Cafe Fanny

Pin It Now!
This quaint brunch/lunch place is an Alice Waters institution.
Cafe Fanny is one of the few places in the Bay Area that serves legit beignets.  You have your choice of either freshly made jam or chocolate.  These light pillows of fried dough come with a light sprinkling of powered sugar.  Unfortunately, they don't come out warm.
Seasonal fresh fruit compote (today's was apple) over crunchy granola and Straus Organic yogurt.  When you pour the yogurt over the granola you get a bite of tart, sweet, fruity, and crunchy all in one.  This dish was made famous as Tyler Florence's favorite "in a bowl" dish in Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate.
A little misleading with the menu describing it as a cinnamon toast, but its actually more raisin than cinnamon.  The bread is so soft and fluffy with a lightly toasted crunch.  The four pieces seemed a bit too much for me.  I feel like this could be better as a french toast.

Address:                        Cafe Fanny
                                              1603 San Pablo Ave.
                                              Berkeley, CA

Type:                                cafe/brunch/lunch/French

Popular chomps:   beignets
                                               cinnamon toast
                                               cafe au lait
                                               egg dishes
                                               granola with seasonal fruit

Chomp worthy:       beignets    
                                              granola with seasonal fruit



Pin It Now!
Tempura Wakasagi (smelt-fish) Curry-Salt.  Tiny fish you can chomp whole without being afraid of small bones.  I'm not sure where the curry salt came into play.  I'm thinking it was lightly dusted after the fish was fried, but I didn't taste anything different than the fried fish.  Perfectly crisp, without the greasiness, these fish were a nice snack.
The one thing Koo is most known for is their Spoonful of Happiness appetizer.  Something to note is that one order is for one person.  The advised method to eat this is a small sip of sake, then one spoon, then another sip of sake, then the other spoon, then finish the sake.  I'm not sure what sake it is and I forgot to ask, but it is very light and sweet tasting, possibly Masumi Okuden.
First spoonful for me was the ankimo wrapped in whitefish in white truffle-oil ponzu.  Slightly salty and delicate.  I'm not a huge fan of ankimo, but the portion seemed just right.
Second spoonful was uni, quail egg, tobiko in ponzu.  This just seemed like a deconstructed uni tama nigiri to me without the rice.  Also, the ponzu at Koo is more soy sauce based than the citrus.  The uni here is very fresh, like custard.
This is the first time I've eaten at Koo and I was pleasantly surprised to see a daily special clipped to the menu.  Scallop on the half shell was one of the fresh daily specials that day.  I love the preparation of this.  You rarely get to eat the outside muscle of the scallop in the Bay Area, especially prepared like this.  I had a piece with the lemon slices and I think the lemon slices take away from the natural sweetness of the scallop.  The outside muscle (engawa) provided a crunchy contrast to the soft scallop slices.  
Razor clam sashimi (daily special list).  This is the first time I've ever had razor clam as a sashimi.  I was quite excited.  The meat is very sweet and tender.  The muscle also has a different texture than the actual meat of this clam. 
Fresh scallop nigiri.  Hotate nigiri is a regular in my sushi orders.  This scallop was sweet and very fresh.

Wild tombo (wild albacore tuna) - milder flavor than most tuna. 
Kamasu (barracuda).  First time having this fish as sushi.   Very mild flavor.
Beef Tataki with apple ginger soy.  I liked the mix of onions and mixed greens with the slices of beef, but the soy sauce made this dish much too salty.
Tamago.  This tamago (egg) was springy with a custard texture.  Its really hard to find a place that makes it this way.  Most tend to be too dense or lacking in flavor.  Koo's tamago is definitely one of the better ones I've had in the bay area.
Salmon (sake) nigiri from the regular menu.  The slices were very buttery and sweet tasting.

Address:                         Koo
                                               408 Irving St.
                                               San Francisco, CA
Type:                                 Japanese/sushi/casual

Popular chomps:    Spoonful of Hapiness
                                               Miso Marinated Black Cod

Chomp worthy:       Tamago
                                              Bamboo clam (daily sushi special list)
                                              Fresh scalloop (daily sushi special list)     


AQ Restaurant & Bar

Pin It Now!
AQ.  It's named for "as quoted", which is often seen on high priced shellfish, seafood, and meats on the menu.  I would even go far as to say the first thought upon seeing an AQ by an item is usually, "probably way too pricey for my blood" or special occasions only.  The setting, price point, and food at AQ is far from a stuffy, overpriced, special occasion meal.

