc.) to San Francisco. So that’s going to be fine then with all that fabulous food.

    As for dryers. Is it obligatory to use them in the States? I thought it was sunny in California… And really you are spending too much time doing laundry – my family of four doesn’t take up that much time, though I admit I don’t do a lot of ironing. You can probably get away with being a bit more crumpled where I live than in Paris.

  • Marlowe
    October 2, 2009 5:34am

    I’ve used a condensing dryer for years and years. It takes just as much time (maybe a tiny bit more) than the vented dryer, and seems to be less harsh on clothes.

  • David
    October 2, 2009 7:35am

    Elaine: It’s sunny in California…except for foggy San Francisco! It’s hard if you live in a city to find a place (especially one that’s not windy) to hang your clothes. But some places have ordinances against it as well, since I guess some folks don’t like looking at other folks’ unmentionables.

    Krysalia: You’re right. Romain loves hanging clothes to dry. I don’t mind it either, except when you live in a tiny Paris apartment and have sheets, then it becomes a problem. Especially when each of your rooms is roughly the size of each sheet.

    ann: Nope! ; )

  • Sarah
    October 2, 2009 9:01am

    Was your last meal at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Napa? Seriously some of the best fried chicken around.

    I am missing the Bay Area something awful.

  • Susan
    October 2, 2009 10:06am

    I have three of those wooden drying racks, you know, the ones that collapse if you accidentally hit the holding peg when you whip the clothes on or off the rods. I have too many cotton garments that I can’t afford to replace so I don’t dare dry them in the dryer. The dryer is almost a waste of space as I don’t use it for very many of my things. So much for convenience of laundry appliances!

    The buritto looks so delicous. I’m also intrigued by that siphoned coffee. That sounds like my type of coffee, I like it mild, without the bite. Breakfast blends are usually as strong as I like it. Espresso would melt the enamel right off my teeth and kill my taste buds!

  • Susan
    October 2, 2009 10:11am more thing. Those dark eggplant colored peppers. I’ve never seen those before, what do you know about those? How’d they get them that color?

  • blowback
    October 2, 2009 10:39am

    My apologies if I appeared rude but certain technologies don’t migrate for cultural reasons or whatever. For instance, I have lived in houses with electric kettles for 50+ years, but I discovered a few years back that they were not widely available in the US where the custom seemed to be to use a regular kettle on the stove – an American I worked with here in the UK thought electric kettles were a wonderful innovation once he had used one, so I wasn’t sure whether condensing dryers had ever made it to the US. My partner has a Bosch condensing dryer that replaced an older venting dryer and she says the Bosch is quicker and a lot less effort. I know that early condensing dryers were slow, an aunt had one and was always complaining but the technology has got better. Me, I have a drying rack in the back garden and never iron anything and I spend about 30 minutes a week on clothes washing/drying.

  • blowback
    October 2, 2009 10:53am

    Susan – a few days ago I was reading a book about an English chef’s experience of starting an allotment. He grew bell pepper, among other things, but when they turned black , he thought they were diseased and pulled them up and burned them or whatever. It was only later that he discovered that bell peppers start out green, blacken as the ripen before turning red as they fully ripen.

  • October 2, 2009 11:01am

    Ohmigosh that first picture looks absolutely divine. Is that from the burrito place you mentioned? It looks amazing. My mouth is watering!

  • Robert Ruiz
    October 2, 2009 11:03am

    I’m guessing Fish & Farm for the bacon-filled tater tots since you had them with a sidecar.

    They sure look yummy in this picture:

    Full article in the Chronicle (Chronic Ill):

    Fish & Farm restaurant site:

  • dave
    October 2, 2009 12:28pm

    When I was last in SF the charming fellows at MAC in Hayes Valley recommended Bar Jules for lunch. I loved the simple, relaxed vibe and had one of the best BLTs of my life. Perfectly toasted ACME Levain, beautiful thick cut bacon, early girl tomatoes, crispy lettuce and a lovely garlic aioli. So damn good. Six weeks later I’m still thinking about it.

  • Susan
    October 2, 2009 1:44pm

    Blowback…thanks for the info. I’ve never grown peppers, so I had no idea they went through stages of color as they ripened. Especially confusing when you see what are known as “baby bells” at the mkt. They must just be a dwarf variety of pepper, and not “babies’ at all.

  • Rachel
    October 2, 2009 3:35pm

    Your past posts on San Francisco have just filled me with futile envy… now that I live in LA, though, I’m going to read (and reread) them with a newfound sense of purpose!