AQ has the most welcoming interior in the most unassuming neighborhood.  It reminds me of NOPA when it first opened.
Venison tartare with celeriac, mustard & preserved egg yolk.  The egg yolk actually comes in an ice cream form so it imparts a really creamy, cold texture to the tartare. 
Parsnip glazed maple, dayboat scallops, caraway seed & mushrooms.  Well cooked delicious scallops, but nothing creative or awe-inspired. 
chestnuts, boudin noir, quince & brussel sprouts.  A little surprised to see foam in San Francisco - Wasn't that the trend years ago?  I've never been too much of a fan of foam, especially since this one didn't offer much flavoring to the dish.  Pretty, though.
Tortelloni of wild greens, warm shellfish escabeche & winter citrus
Ahi Tuna with sesame cracker.  Our table received this dish because at this point the dinner was at its 1.5 hour mark and we had not yet received our main courses.
Branzino, potato, chard, guanciale, & sweet onion.
Duck aged on the bone, beetroot, fennel.  A decently prepared duck, but nothing special.
Chicken & Red Kuri Squash, leeks, toasted
Slow cooked beef cheek, bone marrow, turnips, oregano, capers
popcorn, carmelized sponge cake, banana & marcona almonds
Dark chocolate chibouste, graham cracker & torched marshmallow.  This dish tasted like a chewy s'more, which I'm pretty sure they were going for.  Not amazing, but considering the rest of the meal it's more/less the highlight of the dinner.
Chocolate with pistachios

AQ has potential and its obviously working out some kinks, so maybe another taste in another couple months.

Address:                       AQ Restaurant & Bar
                                             1085 Mission St.
                                             San Francisco, CA

Type:                               American/casual

Popular chomps:   duck aged on the bone
                                               beef cheek

Chomp worthy:        nothing


Sneaky's BBQ

Pin It Now!
I love ribs.  Pork ribs- even better!  These ribs were dry and slightly tough with little meat - disappointing!

Pulled pork.  This pullled pork is really tender and juicy.  The sauce gives it a nice sweet, but smokey flavor.

 Pork belly.  Of course, if there is pork belly on the menu I have to ordered it.  This pork belly has a smoked flavor. They serve this dish as a big chunk and you slice it up yourself.  I'm not a big fan of that.  For some reason, pork belly doesn't seem as appetizing when you see it like that.  Overall, this dish was just ok to me. 

 Baked beans.  I randomly chose this as a side with the combo meal.  Surprisingly, this dish turned out to be the best thing I ordered.  The beans are still firm and has a tangy, but sweet taste.

 This dish doesn't look the most appetizing, but its delicious!  The mac and cheese is creamy, but not so creamy it makes you sick.
Collard greens.  I really wanted to like this dish, but it was rather disappointing.  Not at all tasty or like any collard greens I've had. 

a "plate"!

Address:                     Sneaky's BBQ
                                          (inside Rebel)
                                          1760 Market St.
                                          San Francisco, CA

Type:                             bbq/casual

Popular chomps: ribs
                                            mac and cheese
                                            pork belly
                                            pulled pork

Chomp worthy:     pulled pork
                                            mac and cheese
                                            baked beans  


El Farolito

Pin It Now!
San Francisco is best known for their "Mission-style" burritos.  My absolute favorite and my personal definition of a true Mission burrito is at El Farolito.  Another great thing about this place is that they open till 4a on the weekends.  The two best (and most popular) things to eat in the Mission after the bars are the bacon wrapped hot dogs and El Farolito.
Carne Asada Burrito - #72 on 2012 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The carne asada burrito here is my favorite item on the menu.  There are two "types" - regular and super. Super includes avocado and sour cream.  The best thing about El Farolito is the avocado.  Huge chunks of freshly scooped avocado instead of mushy (probably brown) guacamole.  Everytime I eat a burrito here I wonder, how is that they have the best avocados here all year 'round?

updated - Working my way through the 2012 7x7's SF big eat 100 things

Address:                           El Farolito
                                                  2779 Mission St.
                                                  San Francisco, CA  

Type:                                   Mexican/burritos/casual

Popular chomps:      super carne asada burrito
                                      quesadilla suiza
                                                   super carnitas burrito

Chomp worthy:            super carne asada burrito


7x7 magazines's SF: The Big Eat 2012

Pin It Now! 7x7 SF's List of 100 Things to Eat Before You Die 2012 List just came out!  I never even got to finish 2011.  There are some repeats with 33 new additions. (Click on the blue to see the corresponding post and what I've eaten so far!)

Here's the list:

1).    Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad at Zuni Cafe
2).    Salt Cod Fried Rice at Mission Street Chinese Food
3).    Dry-Fried Chicken Wings at Sam Tung
4).    Carnitas Taco at La Taqueria
5).    Chasu Ramen at Katana-YA
6).    Custard French Toast at Nopa
7).    Morning Bun at Tartine Bakery
8).    Cellophane Noodles at The Slanted Door
9).    Eggs in Jail at Outerlands
10).  Pork Sugo with Papperdelle at Delfina
11).  Porchetta Sandwich at RoliRoti
12).  Soup Dumplings at Kingdom of Dumplings
13).  Warm Egg Salad Sandwich at IL Cane Rosso
14).  Any seasonal flavor at Scream Sorbet
15).  Katsu Curry at Muracci's Japanese Curry & Grill
16).  Pizza Margherita at Pizzeria Delfina
17).  $24 Prix Fixe at Cotogna
18).  Benwaffles at Bar Jules
19).  Salumi Misti Plate at Perbacco
20).  Kelvin-made ice cream at Smitten
21).  Tonkotsu Ramen at Izakaya Sozai
22).  Vietnamese Roasted Pork Sandwich at Saigon Sandwich
23).  Duck and Sausage Jambalaya at Boxing Room
24).  Loaf of Bread straight out of the oven at Tartine Bakery
25).  Pistachio Meatballs at Zare at Fly Trap
26).  Spicy Baby Octopus Stew at La Ciccia
27).  Tuna Tartare at Bix
28).  Clam Chowder at Anchor Oyster Bar
29).  Pupusas at Balompie Cafe
30).  Prime Rib at House of Prime Rib
31).  Pork Belly bun at Chairman Bao Bun Truck
32).  The Little Star at Little Star Pizza
33).  Argentine Beef Empanadas at Venga Empanadas
34).  Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Bi-Rite Creamery
35).  Soft garlic Pretzels at Absinthe's bar
36).  Whole Wheat Pasta with Hen and Liver at Flour + Water
37).  Burger and Fries at Spruce's bar
38).  Paper Masala Dosa at Dosa
39).  Pierna Enchilada Torta at La Torta Gorda
40).  Langos at Bar Tartine
41).  Pho Ga at Turtle Tower
42).  Nojo Sundae at Nojo
43).  Beer Sausage at Rosamunde Sausage Grill
44).  Duck Larb at Lers Ros Thai
45).  Secret Breakfast at Humphry Slocombe
46).  Chips and Salsa at Papalote
47).  Seafood Chowder at Bar Crudo
48).  Ginger Snaps at Miette
49).  Chicken Soup with Dumplings at Leopold's
50).  Maccaronara with Ricotta Salata at A16
51).  Carnitas at Nopalito
52).  Masala Burrito at Curry Up Now
53).  A Dozen Sweetwater Oysters at Hog Island Oysters
54).  Chicken Porridge at Bush Street's Out The Door
55).  Sandwich No. 1 at Lucca Delicatessen
56).  Pork Shoulder Fried Rice at Sai Jai Thai
57).  Hamburger at 4505 Meats
58).  Huarache with Cactus Salad at El Huarache Loco
59).  Egg Custard Tart at Golden Gate Bakery
60).  Dim Sum at Ton Kiang
61).  Friday's Pozole at San Jalisco
62).  Sand Dabs at Tadich Grill
63).  Cookies and Cream Cookie at Anthony's Cookies
64).  Meatloaf Sandwich at Fatted Calf
65).  Foccacia at Liguria Bakery
66).  Omakase menu at Kiss
67).  Calamari with Chorizo and Black Rice at Contigo
68).  Fried Green Beans at Coco500
69).  Peanut Brittle Cookie at Mr & Mrs. Miscellaneous
70).  Munsoned at Deli Board
71).  Faux Shark's Fin Soup at Benu
72).  Super Carne Asada Burrito at El Farolito
73).  Fried Chicken at Foreign Cinema
74).  Bone Marrow at Alembic
75).  Crawfish beignets at Brenda's French Soul Food
76).  Potato Latke with Pickled Beets at Baker & Banker
77).  Pickled Egg at Comstock Saloon
78).  Breakfast Eggs at Boulette's Larder
79).  Rice Burger at Sandbox Bakery
80).  A Cheese Slice at Arniell Pizza
81).  Sesame Balls at Yang Sing
82).  Fried Chicken Sandwich at Marlowe
83).  Coconut Buns at King's Bakery
84).  Malaysian Curry Laksa Soup at Betenut
85).  Korean Taco at Namu's Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
86).  Albondigas Soup at Mijita
87).  Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog at a cart in the Mission
88).  Chicken Liver on Toast at Frances
89).  Seven Flavors of Beef at Pagolac
90).  Hawaiian Hangover Cake at Bluestem Brasserie
91).  Deviled Eggs at Park Tavern
92).  Ube ice cream at Mitchell's Ice Cream
93).  Green Goddess Salad at Prospect
94).  Chicken Curry Lunch Special at Punjab Kabab House
95).  Fried Chicken and Waffles at Little Skillet
96).  Cracked Dungeness Crab at Swan Oyster Depot
97).  Kouign Amann at Four Barrel
98).  Amantriciana Pizza at Ragazza
99).  Steak Frites at L'Ardoise
100).Spaghetti With Tuna Heart at Incanto