    Re the dryers, after having lived in Europe for 7 years, I’m a convert to the merits of the drying rack. Time and ecological considerations aside, the dryer in my building costs $.75 a pop, and I’ve worked out that the money I save by not using it four times equals the cost of a millefeuille from the patisserie down the street… ;)

  • October 2, 2009 4:03pm

    Interesting coffee technique. Now I want a cupcake and a cup of coffee!

  • October 2, 2009 4:17pm

    I cannot imagine life without a dryer. We did not have one when I was a child, but I am so spoiled now. Americans are just too busy to dry clothes outside. The coffee sounded interesting.

  • October 2, 2009 4:21pm

    I have really appreciated all your recommendations about SF. I have been a number of times, but have never had this kind of great advice. I am heading there in a few weeks and am certainly taking your list with me, thanks!

  • Steven
    October 2, 2009 4:56pm

    David, you’re hitting some of my favorite spots in SF, although I’ve yet to make it to Bar Jules. Sounds like you’re having a great trip here. I was disappointed that I couldn’t make your appearance at Omnivore Books, and now I find you were at Citizen Cake — I literally work in an office above that place! Would have been fun to run into you and at least say ‘hi’ (without appearing like a crazed stalker fan).

  • Pamela
    October 2, 2009 6:13pm

    Ooohh I am always so jealous reading the Paris Posts but thank god I live in San Francisco – the next best place to be.
    And I have clothes drying on hangers on my sunny deck in Noe Valley right this minute.

  • October 2, 2009 6:43pm

    Would you please just come back to Paris right away? I didn’t think I’d be homesick for the Bay Area but your doing the food thing is killing me. I can’t bear to think of what I’m missing, so I’m trying to concentrate on what I can have here that’s not available there. The mantra I’m using is confit de canard, foie gras, confit de canard, foie gras, confit de…

  • Roger Jones
    October 2, 2009 9:05pm

    Like OMG, that Frisée salad topped with bacon, wild mushrooms, and breadcrumbs looks worth dying for. Thanks for letting me live (and eat) vicariously thru you once again, David.

  • October 2, 2009 10:04pm

    I’ve been reading for a few months now and I can’t help but notice that you often, very lightly suggest, that you have these secret relationships with many female food bloggers. Am I reading wrong? BTW, I’m not scolding, just jealous I’m not one of them.

  • suedoise
    October 2, 2009 10:52pm

    but dear David I live in Paris and everyone has a clothes dryer, mine is in the kitchen as is my washing machine, I just open the window as it works. As easily connected as all other appliances. Lovely San Fransisco indeed but I shudder at the picture of that cupcake,do admit this is not patisserie.The Sunday millefeuille from the divine Philippe Conticini and his patisserie des reves on 93 rue du Bac is the very answer to the question why one can never live anywhere else. Hurry back!

  • October 3, 2009 2:29am

    david said : ” I don’t mind it either, except when you live in a tiny Paris apartment and have sheets, then it becomes a problem. Especially when each of your rooms is roughly the size of each sheet. ”

    hahaha I have the same problem here. Let’s say there’s one day in the week where I cannot have people at home, with the sheets hanging from the corners or my doors and from the top of the bookshelves :)
    I’ve always thought that Ikea made this on purpose : their sheets : 200cm, famous billy bookshelves : 205cm \o/

  • lindaust
    October 3, 2009 2:31am

    Clothes dryers …. these should be banned … an absolute waste of energy …. washing machines spin clothes almost dry these days. As far as the post that says that Americans are too busy to not use a dryer???? Watching tv?? Wake up and do a little bit of energy conserving and we might all last a few more years on the planet. When I was in Paris it didn’t take too long to dry clothes either in the sun or in the heated apartment! Thank you David for not succumbing to using the energy guzzler! Mille merci comme d’habitude.

  • stephanie
    October 3, 2009 2:54am

    I live in Paris and have a condensing dryer….it’s top of the line and cost a fortune….and it is a piece of crap compared to my bottom of the line no name evacuation dryer from the US. It does an okay job on towels and socks, but everything else still requires ironing….and with a family of 4, it is no easy feat! I do not get that people here in Paris consider owning a dryer a luxury. Sure it uses energy, but so does a washer, a fridge, an oven, a water heater. They are simply modern day conveniences that civilized people depend on. I have weaned myself off a using a car and I do not have air conditioning so I am working on my footprint, but no one will convince me that a good clothes dryer is a mandatory appliance. I feel your pain David.