Top Dog

Pin It Now!
Who says the west coast can't make good hot dogs?  Top Dog is a well loved east bay institution.  I have fond memories of this place.  There are actually a couple locations around the bay area, but I find that this location is the best.  It's busy all day, but it's 3a closing time makes it even more appealing.  Around the corner from bars and house parties, there are many memories eating a Top Dog hot dog on the curb at 3 in the morning.  Top Dog has an almost "soup nazi" like ordering system:  walk through the left door, speak our order, then side step right and wait.  The cooks here are fun to talk to and keep everything orderly, even at 3a.
Kielbasa hot dog.  A good hot dog has a proper snap to it.  This one will not disappoint.  The Kielbasa is slightly spicy dog on a perfectly toasted bun.

Address:                      Top Dog
                                            2534 Durant Ave.
                                            Berkeley, CA

Type:                               hot dog/American

Popular chomps: Chicken apple
                                             Hot Link
                                             Russian mustard condiment

Chomp worthy:      All of it!  


The Chairman

Pin It Now!

Finding a food truck without twitter is like playing cat and mouse... 
The Chairman is a fun play on Chinese buns (aka baos).  They serve two kinds:  the smaller steamed version (peking duck buns) and a baked version ( baked pork buns).  The baked versions are twice the price, but they are twice the size as well. 

Pulled pork steamed bun with cabbage and preserved mustard seeds.  You can't see from the cabbage, but there is ALOT of pork underneath.  It has a slightly tangy and sweet taste from the slaw.  The steamed bun is definitely authentic tasting - fluffy, soft, and every so slightly sweet.

This is the same pulled pork bun, but on a baked bun instead of a steamed bun.  You can see the size is quite large.  It's like eating a hamburger.  The bun is also well made and very authentic.  Reminds me of the baked pork buns in Chinatown with their sweet, sticky glaze on top.
Pork Belly Bun - #31 on 2012 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
Tender pork belly with pickled daikon radish.  I liked this bun the best.  Its a lot sweeter than I expected - the pork belly has a sweet sauce (glaze?), but they are quite generous with the pork belly!
Same as above (pork belly), but on the baked bun. 
If you want to try all the flavors/types of buns, I'd probably suggest just getting the steamed buns.  The larger baked buns are pretty filling.

Address:                       The Chairman Truck
                                              various locations
                                              twitter:  twitter.com/chairmantruck

Type:                                food truck/Chinese

Popular chomps:  pork belly steamed bun
                                              coca cola braised pork steamed bun

Chomp worthy:        pork belly steamed bun
                                               coca cola braised pork steamed bun


Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Pin It Now!
Beer Sausage - #43 on 2012 7x7 SFs 100 Things to Eat
There are 2 Rosamunde locations.  They differ on how you want to eat your dog.  The original Haight St location is more of a pick up and go place (or eat it next door with a beer at Toronado Pub).  The Mission St location actually has tables you can sit and enjoy your food.
The beer sausage at Rosamunde is one of the popular choices.  A slightly spicy and smokey beef/pork sausage that you must get with sweet and hot peppers.  One downside to this hot dog is you never make it to the end without having the bun fall apart in your hands. 


Address:                      Rosamunde Sausage Grill
                                            2832 Mission St.
                                            San Francisco, Ca 
Type:                               Hot Dog/German/casual

Popular chomps:  beer sausage
                                             mission street (bacon wrapped hot dog)
Chomp worthy:       beer sausage