  • October 3, 2009 3:10am

    Stephanie: That’s what I’ve heard about them, although interesting that some of the other commenters like theirs. After 2 weeks in the US, I’m just stunned that I can wash and dry a whole load of laundry in less than one hour.

    lindaust: They are wasteful, although I wish I could hang things outdoors, which is far more pleasant than dodging around my clothes drying rack for a couple of days each week.

    suedoise: I only know one person that has a dryer (she lives in the place des Vosges) but don’t know anyone else. Guess I need to make some new friends…ones that don’t mind if I bring a load over once in a while!

    Jessica: Yes, I seem to have a lot of gal-pals who are food bloggers. But I think that’s just because there are a lot of women food blogging. I have some guy-friends, too, like Matt, Sean, and Garrett. Pim I met early on and it was nice to reconnect with her over a glass of wine, and a burger. (I had dinner with Matt at Nopa.)

  • October 3, 2009 4:29am

    Stephanie> I have several friends who have a dryer, both condensing or evacuating style and no-one of them can simply put the clothes in a closet without ironing them. c’est pas impeccable
    If by “civilized” you mean “full of wrinkles and faux-plis” then we probably agree :) .
    the luxury of the dryer for us is in the price of the device, but not only : the price of electricity, the lack of place in bathrooms or laudry rooms for example.
    The fact is that washing the clothes would be really difficult without a washingmachine, exhausting and not as effective. But when you hand the clothes and let them dry during the night, you have nearly nothing to do, and as I said before it is cheerfull, and it preserves the clothes from premature aging. From this point of view, spending xxx$ in a machine that will invade our space, costing xx$ or even xxx$ money per year to do what air will do for free, it’s just not interresting at all.

    But i’m ok to say that when I’ll have 4 kids or something, I might consider to buy one of the devices, but I’ll be sorry not to see cute socks of every size, in a row, hanging on a clothesline ouside.

  • October 3, 2009 7:11am

    People are prudes about knickers on a line? How this can be in a city that recently staged the Folsom Street Fair? As Obelix would say “Ils sont fous ces americains”

    re: dryers. The way climate change and energy consumption are going, we’ll all be nostalgic for them and not washing lines in the not too distant future.

    (btw David the name isn’t a misprint – it’s French…)

  • Debbi Baron
    October 3, 2009 7:35am

    Ah the clothes dryer question! I have lived between London and Paris for 15 years and believe you me, the difference between not having one in London versus having a typical middle of the range, nothing fancy et pas tres cher condensation dryer stacked over my washing machine in the bathroom here in Paris, is night and day! For the record a) EU regulations require strict energy conserving measure by those who make these things, b) it works great and c) does it in half the time and therefore half the energy consumption as the ones I had in America. Yes it consumes energy, but we all make choices about conservation. I choose to do other things to compensate because having your laundry hanging all over your bloody apartment for days and towels that stand up by themselves isn’t my idea of a good choice.

  • October 3, 2009 8:12am

    Interestingly, dishwashers are a more efficient way of doing dishes than by hand. The newer dishwashers use a lot less water and you can further conserve by skipping the dry cycle, and letting the dishes air dry. So for those of us that do a lot of dishes, it make sense to use a dishwasher.

  • suedoise
    October 3, 2009 10:37am

    Indeed the most recent dishwashers are very economic with water and energy
    Detergents are also very much milder these days – I always put my fine Russian china lined with gold in the machine these days.
    My champagne glasses from l805 ( from the flea market Saint-Ouen)
    I am not so courageous about.
    You are welcome with your laundry to where I live. Have view on the parc des Buttes Chaumont.Will serve champagne.

  • bbenbzh
    October 3, 2009 12:34pm

    I am an expat living in France and ohh…every summer, I go back to SF (I’m a native) and everytime, we binge on poppyseed bagels (we bring our own french butter), sushi, mexican food, and everything in between and develop a muffin top bigger than when we arrived. My kids go nuts over Jumba Juice and donuts. When summer vacation is over and we return home, it’s time to suck it up and lose those muffin tops we earned so hard and happily so.

    David, I can imagine your petite appartement with your sheets and laundry stuff drapping and drying over the radiators and every space available!!

  • October 3, 2009 12:41pm

    bbenbzh: I now bring my sheets to le pressing (the cleaners). It’s my splurge and since they’re heavy-weight French linen, it shave a few hours of time off my monthly laundry allotment.

    And I like the people who own the cleaners, although I do wish it wasn’t €5.5 to clean a shirt.

    (PS: I bring French butter back to the states, too…)

  • kaki
    October 3, 2009 2:10pm

    Hi David,
    I wonder…have you ever been to São Paulo, Brazil?
    May be this is the real best food city in the world!

  • October 3, 2009 2:24pm

    I LOVE this! It was great to see you talk at BlogHer food and bummed I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself. I hit these spots to eat, too. My other favorites were A16, Miette and Cowgirl Creamery.

  • October 3, 2009 2:47pm

    I thought of you every time I did laundry in Paris last week in our rented apartment.
    It took freaking 3 hours to do a small load and it still wasn’t dry.
    I remember reading in The Sweet Life you complaining about Paris washing machines!

    San Fran looks fabulous. I may go to the foodbuzz event there in November.

  • Susan
    October 3, 2009 7:11pm

    Mon Dieu! This is what I get for being out of touch for a while and not reading your posts! I cannot believe you were actually in my work neighborhood (Hayes Valley), visiting all the places I haunt! And I didn’t know it! :( I, too, work in the Citizen Cake building and would have loved to join Steven for a non-stalking walk-by. Ah well. Perhaps you will come again?

  • October 3, 2009 10:02pm

    Woe! If only I would have had this list two weeks ago on my first trip to the Bay. *sigh* & *drool*

  • Jo
    October 4, 2009 12:58am

    The pepper discussion seems to have thinnned out, but I have a comment anyway. I grow green, red, yellow and black peppers here in my garden in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The climate is a bit too cold, and getting colder (32 degr F this morning!!), so I don’t get many good peppers.

    Here’s my experience: Yes, as one poster said, the peppers start out green, then turn whatever color they have been bred to be. I have black peppers for the first time in my garden this year. They are green on the inside. The yellow peppers haven’t done their thing yet. I may not get any this year. The red peppers are just starting – the first one was, in fact, diseased in one easily removable spot.

    When I bought the starts, each little pot had a label with the expected color, including green bell pepper.

    Your SF culinary experiences sound wonderful – I’ll be sure to check out some the next time I’m down there!

  • Sunny
    October 4, 2009 4:09am

    Dryers — we bought our condensing dryer at a factory outlet store for next to nothing. I use it on the grey drizzly days when nothing’s going to dry on the line anyway — a 6kg load is dry in about 90 minutes (little less for sheets, little more for jeans) — and I only run it at night, during the heures creuses.

    On nice days I hang things outside, and don’t really care what the neighbours think of my undies. If and as we return to the US, I’ll have to live in a neighborhood where a drying rack is allowed, because I’m used to it now.

    The peppers are absolutely gorgeous — I’m the only one who really likes peppers in my house, so they tend to not show up in my veggie bin…but those I think I’d make into a lovely stir-fry and MAKE them eat them.

    But yes, you’re making me jones Mexican food in the worst possible way. I have found I don’t crave American food too much (and if I am, I just make some…) — but wow, burritos are something I really, really miss.

  • October 4, 2009 11:34am

    You must try MAMA’S in San Fran…Amazing brunch…will knock your socks off!

  • martina
    October 4, 2009 4:00pm

    Do they have laundromats in Paris like in the U.S. where you can do your laundry and use a regular dryer? Or do you have to drop it off at the cleaners and have them do it? I line dry stuff outside in the summer but nothing beats fresh from the dryer towels/bedding in the winter.
    Ree has a great photo of you and Elise in the photography section of her blog.

  • October 4, 2009 6:04pm

    martina: Yes, they do have laundromats here in Paris. Most of them have signs up warning people not to bring their wet clothes there for drying.

    I suppose they’re trying to keep them available for the people washing their clothes there, but at €1($1.40) for 8-10 minutes of drying time, you’d think they’d be delighted that people come there to drop an extra 5 bucks in their slots. I’ve been known to do it, but only under the cover of darkness; I’d hate to get busted for drying my clothes!

    Michael: We went to Sear’s since I hadn’t been in ages. Unfortunately the decor has radically changed, and not for the better, and it lost that feel (and the great old waitresses.)

  • October 4, 2009 8:36pm

    I was in San Francisco two weeks ago for a week long business trip. I wish I had seen your list then. Next time!

  • richard
    October 5, 2009 4:14am

    I agree with you, SF is the best food city, even better than Paris in some ways, especially in its diversity. New York is neck and neck with SF. Love Citizen cake and there square shaped coconut cake is awesome.

  • October 5, 2009 9:39am

    It looks like you are having a great time what with all the food and friends! I am so happy for you. I’m salivating over that tortilla wrap as the top pic and interested in the ritual coffee. That cracks me up as it is pretty Japanese to turn coffee into a ritual, too. :p

    Okay. Time for me to go do laundry now, lol. I know what you mean about the amount of time for it! I kind of like it in a way, though. I figured out I can hold five loads on the four parallel lines in the Girl Child’s room (it’s one of those stretch-across-the-room things) and I just keep washing and hanging, washing and hanging for an entire day, yeah, about five hours of that. She and her brother are only here on weekends, though, so I can leave the stuff up to dry for a couple of days (or three or four or five, lol) and then take it all down in one swoop, fold, and put away. This is about an hour’s worth of work. This beats my laundry routine in the States, however, where I felt like I was *endlessly* emptying the dryer and then had a backlog of folded, but still-in-the-basket clothes, where they would sit, clean and folded, but stacked, sometimes for days on end. It was always like that with the dishwasher, too, which we called the “spare cupboard.” :D I have “putting away” issues, I guess, lol.

    Keep on enjoying your trip, and yanno what? Just get the BIGGER SIZE in the Boss!

  • Evie
    October 5, 2009 12:11pm

    I got my masters in SF and went to El Castillito and Citizen Cake all the time! I definitely will make a food pilgrimage back there soon.
    I can relate to your shopping experience- every time I travel and want to try all the local flavor, I need to sew an elastic waistband on all my pants!
    I love your blog by the way, I read it often!
    If you want to check mine out (with a general angle on Greek cooking and restaurants) its:

  • plc
    October 5, 2009 2:37pm

    “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…”

    Really? You had to drive around San Francisco? Lame.

  • October 5, 2009 3:49pm

    pic: Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry I didn’t make the joke more clear; Californians are known to be chronic drivers.

    I actually took the bus everywhere, except for walking a lot, and a couple of cab rides.

  • October 6, 2009 3:03am

    Wow – the best food city in the world? No wonder I love it so much, though I kinda hoped maybe I had something to look forward to in my future travels!!

    I hadn’t seen this, and I just put up my Bar Jules post yesterday – with an almost identical photo and pretty much the same comments about the burger. ;-)

    I also used to go to Sears as a kid, sorry to hear it’s lost the old feeling – was thinking about making a return trip sometime soon. Have actually been wanting do a whole “old school SF” weekend sometime.

  • carolyn Krchmar
    October 7, 2009 11:37pm

    Hi David,

    SF and Paris are tied in my book, but since I live here,(San Jose actually) of course I’d rather be there at any given moment.

    Once again your take on the French and the clothes dryers is right on the mark, this summer we had the good fortune of getting a Paris apartment with a top of the line Miele stacked washer dryer combo, we did a load of laundry every day, basically whether we needed to or not. Was that wasteful, of course. Do I use the dryer at home? Some, just for jeans and towels for a bit, then they finish off on the line.

    On the other chef David and the women bloggers, awhile back I started reading Clotilde’s blog, which led to Pim’s. Followed both pretty consistently and then I started noticing mentions of Pim’s new BF. As somewhat of a regular at Manresa I have to say it was almost a little unsettling in a voyeristic way when I put two and two together. I mean, I wanted to read her blog but, I didn’t really want to know when they went sailing or surfing, or skiing over the weekend, so when the chef comes to our table do I say ” hey, how bout that surfboard?” Pim posted a photo once of the daily menu on a clipboard from one of the special event dinners, must have been a monday or so, the night before my husband and I had been there and I asked the chef to autograph it to me “to my BFF” as a joke. I almost sent her a photo of it but I thought- definately crazed stalker fan!

  • October 9, 2009 1:05am

    Who would have thought you’d get so many questions about French laundry?!! Funny thing is my mom got a dryer last year and still irons most things and when she comes over and uses ours, she still irons most things. I guess it’s in the genes…
    I am keeping notes on all the spots I did not hit while in SF although I think I did pretty good in a short time.
    And by the way….what is this middle pouch you keep talking about? Did not see it David. You are as slender as can be!

  • October 9, 2009 2:10pm

    As much as I live vicariously through your sweet life in Paris, I look forward to your return trips to and insights of San Francisco. It’s my more accessible Paris,no less wonderful and no less adored. Thanks for laying the groundwork on my next visit to the City by the Bay.

  • October 9, 2009 5:33pm

    Writing from New Zealand where I am terribly missing Mexican food. And smaller mussels, Green Lips are huge I found out last night!

  • October 15, 2009 11:21am

    Sure, California is great, and San Francisco is a wonderful city, but for the cost of living there I’d much rather live in the deep south (where I’m at now) and be able to buy a 3 bedroom house for $70k. Sure you have to deal with rednecks and Christian fanatics and the idea of a good meal is the McDonald’s dollar menu, but I’d still have to be renting if I were living in California.

  • Lizzie
    November 17, 2009 6:59am


    Move back to the US and do a SF blog….